About

Heather has loved music ever since she found her first note and uttered her first squeak. She is happiest with a fiddle under her chin, jamming with a bunch of musicians, and when she's in nature-- much of her inspiration for music comes from the sea (on it, by it, in it), the cliffs, the feeling of being on the edge of the world. Widely travelled, her work benefits from her broad experience, and from her energy and motivation.

Many strings to her bow,  music and art has always  been key to her work.  Originally teacher trained and a teacher in Australia, she  gave that up to set about learning to be a shoemaker  with her partner. They made handmade bespoke footwear first in Australia, then in Wales.  Throughout, Heather was playing music, going through all her grades at an early age, then playing in orchestras and bands in the UK and Australia.

As a woman musician / performer over many years, she was aware of a glaring lack of women on the stages around the festivals. There were the women vocalists fronting the bands & the women backing vocalists, but where were the other women playing the lead instruments, the electric guitars, the drum kits? Inspired by a Community Music Wales Community Tutor Training course in 1996/7 and the fantastic workshops she was shadowing, when it came to setting up a project as part of that training, she chose to make a dream she'd cherished come true, a women's music event, for women, run by women. She applied for an Arts Council of Wales music grant which was successful, and with the help of a small dedicated group of women, Women In Tune (WIT) was founded, the charity that runs WIT, the only all women’s music festival in the UK. Only intended as a one off, it was so successful that it continues as a small well established annual festival, now in its 17th year. Heather devoted 10 years to the festival and charity which won the Val Feld Award in 2003 for outstanding contribution to women in Welsh society. 

She herself was shortlisted for the Woman Of Culture category, part of the Welsh Woman Of The Year Awards, in 2003.

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A firm believer that music crosses all divides,  Heather continues on a journey of bringing the joy of music to as many people of as many walks of life as possible. She has experience working with diverse groups within the community including  adults, children, teenagers, pupils who don't fit into the school system (through the youth service), mental health groups, recovering addicts, young carers, people with learning difficulties, severely disabled children (through her work with the Touch Trust), the elderly, migrants, asylum seekers, and AIDS affected children in Kenya. She runs workshops at festivals and day schools and courses at adult residential centres.

Fluent in French, adequate in Spanish, a Welsh learner, a great communicator, Heather makes those she works with feel at ease.

The other string to her bow is that she used to be a shoe maker, a sandal, bag and hat maker. She still teaches leather work as a community tutor, runs occasional courses open to the public, and makes a small selection of items to order, including musicians' accessories in leather. If you're interested, please visit me at www.lforheather.org.uk

heather@meerkatmusic.org © Heather Summers 2014