At home, we had mountains of sheet music and my parents always held musical gatherings in their home, with other friends who were musicians.
Editor’s Note: Viv was born in 1938 in Sheffield and now lives in Wallsend. She took part in the Hand in Hand Reminiscence project in 2008.
I was an only child, brought up just outside of Sheffield by my parents. I had a very happy childhood and was especially close to my father. He was a self-taught musician and wanted to take up the piano professionally but his family wouldn’t allow it. When he was learning to play he didn’t have a piano of his own, so he got a job playing the music at the silent movies and used the money he earned to save up and buy one. Earning a living through music in those days was hard, so he eventually got a job in an insurance office but music was always a big part of his life and then mine. I can say that music is the love of my life.
At home, we had mountains of sheet music and my parents always held musical gatherings in their home, with other friends who were musicians. I was too young to stay for these events but my father would always ask me which piece of music I would like to have played as I was going to bed. When I was in bed I could listen to the music being played, just for me.
When I was a bit older my father used to take me to concerts in Sheffield. This would have been in the late 1940s and I remember seeing the Halle Orchestra and a beautiful pianist called Eileen Joyce. I can remember hearing the Messiah for the first time, and loving it ever since.
I learned to play the piano too, but was always self-conscious because my father was so good. I used to play when he was out and then stop when I heard him coming in. Schubert was a favourite composer, because I thought I could play it. Father and I would play duets.