Six year olds who carry knives

One of my favourite songs: Walking in the Air, by Howard Blake

This song was given to me by my first singing teacher Berenice Auckland. Mrs A, as I knew her, was one of the kindest and most quietly formidable women I have ever met. She also had a beautiful singing voice and was a well regarded Soprano. Whenever I get really nervous, I think back to when I first saw her. I was six years old and singing “I’m called little Buttercup” from HMS Pinafore at the Brisbane Eisteddfod. It’s not the most appropriate song for a six year old and in the part where I talk about selling “scissors, and watches, and knives” I pulled out an enormous carving knife that I had purloined from the kitchen at home and persuaded my mother was necessary for my dramatic debut. Mrs A was the only one in the audience who didn’t recoil in horror at the moment. Afterwards, I went up to her (far more nervous than I was to perform) and asked her if she would teach me. She looked at me doubtfully “I don’t usually teach people as small as you…”, but somehow, I convinced her, and spent the next 10 years as her student. Mrs Auckland,  thank you for teaching me to sing, and most of all thank you for teaching me to love classical music….


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