Ruth
Vellacott

Music Director

When did you join Wessex Harmony and why?

Finding myself with spare time for the first time in years, and desperately wanting to return to musical activities, I was looking for choirs when I came across Wessex Harmony. Hearing them sing for the first time was amazing and I knew it was something I wanted to be part of. So I joined in September 2015 and within 6 weeks was standing on stage singing with them at the Convention!

What do you like about singing with Wessex Harmony?
The sound of others singing around you and your voice blending with theirs is pure joy. Knowing that you are part of a bigger sound and taking responsibility for your part of that is incredibly rewarding. Not to mention the companionship…..and cake!

What is your musical background?
My childhood was all music. I started learning the piano aged 4 and continued, passing my grade 8 piano exam aged 17. I started clarinet aged 12 and passed grade 8 in that aged 16 and earning a place in the Essex Youth Orchestra at the same age. I was part of a clarinet quintet playing for weddings and functions, and I performed clarinet duets at local shows. I have always sung, in school choirs mostly, but also for a time in a band. Since my school days I have kept up with my music as an amateur, playing clarinet in school orchestras and singing in bands. Wessex Harmony is taking me in a new and very exciting direction in my life!

What was your personal highlight while singing with Wessex Harmony so far?
On stage at Convention this year with the larger Spirit of the South chorus was the most amazing feeling and probably the first time I’ve enjoyed the performance rather than just feeling nervous.

What would you like to tell ladies who are interested in joining?
Give it a go. You will learn an enormous amount, have a great deal of fun, and get a sense of satisfaction that can’t be achieved in any other way. When we sing together in harmony, it becomes a somewhat spiritual experience that you will want more and more of!

Dana
Margies

Assistant Director

When did you join Wessex Harmony and why? 

Spring 2015. I was looking for a chorus to join after watching Pitch Perfect I caught the bug. Wessex Harmony impressed me with their quality of singing and commitment. 

What do you like about singing with Wessex Harmony?

I love to learn new challenging songs that have brilliant arrangements and chord progressions. Hearing the overtones is just spine-tingling! 

 

What is your musical background?

Singing and dancing was a part of me as long as I remember. I started playing the guitar when I was 11 years and piano when I was 14 years old. I was a member of the school choir and different dancing ensembles.

On several occasions, I performed on solo gigs accompanying myself on the guitar or the piano. At home, I love listening to jazz, pop and movie soundtracks. Music is such an integral part of my life and not a day goes by without it.

At the moment I am teaching myself how to arrange songs in 4 part harmony and I already have a couple of songs in the pipeline that I cannot wait to hear sung.

 

What was your personal highlight while singing with Wessex Harmony so far?

Being the Assistant Music Director of the chorus and getting coached by so many talented musicians.

 

What would you like to tell ladies who are interested in joining?

We are always looking for new ladies to join us. So if you love to sing in the shower, you crave musical or artistic fulfillment or if you just fancy to meet a group of lovely ladies, do come along and discover this fantastic musical hobby. Singing together can give a sense of belonging in the community.

The sisterhood and striving for common goals is will give you a great sense of achievement.

Pushka Dalewood

Bass

When did you join Wessex Harmony and why?

Spring 2014. After responding to the Learn To Sing Course. (I had been wanting to join a choir for some time, but didn’t know how to go about it, or what I wanted).

What do you like about singing with Wessex Harmony?

Entertaining people, singing in a trio/quartet,  learning new techniques and pushing the boundaries of my abilities, making harmonies, increasing my confidence, revising and expanding my musical knowledge, trying new roles (e.g. section leader)/new styles/new challenges.

What is your musical background?

Musician father (dec’d when I was a child), Grade 8 piano, Grade 5 Theory, several certificates/medals in piano at local music festivals (as a child), member of school choir, Music ‘O’ Level (grade A), did two years of Music at University as a subsidiary subject, member of University choir (classical).

What was your personal highlight while singing with Wessex Harmony so far?

Entering the Bournemouth Music Festival as a trio.

Otherwise, with the Chorus……….spontaneously entertaining people in public places.

