So this Friday 15th March was the 3rd anniversary of the very first Classical Babies concert for mums, dads and babies!!
3 years since the very first concert, at the same venue, also by a string quartet, also with me playing, on Friday 19th March 2010, when Gabs was just 8 months old and I dragged him along with my mum and dad!
So much has changed since then, not least the fact that I no longer run Classical Babies with Estela, my friend whose fabulous idea these concerts were – that’s a (rather complicated) topic for another blog post. We started doing monthly concerts at the O2 Centre, with audiences climbing quickly to 50, 60+ mums and babies a month, moved to weekly in Belsize Park (something I later slightly regretted, and now I’m back at the O2 Centre it’s still my favourite venue!).
In 2011, Estela and I welcomed the wonderful pianist, chamber-musician, music-blogger and teacher Nadine André as a franchisee, running a new monthly venue down in Teddington and later Kingswood too. Now we have venues all over and soon to be far more widespread… Essex and Kent coming soon, amongst others. Watch this space!!
In 2011, my second little boy Lucian was born, two weeks early (again, a future blog-post!) and I really struggled with running the concerts and the sheer amount of work needed to keep my end of the partnership. After a horrible, horrible Christmas, Estela struggling with a divorce and me with a small baby and toddler, I discovered a copy-cat (literally, Facebook-page likes in the same order and all!) had sprung up and was beating us to the punch at our precious, precious business-baby! I came to the almost impossible impasse of deciding whether to jack the whole thing in, or bite the bullet, take the business on on my own at whatever personal cost and really try to build something that could compete. I will cover this topic more fully another time, and it feels like a huge risk even to mention it here. Estela meant the world to me as a friend, I risk upsetting her if she ever reads this as I know she saw the whole situation differently, and for me to affect another person’s life in such a big way was majorly traumatic for me. It also cost me my health, lost time with my little boys, especially Lucian when he was very small, and a fair amount of money!
BUT… this is where I’m at as I look back on the last year and the last three. I wouldn’t change any of it! I haven’t come as far on my own in one year as I thought I would or should, I haven’t failed on my own like I feared I would. And I’m really, really proud of what I’ve done in making Classical Babies my own. There’s LOADS of room for growth and improvement and change and learning. But the boys are bigger and need less of my every waking hour now, I’m coming out of the tunnel of shock of being swamped by running a business – which has enough work for three people at least – alone, with two small kids on my head and I can see a bright, bright future ahead!
I’m so sorry for the casualties along the way – Lucian, my little Lucian, I’m so, so sorry I was such a poor Mummy to you in your first six months or more, I wish I had enjoyed you more and I’m so sorry for how much I shouted at Gabs when I was overwhelmed; Estela and a friendship if not lost, altered forever; my husband’s bank balance! But I’m not sorry I took it on. At the start of Classical Babies’ fourth year, I’m more passionate than ever about creating access to classical music for mums and babies, and mums and babies who don’t even know they like it, or that they are allowed to like it, and all those little ones who don’t know how musical they can be given a chance!!! And I can’t wait to see what comes….