Concert tribute to musical pair

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A concert will be staged in 
honour of Rita and John Dawkins – two of the leading lights in the world of classical music in the area.

Rita (pictured right) was a talented pianist and accompanist, but it was in her role as violinist, teacher and leader of the Beauchamp Sinfonietta that she was most widely known.

While John played French horn in the Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra, Beauchamp Sinfonietta and Leamington Chamber Orchestra.

Rita died on March 16, aged 77, following a stroke, and her husband died in 2006.

A concert celebrating their lives and music making will be held on Saturday, September 13, at 7.30pm in the Guy Nelson Hall, Warwick School.

The couple had four children who all learnt to play a range of instruments, but it is daughter Melanie who continued with her music. She played violin and then took up the saxophone on which she is now a proficient jazz performer and will play a saxophone solo in the concert.

The concert is co-ordinated by the Beauchamp Sinfonietta leader Sue Meteyard, with orchestral players and soloists drawn from groups in which John and Rita played.

A Beauchamp Sinfonietta spokesman said: “Rita and John contributed greatly to the musical life of the area.”

Rita taught piano and violin, on a private basis, as well as at King’s High School in Warwick and Rugby College.

The couple lived in Long Itchington and John worked for IBM. A devout Roman Catholic who worshipped in Southam, he assisted in the running of the soup kitchen for the homeless in Leamington and was a governor at North Leamington School.

The programme includes Enigma Variations by Elgar, Weber’s Der Freischutz Overture, Brahms and Mozart’s Piano Concerto K488.

Tickets are £12, concessions £10, students and children £2, and will be available on the night or from the Bridge House Theatre Box Office, Warwick School.