How a love of music became a long career

Posted on December 19, 2022

Vera HOPKINS had a love of music and playing the violin which enabled her to have a long career teaching the violin at Friends’ School for nearly 3 decades across the High School and Clemes.

Born in 1904 in Queenstown, Vera started learning the violin at 8 years old and 3 years later was the youngest member of the Queenstown Orchestral Union. Clearly displaying a talent and love of the instrument she continued to have lessons as she moved around the state. By 1926 she had joined the Hobart Orchestral Society (later becoming the TSO) and played in concerts around the island. She married into a musical family (her husband being an accomplished baritone) however she had to automatically give up teaching infant children as at that time the Education Department did not allow married women to work (how times have changed!) so she started teaching the violin privately.

In 1945 WN Oats invited her to join Friends’ as a violin teacher and she continued well into the late 1970’s,  as well as facilitating in the school orchestra, guiding students in their music eisteddfods, playing part time in the TSO and teaching violin privately at her home.

To her, teaching was not just about a person’s success with the instrument but the friendships formed with so many students over her long career. At a special assembly in 1970 to honour 25 years teaching violin and to say “thank you”, it was for creating harmony amongst others and the art of getting on that was celebrated.

Vera is pictured above on the right with the quartette

Today her great granddaughter Asher POOLE (Year 8) also has a love of playing the violin as is shown here with one of her great grandmother’s violins which have been kindly donated to the School by Vera’s daughter Sally Poole.