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Memories of Sydney Sharp

Hans Levy

Hans Levy remembers Sydney Sharp, the celebrated Jewish musician at Brighton Hippodrome from the 1930s, later on in his life.

My name is Hans Levy and I belong to the Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue. My wife Elfrida and I came to Brighton in 1972 from London because I had been told my health would improve at the coast.

I had learnt to play the violin when I was 8 and although I stopped during the war, I took it up again soon after I came to Brighton. I joined the St Cecilia amateur orchestra which was a small orchestra with a membership of about 20 players. We rehearsed at the Unitarian Church in New Road under an arrangement with the Vicar that we could use the space and in return we would give concerts for fund raising for the Church.

One day Sydney Sharp walked in at rehearsal time and asked to join the orchestra. He was welcomed with open arms. I had heard his name mentioned once or twice by Alfred Feld who I believe was a member of Sydney's orchestra in its heyday.

After the retirement of our conductor through ill-health, Sydney took over the baton of the St. Cecilia orchestra. He and I became good friends, maybe because we were the only two Jewish members. We also formed a trio with a Cellist from the orchestra and played Palm Court music at several local functions. I remember Ralli Hall being one of them.

My fondest memory of Sydney was when he visited my home on many occasions with Beryl his wife. He and I spent many hours making music, playing violin duets while Beryl and Elrida became good friends over cups of tea.

My memorial to Sydney is that he wasn't just a first class violinist, he was also a wonderful musician.

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