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Amber Parry

Amber Parry

Amber Parry

Instrument - Viola

Joined Orchestra -201

I was born in Chambersburg Pennsylvania, USA which is a small town full of cornfields, Amish communities, churches, and not much of anything else. At least, that's what it felt like growing up. To relieve the boredom of living in a pretty small farming town with the closest real city about a three hour drive away, I got into music. I started playing the viola at age eight. I added tuba at eleven, euphonium at thirteen, and trombone at fifteen. I was also an active member of the choir, jazz band, show choir, and marching band. I was basically a music nerd. In these groups, I got the chance  to travel away from my little hometown a lot, including Disney World, New York City, Washington DC, and Toronto, Canada. I attended Temple University in Philadelphia in 1999, also playing in the marching band there, and it was then I met my future husband on the internet. He's from Liverpool and we spent several years on opposite sides of the Atlantic travelling back and forth to visit each other when we could, until  2001 when we decided we'd get married.  I was granted a fiance visa to move to England and we were married in 2002. Since then I've lived on this side of the Atlantic, attended University of Liverpool, and in 2011, had our only son, Tristan. 

My favourite piece of music is happily one we played last season! Holst's Jupiter Bringer of Jollity. I played an arrangement of it when I was about fifteen and it was a defining moment in why, despite violins and cellos getting more recognition and love, I will always love viola most. I just loved the part the violas had even though it wasn't always melody and it wasn't always immediately recognisable by the audience (unless they're one of the few and proud viola-players out there), it was absolutely vital to giving the orchestra a fuller sound and better harmonies.

As a self proclaimed geek, I love video games, sci-fi, and fantasy. I enjoy digital drawing (badly), travelling (though I never get out of the UK these days) and spending time with my son (who unfortunately shows interest in, of all things, percussion. Maybe I can bring him round to the magnificent viola before it's too late). And obviously, playing in orchestras.

If I were to play a different musical instrument what would it be? Cello. Absolutely cello. It was what I originally wanted to play but was told I was too short to play. (I'm looking for a cello teacher, too, actually! I've got a cello but I'm still probably too short.)

The most daring thing I have done? Moved to a different country for some weird British guy. Luckily, it's definitely been worth the risk.I like the UK a lot, in particular the North West where people have always been so friendly. I often get asked which is better: The US or the UK. For me, it's like asking which is better, a steak or a roast dinner. Both are great. Both delicious, both give you heartburn. 

Southport Orchestra important to me because I love being able to play in orchestras, so it's important to have one to play in! I've never been one very content to just play on my own. My favourite thing is to be in the middle of an ensemble, hearing all the different parts come together to make something beautiful. Southport Orchestra specifically plays a wide variety of music that I just absolutely adore. The first concert I played included, of all things, Dvorak's New World Symphony. Of course I had to play! I'm from the New World! At first, I thought perhaps it was a one-off that the selection of music was such a good one, and then we played my favourite piece, Jupiter. Besides the excellent choices in music, the orchestra members themselves are all so friendly and welcoming. There's a real sense that it's not just a group of musicians playing together but that everyone is friendly and they all enjoy each other's company.