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Harp-y to help Joan see the music and more

Harpist Joan wears musicians glasses when playing her harp

Harpist Joan’s journey to see the music

After twelve months of rising COVID19 cases and over 100,000 COVID19 deaths, many of us are hoping we are now seeing a return to some normality. It has been a strange year at Allegro Optical. Particularly as millions of people all over the country began working from home. Millions more, including most of those working in the performing arts, were furloughed. The Musicians’ Optician switched from performing arts eye care to providing emergency care as the country was plunged into lockdown. Since then we have seen a reemergence with increasing social distancing measures. The introduction of a tier system across the UK and then another national lockdown. One major difference between the first and latest lockdown was the ongoing advice given in May 2020. That everyone continues their routine healthcare appointments.   Many performers, particularly amateurs, are yet to return to the rehearsal room and the stage. But many are practising at home. We are beginning to see a steady return of our performing arts clients, one, in particular, is Harpist Joan Dearnley.  Harpist Joan Deanley could see the music but not the dymnamics and accidentals

Essential eyecare

Joan visited Allegro Optical in early October as she was having problems with her near vision in her right eye. Increasingly Joan was experiencing eye strain, she was struggling to shift her focus from an intermediate distance to near. General reading and computer work were becoming problematic. Joan also found that when playing her harp she could read the music but not accidentals and dynamic markings. Even though Joan was only playing in the comfort of her own home things were becoming challenging.  A low Myope with moderate astigmatism Joan is also presbyopic and relies on progressive lenses for her everyday tasks and playing. After a detailed consultation with Bapam Registered Optometrist, Amy Ogden, Amy found that Joan has early cataracts in both eyes and as a result a small prescription change. Having calculated a prescription for everyday use and for making music Amy and Dispensing Optician Sheryl Doe set about designing a pair of lenses for Joan to play in. 

What’s so different about correcting a Harpists vision?

On the page harp music looks very similar to piano music, however, there are differences. Like all sheet music, Joan needs to see the sheet music on her music stand including the accidentals, and dynamics but she also needs to see the fingering instructions.  As expected Sheryl and Amy opted for the Arpista lens for the left eye and a Fagotto CR lens for the right. The Arpista or Harpist’s lenses have an outward set near vision area to enable harpists to see their top strings easily while still being able to see the sheet music on the stand and the conductor.  It was necessary to calculate Joan’s ocular dominance, as we were asking Joan’s two eyes to work differently when performing different tasks. This is something we do frequently, to allow performers to carry out the many visual tasks required by their craft. When Joan collected her new glasses she was pleased to find that the music on the stand was much clearer. 

Something for everyday

Joan used her new musician’s glasses for four months and was so pleased with them she contacted us in February to order a pair of progressive lenses, (varifocals), for her everyday tasks. Joan had seen a frame when she visited in October and we had her measurements on record. It was pretty straightforward to produce these spectacles for Joan and she was delighted with the result when she collected them. 

From the Harpist’s mouth

When asked about her experience with Allegro Optical and her new glasses she said; “The near sight in my right eye began to deteriorate in January last year. For the first time ever I couldn’t read my harp music, see the bass strings (or anything else in close range) without getting quite severe eye strain. My local optician prescribed varifocals, which really didn’t help – especially for reading music, which has to be a ‘harp length’ away.  “By mid-October, when I contacted Allegro Opticians. I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever be able to cope with reading harp easily music again. My first specialist appointment (2 hours I think) became almost a whole afternoon; Sheryl and Amy, with endless patience, took time to test my sight. They measured the distance from me to my music stand and Harp strings. Taking in further distances for looking at a conductor or other players. Most importantly Sheryl and Amy understand the special needs musicians have when reading music. They understand our need to look from instrument to conductor, back to the music, and so on. By the end of the afternoon, I was looking forward to getting not just one pair of harp music-reading specs. But also a pair of half-frames for reading piano music (which I find are equally useful when using my laptop). Also, to my great surprise in a style of red and blue frame, I would never have thought I’d like.  “For any harpists struggling to read the music and see their harp strings I can’t recommend Allegro highly enough”. Harpist Joan Dearnley new glasses from Allegro Optical, the musicians' optician Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical? As an independent family run business, we are gaining an international reputation. Both for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs. Now known internationally as the ‘Musicians Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further afield. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM). We treat each client as an individual because they are. It is true that no two musicians are the same, So why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique lenses to meet a musician’s particular needs. As musicians ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.

