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Allison's Life of Music

For Allison Walker-Morecroft music is both a passion and a way of life. 

Allison, who lives in Admirals Way, Hethersett, is a renowned adjudicator on the world music festival scene and has travelled to some exotic locations in the course of her work. 

But Allison is equally at home giving talks to local groups such as Hethersett Women’s Institute, or teaching singing and speech either from her home or at Gresham’s School or the University of East Anglia. 

With over 300 music festivals throughout the world, Allison has adjudicated as far afield as Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo, France and Greece and next year will be helping to set-up the inaugural Raleigh Festival in North Carolina in the USA. She particularly enjoys a festival in Hong Kong which lasts for four weeks and features 34,000 children. 

Allison was born and brought up in the Gateshead area and gained an honours degree in French and German from the University of Swansea before meeting her future husband Anthony and moving to Litchfield in the Midlands. 

Anthony was a physics lecturer at Welbeck College in Nottinghamshire for many years and the couple moved to Norfolk on his retirement: 

“I traced my ancestors back to William the Conqueror and a number owned land in the Newton Flotman area and I always felt drawn to Norfolk,” Allison said, adding that they moved to Hethersett four years ago. One of her ancestors was a 12th century Bishop of Norwich. 

Despite studying languages at university, Allison has always had a deep love of music, and, after bringing up her family (four daughters and two sons), she studied at the Royal Academy of Music, the Guildhall, Trinity College and London College of Music. 

She then entered the world of teaching, mixing language and speech alongside singing and piano. 

Over the past few years, Allison has taught both privately at her home, at the UEA and at Gresham’s where she has 14 pupils at the present time. 

“One of the Gresham’s staff became ill and I filled in and just stayed. Now I’m involved with the school’s debating society and even take the occasional assembly,” she said. 

Allison’s first taste of festival adjudication came when she was living in Litchfield. Now, as well as her exotic world-wide locations, she has adjudicated throughout the United Kingdom and locally at festivals in Norwich, Cromer and Gorleston. She has also been closely involved with Norwich’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, helping to train readers and fulfilling many other tasks. 

There are many sides to Allison’s musical talent and she really is a jack of all trades and master of many. She produced T.S Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral in Norwich and also gives cabaret performances to local groups and societies. “I love to talk and sing to groups about singers and their songs,” she added. 

And Allison has a wide variety of musical loves. You certainly wouldn’t pigeon-hole her. One of her favourite artists is legendary rocker Rod Stewart. “I love what he has done with his Great American Songbook series of records. He has taken the standards and made them his own,” she said. 

Allison is equally at home, however, with the songs and piano music of Schubert, the jazz of Duke Ellington and the contemporary flashback feel of new groups such as The Puppini Sisters. 

One of her favourite places to adjudicate is Sri Lanka and she organises an annual
concert in Norfolk to raise money for the under-privileged areas. She visited the island just after the tsunami struck and was humbled by the way the people were looking to the future and re-building. 

The great thing that strikes you in meeting Allison is her love of and lust for life “I am one of nature’s blessed. There have been bad times in my life but I have been so lucky to work with the arts. They enrich your life in so many ways and bring you into contact with people of like minds. Music helps you to express how you feel in a tangible and audible way. It is a common language and so very fulfilling,” she said. 

Allison would love to get to know more people in Hethersett: “I really like the village. It has so much to offer and I would love to know more people. I would really like to do more teaching from home and find a few more pupils. 

“What I do is just the start of bringing something wonderful out of the young people I teach.” 

Allison doesn’t have much spare time but is studying for a doctorate which will include a thesis on the psychology of performance. This runs hand in hand with her love of musical theatre. Her favourite stage musical is Les Miserables, although she admits to finding much of the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber rather disappointing. 

She would like music festivals in the United Kingdom to be recognised more by the Media: “Every year in the world, music festivals feature a million performers and an audience of 10 million. It is a very vibrant area of entertainment but doesn’t receive the publicity that it should because it still holds onto its amateur status.” 

Anyone wishing to talk to Allison about lessons can contact her on 01603 812239 or 0792 9387 567.

© Peter Steward 2007