Music is often celebrated for its life-affirming qualities and nowhere is the power of song more pertinent than at a Forever Young rehearsal.
Bendigo’s rock choir for ageing citizens, founded six years ago, is in the final stages of preparation for a concert at the Ulumbarra Theatre on September 14.
Choir member Marta Birrell, proudly 88 years old, said joining the group had given her a new lease on life since her husband, Ralph, passed away in 2014.
“I think I'm more appreciative to what is happening now, I enjoy life as it is now,” the octogenarian said.
“I don't look forward too much to the future because I don't what's coming next.”
A migrant from Poland in the 1950s, Mrs Birrell said her heritage meant she was comfortable holding a tune.
“We were always singing,” she said.
“It sort of takes me back to Poland.”
Frank Roberts is another chorister with some singing experience: he performed with a church choir as a boy.
He said the pasttime helped him let go of his worries.
“It relaxes you, it gives you time out,” he said.
“Especially with a choir, you've got that comradeship.”
Mr Roberts celebrated his 89th birthday last month.
Both Mr Roberts and Mrs Birrell lavished praised on their choir’s director, Girton Grammar teacher Laura Duseljee, who launched the initiative in 2011.
“You've got to realise, for 80-odd people on a bitterly cold winter's morning with temperatures as low as two degrees, when they’re getting up at 9am in the morning, they must be enjoying themselves,” Mr Roberts said.
His three children and seven grandchildren will also lend their support from the audience during show later this month.
Mrs Birrell’s children, who live in Brisbane, Melbourne and the New South Wales town of Burrell, will also attend the Wednesday night concert.
While neither would reveal much about the keenly anticipated set list, the Bendigo Advertiser is told Barcelona and I Wonder are two especially exciting numbers.
Visit www.thecapital.com.au or phone 5434 6100 to purchase tickets.
I think I'm more appreciative to what is happening now, I enjoy life as it is now.Marta Birrell, chorister
Familiar voices guide concert
Two media personalities familiar to Bendigo audiences will join the city’s Forever Young choir on stage at Ulumbarra this month.
Renowned saxophonist and Hey Hey It’s Saturday cast member Wilbur Wilde will perform alongside the senior vocal group on September 14.
The musician, who spent 16 years on the Channel 9 show, is sure to feel at home in the theatrical setting having performed in several stage productions throughout his career, including 750 turns in The Rocky Horror Show.
The event will be hosted by another recognisable voice: popular radio presenter Derek Guille.
The ABC broadcaster of 25 years, whose long-running radio show focused on the music scene in Melbourne and beyond, now works as a master of ceremonies and guest speaker.
Girton Grammar School instrumentalists will provide musical accompaniment for the night’s acts.