Women of Note 2018

Women of Note 2017
Wendy Conboy
Milltown Sound - Wendy ConboyWendy is a founder member of Milltown Sound Chorus and has been singing barbershop for approximately 20 years. She plays many roles within our chorus and we would not be the same without her! Wendy usually sings lead, however, this year to support the bass section in our contest at SABS, she generously switched to bass to help the section who did not have a full complement of basses able to go to Spain. This also meant re-learning songs she had already learnt in lead. She is a superstar! In addition, Wendy is member of our choreography team and has also been on our costume team in previous years. As if that wasn’t enough, Wendy also sings with her quartet, Blonde Ambition, who were the SABS International Silver Medallists 2018. They have been singing together for ten years and have competed at Sweet Adelines many times. Wendy is the host for the majority of our sectionals (even the ones she is not in) and is the chorus baker, making us cakes and sweet treats for birthdays, sectionals and to raise funds for the chorus. Wendy is also the host for our annual chorus gin festival, however, I think that is a win win for her as she is very fond of gin!

When not singing, Wendy works as a teaching assistant in a high school (over 20 years). She is an active member of her church and regularly supports them in community events. At home, Wendy is married to Alun and they have a daughter Lydia, 15 years-old and two naughty kittens. Lydia is also a member of Milltown Sound, as is Alun’s mother Beryl. It’s a real family affair!

Wendy is kind thoughtful and always willing to help everyone in the chorus, she is a real team player and that is why she is our 2018 Woman of Note.

Audrey Corbett
Aberdeen Chorus - Audrey CorbettAudrey has been a chorus member for 31 years. She has served on the board many times and for the last ten years or more, she has looked after all the friends of Aberdeen Chorus, keeping them informed with newsletters and updates on chorus performances, etc. Audrey is the ‘go-to’ person for any history information we need to know – she remembers every medal we have won and in what year.

Audrey never misses a rehearsal and her commitment to the both the baritone section and latterly, the bass section, have been commendable over the years. She is one of the most respected ladies in the chorus always having time to chat to new (and old) girls (not on the risers, of course!). Her attention to detail in learning her notes and words of every song are the envy of many others in the chorus. She was instrumental in helping with Gwen’s recent retirement lunch ensuring that all the members past and present were invited and also ensuring the smooth running of the event on the day.

Both the Management Team and the Music Team are delighted to nominate Audrey for this wonderful award. Audrey is this year’s unsung hero of the chorus.

Susan Ferguson-Snedden
Forth Valley Chorus - Susan Ferguson-SneddenSusan has been central to all our activities in Forth Valley for many years and we have struggled to describe all of her contributions in a couple of paragraphs. Susan has worked tirelessly for us for many years, and has always imbued everything with her delightful, pawky sense of humour.

She is the epitome of everything that is great about our chorus. Although she is in a prominent role (as our current team leader), Susan is very modest about her role, she is completely selfless and conducts herself with such decency and intelligence. A total star who never seeks praise for her extraordinary contribution to chorus life. She has been the lynch pin who has inspired, motivated, co-ordinated and led. That is Susan without doubt, and in amongst all that there is a very evident presence of fun.

She a great leader of women (and, we suspect, men, too!) She goes way beyond the call of duty to do everything in her power to aid the chorus. Frankly, we don’t know how she does it! And she does it all with a smile!

As for real women, real singing and real fun – she hits all of these effortlessly. Who else would take her missing chorus pals onto the international stage in her bra and broadcast it to the world?

Jenny Lycett
London City Singers - Jenny LycettLondon City Singers has been around since 2007 and throughout the years, many members have come and gone – often to focus on their careers or family, some to join other groups or pursue other interests. Such is the nature of a chorus based in an ever-changing metropolis. But one member stayed on, through thick and thin, since the beginning and that’s JENNY LYCETT. She is the first person to ever pass an audition in London City Singers.

Jenny has had many roles in London City Singers – she’s been President, Choreographer, member of the Music Team and (currently) Assistant Director. Her dedication to the chorus has been paramount in keeping the chorus going all these years especially during a difficult period in its history. She stepped up to guide the chorus in between Music Directors and provided an unflinching support to each Music Director who stood in front week in and out. She is an integral member of London City Singers and has given a lot to the chorus without seeking any recognition.

Her positivity has provided great comfort in the (many) disappointing and often heart-breaking results for London City Singers at the regional competition. She is very encouraging and patient in working with all members of the chorus – especially when learning the choreography that she had planned. As a founding member, Jenny has brought many subsequent members a great understanding of the values of Sweet Adelines. As a person, chorus members admire her honesty, outlook and guidance both in singing and life.

