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- 20 Women, 20 Years
Stella has been a member of Sweet Adelines, and currently sings Bass with both Northern Beaches Chorus and Endeavour Harmony Chorus. She is the proud owner of several of Endeavour’s regional First Place medals and their coveted 10th place international medal. In 2018 Stella will again represent Australia with Endeavour Harmony Chorus at the Sweet Adelines International contest, being held in St. Louis, Missouri.
Read more about Stella below.
How long have you been a member of NBC and Sweet Adelines? How did you come to join?
I joined in early 2000, after a lady that I worked with saw an ad in the Manly Daily, and told me that I should join this group. It was at the time of a rather traumatic breakup of a 30-year marriage, so I wasn’t inclined to want to join anything, but an all female chorus sounded like a safe place to be.
What were you doing 20 years ago when the chorus began?
I was in the second year of the marriage break up and nothing was of any importance except my family.
What do you most enjoy about the chorus?
Where do I start? Singing. Learning to sing in the Barbershop harmony style, meeting beautiful women, singing and competing in both a chorus and a quartet, enjoying trips after convention led by our Director Linda’s husband John. I have seen so much of Australia that would never have been possible had it not been for the chorus. Travelling with women through their ups and downs, illnesses and other problems. Coaching with the worlds best, the list goes on…. too many to mention. Making beautiful and wonderful friends.
What have you done in Sweet Adelines that has taken you out of your comfort zone?
Worn false eyelashes…….
Worn some very interesting costumes……..
Walked onto a stage in USA to the screams and chants of some 9,000 fellow Sweet Adelines who were cheering us on;
Had a PVI (personal vocal instruction) with an International Coach.
What have you done in the chorus that has surprised your family and friends?
I joined Perth Harmony Chorus as a dual member to compete in Hawaii. Not being one who does things on her own, this was a challenge. Glen Hancock had also auditioned to join PHC but had to pull out. I was the first member of NBC to compete on the international stage. Since then I have joined Endeavour Harmony Chorus, also as a dual member to compete in Seattle, then as a permanent dual member. I have won a few First Place medals, and competed on the International Stage in both Hawaii and more recently at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas where EHC was the first Australian chorus ever to be placed in the Top Ten in the world!
What are you most proud of about the chorus?
Well Northern Beaches won the ‘Most Improved Chorus Award’ in Brisbane in 2008 with an improved score of 123 points, that takes a lot of beating and it was indeed a very proud moment.
How different might your life be now if you hadn’t joined the chorus?
I can’t even begin to imagine, I just thank God for the wonderful opportunities that I’ve been given through Sweet Adelines.
What is the funniest memory of being a Sweet Adeline?
Well the ad in the local paper said that the chorus was looking for ‘Tenors’. I sang tenor in my church choir! Yeah, I thought I would be in without a problem. All the newbies fronted up to be auditioned by our Music Director Wilma Folmer. There were several women were ‘leads’ and I kept thinking to myself that there appeared to be a lot of talented women who would be getting lead roles in whatever this group was I had joined. Little did I know!
When it was my turn she took me higher and higher up the treble clef and told me I could definitely sing these high notes. I persevered with the song for three weeks, then told the Tenor Section Leader Kylie that I was having trouble singing these high notes and she took me across to Wilma and said “Wilma you have a bass!” I had no idea that the regular SATB choir range was almost a complete opposite to the Barbershop one.
Who do you admire in Sweet Adelines?
Too many to mention. Directors, they have to know and hear so much. Coaches, they seem to be able to say all the right words and find the good in everything even though sometimes they must feel like throwing their arms in the air. Management teams without whom we couldn’t exist, and our own Sharon Cartwright who has made history by being the first Australian to have been elected to the International Board of Directors.
What is your favourite song that you have sung?
I can’t choose, there are so many, but I am rather keen on Love Letters which I am singing with Endeavour Harmony, and when we looked into the history of the song it certainly brought back some wonderful memories for me.