Award-winning eye-care

So successful has Allegro Optical been in helping performers in 2019 alone we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘. In 2020 SME News awarded Allegro Optical the accolade of West Yorkshire’s Most Trusted Family Run Eye Care Clinic, 2020. The company has been featured in many national publications including The Times 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine. Sheryl has recently been named as a judge in this years SME National Business Awards Are you are a musician who is struggling with their vision? Is making music is no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.
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Optometrist Amy’s BAPAM registration is instrumental in helping musicians to see the music

Allegro Optical Bapam practitioner

As a BAPAM accredited practitioner, Amy is helping musicians to see the music

We are delighted to share with you the fantastic news that Optometrist Amy Ogden is now a registered practitioner with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM). BAPAM is an umbrella organisation for performing arts medicine, which was established at the Royal Free Hospital in London in 1984 by the late Ian James, a consultant pharmacologist with a particular interest in musician’s health and well being. The research trust which Ian James founded grew into what is now the charity BAPAM. In turn, this has grown to serve all performers including musicians, actors and dancers. We have also extended its range of services.

Allegro Optical became the first Optician in the country to gain BAPAM registration in August 2018 and we are overjoyed that Amy has succeeded in gaining her accreditation. Being both a flautist and an optometrist Amy has an avid interest in the eye, vision and music. In particular how eye disorders and disease affect a musicians ability to play and perform.

                                 

Saddleworth optometrist Bapam registered practitioner for musicians eye test

Amy started in her role of Optometrist with Allegro Optical in November and here she has shared an overview of her role with us below. “My role at Allegro is extremely varied, which is one of the reasons why I adore working here. As an Optometrist, in my daily role, I carry out refractions ( checking the prescription). In addition, I  check eye health using a range of techniques. Using procedures from volk, direct ophthalmoscopy, fundus photography. I also use our 3D OCT scanning and visual field screener to check peripheral vision. I also carry out colourimetry and overlay assessments to help those who suffer from visual stress. Working with Sheryl opened up a whole new role for me. Especially as I have been able to combine my love of music and my passion for optometry”.

Vision and music-making

“I have seen first hand how musicians begin to struggle when they hit the presbyopic stage of their lives ( the stage when they begin to need spectacle corrections for reading). It can have dramatic effects on their sound quality. Especially as they tilt their head to see the music- affecting their airways. This can lead to missed notes due to poor vision.  Many struggle to see the conductor or fellow players due to wearing a near correction. I wanted to help find a solution to this. To be able to provide one pair of glasses for a musician, so they are able to see all the required distances. Working with Sheryl has allowed me to help play a vital part in this process. We have been successfully helping musicians to see the music together since I started as a resident Optometrist here in November. 

“Gaining registration with BAPAM is so important to me. It enables musicians to find us easier, and be aware there is a solution to their problem. I am so excited to see what the future holds for us at Allegro and to see how many other musicians we can help”.

A Specialist Musician’s Optician

At Allegro Optical we provide consultations at our practices in Greenfield, Saddleworth and Meltham, Holmfirth. We also offer a peripatetic service which can visit all the major musical institutions.  We can provide onsite optical solutions to all ensemble members. As musicians ourselves, we’re able to ask the right questions. We can also interpret the answers to create a truly unique pair of lenses. Using our combined optical and musical skills we are able to address and resolve the many visual problems encountered by musicians and performers.

Allegro Optical specialises in all aspects of a musician’s vision correction. We aim to return and enhance musicians playing pleasure and performance experience.  The team has over 150 combined years’ experience in the optics and entertainment industry. Whether you want advice or a practical solution call Allegro Optical in Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090 or visit https://www.allegrooptical.co.uk/

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A bit of a coincidence, all strings considered.

Coincidences do happen

Life is full of coincidences but can you imagine my surprise when I answered a phone call from a fellow cellist who shared not only a love of my favourite instrument but also my name and star sign. Following an internet search Cellist, Cheryl Hale contacted Allegro Optical in December 2019. She was experiencing problems seeing the music on her stand. Especially chords, accidentals and divisi parts, particularly in the case of older music and orchestral parts. As a cellist myself I understand entirely Cheryl’s frustrations. In situations such as this seeing the music becomes more of a challenge than actually playing it.

Music teacher Cheryl, who also plays the Harp, Piano and Recorder, travelled from Hertfordshire for her consultation bringing her fabulous instrument with her. Following a detailed eye examination with Optometrist (and flautist) Amy Ogden it was found that Cheryl needed a good prescription range as she plays at multiple distances. Cheryl needs a myopic correction, but the effects of presbyopia were causing problems at the nearer distances. As she explained on the phone varifocals failed to correct Cheryl’s vision at music stand distance. Especially as the stand is offset to one side. This means Cheryl is unable to look through the correct part of her varifocal to see the music clearly when playing.

Cellist Cheryl Hale buys her specialist Musicians glasses from Allegro Optical the musician's optician in Saddleworth and Meltham

A feast forza eyes

Following Cheryl’s consultation with Amy, I joined them to design a lens which would allow Cheryl to view her music clearly from the side. First Cheryl chose her frame. She settled on the rimless silhouette 5226 frame with a pretty feminine shape to compliment her facial features. The frame is perfect as being rimless it allows her to see the neck and fingerboard of the Cello unencumbered. It also provides a wide enough field to see her sheet music on the stand. I dispensed our new wider field Fogotto PL lenses but added an anamorphic component to the lens design to widen her field of view further. The term anamorphic means ”formed again” and is of Greek origin. This anamorphic component enables us to expand Cheryl’s lateral vision.

