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Mana Shibata, Chetham's 2001-2006

Freelance oboist based in Cheshire

Mana is a freelance oboist based in Cheshire who works with orchestras and ensembles such as Manchester Camerata, London Concertante, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. She is a member of Magnard Ensemble (wind quintet) and is also a teacher at Stockport Grammar School, Abbey Gate College (Chester) & The Queen’s School (Chester).

What was the best thing about your time at Chethams?

I just loved being immersed in music everyday and I always looked forward to Music Courses. I still can’t believe the range of repertoire we got to perform at school. My favourites were Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances which I played in my last CSO concert and for chamber music, Barber’s Summer Music for wind quintet.

I didn’t speak much English at all when I first arrived so I’ll forever be grateful to my oboe teacher, Val Taylor, my friends and the staff for being so patient and supportive.

Do you have any favourite memories?

As a member of a wind quintet, I got to visit so many interesting places all over the country and abroad. I was one of the first Chets pupils to visit Norway. I stayed with the loveliest host family in Tromsø. One night as I was just about to get in bed, the father came running up to the attic room I was staying in, telling me to come downstairs as quickly as I can. I didn’t know what was going on but his wife was waiting with my snow jacket by the front door and led me outside to show me the northern lights! They disappeared after about a minute but I will never forget that.

What impact did Chetham’s have on your life?

If I hadn’t moved from the other side of the world (Japan) to come to Chets, I don’t know what my life would have been like. I feel so lucky to have met so many amazing people and to have been given the opportunity to challenge myself as an oboist from an early age. I consider the UK as my home but I probably wouldn’t feel that way now if it hadn’t been for the warm welcome I received at Chets!

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