on the button Issue 46 - Page 8

A day in Arlesey with . . . . . . Kate Elmitt Kate Elmitt has lived in Arlesey for 13 years and runs the Music Academy at Edgeworth House. She is a highly acclaimed pianist and has toured the world as soloist, accompanist and exam adjudicator. Her husband Bob of 21 years died in April this year. Questions by Jodie Chillery How does a day in Arlesey start with you? My day starts with me walking the dog. After that I can talk to people; before that I’m grumpy! Kate decided she wanted to be a classical concert pianist at the age of four Your husband Bob sadly died in April, how would you like him to be remembered? We were married for 21 years and used to do a lot of fun things together. I would get a job in say Singapore doing master classes, as I was an examiner for the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music. Bob would write to all the schools in the area where I was working offering his story telling services. We would then stay for a couple of weeks doing those jobs. We travelled the world, China, Japan and Sri Lanka together. It was a wonderful life, absolute fun. Bob had a lot of energy and he was very artistic and talented in lots of ways. We put on shows together. He was a fabulous natural actor and bass baritone and he used to perform in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas. Bob also had an amazing sense of humour and was truly loyal and supportive of me and his friends and family. He had a tremendous sense of justice and was very generous. How did you and Bob meet? We’d both lost a partner, so we both advertised in a singles magazine. My advert said music and animals were priorities. His advert said the same things, but he wrote two and half pages, whereas I’d written three lines! I went to one of his operas and he was the star of the show. How did you become a classical pianist? I knew I wanted to be a classical concert pianist right from the word go. I was four when I decided that. We were very hard up, living in a tiny house in Watford at the time. My parents were very musical, so it was a priority for them to provide me and my two siblings with the best possible tuition. It was a wonderful upbringing, I did my first broadcast for the BBC when I was twelve. I was very lucky to be given grants to the Royal Academy of Music, and then scholarships to Vienna. Music is my life; I’m obsessed. My talented mum played violin and viola, my dad played cello and violin, my sister became a professional violinist and my brother a professional cellist. Since then I have performed with many professionals. Cavatina was a theatre group comprising two singers and myself, where the object was to entertain and make people laugh. Another big influence in my life was John Railton. We travelled at home and abroad playing music for three hands. What happens here in Arlesey, I don’t think many residents even know there is a music school here? I teach and put on concerts in Arlesey. My youngest pupil is six and my oldest is 81. The rest range from beginners to very advanced. I also teach teachers. We put on recitals by some of the top concert pianists; Noriko Ogawa played here recently. She comes to Arlesey – can you believe it?! Other top concert pianist use our house as a rehearsal space for important events. Highfield School use us to host the A Level Music exams, and we hold other music exams here too. We also run the Bedfordshire branch of the EPTA piano society from here. Arlesey folk have the opportunity to come every Wednesday to sing in the Vivace Choir. 8 on the button issue 46 June 2016 | 01462 834265 | We run a Piano club on Mondays for advanced pianists who need to keep up their performing skills. I personally do a lot of rehearsals here. The Montagnana Trio, Emma Halnan (flute), Catherine Wilmers (cello) and I (piano) do professional concerts nationally. Another group called Eagle 4, (Christine Bunning (singer), Diana Levitas (violin), Catherine Wilmers (cello) and I put on concerts here. We always choose a letter and find composers whose names begin with this letter, which leads to a very entertaining mixture. We are doing ‘R’ on the 22nd May at 4 p.m., and ‘A’ for Arlesey in the October festival. All of these events take place in our Eagle Wing, which holds two grand pianos and can seat up to 80 people. This is a terrific space for musicians and lecturers, such as Paul Harris a renowned Musical Educationalist. What is the Arlesey festival? The festival encompasses the church, the local schools and my Music Academy. The programme includes a variety of concerts, performances and exhibitions during October for Arlesey. I want to show Arlesey what we’ve got here. We are putting on three concerts during the festival, and hope that local people come and support us. I want everybody to feel that they can come and that it’s not just for the elite. Anything that is done well and with enthusiasm is enjoyable. Everybody is welcome to come and see us in action. And what do you do to relax? Apart from music, I love reading and all animals (except spiders), I have a dog and a cat. Walking Penny every day, together with looking after my large garden, keeps me fit – I love living in Arlesey. steve@onthebuttonarlesey.co.uk | www.on-the-button.co.uk