Joy, from Crediton, who played on The Beatles ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ is 100

By Alan Quick   |   Editorial Manager/Photojournalist   |
Thursday 17th December 2020 8:06 am
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Joy Stalman with her 100th birthday card from HM the Queen.

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JOY Stalman celebrated her 100th birthday on November 30, having made Crediton her home in 2009 to be close to family.

Joy, (professionally Joy Hall), has had a long career as a classical cellist, performing for many years at the Dartington, Aldeburgh and Edinburgh festivals with musicians and composers such as Yehudi Menuhin, Janet Baker, Britten and Stravinski.

She regularly played for the Queen Mother, to celebrate her birthdays.

Before Joy was forced to retire in her late 70s, she was still giving concerts at the Royal Festival Hall and teaching at Wells Cathedral School.

During the Second World War, Joy travelled widely, complete with piano, giving trio concerts for the Armed Forces.

In 1941, Joy was loaned a Stradavarius cello whilst her own was being repaired. She spent two weeks sleeping with it under a grand piano to protect it, watching, one night, as flaming incendiaries skidded across the skylight.

Still aged 20 Joy, and two of her fellow pupils at the Royal Academy Music, were the first females ever to be employed by the London Symphony Orchestra (apart from harpists).

Her contract is addressed “Dear Sir,” and instructs her that “Dinner jacket and black tie will be worn for all performances”.

Joy performed during the Blitz in the first season of The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. Six different concerts a week, for eight weeks. Thirty-seven concerts in all, some recorded live by the BBC. Joy was virtually sight reading. A red light came on in the auditorium to warn of air raids, but the musicians kept playing and hardly any of the audiences ever left for the bomb shelters.

Joy was also a session musician working on several Bond movies (notably the piranha scene), “The Guns Of Navarone”, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, “The Avengers” and with Charlie Chaplin on his musical score for his film, “The Circus”.

Watching dementia sufferer, Paul Harvey, improvising his moving piano piece from just four notes, and then seeing the 56 musicians of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra joining in, having each recorded themselves, brought home to Joy the astonishing advances in recording techniques she has witnessed.

She did many “popular” recordings at Abbey Road Studios with, for example, Adam Faith and “The Beatles”, featuring on “Strawberry Fields Forever” (mistakenly attributed to John Hall).

This was the first time that George Martin used the new technique of recording in layers. Joy remembers the first was the drum beat, played backwards, and a Mellatron (precursor to the synthesiser) being delivered to the studio. She watched as Paul and John experimented with it and teased George Martin that they wouldn’t need him any more!

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READ THE FULL STORY IN THE CREDITON COURIER PUBLISHED TOMORROW, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2020.

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