We also incorporated some prism into the lenses to help with fixation and fatigue. This is especially useful when playing for long periods of time. Cheryl’s lenses are manufactured from a 1.6 high index optical resin. The resin provides durability with minimal weight as she often plays for hours at a time. The last thing Cheryl needs is a heavy pair of spectacles weighing on her nose. 

Once fitted with her new glasses, a few weeks later Cheryl was utterly amazed by the clarity her new lenses provided. “Absolutely amazing!!!” She said; “I can’t believe the difference with your lenses. Everything is so clear and large. I really can see every single note. Thank you so much.”

Cellist Cheryl Hale buys her specialist Musicians glasses from Allegro Optical the musician's optician in Saddleworth and Meltham

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

As an independent family run business, we are gaining an international reputation for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs.

Now known internationally as the ‘Musician’s Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further afield. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

We treat each client as an individual because they are. It is true that no two musicians are the same, so why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique lenses to meet a musician’s particular needs. As musicians ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.

Award-winning eye-care

We’ve been pretty successful in helping performers to #SeeTheMusic. In fact, in the last twelve months alone we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards for our work in this field. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘ and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.  Allegro Optical’s cutting edge approach to dispensing and their musical experience has led to the team being shortlisted for the prestigious Opticians Awards, Optical Assistant team of the year 2020

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘, at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York. They then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year.

Allegro Optical has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

If you are a musician who is struggling with their vision and making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was, give us a call at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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“The Musician’s Optician”, happy to be part of the Healthy Performers Project

Healthy Conservatoires Network, Healthy Performers Project

No one can say every day is the same at Allegro Optical. There is always something new going on. We had a very interesting day in late February as we have had a TV crew filming the business and interviewing some of the staff and customers on camera.

Healthy Performers Project Royal college of Music filminf at the musicians optician Helping you #SeeTheMusic and more

The film cameras visited the “musicians’ optician” as part of the Healthy Performer project by the Royal College of Music.  The initiative focuses on the health and wellbeing of performers. As part of the project, the college is producing a series of videos that will provide performers with health advice tailored to the needs of professional musicians, actors and dancers. 

As part of the project, the Royal College of Music has commissioned Twenty-five short films. The films feature specialist healthcare and medical professionals talking about their area of expertise. As part of the Healthy Conservatoires Network, the films will provide practical advice to help performers recognise symptoms and give preventative advice or discuss treatments available for common conditions. 

Educational films

We are honoured and proud to be invited to take part in the project, which is supported by BAPAM. Each film in the Healthy Performers Project will include relevant links and follow-on resources provided by BAPAM and other health organisations. The overall goal of the films is to stimulate action, change behaviour and encourage engagement amongst performers.

Stephen Hanks and Chris Davies of Tantrwm Digital Media, were really friendly and made us all feel at ease. They took a great deal of footage of us all being interviewed and filmed the team in action. It turned out we had quite a lot of common ground to cover. In a previous life, Chris worked as an optical lab technician before he diversified into digital media. 

Healthy Performers Project Royal college of Music filminf at the musicians optician Helping you #SeeTheMusic and moreHealthy Performers Project Royal college of Music filminf at the musicians optician Helping you #SeeTheMusic and more

We would like to say a huge thank you to our customers and friends Violinist and organist Jane Collins and Blues Guitarist Derek Charnley, AKA Diamond Dac, who came along to help with the filming. Optometrist Amy Ogden was interviewed about her role and those eye conditions which can affect a performer’s career. Conditions such as;

  • Presbyopia
  • High Myopia
  • Keratoconus
  • Pronounced ocular dominance
  • Visual Stress 
  • Cataracts
  • AMD -Age-related macular degeneration
  • Post refractive laser surgery complications

Maintaining good eye health

The film also touches on what can be done to maintain good eye health. From simple steps such as having regular eye tests and eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration. To supplement the diet with eye vitamins and eating dark coloured vegetables high in Lutein. Finally discussing wearing sunglasses to protect the eyes from harmful UV exposure.

Following Amy’s interview, Stephen chatted to our co-founder and Dispensing Optician Sheryl about the unique range of lenses. They also talked about Allegro Optical’s cutting edge dispensing techniques and how their approach has helped many performers.

Healthy Performers Project Royal college of Music filminf at the musicians optician Helping you #SeeTheMusic and more

Taking part in the film will allow us to inform performing arts professionals about our specialism in performing arts eyecare. Deteriorating eyesight need not mean that a performer should feel that their career is under threat. Neither should they fear being pushed into retirement. With the correct treatment or vision correction, there is no reason why a performer cannot carry on pursuing the vocation they love.

