She’s been hailed as “the most versatile pianist of her age” and “one of the most sympathetic accompanists.”
Now at the age of 96 pianist Margaret Dutton, of Almondbury, has retired after 16 years as accompanist to Huddersfield’s U3A Ladies’ Choir – just one of the many musical “jobs” she had undertaken over the years.
Margaret spent much of her long life accompanying many of the musical theatre companies around the Huddersfield area.
She has played in orchestras for Longwood Amateurs, Marsden Amateurs and Huddersfield Light Opera Company – playing for shows and pantomimes at the Venn Street Arts Centre, Huddersfield Town Hall, the Lawrence Batley Theatre and Spot On Theatre at Moldgreen, where she was musical director.
Margaret has played in the U3A dance band with a singer called Edam Duke and played for many years in the area’s social clubs, notably Greenside Working Men’s Club, accompanying showbiz stars including comedians Marti Caine and Charlie Williams.
She has also been in demand as an accompanist for pupils taking dance exams – and still has singers going to her home to practice pieces for auditions.
U3A ladies choir member Shirley Ward described Margaret as “one of the most sympathetic accompanists I have known” while fellow choir member Susan Whitwam said: “She is the most versatile pianist of her age in this town.”
The choir gave Margaret a rousing send-off at her final meeting at Huddersfield Mission on Friday.
Margaret, a widow, told how she had first become interested in the piano at the age of six.
“My mother played the piano and I was fascinated,” she said. “I had lessons when I was seven and I have been playing ever since.”
Margaret has a piano and keyboard at home and doesn’t intend to stop playing.
She plays the keyboard on a night so as not to disturb the neighbours.
Margaret will also step in if the choir needs her in the future.