What would you like to tell ladies who are interested in joining?

You don’t need to have a solo-quality voice at all – singing in a Chorus is very different from singing solo – it’s safer and supported by all the other voices.

You will find talents you didn’t know you had!

The reward comes when you hear the applause!

 

 

Pauline
House

Baritone

When did you join Wessex Harmony and why? 

I joined 11 years ago I think because I like singing and saw a group of women singing on the quay having a ball. Because of motherhood and work commitments, I kept the leaflet and joined about 10 years later. 

 

What do you like about singing with Wessex Harmony? 

I enjoy singing in a Harmony and the friendship of the ladies. I like to sing to a high standard, but I am not competitive by nature. 

 

What is your musical background? 

I learned the piano and violin from the age of 9 years. I reached grade 5 on the piano then my teacher retired, and O levels started. With all the pressure I decided to carry on playing but teaching myself. I play at home for pleasure, however I have played for three years running at the Poole Yacht club commodores’ VIP evening as background entertainment. At school I was a member of the orchestra on the violin but did no formal exams. 

 

What was your personal highlight while singing with Wessex Harmony so far?

It would have to be going to Spain. It was such fun to sing in the streets and restaurants and we bonded as a group very well. Forming a quartet has given me enormous pleasure and it is a continuous challenge. 

 

What would you like to tell ladies who are interested in joining? 

That we are a very special group of friends with a common interest for singing. We welcome new people into our chorus who would like to be committed and enjoy working hard to achieve a high standard. There is a lot of fun to be involved in if you work hard. 

Janet
Mann

Lead

When did you join Wessex Harmony and why?

I joined the chorus in 2002, at a time when I was looking for an interest to pursue beyond work and home life. A colleague at that time was already a member and told me that I’d be welcome to go to a rehearsal and see the chorus in action. I had no idea of what 4-part harmony singing was all about, but by the end of the evening, I was hooked and knew that I wanted to be part of something so exciting.

What do you like about singing with Wessex Harmony?

Apart from the fun, friendship and mutual support, it’s a magical experience when we sing well together. We work hard to improve the quality of our singing and performance and to experience those spine-tingling moments when the chords in a song ‘lock and ring’.

What is your musical background

As a child, I played the recorder, learned a few chords on the guitar and loved singing, but didn’t follow any formal musical training. During my teenage years, I took part in school productions (acting, singing and compering) and later sang in a fund-raising show.

What was your personal highlight while singing with Wessex Harmony so far?

This is a really difficult question to answer because there have been so many. However, I think it would have to be my first experience of singing with the chorus in competition for the first time; it was such a thrill. When I first joined the chorus, I would never have believed that I could sing in a quartet too, but that came about 5 years ago.

What would you like to tell ladies who are interested in joining?
Give it a try – you could surprise yourself and discover hidden talents! You don’t need to read music. You will have a warm welcome from this friendly group and if you have what it takes to become a member, you will be well-supported in your new adventure.

Tina
Reyes

Tenor

When did you join Wessex Harmony and why?

I joined Wessex in April 2007, I had belonged to another choir, but it wasn’t fulfilling my desire to perform. I saw an advert asking me if I liked singing into a hairbrush? So, I went to the open evening and I was hooked. The sound the chorus made was amazing. 

What do you like about singing with Wessex Harmony?

During my time here, I have made many great friends, it is a bit like being a member of a large family, we are always there for each other. Singing is a fantastic hobby it cheers you up when you’re feeling sad.

What is your musical background?

I have no formal musical background I had ballet lessons as a child but didn’t start singing properly until 2003 when my youngest daughter went to drama school. I decided to have her singing lesson and I still have weekly lessons now.  I don’t read music but that’s not a problem as I learn my part from teach tracks.

 

What was your personal highlight while singing with Wessex Harmony so far?

My highlights in Wessex have been competing in Spain in 2015 and singing in the restaurants there and taking part in Bournemouth Music festival.

 

 

What would you like to tell ladies who are interested in joining?

We all work hard to be the best we can be, but we also have a lot of fun.