Jo Higson

PMZ Trustee

Co-op Member Pioneer Coordinator for Plymouth; Volunteer Coordinator AgeUK Plymouth Gateway to Services Project; Student MA Creative Writing University of Plymouth.

 

MUSICAL NOTES

What do you do for PMZ?

I have just joined the Board of Trustees. I have long been a supporter PMZ, having brought a group of talented people being supported by Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support, back in 2011. I saw the transformational effect of PMZ then and will be ever grateful for Teri, the music leader for the group who insisted I didn’t sit on the sidelines and gave me the confidence to sing.

Do you play any instruments?

Yes. I started learning the violin at age 8, having been inspired by the Halle Proms. My mother would treat me to a train ride in to Manchester and the Free Trade Hall a couple of times during each season. I loved it but stopped playing really when I went to University at 18. I kept hold of my violin and rediscovered it when I moved house in 2017. I was awful so started having lessons again.

I sang alto in my school choir (Stoke Damerel HIgh School for Girls for those who are old enough to remember) and felt pure joy at the harmonies produced, especially at the annual carol service. We were once recorded for BBC Radio and transmitted on Christmas Day. More recently I have been part of a couple of choirs including the Barbican Community Choir and Voices at TRP.

I have just bought a mandolin as it has the same tuning as a violin, but I thought it might be a little more accessible and transportable. I bought a teach-yourself book but really I need lessons!

What musical instrument would best describe you as a person?

Mmmm. A good question. I asked this of some of my Co-op colleagues and they suggested a gamelan because it has a beautiful tone, has international influences and is a bit unusual. I thought that was very nice of them to suggest – so yes, I’ll take that.

What has music done for you in your life?

I couldn’t imagine living without it. I love listening, participating and seeing the joy it brings to others. I really enjoy live music, especially in small intimate venues – I think there is something about feeling the music reverberate within your body that is really healing. Having said that, Snow Patrol at Plymouth Pavilions earlier this year was awesome!

What’s the best bit about working at PMZ?

The people – and the values that everyone upholds in all the work that goes on here. I am passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion – it has been my life for many years now – and seeing it play(!) out here is wonderful.

What’s the first record/CD you ever bought?

Eek. It was a 45rpm vinyl. The Wombles and The Wombling Song. Least said about that, the better.

      Seth Lakeman

      PMZ Patron

      Seth is a renowned folk singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, who grew up just north of Plymouth, in Buckland Monachorum in West Devon. He is best known for his performances on fiddle and tenor guitar, but also plays the viola and banjo. We are delighted to have Seth as Plymouth Music Zone’s patron.

      “I was completely blown away by the size of the operation at PMZ and the kind of opportunities they provide with their amazing work building the confidence and aspirations of their participants. They change lives everyday and I’m delighted to be Plymouth Music Zone’s first ever patron offering help whenever I can.” Seth Lakeman

          Deborah Myers

          PMZ Special Adviser

          Development Director and Consultant.
          Current Director of Development of the Science Museum Group, the world’s leading group of science museums including five museums across the country.

          MUSICAL NOTES

          What do you do for PMZ?
          I’m a PMZ Special Adviser with a specialism in fundraising for the arts.

          Do you play any instruments?
          I play piano and used to play flute, and I sing.

          What musical instrument would best describe you as a person?
          I’d like to think a cello – with its combination of warmth, emotion and boldness.

          What has music done for you in your life?
          I feel like music has touched every part of my life. My Dad inspired a love of jazz through his piano improvisation and my Mum and Dad took me to classical concerts. In my teens I loved the summer music camps run by Avril Dankworth (Johnny’s sister) that I attended which ignited my love of singing. My husband encouraged a love of opera which I pursued when I worked at the Royal Opera House and my children expand my horizons across rap, hip hop, musical theatre and more.

          What’s the best bit about working at PMZ?
          I love the way that music is for everybody at PMZ, young or old and of all abilities and from every section of the community. And I love working with PMZ’s chief executive, the inspiring Debbie Geraghty.

          What’s the first record/CD you ever bought?
          Every Breath You Take, by The Police

            Prof Norma Daykin

            Prof. Norma Daykin

            PMZ Special Adviser

            University of Tampere, Finland. Professor, Centre for Arts as Wellbeing, University of Winchester. Professor of Arts in Health, University of the West of England.

