excerpt from 'Memoirs of Henrietta Burkin' pp. 37 (285 words)

excerpt from 'Memoirs of Henrietta Burkin' pp. 37 (285 words)

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Memoirs of Henrietta Burkin

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[The author left school aged 15 in 1919 and then did a course at Pitman’s College, Bloomsbury, after which she was employed for eleven years as a secretary at a metals merchant, East India Avenue, Leadenhall Street, London. She was taking piano lessons at the London College of Music when she took up singing. Her stepfather, whom she called 'Dad', is indirectly named as Mr Hart in the memoir].  


I now decided I would like to take up singing, which Mother thought a huge joke, as I had no voice to speak of, but at the London College [of Music], I was fortunate to get a marvellous teacher, who trained my voice, so that Mum and Dad, and friends were amazed. I used to sing at concerts at St Martin’s, and enter competitions at Central Hall, Westminster, and when we had one of our concerts for the pupils at the College, I sang with the orchestra, in Italian! Mum and Dad were there, and how delighted they were, and when I went the following week for my lesson, the teacher said, “Have you seen the notice on the door?” I said I hadn’t, so he sent me down to read it, and it was a “cutting” from the “Times”, written by the music critic, who’d been at the concert, and saying, I showed great promise, which of course was a feather in the teacher’s cap! He wanted me to take up singing professionally, and asked if I could afford to give up my job, I said I couldn’t, but I was never short of requests to sing—free!

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excerpt from 'Memoirs of Henrietta Burkin' pp. 37 (285 words)


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