LETTER: Lovely tribute to Marianne

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I’d like to publicly thank the Rotary Club of Eastbourne AM and the family of the late Marianne Williams, in whose name a fantastic event was held at the Birley Centre in Eastbourne on Saturday, in conjunction with the East Sussex Music Service.

Nineteen performers took part in a musical scholarship competition with ages ranging from nine to 17, in two different categories. Instruments included drums, violins, flutes, trumpets, euphoniums and the piano. All the participants performed brilliantly and we truly are very lucky to have such young musical talent within East Sussex.

It was nice to see all the performers and their peers congratulate each other, too. The students were so supportive of each other. We were also treated to a fantastic performance from the Eastbourne Area Music Centre Youth Choir, singing a medley from Les Miserables, under the expert guidance of David Cane-Hardy.

My son Nathan was lucky enough to win first prize playing Beaufort Allegro on his euphonium, in the Grade 3-5 category. My eldest son Brendan entered the competition last year and won second prize playing Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off on his trombone. This really is a wonderful event and thanks to the fundraising of the Eastbourne Rotary AM club, it has enabled both of my boys to put their winnings towards buying their own instruments recently.

Music education is so important and we are lucky here in East Sussex to have such a fantastic Music Service. My thanks must also go to Marcus Plant and all the dedicated staff who work alongside him. Music has the power to boost self-confidence, self-esteem, encourage teamwork and perseverance. It’s also really good fun and gives students a real sense of satisfaction.

I wonder whether Marianne was musical herself, or whether she just realised how vitally important music is in all our lives? Music brings us together, it makes us relax and it can move us to tears equally, it’s that powerful. We shouldn’t forget that in this day and age when children strive to achieve their best in more academic subjects. The Scholarship Competition is a lovely tribute to Marianne and I hope it continues to be so for many years to come.

Claire Harris

Middleton Drive

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