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Sharon Bill Music Tutor & Author

Musical Moments

I stumbled upon an old copy of Handel’s Flute Sonatas whilst tidying up my music shelves (instead of actually practicing - an old trick of mine). I found some music that I was playing when I first met my husband. Who was this ‘Sharon Healey’ - I can barely remember her. I remember the flute Sonata better than I actually remember myself back then. In an effort to get to know who this Miss Healey was I had a rummage through some photographs and came across a school picture that captured quite well who I was.

It appears that classical music figured quite a lot in my awkward teenage years. Here’s an extract from my forthcoming eBook “Letters from the Broom Cupboard” which tells a little more about that girl in the photo…

My life reached something of a pinnacle when I made it to the prestigious position of first flute in the school orchestra, just in time for a concert. We were playing Haydn’s “Surprise Symphony” and at that time I had something of a crush on the percussionist. I was especially excited for the concert as the first flutes sat at the edge of the stage, right next to the timpani (and therefore the timpani player). If you know the symphony at all you’ll know that there are many little musical jokes throughout the piece, the most famous of all is a sudden loud chord at the end of an otherwise quiet theme. The jolting “crash” is provided by the timps which is why the Germans often refer to the piece as the symphony “mit dem Paukenslag,” (with the kettledrum stroke). It’s easy to see that percussion plays an important role in the piece.
The seating around the music stands was a little cramped (school orchestras probably being better attended all those years ago) and, as we sat waiting for the lights to “go up,” I whispered to my fellow first flautist to ask if she could see the music well enough. Would she like me to shove over a bit? Keen to be accommodating to my colleague’s comfort I gently shuffled my seat a little to the right. Just as the lights went up and as the conductor lifted the baton I fell off the edge of the staging (still perfectly seated on my chair) headlong into the timps and into the arms of the handsome percussionist. Well, they weren’t expecting that, were they?