             

            MUSICAL NOTES

            What do you do for PMZ?
            I am a former Trustee for PMZ but stepped down when I moved to the University of Tampere in Finland. I was keen to maintain my international links with Plymouth Music Zone and its work so was delighted to be invited to remain as one of their Special Advisers. I am a musician and researcher specialising in the role of arts and music in supporting health and wellbeing. I have researched and written about the impacts of music in a variety of settings including GP surgeries, hospitals, communities and prisons, working with participants of all ages. I was previously based at the University of Winchester where I am a Professor in the Centre for Arts as Wellbeing.

            Do you play any instruments?
            I play the saxophone and I also compose and arrange music. I am the Music Director of a unique community orchestra, the Bristol Reggae Orchestra, a 30 piece ensemble that includes musicians and singers from a wide range of backgrounds. Since we began in 2010 we have performed all over the South West and Wales, and have been broadcast on Radio 3!

            What musical instrument would best describe you as a person?
            I?m not sure if it describes me as a person but my favourite musical instrument at present is the soprano saxophone. I am drawn to it because it has a clear voice and it is deceptively adaptable to lots of different playing situations and genres.

            What has music done for you in your life?
            I have been involved in music all my life. My dad was a sax player and music arranger who dedicated himself to big band music. My mum is a dance teacher and is still active, giving lessons for all sections of the community. I grew up with music and dance in equal measure. I love jazz, folk and Latin music and I currently teach salsa dance. I have found that dance and music are both fantastic ways of dealing with life’s challenges.

            What’s the best bit about working at PMZ?
            I am very pleased to be supporting PMZ as a Special Adviser. I hope to share my knowledge and awareness of the value of research as well as the development of best practice in community music.

            What’s the first record/CD you ever bought?
            In all honesty I cannot remember buying my first record but I used to be a great fan of Donny Osmond, David Cassidy and the Jackson 5 so it would have to be one of them!

                Paul Courtney

                Paul Courtney

                PMZ Vice Chair of Trustees.

                Director, Chair of Institute of Fundraising South West. Development Director, Children’s Hospice South West.

                 

                MUSICAL NOTES

                What do you do for PMZ?
                I have just been elected the Vice Chair on the trustee board having spent the last few years helping to support the development of fundraising for the charity. I am excited to be getting stuck in as much as I can to ensure we can leverage as much support as possible for the life-transforming work that takes place through music at PMZ!

                Do you play any instruments?
                In my humble opinion I wouldn’t really describe myself as a musician (having never had a music lesson in my life!) but I spent many years ‘treading the boards’ in musical theatre and have been a worship leader in churches for some 20 years. I play piano and synth, sing (a lot!) and am teaching myself to play the guitar (bar chords are hard!).

                What musical instrument would best describe you as a person?
                I think I would have to say a saxophone – I’ve always loved the sound it makes and the soulful, moody melodies that can pour out and telling a story through the tunes.

                What has music done for you in your life?
                As a performer I have always loved music and singing and I am passionate about the transformational power of music. I spent several years touring with musical theatre companies working in some of the toughest areas of the country and was privileged to witness the power of music and the arts in facilitating change; gifting a sense of self-worth and helping empower children and young people to work together and value one another. I believe that music is the most powerful of tools in bringing people together, offering shared experiences and building relationships that have life-long results.

                What’s the best bit about working at PMZ?
                The team at PMZ are nothing short of inspirational – I have watched in awe at music leaders working with young people, disabled children and adults, old folks in care homes and many more groups. Their skill, their compassion and the joy that they impart through music is nothing short of magic. It is often said that one’s life is made up of, and indeed enriched by ‘moments’ and I can honestly say that some of the most precious moments that I have witnessed have during some of the times I have had the honour of being part of in the work of PMZ.

                What’s the first record/CD you ever bought?
                Now this is embarrassing! The first single I ever bought was ‘Cotton Eyed Joe’ and if you thought it couldn’t get any worse the first album I bought (or should I say was bought for me by my Grandma for my 13th birthday) was ‘Take That and Party’!!!!!