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

As an independent family run business, we are gaining an international reputation for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs.

Now known internationally as the ‘Musician’s Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further afield. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors have resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

We treat each client as an individual because they are. It is true that no two musicians are the same, so why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique lenses to meet a musician’s particular needs. As musicians ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.

Award-winning eye-care

We’ve been pretty successful in helping performers to #SeeTheMusic. In fact, in the last twelve months alone amazingly we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards for our work in this field. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 Dispensing Optician of the Year and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.  Allegro Optical’s cutting edge approach to dispensing and their musical experience has led to the team being shortlisted for the prestigious Opticians Awards, Optical Assistant team of the year 2020

Allegro Optical Opticians winners of the FSB chairmans Awards Saddleworth and Holmfirt

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the Scale-Up Business of the Year, at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York. We then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year.

Allegro Optical has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

If you are a musician who is struggling with their vision and making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was, give us a call at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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Making music both sides of the Pennines

A weekend of Music Making

It’s been a busy weekend, with members of the Allegro Optical team making music. They have been taking part in events in both Blackpool and Huddersfield.

The musicians optician James Brooks Trophy Regional Brass Band Championships 4 bars rest

Sunday was a big day in the Brass band calendar and our team has been hard at work. Clinical Support Technician James Brooks has been to the North West Regional Championships in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens where 78 bands were competing. 

James and his wife Kayleigh were playing with Littleborough Band, Kayleigh was on Euphonium and James on BBb Tuba. We are delighted to say that Littleborough finished third in the fourth section. It’s a fantastic achievement for a band who nearly didn’t enter the competition.

Kayleigh and James at Areas

Well done to all our friends

Also playing at the championships were all our friends in Uppermill Brass Band. Jeremy and Lesley Lewis are longtime friends of Allegro Optical and we are delighted that the band came first in the second section. This is again a great achievement as the band only won promotion to the second section last year. 

Jeremy and Lesley Lewis of Uppermill Brass Band buy their specialist musicians glasses from Allegro Optical. Saddleworth's specialist musicians optician

Also, a huge well done to Eagley Band and a big thumbs up to Chris Wormald, their conductor. Also having a good day was Ewan Easton who’s band, City of Chester came a very respectable 5th out of 17 bands.

Commiserations go to Longridge Brass band and our friends Brian Law and Mark Peacock.

Brian-Law Tuba player with Longridge Band buys his specialist Musicians glasses from Allegro Optical

Also to Middleton Brass Band including soprano cornet Louise Crane, who in spite of making music to a very high standard were not lucky enough to win this time.

While James and Kayleigh were in Blackpool they also caught up with old friends from Oldham Lees band who have all had glasses from Allegro Optical and are delighted that they can now see the music. 

Brass and Brunch

While all the Saddleworth Bands were busy in Blackpool, MD Stephen Tighe was conducting his band Kippax at Huddersfield’s Cedar Court as part of their new Brass and Brunch programme. The event is organised by Allegro Optical’s good friends Champion Brass and offers guests an afternoon like no other with a different 30 piece brass band every last Sunday of a month. Guests can enjoy a delicious brunch that hits the spot while listening to some of the regions finest Brass bands. 

Steve Tighe conducting Kippax at cedar court

Thanks to Cedar Court’s enviable location, it’s easy for guests to get there and enjoy listening to bands making music. The events will feature the best brass bands from either side of the Pennines. If you would like to enjoy a Cedar Court brunch and some real Brass Band tunes next month just visit https://togo.uk.com//ViewEvent/17231

Don’t let struggling to #SeeTheMusic spoil your music making

It’s been a very musical weekend for many of us here at Allegro Optical and for many of our friends. Thankfully we can all see our music on the stand clearly. However, if you are a musician and you’re struggling to see the music there are solutions available.  Seeing the music shouldn’t hamper playing and there is help at hand for the frustrated musician through  Allegro Optical. We have developed these specialised skills over the last 15 years. As specialists in musicians eye care and the only optician registered with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) we can help where other optical professionals have failed.

Many musicians have attempted to solve problems with their opticians but this often does not work. As non-musicians, the optometrists, dispensing opticians or dispensing assistants have little idea of the working distances and visual field required by the musician. Many of the professional team at Allegro Optical are themselves musicians and fully understand the musician’s complex visual requirements. As many Music Directors/Conductors in the brass band world continue to prepare their band for the upcoming important Regional Championships. I would ask them to consider what extra help some of the team might need. Perhaps a consultation with Allegro Optical would be of real benefit.  

