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- 20 Women, 20 Years
Val is one of the longest tenured members of Sweet Adelines in the country. She joined NSW’s first chorus Sydney Town Chorus, and has subsequently been a member of Coastal A Cappella and a dual member of Northern Beaches. Val is a well known and respected member of her choruses and the region, having served for many years as Membership Coordinator on the Regional Management Team (RMT).
Read more about Val below.
How long have you been a member of NBC and Sweet Adelines? How did you come to join?
I have been a member of Sweet Adelines for nearly 32 years and a dual member with NBC for about 8 – 10 years. I really can’t remember the year I joined NBC. It was quite a while ago and I now feel that I have always been there. I originally joined Sweet Adelines when a friend saw an advertisement in our local Sydney paper and thought we should go along. This was Sydney Town Chorus, the first chorus in NSW and only the third in Australia. I came to NBC when the chorus was short of basses, originally just to “help out” at competition, but I enjoyed it so much I continued as a dual member.
As an aside, I also remember being part of a small group who came to a couple of the very first NBC rehearsals. We were “big sisters” visiting the new chorus to lend a helping hand.
What were you doing 20 years ago when the chorus began?
In 1997 I had retired from teaching and was working in retail, managing a hardware store in York St Sydney. We were still living in North Ryde and during that year we went on an amazing safari trip to Africa, visiting a number of game parks in Tanzania. I was singing with the Central Coast Harmony Chorus (as Coastal a Cappella was then called).
What do you most enjoy about the chorus?
I really enjoy the friendly atmosphere in the chorus and also the commitment to improving vocal skills and continually working to raise our performance levels.
What have you done in Sweet Adelines that has taken you out of your comfort zone?
Many things!!!! I have sung and competed in a quartet, served on the management team in three choruses, completed the Director Certification Program and have served on the RMT. This has meant presenting classes at regional events and also attending functions in the US. All of these are things I never expected to be doing.
What have you done in the chorus that has surprised your family and friends?
I think that all the things mentioned in the previous question have surprised at least some of my family and friends. They have probably been most surprised at the amount of makeup I have to wear and also some of the costumes!
What are you most proud of about the chorus?
I am very proud of the way all chorus members support each other through good and bad times. I am also proud of the results we have achieved in competitions, eisteddfods etc and especially the fact that we are not afraid to break new ground.
How different might your life be now if you hadn’t joined the chorus?
It is hard to imagine what my life would have been without the chorus. I certainly wouldn’t have met the many, many amazing women who have come into my life through Sweet Adelines, and nor would I have had the travel opportunities the organisation has given me. I also believe that I would not have the confidence I do without the experiences I have had with the chorus.
What’s the funniest memory of being a Sweet Adeline?
This is a hard one! Could it be the time at a regional weekend workshop when a group of us were sitting on an outside table/chair combination and it tipped over, spilling us all on the grass? Or maybe at that same weekend, the sight of one of the top coaches dressed in an outfit made of toilet paper? There have been so many times when we have laughed and enjoyed the silly situations.
Who do you admire in Sweet Adelines?
I have met so many amazing women that it is hard to pick out one or two. From International I admire many of the top coaches I have had the privilege to work with, the singers who achieve top accolades but are willing to share everything they know with all other members and, closer to home, I admire Sharon Cartwright for her drive, vision, energy and the incredible amount she has accomplished for herself and for the whole region in the short time she has been in the organisation.
What is your favourite song you have sung?
Too hard to pick one. I love so many of the songs in our repertoire – past and present. I particularly like our beautiful ballads.