Alison Kay has lived in Broadstone for over 20 years. She left her Swansea home to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and from there she went straight on to become sub principal viola player with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. In 1997 she left this full time position to spend more time with her family. She freelanced mainly as a viola player and continued teaching the violin, viola and music theory at Parkstone Grammar School and Talbot Heath School. She also tutored young chamber groups at home and entered them into the Bournemouth Music Festival.
Alison recalled, 'one year I was pondering the fact that my entrants were competing against pop groups, and I thought, why don't we do our own concerts? Furthermore I thought, when our students leave school and go off to college and university why don't we invite them back to perform alongside our current students? Developing my ideas, I realised we could also combine young musicians with professional musicians and hence create high quality learning experiences for our young musicians and high quality musical concerts for the wider local community.'
Broadstone Music Series was 'born' in 2010.
It is currently run by a committee of 10 volunteers and is a registered charity. An extensive programme of concerts, recitals, workshops and master classes has been developed, many of them taking place in Broadstone Churches. For more information visit www.broadstonemusic.info or look out for local publicity leaflets and posters in churches and other places.
Recent events have included a special coffee themed concert with an afternoon of coffee, cakes and wine, Bach's Coffee Cantata and Faure's Requiem. One of the soloists was a very talented 12 year old pupil from Poole Grammar School, another was a former pupil of Corfe Hills School, both performing alongside professional musicians. On Sunday 9 July, Baroque Opera comes to Broadstone and 26-27 July a Summer School for young musicians is being held for the third year running at a local school. All the concert events are linked to workshops.
A very special feature of this successful organisation is keeping in touch with students from our local area throughout their school, college/university and further studies and retaining links when they become professional performers. The returnees are clearly made very welcome, as Alison says 'it is so nice when they come back.'
I asked Alison for just a few examples of local students' musical careers - James Atkinson sings with the Paris Opera, Polly Bartlett (oboe) reached the final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year, Natalie Green-Buckley was principal viola of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, studied music at Cambridge University, and is now a highly regarded post graduate student at the Royal Academy, London, Helena Bartlett is currently principal viola of the NYO, (both Natalie and Helena were pupils of Alison).
The Broadstone Music Series is continually growing and evolving and relies on local sponsorship - the events can be costly and so the committee is always looking for more sponsors.
My overall reflections after attending many concerts and talking to Alison are:
What talented young people we have in our midst; how important to nurture and develop those talents and how fortunate we are to be part of the 'audience' in locations so close to our homes. We may be even more fortunate in years to come as Alison has a vision for the future - a Broadstone Arts Festival.
Note: for 3 years prior to the Broadstone Music Series being established, Broadstone Methodist Church was the venue for weekly rehearsals for a youth orchestra run by Alison and Richard Holt.