A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my teachers and mentors, Martha Frampton, about her musical upbringing and her experience creating Music at Bunker Hill, which is a concert series set up in Washington Township, New Jersey, geared towards bringing classical music to a small community which wouldn’t normally have access to it. I sat down with her at Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church, where she hosts her concert series, and we had an extremely insightful conversation about how she began her interest in starting the project, and how it grew from something so small into what it is now.
We began the interview with a brief overview of her life, like where her musical beginnings were, and what kind of education she had prior to pursuing her career in education and theory/composition. I was surprised to learn that she began on the flute when she was younger, and was self-taught before she tried her hand at the bassoon in college, which became her primary instrument. I then asked her what her collegiate background was, to which she replied she attended the University of Florida for a general music degree, because she really had no idea about what she really wanted to do until the end of her college years, which then lead to her receiving her teaching certification and teaching theory at Pennsville Memorial High School in Pennsville, NJ. I found it very interesting that Mrs. Frampton didn’t really have a direction in music, right away, but rather had to sort of go through discovery to find out her true passion. When I asked her about the thought of being a performer, she simply laughed and said that she never felt like she would be good enough to perform, and the thought had never occurred to her.
In the second half of my interview, I began to ask Mrs. Frampton about the beginnings of Music at Bunker Hill, to which she told a very interesting story about how she attended an auction and decided to bid for a piano, specifically a Steinway, which, she didn’t win, but then was later told about another piano which she could have for her church, and she then bought that piano, instead. This piano was just the beginning of Music at Bunker Hill because she finally had an instrument for the church which musicians could play on and showcase their talents to the community. The series eventually grew to include other instrumentalists and vocalists from the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York area. When I asked her about her initial struggles with starting the program, she explained that putting together a program wasn’t the hardest part, but marketing became the main struggle. She had trouble with this part most because none of the people who helped to create the program were business people; so learning to market their product was a learning curve. We ended the interview with speaking about how this music series has had a positive affect on the community, and how she is happy to have the opportunity to present such high quality music to her community and how is able to help educate people on an art which is mostly overlooked in her community, as a whole. I had a great experience interviewing her, and getting a more in depth insight into a project she has worked so hard for, and has dedicated a lot of time and effort to get where it is, today.