We at Ballarat and Ballarat North started the year with the sad news that Deirdre Foyster our former accompanist had passed away. Deirdre came to us with a wealth of experience and rose us to new heights because of her incredible background. In her past experiences before moving to Ballarat from Queensland she had worked in productions with Colin many years before pre Sing Australia. Deirdre always had a desire to produce Proms Concerts. She in fact produced 3 in Ballarat and gave us the opportunity to be a big part in all of them. We loved all that went along with these events. Unfortunately Deirdre's health began to fail 3 years ago and she was no longer able to play for us. We had however at this stage recruited Deirdre's daughter Jane to be our accompanist when Ballarat North commenced. The very talented Jane now plays for both of our Ballarat groups. It was indeed a privilege for us to sing at Deirdre' Service of Thanksgiving. We sang "As Long As I Have Music" . Deirdre had suggested to Colin when she went on a Sing Australia Italy tour, that this song would be very appropriate for the Sing Australia repertoire. How grateful we were of this yesterday. 62 of our members sang it with such conviction and gusto as the beautiful Jane played. We had "The Little Brass Band " playing along as well. What an honour. Thank you Jane for the privilege. You were amazing, delivered a beautiful eulogy, played for the congregational hymn as well as for us. We always love your playing but yesterday was quite amazing. The attached three generational photo was taken by our member Fiona at a gig last September. Jane on left, her talented daughter Kerensa with her Grandmother, Deirdre. Despite being in care Deirdre come to as many of our gigs and Thursday practices as she was able.
Our love to Jane and thank you to Marilyn for her contribution yesterday and to all members who came along and sang with us despite the fact that we are not yet back after our Christmas break.
Very Proud Carolyn
Comment: Once again thank you Carolyn for letting me know of this sad news the other day and thank you now for this lovely article. We had Head Office have been saddened by the death of Deirdre Foyster. We send our heartfelt condolences to Jane and all the family and to all the members of Sing Australia Ballarat. I have known Deirdre since the 1980s when I first met her as a repetiteur for Queensland Opera. From that time on I always found her to be first and foremost such a delightful person - warm, generous, kind, humble, supportive and dignified. But her infectious passion and love of music was always ever present. Her great skill in accompanying whether it be on the grand piano or the Church organ was a joy to experience and her ability to create a lovely event such as the Proms in Ballarat for all to enjoy spoke volumes of her tenacity and vision. It was a huge gift to Sing Australia when she moved from Queensland to Ballarat and was able to share her extensive experience and love of music with us as the accompanist. It must have been such a joy for conductor, Marilyn Kent to work with her and we are so lucky that Deirdre's daughter, Jane, was able to seamlessly continue on from where Deirdre left. What a wonderful inspirational family story and one that we are lucky to share. It is not hard to imagine the sense of loss of this dear lady for the immediate family and many many people who came to know her. It was wonderful that so many of the Ballarat Sing Australia members were able to pay their respects in such a glorious way at her Thanksgiving Service - A perfect celebration of the life of a very special person. The memory of her will forever reside in our hearts and minds. Vale Deirdre Foyster. ...
The following is a delightful message from Helen Woodhouse-Herrick from Sing Australia Nhill.
"A few of us from Sing Australia Nhill Group are at the Nhill Railway Station singing Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ as the Overland Train rolls into Nhill Station and saying goodbye to Angela from Southampton UK who has been singing with us for the month as she has been in Nhill on holiday with her sister Sue. We are only a small group but I must say our Leader Mrs Fran Bone and husband Jock are a great couple who keep the musical nights weekly continuing here in our little town Nhill."
Comment: Thank you Helen. So lovely to receive your little article and photo. What a nice gig. Lots of fun. Big thanks to Jock and Fran for their continued and incredible contribution. Happy New Year to you all. ...