Tuning up for a soul legend
12:00pm Thu Sep 20, 2012
The pressure was really on when Fran Overbury was asked to make sure pianos that were to be used by one of the world’s biggest stars in a performance in front of thousands of fans was pitch perfect.
Fran, of Parks Close, Coddington, tuned Stevie Wonder’s pianos before his performance at Bestival 2012 on the Isle of Wight.
The American soul singer, who is blind, performed hits including Isn’t She Lovely, Happy Birthday and Superstition.
Fran, who trained at Newark College, was invited to help by the Bestival organisers.
She said it was the first time she had tuned pianos at such a high profile event.
“I’ve spent quite a few years tuning little pianos in the area,” she said.
“Several months ago I got a call from the organisers who said I had been recommended and asked if I would be interested in tuning pianos for acts at Bestival.
“I said yes but didn’t hear anything for ages so I assumed it wasn’t going to happen.
“Then a few weeks ago I got a call asking if I would still be happy to go.
“It was amazing. I got to meet the band and all the support people on the main stage before the concert.
“I didn’t get to meet Stevie Wonder because he was kept separate but I did see him.
“It was quite pressured for time to make sure everything was ready for the concert and I was quite nervous, but when I had tuned the first piano it was fine.
“It is the most high profile thing I’ve ever done and the organisers said they might have me back again next year.”
Fran said she had always loved music.
She grew up in the Song School next to Newark Parish Church where her father, Mr Michael Overbury, was the organist.
“I sort of came to piano tuning in a roundabout way because I studied English at university.
“I came out the other side and didn’t know what I wanted to do so I had a big rethink about what I was good at and what I would like to do,” she said.
“Piano tuning seemed to fit and luckily it’s turned out to be something I’m quite good at.”
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