2022 saw the retirement from Springboard of June Ingleton, who has been a leading member of the Piano Committee for an astonishing 50 years. Her professional experience and involvement with the Festival over this time will be missed by everyone.
June has had a distinguished career as a piano teacher, initially at Canterbury Cathedral Choir School and, since 1958, in Haywards Heath. Many of her pupils have entered the music profession and throughout her time in Sussex her students have given consistently memorable and inspiring performances at Springboard festivals.
Since joining the Piano Committee in 1971, June has seen extraordinary changes in the Festival. At that time there were three types of age-group classes: Solo, Memory and Sight-Reading. The person with the highest mark when added together from all three classes was awarded a prize. There was also a Concert Standard class which was for more advanced players. Later on the three classes that made up a Championship Section were created, along with a Recital Class.
June remembers far larger numbers of players taking part in early years. There could be
30 in one class, with a few players being called back to perform again to help the
adjudicator to make up their mind. The Committee meetings took all day, choosing set
pieces for many of the classes.
The venues have been numerous and varied, from the Dome, the Royal Pavilion, Pavilion
Theatre, Corn Exchange, Good Shepherd Church, Newman School, Blatchington Mill
School, St Mary’s Hall, the Old Market and Brighton & Hove Girls School (now Brighton
June’s husband, John, became Secretary of the Music Committee in 1995 until 2008,
taking over from Alan Vicat. He did not take part in meetings, but organised the
timetabling and ran the Piano sessions with his good-humoured efficiency.
June, the sister of the eminent pianist Ronald Smith, has other professional musicians in
the family: June and John’s daughter Rachel is an oboist and Rachel’s son Oscar is a
trumpeter. June and John have always taken a keen interest in young musicians,
particularly supporting young pianists in the early stages of their careers.