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‘You can hear a pin drop’: Composer gives town cheer with daily symphonies

PUBLISHED: 13:26 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:26 08 April 2020

Inspired by endearing scenes from Venice and Paris, William Drew-Batty, 59, from Bungay, plays a blend of classical tunes, his own compositions, and even 80s music for his neighbours for twenty minutes every day. Photo: WIlliam Drew-Batty

Inspired by endearing scenes from Venice and Paris, William Drew-Batty, 59, from Bungay, plays a blend of classical tunes, his own compositions, and even 80s music for his neighbours for twenty minutes every day. Photo: WIlliam Drew-Batty

Archant

A professional composer and music teacher is bringing cheer through music to his neighbours by putting on daily symphonies from his balcony.

Inspired by endearing scenes from Venice and Paris, William Drew-Batty, 59, from Bungay, plays a blend of classical tunes, his own compositions, and even 80s music for his neighbours for twenty minutes every day.

“It’s a bit like posh busking,” he joked. “I sit here and play to people going to the shops and out to have exercise, and to all my neighbours who listen from their windows.”

With many of his music lessons having been cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown, Mr Drew-Batty said he decided to use his free time writing new compositions through the day to perform in the evenings.

He said: “Just before the lockdown I saw the footage of musicians in Italy and France doing this and it was in the back of my mind. My partner Victoria said we have an opportunity, looking straight down St Mary’s street, it’s quite magical.

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“There’s almost a French feel, with the beautiful street, lights on, and it all being so quiet. You can hear a pin drop.”

Not only playing to his neighbours, Mr Drew-Batty shares his performances on Facebook through livestreams, where he takes requests and writes unique minute-long compositions for those watching.

“There’s always a smatter of applause at the end, and it’s lovely when someone having an early evening drink cheers along. Some people are moved to tears,” he said.

The project has even brought the Suffolk composer closer to his neighbours.

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He said: “There are people living so close I could throw a stick to them who I didn’t know, but now I know their whole families. There’s a real feeling of people getting to know each other through this crisis.

“Music is a lovely way to express yourself, and my advice would be for people not to turn their backs on the importance of music. Listen to it more and see it as an activity for families. Dust off that dusty instrument in your corner and have a go, and keep supporting musicians when this is all over.”


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