Later next month I’m returning to something I really enjoy doing – singing. As a youngster I started in the church choir and thoroughly enjoyed taking at first small and then larger solo roles in the school operas. An aunt advised me to have singing lessons as she thought my voice would last longer! For several years I did just that and found out how much there was to learn, so I improved my knowledge of music, had vocal training and learned to sing in different languages.
For many years I sang in concerts and master classes. I also enjoyed taking part in choirs and vocal ensembles. One of the highlights was singing the Verdi Requiem with the World Festival Choir at Wembley Arena with Pavarotti as the tenor soloist. In my early forties I scaled down my singing as the children were growing and I had returned to teaching. When we moved to where we live now I joined the church choir and coached the younger choristers by giving them vocal training. So the wheel had turned full circle.
I particularly enjoyed it when Jonathan and Anna joined the choir. The month before Christmas we would do carol concerts, sing for the elderly in rest homes and for the patients from the Channel Islands at the Castle where they stayed while undergoing radiotherapy. It was always a busy but rewarding time. Jonathan and Anna received Bishop’s Chorister awards and in turn both became head choristers.
However, times change and now we are a smaller, largely adult choir and I no longer do the vocal coaching. I have had to take time out for chemotherapy twice in the last few years and the CHOP-R affected both my speaking and singing voice, fortunately only temporarily. So now I am contemplating returning and it will take a little time to restore my breath control and ability to sing with ease. But my aunt was right, singing lessons do preserve the voice and I shall enjoy making music and, I hope, being useful.