She may appear to be quiet and unassuming but beyond that appearance, Jenny is a focused, determined, driven woman who is committed to the success of London City Singers, not just in competitions but also as an outstanding organisation within the musical community.

Sandra Sullivan
Surrey Harmony - Sandra SullivanSandra has been a stalwart of Surrey Harmony for over 22 years. She has served the chorus tirelessly by taking on various jobs in a supporting role and her main activity as secretary to the board saw her as the ‘go-to’ person for all and every detail about travel arrangements, convention, sing outs, chorus events and coaching for over 20 years. She is an administrative wizard!

Not only has her dedication to singing and her willingness to take on work on behalf of the chorus for so many years, impressed us, she also manages to be a superbly upbeat person! Sandra has a smile of pure sunshine and a ringing laugh that we all know well!

Sandra worked originally as a Secretary/PA at a large multinational company in London becoming the youngest Director’s PA they ever had. Then she spent some years at home to bring up her daughter and son, returning to work part-time in a conference organisation. Sandra ‘retired’ at 65 to help her daughter when she gave birth to twins, having three children under three. Now Sandra is a proud grandmother of five and divides most of her time between the two families.

After she lost her husband, Sandra wanted something to do and loved singing. Her daughter worked with someone who sang in a choir so she took her Mum along to a rehearsal. Not a choir but a barbershop chorus and she was hooked! Sandra joined Surrey Harmony in 1996 and has been with her second family ever since!

Surrey Harmony has benefitted from her services as our Secretary for 20 years. During this time she organised all our trips to regional convention and to six international conventions. Sandra has been to nearly every educational event organised in the UK and barbershop she says, “has become an integral part of my life.”

We feel that she is definitely a Woman of Note, a fine model of what it means to be a fully contributing member of our chorus and we want to recognise that efficiency, dedication, energy and contribution. Thank you Sandra!

Lesley Tring
Vocal Dimension - Lesley TringLesley was born in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland where she trained as a children’s nurse. She moved to Canada with her first husband, and it was there that she honed her love of watching ice hockey and curling. Some years later, after the break-up of the marriage, Lesley returned to the UK to stay with her sister near Reigate, Surrey, and it was there that she met her beloved second husband, David Tring. Sadly, David passed away in 2004 and in the years following, Lesley, ever-resourceful, was looking around for a pursuit to further fill her time. She joined Vocal Dimension Chorus shortly after it started up in 2010 as a lead singer and is one of the chorus’s charter members.

Lesley is well-known for fitting more than 24 hours into a day and being permanently active – as her daughters say “Mother’s dashing again!” It would be impossible to list all the areas where Lesley’s contributed to chorus life (besides singing!). Notably, she takes care of new members, welcoming them into the fold at rehearsal, and furnishing them with printed copies of music and name badges. She’s the chorus ‘Mum’ and this is nothing to do with the fact that she’s the oldest in the group – Lesley pays no mind to that small fact! – it’s because she’s a very caring person by nature, so if anybody is feeling low, Lesley will spot it and make sure to give them a kind word and a hug. She has opened up her beautiful house overlooking Reigate Heath to the chorus or to the lead section several times. Recently she single-handedly sewed 40 new turquoise sparkly scarves for Vocal Dimension. No chorus party would ever be complete without Lesley’s ‘all-in salad’ and many a fundraiser event has been graced with her delicious cakes or ‘Grannie’s Tablet’ on sale. Haggis and pancakes have appeared at rehearsals courtesy of Lesley at the appropriate times of the year. At Christmas and convention, rude Scottish ditties or poems are delivered in a broad Glaswegian accent. Her jokes are legendary.

Despite all of Lesley’s chorus-related activities, she still finds time to volunteer at East Surrey Hospital and St Catherine’s Hospice; play badminton weekly; tend to her large garden; have an early-morning swim; be the most avid (and vocal!) tennis fan ever and care for her grandsons Sidney and Arthur, who keep her on her toes.

Perhaps Lesley’s finest moment as a chorus leading light came in 2017, when, as the most senior member, she was chosen by the BBC to perform the infamous mic drop on their Saturday night Pitch Battle show. The public reaction was unanimous – a star was born! However, Lesley’s star quality was no news to Vocal Dimension; she is truly a powerhouse, and it is to our advantage that she’s chosen to direct her energies at Vocal Dimension Chorus – she is indeed a Woman of Note.

