When we came here to Halifax my kids were just starting school (my son was about to go into kindergarden). Up until then I’d been busy with the kids because my husband is a doctor and he was busy all the time. Anyway, once the kids were off to school I found that I was bored. I needed something to do, and I had always wanted to play an instrument.
My mother was a pianist so I grew up with music, but when I got to school we just had choir. We didn’t have any instruments. Then when I got to high school they said, “Orchestra on the right and choir on the left.” I was about to go to the orchestra side when my friends all grabbed me and said, “You don’t know how to play an instrument. You’ll have to come and sing,” and I listened to them. So I went to choir and I never got to learn an instrument.
So once the kids got into school I decided it was time. I joined a clarinet class with about six or seven others at the Maritime Conservatory, and I went in to bands from then on. But I didn’t love the clarinet. I’ve always wanted something with a deeper sound. I love the sound of the cello and I love the sound of the bassoon. So I thought, “Well, now’s the time, go for it,” and got myself a bassoon. I have a friend who plays the bassoon and he had gotten a better one so he gave me his old plastic one. I tried it out, and then of course I had to take lessons since I didn’t know how to play the thing. So I took some lessons from Ivor Rothwell and he found me a better bassoon once the plastic one wasn’t any good. Back then they weren’t nearly as expensive as they are today.
I’ve been playing the bassoon now for more than fifteen years. When I’m playing sometimes I’m very frustrated, but other times I feel good. I like the way I sound, even though I don’t like the way I play because I feel I don’t play fast enough. Still, I like how I sound, and that makes me happy. It fulfills me.
This HMC is full of young people. A lot of the bands are full of old people like me, but you know the nice thing is at the HMC nobody makes me feel old. I mean, you guys are all young. You could be my grandchildren. But nobody seems to mind! Nobody makes me feel like an old lady and I love that.
I think this program has great value for the community. The kids are coming from high school, and now they need a place to play. For me, I’m getting to play my classical music which I love. I also play in a quintet and when I look around we’re all old, but that’s okay! We’re having fun. And you know where I met them all? Through the HMC.