Ten Years With The Torpoint Lady Singers, by founder member, Sheila Hoskins (1997)
The popular Torpoint lady singers will have reached their 10th birthday in February this year (1997), and they hope to have a celebratory evening together to mark their first decade of musical entertainment in and around Torpoint, mainly for the benefit of many various charities over the years. The ladies are grateful for all the support and encouragement they have received.
In 1987 the Townswomen's Guild choir reluctantly had to disband through lack of sufficient numbers, and it was then that eight enterprising ladies of the Guild got together and decided to form a ladies choir in Torpoint. They decided to call themselves the Torpoint Lady Singers. There is only one founder member of the original eight remaining in the choir, five having left for health reasons, and two are now, sadly, deceased. The singers, who at present number 33, have become very well known and appreciated locally. The original eight ladies commenced their practices in the old Sunday School Room of the Wesleyan Church in Fore Street Torpoint, but after only a few months they had to vacate those premises because the church buildings were considered unfit for use. Fortunately, they were able to find an alternative practice venue at Cornerstone Church, where they still hold their practices every Monday evening.
Nearly a year elapsed before a suitable Musical Director was available, and in the meantime advertising brought more ladies to join the singers. Phil Carrigan (a Royal Marine bandsman) agreed to take on the expanded choir as Musical Director, although it was a new venture for him. He directed us for seven years, and guided us through the intricacies of becoming the choir we are today, helped in no small way by Mr Fred Harwood, who on many occasions acted as his deputy.
The very first engagement fulfilled by the ladies, numbering 11 only, was on 11 December 1987 at the Meadowside Residential Home, Plympton, which was to be the forerunner of many visits to entertain at residential homes. When Phil Carrigan left at the end of 1994, Mrs Sybil Cook kindly took up the reins and gave the ladies a year of very valuable tuition before sadly she was forced to relinquish the directorship through ill health.
Mr Brian Oates stepped in to help us whilst we were without a musical director. Now under the expert guidance of our new musical director, Sylvia Fraser, deputy director Brian Oates, together with the invaluable help of our loyal accompanist Elaine Searle, who has been with us since 1988, the singers look forward to giving further pleasure and charitable help within the community during the next decade.