                    Christopher Hunt

                    PMZ Trustee

                    Creative Technologist, Controlled Frenzy. Director at Digital Plymouth

                     

                    MUSICAL NOTES

                    What do you do for PMZ?

                    I volunteer with PMZ’s Digital Orchestra to help extend their work with visuals, data and accessible interfaces. I’ve been inspired by that amazing group for disabled musicians over the past 2 years and have grown to absolutely love the work of Plymouth Music Zone. Now I’ve become a Trustee and have started to support the digital strategy across the whole of PMZ to ensure they can extend their immense expertise further afield, including internationally. I particularly love the blend of digital and humanity that happens at PMZ. Others have much to learn from how they operate.

                    Do you play any instruments?

                    While never really able to crack playing something beyond Guitar Hero, a lifetime ago I used to sing and perform as part of several amateur dramatics groups. I realise that revealing this will doom me to getting on the microphone at the Digital Orchestra!

                    What musical instrument would best describe you as a person?

                    It’s obviously got to be something flashy, interesting and most definitely digital. Maybe a Yamaha Tenori-on?

                    What has music done for you in your life?

                    I’ll always credit that time spent singing with teaching me how to be confident in front of an audience and how to make my voice heard. It’s amazing what performing did for my self confidence.

                    What’s the best bit about working at PMZ?

                    The team is a huge, supportive family who make a real and valuable impact. Walking into the space, you just feel the love and appreciation for the work that happens here.

                    What’s the first record/CD you ever bought?

                    I must have been 7 or 8, so forgive the lack of taste, but it was ‘The Simpsons Sing the Blues’, bought with an HMV Christmas voucher. I probably know all the words to ‘Do The Bartman’ by heart!

                        Dr Clare Pettinger

                        Dr. Clare Pettinger

                        PMZ Trustee

                        Lecturer Public Health Dietetics, University of Plymouth. Freelance Creative Well-being consultant.

                         

                        MUSICAL NOTES

                        What do you do for PMZ?
                        I am utterly thrilled and privileged to have joined the team as the newest PMZ trustee. I am a long-standing supporter of this amazing charity and have engaged in some fundraising activities over the years. As a successful singer/performer and passionate advocate for social justice in my chosen field of Public Health Nutrition, I am really looking forward to working with this amazing bunch of inspiring creatives to support the next stage of the PMZ business plan. I have strong local and regional networks in education, third sector and well-being, so hope I can combine my passion for social justice, well-being and music, so that more lives can be improved.

                        Do you play any instruments?
                        I learned piano (to grade 3) and violin (mimicking a very distressed cat!) as a child. I play a little bit of basic guitar, and currently trying to learn ukulele. But my singing voice is my gift.

                        What musical instrument would best describe you as a person?
                        Hmm, I struggled with this one. I am opting for the rather diva-esque ‘One-Woman-Band’ which I think sums me up rather nicely. The instruments in this outfit would, no doubt, change with the season/cycle/mood, but would probably include: rhythmic foot drum, bells on my elbows, cymbals between my knees, sassy harmonica coupled with raspy flute (unless I can think of a way of blowing both simultaneously) and to fill the gaps, some scatting vocals (possibly with loop pedal to over-lay several narrative layers)?ostentatious and scary thought really!!

                        What has music done for you in your life?
                        If music be the food of love, play on?
                        Music brings me sanity in a rather insane world.

                        I am very privileged to have had music as part of my life since being in the womb,  8 months pregnant (with me) my mum performed Handel’s Messiah as lead soprano*, so I have a strong genetic musicality.
                        *My mum is a well-known professional soprano. See link http://www.samling.org.uk/leaders/patricia-macmahon/

                        I spent a lot of my youth exposed to classical music, au-paired during the Salzburg Mozart Festival, and performed in several amateur musical theatre shows. I have now managed in my own right, to become an established singer and performer. I led a 10-piece funky soul band (2010-16) The Cuckoo Collective, who entertained dancing crowds across Devon and Cornwall. I am now part of the Q-Dettes, a four-piece female group of vocal composers, working with arresting arrangement of familiar songs (musical director, PMZ’s own music leader, Bernie Artuso). I am also writing my own material with husband Neil, which is a very exciting new phase of my musical journey.

