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Spotlight On: Brighton & Hove member Bonny

22 February 2022

Brighton & Hove member Bonny shares her experience of u3a, how she enjoys music within her life and the new skills she's picked up in later life.

In the u3a national newsletter each month, we focus on one member's experience. This month, we spoke to Brighton & Hove member Bonny. 

Bonney playing the saxophoneHow did you first come to join u3a?

I initially joined Guildford u3a when I started working part time in my mid 50s. I joined the Geology group after seeing a flyer on a community notice board, as one of our hobbies is climbing volcanoes.

A year before our retirement, my husband and I decided to move to Brighton and Hove. We both immediately joined the local u3a to help us integrate into the City. I also joined the Committee to learn how the u3a operated as an organisation.

What is your favourite thing about being a part of u3a?

I mostly like the diversity of people I meet, hearing about their life stories and experiences and being inspired by their ideas of ‘what shall we do next?’ I like groups where expertise and knowledge is shared, where the participants take turns to lead or share. I have really enjoyed the work I’ve done during the Covid crisis as part of the Committee as I was able to utilise my skills.

What groups are you a part of at your u3a?

I run a rather niche Jane Austen Book Group which reads just one book a year very slowly. This year, I have started a Camino de Santiago preparation group. I’ve been the Groups Coordinator during a very challenging 2 year period but have still initiated and supported 11 new groups during Covid, and also managed to get over 30 groups onto Zoom.

Who are your favourite musical artists, and how do you engagewith music in your life?

During Lockdown I picked up an old Alto Saxophone (it had been under the bed awhile) and started learning to play. I never imagined I would play an instrument and jazz wasn’t really my thing, so picking up a Saxophone during Lockdown was more about the challenge than anything else. We now have weekly lessons and we’re also in a 30 piece Saxophone Band.

Recently we saw Madness at the Brighton Centre , and this week we will see Van Morrison. With many local smaller venues we get to see the up and coming local bands which is exciting, and the more eclectic musicians like Leo Pelegrino the Baritone Sax player who played Last Night of the Proms in 2017.

What’s your relationship with music?

During the 70s I enjoyed a mix of prog rock and disco music, then in the 80s it was all about the punk and new wave music scene in and around Camden in London. In the 90s I loved the House Ibiza chill vibe and enjoyed clubbing.  I’ve discovered in the year that I’ve been learning to play Sax that I prefer to play classical or folk music to jazz.

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