Fae Jones remembers how the Northern School of Music made her feel, and the influence of Ida Carroll on the school.
Fae: The thing that I remember about that most of all is - I never participated in them - but at the end of term they would always have the best students doing us a concert and it was such a delight to go there and see people, see how really talented they were even at that young stage. Ida created this wonderful family atmosphere where even though you didn’t know people you… you felt you did, you felt were all part of a big happy family. It was really truly wonderful.
Heather: And what was the—Do you remember any particular performances with the school? Did you perform as a junior?
F: No, I never did because you see, as I explained, I came to music late and I had—I was still on step by step to the classics, working up from the basics to try and catch up because at O-Level… I think that’s considered to be grade 5…
H: I don’t know.
F: I think it was in those days, an equivalent of grade 5 and then grade A, I may be wrong. But I had a lot of work to do to that and I really… I was never of performance standard to appear at the junior school. I do remember one particular chap who had a bassoon who - A big chap he was, I don’t know whatever happened to him - and he gave a wonderful… recital *laughs*. But I mean, I don’t think I had ever seen a bassoon before in close quarters before— So maybe it was the shock of that, I don’t know. I think what I remember about it all was the joy of going there and the happiness of it, it was just… I think it created a wonderful warmth which made you want to go out and work hard so that you would be that bit better the next week and I think it’s not easy to do that, is it, to create that sort of… happy atmosphere. She certainly did, although *laughs* you know, I don’t think I would have wanted to upset her at all, you know *laughs* so.
H: Yeah. How do you reckon she did that? What about… What about the... her work kind of… created that atmosphere, do you think?
F: Well I think she knew a lot about people, she made sure that she knew a lot about them personally and what their circumstances were and whether their parents were happy for them to do this. So, she didn’t just think you were either a violinist or whatever, she would remember that you’d got parents in that particular set of circumstances and another child who got parents in a different set of circumstances. And I think she must have either written it down or noted it because she remembered and she would ask people about their parents and about... what happened, you know, what was happening to them, so… She was just…. An incredible person, really. She was a very... good leader, I would say, and I don’t know how that happens it’s magic, isn’t it *laughs*.
Part of the #NSM2020 project "A 20/20 Legacy: the centenary of the Northern School of Music" supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.