                        What’s the best bit about working at PMZ?
                        Music is one of the most connective and powerful gifts we have. In our too often harsh and cruel world, music can bring hope, build bridges, exert joy and peace. PMZ is tapping into this transformational power ? with such inspirational results. I am already in awe of the team at PMZ, their work is incredible. They bring highly skilled compassionate musical joy to many individuals and communities in need, which is unique in itself. But they also have the privilege of working within a very rare ‘family-team’ environment, which is supportive of both personal and organisational developments. It is an honour to be joining this team, and I am really looking forward to giving my time and sharing some special magical musical moments.

                        What’s the first record/CD you ever bought?
                        Tourists – ‘So good to be back home again’ and Blondie – ‘Heart of Glass’.

                            Professor Montserrat Fuentes Romero

                            Prof. Montserrat Fuentes Romero

                            PMZ Special Advisor

                            Director of Culture, Xacara and Professor of Piano and Music, Anahuac University, New Mexico

                             

                            MUSICAL NOTES

                            What do you do for PMZ?
                            I have the great opportunity to be one of the Special Advisers on the Trustee Board, supporting and giving advice in areas of development to the PMZ Leadership Team. I am a musician and cultural project manager. I founded my own organisation based in Mexico supporting artists and their projects through capacity building and tools which will strengthen their professional abilities. Also, I am a Professor of the Music Contemporary Degree, at Anáhuac University in Mexico City. I teach Piano and theoretical subjects such as Wellness and Creative Projection for the musician and developed a Body Percussion online subject. I studied my MA at the Arts University in Havana, Cuba, where I started researching about Latin American teaching music methods. I also have 15 years of teaching experience that gives me the knowledge to support and develop the Special Adviser role for PMZ.

                            Do you play any instruments?
                            My degree is in Classic Piano in the Music Conservatory (INBA) in Mexico City. Then I studied the MA in formative processes in the teaching of the arts, in Havana, Cuba. A short film was made by the cultural channel in Mexico which was broadcast by television about me and my life as a piano student. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc69JCjv0Yw&t=10s
                            I started my music studies when I was 7 years old and never stopped. My main instrument has always been piano, but when I was 9 years old I practised the violin for a year, I am not an expert as in piano, not even close. When I was in college I also played clavecin with the University Orchestra as part of a subject. I took singing lessons and took part of the University Choir.

                            What musical instrument would best describe you as a person?
                            Difficult question! I would say that my own instrument, the piano. The piano has a variety of sound and registers, as the variety of emotions I can feel and experience, and each one is contrasting and unique to the other. The piano has the opportunity to explore a lot of music genres, with different rhythms, and this can talk about my ability of adaptation and resilience, due to the fact I have been travelling and living in different and contrasting places, with different cultures, languages and traditions. This experience developed my capacity of resilience: ‘the art to get back’. This instrument has the possibility to be elegant and friendly. Because it is a harmonic and melodic instrument it can be played as soloist and be the only one sounding, but also has the ability to play in ensemble with other instruments; it can be part of a team and work as group; it has the gorgeous opportunity to be alone in some moments but has the fortune to be as a group.

                            What has music done for you in your life?
                            Music is life. I can’t describe a moment in my life without being involved in music. All the memories in my mind are connected to some genre of music. This means they are connected to my heart and my emotions. I used to have music since I was in my mother’s womb, she used to sing to me and, also, to sound beautiful music. I live with music every single day of my life: when I cook, when I drive, when I dance. Because of this, all the moments in my life are attached to some kind of music. Also, after college, I have the lovely opportunity to learn how important is music for all human beings. The powerful tools music can give in the learning process. I have worked with children in areas of disadvantage, teaching them music as another option for their life. Their realities are very delicate because of the few opportunities they can have in their futures. My experience with them is how strong can be music through its impact. Music is a gift that should be for everybody.

