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‘It gave hope’: Composer thanks town after 70th and final balcony performance

PUBLISHED: 14:09 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:24 09 June 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

After taking to his balcony each day to play music for neighbours, a professional composer has applauded a town’s spirit after his final performance.

BUNGAY: Composer William Drew-Batty ready to conduct at Norwich Cathedral in 1998. Photo: Archant ArchivesBUNGAY: Composer William Drew-Batty ready to conduct at Norwich Cathedral in 1998. Photo: Archant Archives

For 70 days, 59-year-old William Drew-Batty, a symphonist and music teacher from Bungay, stunned neighbours with 20 minute performances at 7pm which brought cheer through lockdown.

Mr Drew-Batty, inspired by endearing scenes from Venice and Paris, would play everything from classical tunes and 80s music to his own composition in what he called “posh busking”.

He said: “I wasn’t sure how long it would go for - I nearly stopped at the 50th performances but I was forlorn and people were still coming into the street.

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“It became more than music, it was a community thing which brought people out of their house.”

His final performance was on Sunday, June 7. The composer said as lockdown was beginning to ease and the best of the weather was coming to an end, “the 70th performance seemed a good place to bring it to an end.”

He is now thanking Bungay for their support through the shows, which have brought neighbours who previously were strangers together.

“It feels we have moved on, not just me personally, but things have changed with lockdown and it’s important to think about what we are doing,” he said.

“It’s been fantastic. It has put me on my mettle playing every day. There was a repertoire as I had to learn new songs and take requests, and as it went on it I was trying to play something that reflects the news.”

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Mr Drew-Batty said standout memories included a “subtle tribute” he played following the death of George Floyd, his performance of Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again on VE day, and when a neighbour joined him below the balcony to sing.

He said: “There was a rough edge to it all but it worked, it just had a natural quality.

“It brought home the fact we are a community, and all in the same boat. It’s been amazing to have Bungay rally together, and to have my partner Victoria whose idea this was. She has been my rock through lockdown.”


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