If ever there was living proof of the benefits of singing it is great-grandmother Rosemary Arber. She joined our choir in her seventies and has now passed her first singing exam at the age of 87.
Rosemary, of Bell View Close, Windsor, likes nothing better than a challenge. In a full and varied life, she joined the WRAF at 17, and worked in the Foreign Office, the BBC, and as Berkshire County Council’s Youth and Communities Officer for Windsor and the surrounding area.
On retirement, indefatigable as ever, she ran a B&B in Windsor with friend Diana Airey, as well as charring and driving a van. She took on new projects with gusto, including devising and producing the annual End of the Year show at Windsor’s Theatre Royal, helping backstage with Windsor Theatre Guild, and organising - and running with - Running Sisters groups until her mid-seventies. Twelve years ago, Rosemary, who had only “sung lullabies” for her two sons, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, joined Windsor Soundswell. She nearly gave up when she started having trouble with her voice but singing teacher Chloe Spencer, advised her to switch from alto to soprano, and has kept Rosemary singing ever since.
Rosemary said: “Chloe is so brilliant as a teacher, really encouraging, patient and enthusiastic, and takes no end of trouble to find ways of helping me to continue singing.” Chloe knew Rosemary loved a project and after she had passed a Grade 1 music theory exam with a group from Windsor and District u3a, suggested she try for a singing exam. Rosemary can’t sight read but it is not required for the ABRSM’s new Singing, Performance, exam. With our music director, Dr Guy Bunce, as accompanist, Rosemary was videoed singing four songs and achieved a pass at Grade 5 two weeks ago.
Chloe said: “Keeping the voice working easily well into its ninth decade is no mean feat. Rosemary’s dedication to preserving and improving her singing voice is quite an inspiration, and I wish more of my younger students would take note! Her tenacity, natural ear for music and her performance skills make her an absolute joy to teach.”
Windsor Soundswell Choir, under the leadership of Guy Bunce, continues to sing on Tuesdays from 7.30-9.30pm.
The choir is open for all those who enjoy singing - no musical knowledge or auditions required. Just come along and sing a wide variety of music.
We meet every Tuesday during term time (except for half-term). The fee is £90 per 12 week session.
Here are the dates for the next term:
We'll restart singing on the 12th of September and have our last rehearsal on the 5th of December. Half term break will be the 24th of October. Our Christmas Concert will take place on Saturday, the 2nd of December in Windsor.
We meet at:Oakfield First School, Imperial Road, Windsor, SL4 3RU (free parking available in the school car park - limited).