                            What’s the best bit about supporting PMZ?
                            In the past 10 years I have worked through music with different ages of people from 1 to 80 years old; in different contexts, as schools, university, vulnerable communities, vulnerable children, etc. I have seen the power of the music for changing lives and realities; the strong impact that art and culture can create in children futures and adults present. Because of that I have a particular passion for working towards creating inclusion, something shared by Plymouth Music Zone. Art, culture, and specific music, should be a right for every human being. I am very pleased to be supporting PMZ as a Special Adviser for sharing my knowledge, experience, ideas, and support in this great area of work: changing lives through art.

                            What’s the first record/CD you ever bought?
                            I think I was 6 years old, and I finished watching, on tv, a serial about the life of the great violin maker Antonio Stradivari. The theme of the tv serial was the very famous Canon of Pachelbel. I had a big crush on that piece. Immediately I asked my dad to buy me the cassette. This was my first record, even when I asked someone else to buy it for me. The first record I bought (with my savings), when I was 10 years old and I was listening the revolutionary latin american trova gender. I bought a CD (not cassette) of Silvio Rodríguez, a cuban composer and singer.

                                Hilary Cragg

                                PMZ Trustee

                                Solicitor and Partner specialising in Elderly Client Law at Nash & Co Solicitors LLP.

                                 

                                MUSICAL NOTES

                                What do you do for PMZ?
                                I am a Trustee and work with their team to promote their fantastic work. I am a solicitor and partner of Nash & Co solicitors and professionally I head up the Vulnerable Client team. I’m also on the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge team helping raise awareness and understanding around dementia. I bring all my professional skills to assist PMZ with its work.

                                Do you play any instruments?
                                Sadly the only instruments that I play are air drums or air guitar, but when I do I am note perfect at both!! I listen to music in my car, home & when out running, so I appreciate the importance of music in my life.

                                What musical instrument would best describe you and why?
                                Ooh tricky question ? Drums for when I’m loud, harp for when I’m classical and electric guitar for when I feeling funky or trendy (whatever that means). Does that mean that I’m a very strange band?!!

                                What has music done for you in your life?
                                Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a kid I can remember sitting in my bedroom listening to the chart rundown. Music has a fantastic effect on my mood, so I play different music depending on my mood or if I want to change my mood. Music has been a fantastically useful tool for when I don’t have the words for how I feel, but some clever songwriter does.

                                What’s the best bit about supporting PMZ?
                                Seeing the great work that the team does and how they make a difference, it brings a tear to my eye!

                                What’s the first record/CD you ever bought?
                                I honestly can’t remember, the Bee Gees Saturday Night Fever was definitely one of the first.

                                    Nick Warren

                                    PMZ Trustee

                                    Managing Director and Designer, N9 Design, a Creative Communications Agency

                                     

                                    MUSICAL NOTES

                                    What do you do for PMZ?
                                    As a new trustee we’ll have to wait and see. But as part of N9 Design, I first worked with PMZ back in late 2009 and throughout the years have always been blown away with the energy and passion of Debbie and the team whenever we meet. Overall, if they think I can contribute anything worthwhile in terms of experience in brand, identity or design for communication then I’m happy to do what I can.

                                    Do you play any instruments?
                                    Musically, I had an awkward incident with a Double Bass at 11 which halted my instrument education. But I’m a proficient listener and can be useful in a pub quiz scenario recalling lyrics to decades old songs I don’t even like. I’ve embraced new music technology, but still managed to retain my mid-sized vinyl and cd collection under much pressure, arguing the dust would be on the shelves anyway.

                                    What musical instrument would best describe you and why?
                                    Probably those big orchestra timpani drums. I try to stay quiet unless I think I’ll make an impact.

                                    What has music done for you in your life?
                                    Shaped my life. As a child many early memories are punctuated by specific tracks, as a teen I’d obsess with the charts (via Smash Hits). Then as an young fella I’d spend hours searching out tunes and creating the right playlist for the day, party or journey. In early employment, I was known to run home and compile a side of C90 in my lunch hour for the afternoon. Six hours of cassette compilations for parties was not uncommon…ask grandparents what a C90 is!

                                    What?s the best bit about supporting PMZ?
                                    The infectious energy that the PMZ team have and their unfailing ability to be branded at all times.

                                    What?s the first record/CD you ever bought?
                                    Either Regatta de Blanc by The Police or Blondie’s Parallel Lines.