Award-winning eye-care

We’ve been pretty successful in helping performers to #SeeTheMusic. In fact, in the last twelve months alone amazingly we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards for our work in this field. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 Dispensing Optician of the Year and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.  Allegro Optical’s cutting edge approach to dispensing and their musical experience has led to the team being shortlisted for the prestigious Opticians Awards, Optical Assistant team of the year 2020

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the Scale-Up Business of the Year, at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York. We then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year.

Allegro Optical has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

If you are a musician who is struggling with their vision and making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was, give us a call at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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What does a Conductor actually do?

A Conductor actually does a lot more than wave a stick, says Stephen Tighe

Over the years the number of times I’ve been asked “What does a Conductor actually do.”? Usually, by non-musicians it is always quite surprising. The elements of the Music Director/Conductors job are many and sometimes complex. As conductors, we are the single controlling brain. Our role is to interpret the music being produced by our ensemble. The conductor needs to make a convincing performance from the collection of black dots written on the page. Chorale the skills and endeavours of the musicians in front of them and make what they do better. If you left an orchestra of say 70 people to do things their own way, can you imagine the chaotic sound that would ensue?

Stephen Tighe MD Kippax brass band allegro optical britains first bapam registered opticians specialists in eyecare for musicians and performers in meltham huddersfield holmfirth Saddleworth Oxford London

One thing non-musicians don’t realise when you become an MD, is the responsibility you take on for the welfare of your musicians, both physical and mental health issues are often not apparent. Man management becomes a skill set that you need to acquire. Their health isn’t your direct responsibly.  But it often becomes something you need to think about before making demands on people.

Building trust

As a group of musicians the Conductor is responsible for growth. As the individuals learn to trust each other, the more conversations about health begin to take place. Musicians, like all of us, get older and as a result, start to suffer from a variety of age-related issues. Some musicians develop sight-related problems, which have a devastating effect. Music is a way of life, not simply a job or a hobby. The international language of music helps a person to grow and develop communication skills which non-musicians never develop. The effect of not being able to see properly can be catastrophic for a musician. My own personal experience has included cataracts, a detached retina and presbyopia. So I can relate very clearly to these issues. 

Kippax Band 2019 Yorkshire 3rd Section Regional Champions

Kippax Band 2019 Yorkshire 3rd Section Regional Champions

Stephen Tigh MD Kippax Yorkshire third section champions 2019 Stephen Tigh MD Kippax Yorkshire third section champions 2019

Music Director Stephen Tighe – Managing Director Allegro Optical Ltd

Thankfully there are solutions to these and many other eye conditions available to the frustrated musician through  Allegro Optical. We have developed these specialised skills over the last 15 years. As specialists in musicians eye care and the only optician registered with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) we can help where other optical professionals have failed.

Many musicians have attempted to solve problems with their opticians but this often does not work. As non-musicians, the optometrists, dispensing opticians or dispensing assistants have little idea of the working distances and visual field required by the musician. Many of the professional team at Allegro Optical are themselves musicians and fully understand the musician’s complex visual requirements. As many Music Directors/Conductors in the brass band world continue to prepare their band for the upcoming important Regional Championships, I would ask them to consider what extra help some of the team might need. Perhaps a consultation with Allegro Optical would be of real benefit.  

Award-winning eye-care

We’ve been pretty successful in helping performers to #SeeTheMusic. In fact, in the last twelve months alone amazingly we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards for our work in this field. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘ and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.  Allegro Optical’s cutting edge approach to dispensing and their musical experience has led to the team being shortlisted for the prestigious Opticians Awards, Optical Assistant team of the year 2020

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the Scale-Up Business of the Year, at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York. We then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year.

Allegro Optical has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

If you are a musician who is struggling with their vision and making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was, give us a call at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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This Valentine’s Day we only have eyes for you

Love is the air; Valentine’s Day is here!

A day where we exchange flowers, chocolates, and gifts between our loved ones it hasn’t always been all about love. We believe that Valentine’s Day is named after a saint, but it has links to a barbaric ancient Roman ritual. However, it was the Victorian era that gave us Brits the custom of card-giving we know today.

Buy Valentines Day from Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Valentine’s Day is originally believed to come from the saint named St Valentine, but who was he and how did he become associated with this day all about love? The Catholic Church actually recognises Saint Valentine, but I am going to tell you about my favorite legend. According to one legend, a priest was imprisoned for performing marriages for soldiers. This went against the wishes of Emperor Claudius, who felt single men made better soldiers than married men with families. Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage for young men, but Valentine feeling the injustice of the decree deified Claudius.  He continued performing marriages in secret. (way da go valentine) When his actions were uncovered by Emperor Claudius, he sentenced Valentine to death. Although all the legends surrounding St. Valentine are murky, they all show that he was a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure.