Maureen Walker
Lace City - Maureen WalkerMaureen has been a member of Lace City for over 25 years and during this time, has served on a number of chorus teams – she is currently a member of the show, presentation and fundraising teams and has almost completed a two-year term on the Management Team. She has previously held the Management Team Coordinator position for multiple terms.

Maureen is a loyal, hardworking and committed member of the chorus and her beautiful voice adds to the Lace City lead section. She is utterly dependable and spends much time ensuring the chorus functions really efficiently.

Maureen is also the mother of Michelle who won our Woman of Note nomination last year so she is following in the family footsteps! All of Lace City Chorus are delighted that Maureen is receiving this accolade as a recognition for the huge part she has played in the successful development of the chorus over many years.

Nicky Whyte
Hillfoot Harmony - Nicky WhyteNicky plays a pivotal role in our chorus, holding the position of Team Leader for the last four years. She is extremely hard-working and always manages to be on top of things be it scheduling meetings, arranging singouts, rehearsal hall hire, costume discussions, travel arrangements, accommodation details, not to mention the overload of administration that comes with annual convention. Every week each chorus member receives the up to date newsletter, which Nicky instigated, full of information about what to focus on for the coming week, what to wear, coaching session, future events, and a million other relevant things. Nicky is the glue that holds us together.

Nicky has been a member of Hillfoot Harmony since 2006, lending her lovely bass voice and great expressiveness to our chorus. She always strives to be spot on and certainly does her homework like the good retired teacher that she is. She does a good job of keeping the basses in order and has developed a system of coded hand signals to ensure unity in one or two tricky songs! Her knowledge about the ways in which Sweet Adelines works has grown over the years, and she keeps the Management Team on track with her superb organisational skills, tireless patience and sensible approach to all things. Our wonderful director, Catherine, pays homage to these skills and will often declare how much easier her job is because of Nicky.

Her talents combine all the attributes necessary for the ideal chorus member. A leading role in our Christmas pantomime saw Nicky delight our audience. She researched, designed and made her own costume including props, and performed her role with great aplomb.

Nicky has had a difficult year but she has remained dedicated to our small chorus and hardly ever misses a practice. On behalf of all of us in Hillfoot Harmony, we think you’ve more than qualified to be our 2018 Woman of Note.

Anita Zengerink
Singing Unlimited - Anita ZengerinkAnita is a Woman of Note as she has brought and continues to bring such a major contribution to our Singing Unlimited chorus. She is the driving force in the machinations of the chorus and is the embodiment of positivity – a quality which infects everyone.

Anita is one of the founding members of Singing Unlimited. Together with 11 other Sweet Adelines’ members, she started the chorus in 2013 – never doubting for one second that the venture would succeed. In five short years and after holding regular ‘Diva’s Wanted’ and ‘Learn to Sing’ workshops, the chorus has grown in total to 46 members. It can be said with confidence that this is due to her having promoted the art-form of barbershop singing with warmth, passion and endless fervour.

Her enthusiasm and tireless encouragement to each and every member of the choir is immeasurable. She is an inspiration to not only the more experienced barbershoppers but also to our younger singers. She manages to draw the best out of us. She sincerely believes in the ability of all her choir members and when she is directing she has each and every one of us in her sights – continually nodding encouragement to individual singers.

Apart from believing in the vocal possibilities of every member, she also strongly strives for empowerment of all the women in her chorus in other aspects of life. She believes that (barbershop) singing and being part of our group can help us all to become stronger and more confident.

As the director, she wears many hats – she is a co-ordinator, a mentor, a facilitator – but above all she is an accomplished musician and a truly-loved director. She is the motivator and sounding-board of all the various committees within the choir – music staff, costumes, showmanship, PR, website and competition to name but a few. Her weekly leadership of our rehearsals is always carefully prepared, with a great deal of variation and a generous dose of fun!

In 2016, Singing Unlimited achieved the trophy for Most Improved Chorus at the regional competition, having made a leap of no less than 69 points and a straight jump from a C minus level to B level. This is wholly credited to her dedication at all times to the greater good of the choir.

We are so proud of Anita! She is never just satisfied with devoting her time and boundless energy to the choir itself. She has also attained her Director’s Certification Programme and recently her promotion to Harmony 500 Director!

Anita is a Sweet Adeliner through and through – in heart and soul. A true ambassador! She is the jewel in the crown of our and her Singing Unlimited chorus!

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