"I Was Pestered Into It"....

1.     What is your name?

Alison Childs


2. Where were you born?

Leicestershire.  I grew up in a ‘village’ called Groby - it’s about half the size of Ilkley with nowhere near as many nice restaurants. It is famous for being home to Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth Woodville, having Time Team there once to dig up the castle ruins and David Bellamy visited to plant a tree or two and got his picture in the Leicester Mercury.


3.     Why do you live in Leeds?

I got a job here after university, stayed and my son is now at school here.


4.     What is your occupation?

I was an accounts assistant part time for a construction company up until the coronavirus lockdown. I also do freelance work for Tutti! and the Irish Arts Foundation in Leeds.


5.     What’s your instrument? How long have you played? Why did you start?

I started playing flute at high school and was a bit musical. I had piano lessons and the flute was portable and something I could learn at school. I never really clicked with the instrument or with my teachers  - they were all a bit fussy for my liking. I took the grades but stopped playing at around the age of sixteen and didn’t pick it up again apart from the odd go until i joined band. I now know this is common - people who were a bit musical at school (but not excellent) drop their instruments and miss out on the benefits of playing throughout life. It’s a real shame - and now that I play again I think everyone should, and as a grown up I am finding a connection with my instrument that I never had before.


6.     What made you join a concert band? Why Tutti?

I was pestered into it by a friend. I had always thought that bands were exclusive and for semi professional musicians as many of them have auditions and look for high standard players.  My friend knew I used to play flute and had access to an instrument so she persuaded me to come along to a concert band workshop. I enjoyed the musical bit of my brain switching on again after years of neglect.  It is still a challenge to get brain and fingers working together but I properly love it now - it’s great to have something in my life that is just for me and I find it relaxing and uplifting.   At Tutti the music is interesting and challenging at times but achievable and Joelle’s style as a human being and band leader works for me - she is funny and inclusive and has taught me a lot.


7.     What do you enjoy about playing with Tutti?

The buzz of achievement when I know I am playing a piece well and we are all playing well together as a band. It is such a good natural high - there is nothing like it and I think we are all missing it. We do make a great sound, but the band is more about joining in rather than being competitive or elitist.  There is nothing better for your sight reading than having to play through the pieces without stopping, and having a forgiving bunch of lovely band people around when you go wrong makes it less embarrassing and more lovely to be part of something. That is if anyone can hear your mistake over the noise made by the back row brass.


8.     What’s one of your favourite pieces in the repertoire and why?

One of my favourites is the arrangement of the Holly and the Ivy we did last Christmas time.  It’s beautiful and I find I can really get behind the flute part and make it sing as it is rich and full.  Playing music in the run up to Christmas makes me feel really festive and it’s a good antidote for the extra jobs to do like Xmas shopping, present buying, card writing - which I find can sap the joy out of it.  


9.     What’s been an unexpected benefit / bonus of being in the band?

For me the key bonus is the effect that band has on my mood - I look forward to it during the week, it starts my weekend with a kick and tackling tricky bits of music and making progress leaves me feeling ready to tackle the other things that life throws my way.  


10.  What do you look forward to most when the band can meet together again?

Playing together.  Joelle’s witty repartee and the heckling from band members. Cake.




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