Desert Island Discs – Karen Broadbent

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I’m not at all sure how I qualify to be the next castaway! I have only been singing with SCCS for the past five years – I can only suggest it has something to do with being a relative of the current Webmaster…

I was born at home in Reading in 1970 to David and Rosemary Doidge, the second of three children and the second one to be born with a mass of bright ginger hair – in fact, the first thing the doctor did on seeing me was to go to the window to see if the milkman had heard the news (cheek!) – needless to say there are not many redheads in the family.

When I was two years old we moved to the newly built Caversham Park Village and I had a happy time at the local primary which was just next-door to our house. It was there, under the kind and patient tutelage of Mr Haysom, the headmaster, that I began playing the recorder. I still play today, as does my daughter Charlotte (soprano 1) and she will occasionally indulge me and join me in duets. I also found that I enjoyed singing a great deal and have happy memories of taking an active part in concerts and other musical performances.

In 1980 the family moved to Sonning Common and I spent my final primary school year at Sonning Common Primary School where I enjoyed a memorable week away in Wales with Mr Pitson’s fourth year class ably assisted by Mrs Arch!

Having attended two feeder primary schools I was in the lucky position of knowing more people in my year than anyone else when I moved up to Chiltern Edge in 1981. The school roll numbered more than double what it does today and as a result was able to support a large choir, an orchestra and various smaller ensembles. At the time instrumental tuition in Oxfordshire was offered free of charge. I had a very good friend who started playing the tuba – I didn’t fancy lugging such a large instrument to school, but I liked the thought of playing something big and brassy, so I took up the trombone.

In 1986, after O-levels, I moved on to King James’s College, Henley-on-Thames, for A-levels. KJC had a thriving music department and I was fortunate to be able to continue my trombone lessons, to join the choir and chamber choir, college orchestra and brass group and to tour the Rhinelands in 1987. I was also playing in several local brass bands at this time and weekends were invariably taken up playing at village fetes and fairs.

I studied Librarianship and Information Studies at Birmingham City University and continued to play the trombone and to sing with a small church choir whilst I was a student.

I have worked as a librarian for the past 22 years, first in public libraries, then in education. I live in Sonning Common with my husband and two daughters. I enjoy singing with the local church choir at St John the Baptist church, Kidmore End, and it was Val Heywood who suggested that I should come along to an SCCS open rehearsal in 2009. I brought my father, David Doidge, along too and two years ago my daughter, Charlotte, joined, so three generations of our family are represented in three different sections – I wonder how many times that has happened before in the history of SCCS?

Choosing just eight pieces of music was no easy task. I have chosen pieces that have meant something to me at various points in my life. The first of them is ‘Is Paris Burning?’ from Geoff Love’s Big War Movie Themes album. My brother was given this LP in the 1970s and often listened to it. When I met my husband in 1990 I discovered he had the same album and this turned out to be a favourite of both of ours.

• Is Paris Burning? From Geoff Love’s Big War Movie Themes

Please click here >>>>>>> Is Paris Burning?

I was studying for my O-levels and A-levels in the mid to late 1980s. Stuck indoors with my revision it always seemed to be hot and sunny outside. This next track takes me back to those days – I had the extended play single and I would play it very loudly when home alone, having a break from work: a real feel-good tune!

• Walking on Sunshine. Katrina & the Waves


My years playing the trombone with brass groups and brass bands have inspired my next choice. This was always a good piece to end on, guaranteed to lift the spirits of those playing and hopefully those listening too.

• Hootenanny. Harold L. Walters (brass band version)


My daughters will tell you that Christmas starts very early in our house and I have no shame in admitting that I listen to Christmas music from September onwards. Sleigh Ride is an especial favourite, particularly the whip cracks and long neigh at the end!

• Sleigh Ride.

Please click here >>>>>>> Sleigh Ride


I have always been a fan of musicals and at school often acted them out with friends and learnt all the songs by heart. The Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The King & I, My Fair Lady… so many to choose from! I’ve gone for ‘If I were a Rich Man’ from Fiddler on the Roof performed of course by Topol in the role of Tevye the milkman.

• If I Were a Rich Man.


Paul and I were married at St John the Baptist church, Kidmore End in 1993. I chose Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba as the wedding processional.

• The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. George Frideric Handel

Please click here >>>>>>> The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba


Now some recorder music. I have always enjoyed playing the recorder and it is something I can share with my daughters. I think the recorder has suffered a bad press for many years, but with performers such as Charlotte Barbour-Condini (finalist 2012 Young Musician of the Year) coming to the fore an increasing number of people are appreciating its beautiful sound and the skill involved in mastering the instrument.

• Amarilli Mia Bella. Jacob Van Eyck


And to finish, something rousing that I can sing along with and will remind me of my time at SCCS…

• Hallelujah Chorus. George Frideric Handel


If the tide rolled in and threatened to wash away these tracks, the one I would dive in to save would have to be Sleigh Ride. As well as the Bible and Complete Works of Shakespeare I would choose Whitaker’s Almanack so that I can learn a little bit about a lot of things! My luxury would be a selection of pencils, pens, paints and paper in order to develop my (limited) artistic skills.


The next Desert Island Discs castaway

The next Desert Island Discs castaway will be the respected stalwart of the Bass Section, – namely David Cunningham.

Karen Broadbent will be on the air for a couple of months after which we will benefit from David’s contribution.


Previous Desert Island Discs Contributors

These are previous Desert Island Disc contributors (in first-name alphabetical order).  Please click on the name of the contributor to hear the chosen music:

Alan Chubb

Chris Guy

David Butler

David Cottam

Eric Hartley

Jane Arch

Liz Harrison

Michele Whitehead


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