Torpoint Lady Singers

Annual Report for 2015 by Chris Trethewey, Chairperson

Good evening ladies.

Another year has passed with all its fun and excitement. Concerts organised and performed, surprise weddings , and times when we have surprised ourselves with how we meet our challenges.

I still feel honoured to have been asked to be your chairperson and still in awe of Betty who held the position for such a long time and I didn't hear her complain once.

As we continue to work together Jennie and I have chatted through the intracies of being the secretary - chairperson partnership and have supported each other. Jennie continues to be such an efficient secretary, so organised that I do feel she could, and has done recently, managed perfectly well without me. I do know that in my absence she has had the support of other choir members and I know she has appreciated that and I have been happy to know that she is not on her own- although the bulk of the paperwork and communications is still down to Jennie.

I would like to publicly thank her for being so competent and such a really lovely person to work with. Ant and Dec are still in business.

As always the roles have had their ups and downs. Confusion over venues, times and programmes but with discussion and communication by email and may I say ,a lot of patience, and good humour on Jennie's part, all seems to work out well in the end.

Over the year the choir has succeeded in continuing with a great enjoyment of singing, a feeling of friendship, spreading enjoyment to our audiences we hope, and helping other people, some of whom we have not met before, celebrate their special event.

We still remember with fondness those choir members and family members who have supported us in the past and still have a special place in our hearts. I know that many of you have had a lot of sadness this year and we hope that having the choir and your friends in it, has been some comfort.

Our fixtures list this year has been wide and varied and I am only sorry that I have not been able to take part in all of them. They seem to have gone on perfectly well without me and perhaps -even better!

We began the year 2014 with a social evening at the bowling club. I think everyone enjoyed it and last Friday we had another. If everyone agrees I hope to make it an annual event. It is fun and, in a friendly atmosphere, helps to break up the winter.

A table top sale and a coffee morning in March 2014 helped to bring in much needed funds. We enjoyed singing with two male voice choirs in March and May, the Mevagissy Male Voice Choir Casterbridge and Brixham. All concerts went really well and I think the visitors enjoyed our hospitality. We also had another social evening, the Barn dance, which is always great fun and the pasties are delicious.

June was busy month with the Singathon, a wedding and a concert in Saltash with the Looe Valley Singers. All went well and enabled us to showcase our talents.

Torpoint's highlight in 2014 was the Gorsedh, having an official proclamation in the newly opened Rendle Park in April. It was a lovely occasion but I did wish I could have spoken Cornish.

In the September this was followed by the Gorsedh itself and we sang at the concert. We were lucky that Sylvia managed to find some really appropriate songs with only one in Cornish!

October found us in Devon ( had to find our passports for this one) singing at Mary Tavy with Rhianan as our soloist. Again a warm and friendly atmosphere.

As usual the singathon was a highlight with everything running smoothly and raising a really large amount for Jeremiah's Journey. This all went so well because one team of lovely people who sang, joined up with another lovely team that knew how to fund raise for their particular charity and -bob's your uncle- we had over £3,000! I particularly enjoyed the cuddles with the Jeremiah , who ever was in the suit. I am sure he brings lots of happiness to the children.

Because of popular demand and the tremendous success of the Cabaret evening, as you know, we have another planned. People seem to enjoy the light hearted and friendly nature of the evening and of course the yummy and delicious puddings that show case our talents as dessert chefs! My rabbit dropping bread and butter pudding being the one exception. I am not sure why I put it down again this year! Maybe I'll change my mind.

In October the Poppy Appeal was as usual a grand affair with standards and banners etc. and the Carbeile school choir showing us all that there is hope for the choirs of the future. We were privileged to continue our support for the Royal British Legion and of course Sylvia turned up trumps with an appropriate song to commemorate the start of the First World War. At that particular concert I do remember being approached by a lady who commended us on 'Whereever You Are' and said it was beautiful. She then said she had been a member of the Military Wives Choir. She also said she would one day like to join us. I hope we see her again.

Christmas time was busy with many of the usual fixtures which we thoroughly look forward to and I think help us all to remember the reason for the season. I was glad that I managed to attend the ARC here at Cornerstone and the nine Lessons and Carols Maryfield. The weather was kind to us and the two sleds I have under my bed in the spare room were not required!