Valentine at Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Spread the love

Some believe after Valentine’s death, (which occurred in February), the custom of the St Valentine’s feast began. This may be why Valentine’s Day came to be celebrated in February. Others believe it was the Christian church that may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianise” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a Roman festival held on the 15th of February each year. With rituals including animal sacrifice, random matchmaking and coupling in the hopes of warding off evil spirits and infertility. Unlike Valentine’s Day, Lupercalia celebrations were bloody, violent and sexually-charged! By the end of the 5th century, the Lupercalia was outlawed and Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day. However, even then it wasn’t recognised as a day of love. It took many years before the day became associated with love.

We all love someone special at Allegro Optical the musicians optician

A Valentine greeting

Valentine greetings and gifts began to become popular as far back as the middle ages,  although written Valentines did start appearing till the 15th century in the early 1400s. There is a poem that is still in existence today written by a Charles, Duke of Orleans. He wrote to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London, the poem can still be seen in the British Library. It is also believed that King Henry V hired writer John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to his Queen Catherine of Valois

By the 18th Century though it was common among friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange handwritten notes and tokens of affection. In the 1900s printed cards began to replace handwritten notes as printing technology began to improve. It also meant that people could express their emotions in a time when it was frowned upon and discouraged.

Buy your loved one a gift voucher this Valentines Day from Allegro Optical

Show them you care

Jump forward to the 21st century and we show our love in many different ways, from romantic weekends, special gifts and welcome surprises. We have had quite a few loving husbands and partners buy their significant other an Allegro Optical gift voucher so that they can spend it on some gorgeous glasses or sunglasses of their choosing. If you want to give her (or him) the gift they’ve always wanted pop in or give us a call on Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090.

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About Allegro Music News

Now Bart has perfect clarity when playing his clarinet

Bart Naughton is a very busy man, as a Clarinettist, music is a huge part of his life. He plays for the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of Square Chapel in Halifax. Bart also teaches clarinet and piano, but he had been struggling to focus on his music on the music stand for some time.

Allegro Optical the musicians optician support Huddersfield Phil in town hall

An established varifocal wearer, Bart is myopic with a significant astigmatism, which always induces peripheral distortion in most lenses. He also struggles with advancing presbyopia, something that most people will encounter at some point. However, things were becoming increasingly difficult as Bart was also experiencing problems with the narrow corridor in his current varifocal lenses. He was struggling to maintain optical clarity when playing, both on stage and in rehearsals.

Bart contacted Allegro Optical on the recommendation of friends and fellow musicians who were also Allegro Optical customers. Like many musicians who visit us at Allegro Optical, he found that focusing on his music was problematic. To maintain a clear view of the sheet music Bart had taken to having his music stand as low as possible. Many musicians struggle with their varying focal distances and the need to maintain a concentrated focus. In fact, it isn’t unusual for musicians to suffer from postural problems as a result.
Allegro Optical the musicians optician help the Orchestra Of The Square Chaple with specialist musicians glasses

Looking for clarity

Bart visited Allegro Optical for a musician’s consultation with Amy and Sheryl. Optometrist Amy Ogden, who is a woodwind player herself, completely understood Bart’s predicament and was able to find a prescription to solve his focusing problems. She found Bart’s distance prescription had changed, but his reading addition had remained the same. 

Now Bart has perfect clarity when playing his clarinet

Bart then consulted Dispensing Optician Sheryl Doe. Sheryl suggested a pair of new varifocal spectacles and a pair of specialist musician’s glasses to help him with clarity when playing his clarinet. In cases such as this, many optical retailers will try dispensing an occupational lens for musicians. That still wouldn’t address the distances and field width Bart needed.

The solutions

Now Bart has perfect clarity when playing his clarinet

Correcting Bart’s vision on a day to day basis was straight forward. Shery dispensed him with a pair of back surfaced, freeform digital progressive lenses. These lenses perform to a high standard making it possible to have clear vision from near to far. With optimised fields of vision for smooth performance offering a very short acclimatisation time providing;

  • Optimum power progression for first-time users
  • Manufactured with the latest freeform technology
  • Short acclimatisation time and very good spontaneous compatibility thanks to enlarged visual zones
  • Brilliant, clear vision from near to far
  • Up to 40% better visual acuity than conventional progressive lenses

It’s Time To Face The Music

To enable Bart to see his music clearly, while still seeing the conductor, Sheryl created a pair of individual monovision Performers OV lenses. The Performers OV lens design is ideal for musicians or presenters, both on stage or in the rehearsal room. The wide visual field provided by this lens gives relaxed vision up to 11 metres. They are ideal for musicians, presenters and teachers.

The Performers OV lens design takes into account the position of his music stand, his seating position and the position of the conductor. It also gives Bart clarity when playing his clarinet at all these distances. Bart’s new lenses induce minimal distortion from 60cm to 8 meters unlike that experienced in a varifocal or occupational lens.  

Bart visited our Meltham practice a couple of weeks later to collect his glasses and have them fitted. He commented immediately on the improvement the new lenses delivered. He also said how nice it was to be able to play with his music stand in a normal position.

