Strings on Piano

Penny Squire Head ShotAs a child I learnt the piano, starting at the age of 9 through to 14 years old and getting merit in Grade 4 examination. My main memory of those lessons is getting rapped over my fingers with a ruler when I made a mistake. Not an encouraging start!

I enjoyed music lessons at school, and was with a group who represented the school at a Grammar Schools Music Festival singing Hayden’s Nelson Mass. From the age of 15 – 21 I sang alto in my church choir.

I played the organ in church in Upper Cam, Gloucestershire, at the age of 28, and trained the choir. Later I moved to Wales and played the organ in Llanerchaeron church.

At the age of 50, I was walking the dog round our smallholding when, without any pre-thought, a tune came into my head. I rushed into the house, worked it out on the piano and wrote it down. Much to my amazement, other tunes came pouring out. I had never thought about composing, apart from a little tune for my children to play on the piano, and here I was producing  songs.

I decided to make them into children’s musicals – Fool’s Gold, Child of Africa, The Green Button and The Lottery, and recorded some, with friends, onto tape.

My solo singing was not good, so I decided to have singing lessons, where I discovered I was a soprano and not an alto. I sang in 2 choirs in Aberystwyth which was a lovely experience.

I  had piano lessons and went on to pass Grade 8. I also had help learning to compose.

After taking Grade 7, the examiner asked if I taught the piano. I said I didn’t, to which she replied that I should. This sowed a seed in my mind, and after taking Grade 8 I took up private teaching. This I loved, and taught some delightful pupils in Wales.

My composing became more classical in style. I wrote for piano, harp, string quartet, SATB choir, orchestra and other combinations. I had a concert of my work in Aberystwyth and had some works recorded for possible use on S4C television.

I have recently started learning about writing for brass bands as there is a very good band in the village where I now live. I hope to hear a piece played before too long.

Troubled Planet was written due to my frustration about a lack of necessary action by governments, world leaders and individuals in fighting global warming.

Cotswold Ensemble 2My youngest daughter suggested I put a film over the music, my husband gave me encouragement, and a project was born!

I’d like to thank my three daughters and my husband for their support and help. Also those – including a daughter (artwork) and a nephew (sound recording) – who have worked to a very high standard on the project and to Oliver Bowing who very skilfully edited the video. My thanks also to Greenpeace who allowed me to use their video footage.

My hope is that the film will help make people realise that it is up to us all to ensure that global warming doesn’t spin out of control by changing to a more sustainable lifestyle. Sustainable living is not something to fear. We could live in a cleaner, healthier and fairer world, where people and communities matter and support is there for all when we need it.

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