The Christmas Concert at St. James raised a staggering £800 for Sarcoma UK and I heard many people afterwards say how much they enjoyed it. The soloist apparently sang like an angel and I was really sorry not to have been with you all.

There are again so many people to thank for their support of the choir and to Jennie and me personally.

We are really blessed to have Sylvia as our Musical Director. She continues to encourage, gently chastise and patiently guide us through even the trickiest of pieces . Honing them until they are fit for performance-most of the time. I am constantly surprised at the errors she spots and where they are coming from and yet discretely gets everyone to go through it again.

Sue has continued to show us her talents on the piano! I know for sure that there are several choirs who would love to have Sue as their accompanist. She can “rock it with the best” and yet be smooth and thoughtful when a ballad requires it. Thank you also for taking on the role as Librarian Sue. Your retirement from Milbrook school did not mean you could put your feet up!

Thank you both Sylvia and Sue. Where would we be without you?

Would you kind enough Sue, to pass on our thanks to John for all he does for the choir and the manner in which he does it.?

Our treasurer Sarah has again been busy popping in and out of the bank with cash for funds and charities and the writing of cheques. It is a job that is ongoing at each rehearsal and not made any easier when people like me arrive with no change. Please also thank Jean Morgan for auditing the books.

Unfortunately Sarah Casey, after a long and distinguished career as Fundraising Chairperson, has decided that with studying for nursing, an elderly mother , a full time job, two children and two grandchildren and a husband, a house and a dog …. is a little busy!!!!! We would like to thank you so much for everything you have done for the choir over many years and hope that we can fill your shoes with a kind volunteer.

Thank you to both Sarahs.

As always the publicity, tickets, programmes and write ups for the newspapers has continued under Elaine's expert eye. Thank you for all you have done. We ,of course, all understand that what you send to the newspapers is not necessarily what gets printed. Editor's prerogative. Depending on what exciting things may be happening and how much space they have left. We are very grateful for your efforts and sorry that sometimes they are altered.

Please also thank Sue Hale and the ladies at St. James Church for the help they have given us with posters and teas and coffees.

Our deputy conductor Lin has been there to take up the baton when necessary and also to help struggling Altos and seconds with special practices. I am sure Sylvia is very grateful for your support, as we all are.

A little later in the proceedings we will be discussing the Annual meal and again we are looking to Bernice, my Vice Chairperson, to help to organise this and if necessary the transport. We are grateful to you Bernice for all you do regarding this and bouquets etc. We know that you are busy too with work and church and little one. Thank you.

Again one of our long standing officers wishes to take a break due to other commitments. Lyn our adorable yet sometimes scarey concert Marshall would like to stand down. I would like to thank her for her friendly but firm attitude in this role and we hope we can find your replacement within the ranks of budding sargent majors. Thank you for standing in at such short notice to give the vote of thanks at the end of the Christmas Concert.

The bonus ball has continued to bring in more money for funds and for that I would like to thank Janet, who took over from Angela Wood, and of course those of you who take part. With neatness and efficiency, Janet also keeps our archives up to date and regularly puts them out on display at venues for all to see and is working with Ken to develop the website. Thank you Janet.

At this point I would like to ask Paulene if she would pass on our thanks to Ralph for all he did to get the website up and running in previous years.

Again I would like to thank all members of the committee for their continued support, ideas and suggestions over the past year. Jennie and I have been grateful for the insight and knowledge that you bring to the meetings. I would also like to thank those on the fundraising committee who have supported Sarah.

To Gaye thank you for supporting the choir with your marmalades and jams and for encouraging new members to the altos. There are nearly more of you than sopranos!

Thank you to Hilda for helping us to save for Wales our next big away fixture which I am sure we are all looking forward too.

Thank you to our soloists who have bravely stood alone in some pieces and have added to the choir's diversity. To our many supporters, spouses, partners,family and friends who have given of their time and reassurance.

I would also like to wish our absent and past members good health in the future.

I would like to say how much I have appreciated the kindness and understanding of all the members of the choir during this last year. Your support for me in this role is very important and I would like you to feel free at anytime to approach me with any discussion you may have regarding choir business and I will do my best to help.

Finally I would like to say to you all as friends how much you have helped me cope with these last few months and the treatment I have been through. Many of you have personal experiences from which I have been able to to draw strength and everyone's support has made it so much easier.

I look forward so much to enjoying our time together in 2015 and beyond and being a more active member. I am still so proud to be part of this choir.