Now Bart can see the music as well as play it

Having tried the lenses in various situations, Bart contacted us and said;  

“After a couple of years in which I was beginning to realise that seeing the music and the conductor was becoming a growing problem, I was sitting in a rehearsal at the town hall reading our concert programme for the evening.

On the first page were the words:

Are you a musician? Do you struggle to see the music clearly?

Do you find it difficult to see both the music and the conductor?

Yes I thought, that is exactly my problem. I read on.

Imagine if your job depended on your ability to focus at multiple distances and you found it increasingly difficult to do so. Imagine how you might feel, having such a passion for what you do, but now you struggle!

This is describing me, I thought.

It was as if this advert was written just for me! Since then I have visited Allegro Optical for the most thorough eye appointment in my life. The fact that the staff are musicians means that they can offer a bespoke service and have complete empathy for your situation.

I am now once again able to see the music, and the conductor! Instead of concentrating on seeing the music, I can concentrate on playing the music.

Thank you Allegro Optical for an excellent service.” 

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

As an independent family run business, we are gaining an international reputation for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs.

Now known internationally as the ‘Musician’s Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further afield. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

We treat each client as an individual, because they are. It is true that no two musicians are the same, so why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique lenses to meet a musician’s particular needs. As musicians ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.

Award-winning eye-care

So successful has Allegro Optical been in helping performers, that in the last twelve months alone we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘ and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘ at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York, then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year. Allegro Optical’s unique optical solution and our cutting edge approach to dispensing has led to the group being named finalists in the Huddersfield Examiner’s Business Awards in the Innovation and Enterprise category.

The company has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

Are you a musician who is struggling with their vision? Is making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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About Allegro News

The Musician’s Optician are a Diamond’s best friend

Diamond Dacs vision is now clear and sharp

Derek Charnley, AKA Diamond Dac , has always had a real passion for music and performing. Growing up in the West Yorkshire Pennines, Derek listened to American roots music on an old crystal set radio. Derek later studied with the some of the old masters including John Jackson , Louisiana Red , Philadelphia Jerry Ricks and John Cephas. 

A founder member of the European Blues Association , Derek has featured on the Resophonic Players of Europe . Performing as Diamond Dac. He has four solo albums, a duo album & a trio album and two new albums due out in 2020. Derek had been featured in International music magazines and live on U.K. & European radio, he is one of the finest acoustic acts in the U.K. 

Blues musician Diamond Dac guitarist uses Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Derek continues to perform in clubs and festivals all over the U.K. & Europe. The press have described his music as utterly infectious. Playing on six string, 12 string, & a resonator slide guitar with his expressive vocals. Derek brings energy, excitement and enthusiasm to his music and delights audiences wherever he performs. 

When the clarity wasn’t so flawless

Derek attended for a musicians consultation with Allegro Optical having a list of requirements: to see both the ends of the guitars fretboard, (from the nut at the top of the neck all the way to the to sound hole); see his setlist; other players and the audience. Adding to the list Derek also plays competitive golf.  This requires very precise, low positioning of the reading addition in a varifocal frame; so as not to interfere with vision during a swing. 

To ensure that we made exactly what Derek required, I took a very thorough history. I covered every required working distance; discussing every task the glasses are used for (no matter how menial), all hobbies; computer use (and time spent on the computer) and medications taken (some medications affect the eye and its focusing power). 

I then carried out various refractions in numerous simulated situations relevant to Derek’s requirements.  Taking into account all the information gained in the history, (this information is vital when Sheryl carries out lens calculations during dispensing). 

Amy Ogden, Optometrist at Allegro Optical Opticians in Saddleworth and Holmfirth, explaines why she likes the 3D OCT scanner so much

The next step is a thorough health check, slit lamp examination and a volk assessment was carried out to ensure no underlying pathology was affecting the vision. I then assessed intraocular pressures and visual fields; any findings were explained and visual expectations managed accordingly. OCT (optical coherence tomography) was then carried out for a more in depth look into pathology. This is standard in all of our musicians consultations.  The smallest of changes in retinal health can affect the clarity of the music*. 

Creating sharp vision at all distances

Once we had a full picture of Derek’s vision requirements, the sight test results and his ocular health; Sheryl and I worked together. We formed a plan as to how to dispense the ideal pair of spectacles for Derek. Sheryl took the reins for this next stage of the process. 

Sheryl thoroughly measured Derek’s required field of view and working distances, she then assessed his head and eye movement. Armed with all this information and the results of the eye examination Sheryl designed a completely bespoke multipower lens for Derek. 

The new lenses are somewhat akin to a fusion of an occupational lens and a freeform progressive varifocal. But incorporating the benefits of a wide segment blended progressive bifocal. Derek’s new lens design minimises distortion and has been designed for specifically to his requirements. Both for making music and for golf. Even a personalised freeform varifocal such as the ZEISS Progressive Lens Individual 2, the Rodenstock Impression FreeSign PRO or the Hoya MyStyle V+ would have been unsuitable due to the still limited corridor width. 

