Another highlight of our recent AGM was the awarding of a Life Membership to Merrilyn Velcek. Merrilyn tells us about herself below and you will readily see why she is so deserving of this award. We are immensely grateful to Merrilyn for her long term service to the choir. Her creative thinking has lead to initiatives which have greatly improved the fortunes of the choir.

I joined the Choir in 1983, when my younger daughter was three years old. There were up to 80 members on stage at that time for Concerts. I’d chosen this Choir because of the variety in the repertoire, and this remains a feature of our choral music, some 34 years later.

I was invited to join the Committee early on, and remained a member of the Choir Management team for most of my 34 years with the group, undertaking roles such as president, vice-president, publicity officer, Grants person, and General Committee member. The Choir Committee has seen many changes during this watch. There have been 4 Conductors and 4 accompanists over the past 34 years, and, I think I have had 4 different Choir performance outfits over that time.

An Incorporated Community Organisation has guidelines to follow, and there have been challenges and new experiences that are part of managing such an organization. I have met interesting people, and have needed to find solutions to an assortment of situations- all great for personal growth.

Choir members become part of a family. I have been honoured to be able to give eulogies on three occasions for much loved members. I believe the friendship and comradery that can be encouraged between members contributes to the well – being and positive energy reflected in the sound produced.

I contributed to the most recent Choir History publication, and enjoyed representing the Choir at numerous situations such as Eastern FM, Nunawading Arts and Council meetings.

As a creative thinker/problem solver type I have enjoyed finding ideas to assist the Choir to fundraise to stay viable, and to continue to move forward. It has been satisfying to see some ideas come to fruition, such as having home concerts in our rehearsal hall, to have the all black uniform that keeps costs down for members and looks so good, and to have the sausage sizzle to attract funds from the public rather than members, and of course the 5 cent jar.

That a Community Choir will celebrate a 50th birthday next year is a remarkable feat, and a credit to all the Music and Committee Teams, past and present. This is truly an amazing journey for a Community group formed through a shared love singing all those years ago.

The choir is working hard on a huge variety of music selected from our now 50 year long acquired repertoire. We have plans for a very special 50th celebration and this will include a recording which will include many of the songs we are currently rehearsing. We are retrieving many items from the memory banks and rewarding ourselves with many pleasant memories of songs sung in the past. We also, as is usual with our current Music Director, have some fantastic new additions this year.

Our first concert for the year will be in May at our rehearsal venue. We hope to see you there.