SHE'S the kind of musician who has a gift for getting the best out of others.
As musical director, accompanist, or teacher, Cath Stevenson's biggest talent seems to be for making performers out of other people or simply helping them to enjoy their music.
You suspect it is the latter which gives this unassuming woman the biggest buzz. Seeing youngsters at the school where she teaches in Dewsbury grow more confident thanks to singing in her choir, to see adults who'd given up music lessons as children and regretted it, now getting back on a piano stool, and to hear the many talented performers that she works with, giving of their best.
Those things delight Cath most and she certainly aims to help her friends in Huddersfield Light Opera Company give of their best next week when the company returns to the Lawrence Batley Theatre.
There they will be staging the terrific Gershwin musical, Crazy For You in the theatre's main house.
Not that you'll see much of Cath. The most audiences generally see of Cath - musical director for a string of hit shows with the society in recent years - is the back of her head.
Conducting the orchestra for big stage musicals wasn't perhaps how she saw her life developing. But clearly, she thrives on it.
Now happily married to husband Geoffrey and living in Shepley, Cath is originally from Derbyshire.
Her father was a congregational minister so it's no surprise that music was part of her childhood.
"My father played the piano and we all had piano lessons when we were kids. My brother Hugh was best. My sister, Alison, who has just moved to Orkney, claims not to be a musician but she plays recorder.
"Mum was quite musical but never played until she retired and then she took up the clarinet."
Despite all that musicality, Cath didn't see her future there.
"I never thought that it would be a career. I thought that it would just be a hobby. I was going to be a geographer. I wanted to go up in aeroplanes, take photographs and be a map-maker!"
There's a chuckle as Cath considers that high-flying idea and the down-to-earth stint she did instead, working as a Community Service Volunteer for a year.
"They sent me to Scotland to a new Steiner school. They set up this new home for children who were emotionally disturbed. It was a real formative experience working there.
"It was a completely different way of life to a normal school. It was almost like a kibbutz. That started me towards teaching. I wanted to teach little ones and music was a speciality. And that was that."
She doesn't need to say that this career path brought rich rewards.
After training at Bretton Hall, Cath went to teach at Paddock Junior School. She is quick to sing the praises of John Cowan: "A fantastic head. He was very supportive and it was a great start."
And as Cath soon discovered, admit an ability to play the piano and in school, you are part of the fabric for ever.
"You get roped in for everything," she says, and Cath certainly is. She talks me through a string of schools across the district, Scissett, Ashbrow, Shepley, Whitechapel and Rastrick to her present post at Thornhill.
Ask what she does there, as a part-time member of staff, and you sense the passion and the commitment. Talk about operatic societies and Miscellany, the group of talented performers that she has gathered around her to sing for events, many of them charitable, across the region, and you feel it there too.
"I've been at Thornhill for three years and we have two choirs there. I separated them into boys and girls' choirs. I think that boys are so under represented outside of the male voice choir set-up.
"They've got better things to do outside of school. There were so few boys in the choir that I talked to the head and we started a boys' choir in school time - we thought that it might encourage them."
It certainly did because there are now 20 boys in her choir and Cath says that it helps them with concentration and with co-ordination.
Cath also admits that a bit of lateral thinking got the school's fledgling steel bands started.
Kirklees Music School was moving premises and needed somewhere to store its steel pans. Cath agreed to approach her own head teacher to see if she would agree to provide storage in exchange for tuition.
"I'd never laid a hand on a steel pan and didn't even know how to set them up. We said that we'd look after the kit, if they provided us with a teacher for a term."
Now the school has a seniors' steel band and a beginners' band and Cath is writing arrangements for them. Two members of staff are helping out.
Saying "no" to Cath isn't all that easy. Some years ago, she brought together a few of the singers that she has worked with in big musical productions, to entertain older people at a village event in Shepley.
That Miscellany of talent remains together today and includes some of the region's best performers. They get a call from Cath asking for help and no-one it seems, says that word.
There are about 25 singers in all drawn from across Yorkshire. One even travels from Grassington to take part in concerts with Cath.
As for her passion for musicals, that is down to an old college friend. "He was a Gilbert and Sullivan addict and asked me to help out as chorus mistress on a production."
From there, it wasn't much of a leap for Cath's musical talents to see her take on the role of musical director. In the Huddersfield area, she's worked both as accompanist and as MD on many musicals. Husband Geoff went with her to one rehearsal and soon found himself (a builder and joiner by trade) in demand.
"I told him what would happen. Geoff's the sort of man who sees what wants doing and does it. He probably does more shows than me now."
On one LBT show, where Geoff was working with the backstage crew while Cath was in the orchestra pit as accompanist, the news didn't cross the footlights that he'd been downed by part of the scenery.
"It was during a quick scenery change. This great big flat went into the middle of my face and split my forehead," explains Geoff.
As the show closed, Cath asked: `Where's Geoff? Someone said: `Oh hasn't anybody told you, he's at the infirmary'."
The show clearly goes on in this household and long may it continue.