We produced two pairs of these lenses for Derek. One pair being clear for day to day wear and for playing golf in overcast conditions. The second pair of lenses were polarised for when Derek is playing golf or enjoying time overseas. 

Blues musician Diamond Dac guitarist uses Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Vision is fabulous

Once Derek’s new glasses had been fitted a few weeks later he was delighted. Derek was surprised by the clarity his new spectacles provided. He was delighted that he was able to see clearly at all his required distances and angles. A few days later we asked Derek how he was getting on with his new glasses. He said;. “The consultation with Amy was done with an extreme amount of care and attention to minute detail in a relaxed and professional manner. My customised specification was created with an extreme amount of skill and expertise. Sheryl is an absolute genius and gave me perfection. The frames sit perfectly, I feel as if I am wearing nothing. Vision is fabulous at every distance and angle with no crossover areas. It’s as if I have perfect eyesight and not wearing spectacles at all. I am absolutely thrilled and delighted beyond belief”.

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

As an independent family run business, we are gaining an international reputation for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs.

Now known internationally as the ‘Musicians Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further afield. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

We treat each client as an individual, because they are. It is true that no two musicians are the same, so why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique lenses to meet a musician’s particular needs. As musicians ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.

Award-winning eye-care

So successful has Allegro Optical been in helping performers, that in the last twelve months alone we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘ and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.

Amy Steve and Sheryl the musicians optician at Allegro Optical

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘ at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York, then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year. Allegro Optical’s unique optical solution and our cutting edge approach to dispensing has led to the group being named finalists in the Huddersfield Examiners Business Awards in the Innovation and Enterprise category.

The company has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

Are you a musician who is struggling with their vision? Do you find that making music is no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

*For more information on OCT please refer to our earlier blog.

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About Allegro News

Pets and their vision by Dispensing Optician Claire Atkinson

Dispensing Optician Claire Atkinson takes a closer look at our pets, their vision and how they see the world around them.

How does your dog see

Here at Allegro Optical, we are all animal lovers and between us have a variety of different pets, so I thought it would be quite interesting to do this blog to look closer at our pets and how they see the world.

Dogs

When dogs look at us lovingly, what is it they are really seeing? It has been found that nearly all dogs are near sighted to varying degrees depending on the breed. However, they are more sensitive to motion at a distance. It is estimated 10-20 times more than humans are. This means that they are well suited to hunting at dawn and dusk.

Xan and DanDan

Interestingly, their colour vision is limited and is similar to that of a human who has red/green colour blindness. They are less sensitive to variations of grey shades and half as sensitive to brightness changes.

A dog’s stereopsis, (ability to perceive the world in 3 dimensions), is usually affected by the set of their eyes and the length of their nose. Adults performed better than juveniles when testing this.

Steve Sheryl and Dan

Cats

Our feline friends have a slightly wider field of view than humans. They have 200 degrees compared to a humans’ 180 degrees. They also have 6-8 more rod cells which are more sensitive to lower light conditions than a humans eyes but humans have 10 times more cones so see a broader spectrum of colour.

Helen and Dolly

Cats eyes glow when light is shined at them due to a reflective structure which is part of the retina known as the tapetum lucidum. This amplifies the light to allow them to see better in the dark. Cows, horses and ferrets also have this.

Cats vision Cat vision (top) is compared with human vision (bottom)*.

Parrots

Of the 5 senses, eyesight is more acute in parrots. They see the same colours as us but with a more vivid and stark differentiation. They also have the ability to see the UV spectrum (similar to us using a UV light in a dark room).
Humans find it difficult to differentiate the sex of a bird through colour, but to a parrot they look very different.

Claire's Parrot

Males have reflective patches of feathers, not seen by the human eye. It has been found that females prefer males with a stronger reflection.

A parrot can peer into his food bowl and gravitate towards titbits that appear brighter and more colourful to him but which to us look more mundane.

Rabbits

Claire's Rabbit

Rabbits are lateral eyed animals which allows them to have an almost 360-degree view of the world. They do have a small blind spot in front of their nose, under their chin and directly behind them. This prevents them from seeing any real 3D close objects. As with dogs, they have also been found to have a form of colour blindness.

Claire Atkinson - Dispensing Optician Musicians Optician Greenfield Uppermill Saddleworth

Claire Atkinson

Claire is the resident Dispensing Optician in Greenfield and she brings a wealth of experience to the team.

With a fantastic eye for fashion, Claire is the “go to” woman for frame advice. With her encyclopedic knowledge of lens types, she is able to advise on all kinds of vision correction.

Claire is a real animal lover in particular her parrot Peanut and Ralph the cat.

*https://www.livescience.com/40459-what-do-cats-see.html