I have been singing all my life though have never had any kind of formal training or musical education. Some of my earliest memories are of singing along with Uncle Max on the radio on Saturday mornings and doing regular little song and dance shows to a captive audience of two (mother and grandmother !) I was probably a very annoying little kid with bags of confidence and energy and always the first to jump up to do something on stage. That all disappeared in my teens although I never stopped singing or automatically putting harmonies on songs.
At 16 I taught myself to play guitar and started doing the folk clubs and was soon invited to join a skiffle band.
Over the next 6 years I performed with a variety of groups which played in night clubs and working mens clubs. The north east clubs in the 60s were quite daunting.
Out of school and beyond, my life was driving the van, hauling the gear in and out twice a night, and dwelling in the unlikely environment of beer, bingo and smelly dressing rooms. We were on the bill with various well-known bands and personalities such as The Moody Blues, Gene Vincent and Morecambe and Wise until I felt completely burnt out and began to view singing purely as work.
I went to College as a mature student and did a teacher training course in drama and geography followed by a BA (hons) in Performing Arts majoring in drama and dance.
I stayed on as a lecturer in dance for a year before leaving to run a community arts programme in Stoke on Trent. Most of my singing was incorporated with my dance and drama work throughout these years.
After a break of 15 years to bring up my kids, travel and run a chain of shops, I moved to South Devon and started to enjoy singing with other people again.
I became involved in various music and poetry projects and organised numerous events (many for charity).
I taught drama and singing at Sands School, worked for 5yrs with The Dangerous Cardigans and sang with Global Harmony. I co-ran The First Thursday Club for singer/songwriters and founded The Whoppers doowap group, Three Blondes & A Brunette and the currently successful Pretty Noisy.
I got back to writing my own material and enjoyed putting a couple of CDs together. The first was working with various local musicians and the second with my acappella Damsel Jam group.
Throughout this time I began to run singing workshops with small groups of adults and with individuals, working privately and with The Devon Adult Education programme over several years. My Harbour House Singers group began with 8-10 of us in Kingsbridge at this time and is now a flourishing choir with more than 25 members.
In 2005 I formed the Devonly Voices Community Choir which has become the most wonderful big family for me, as have my other choirs, the Singers Upstairs in Ashburton and Linking Voices in Exeter.
Why sing? Singing is so good for us - body, mind and spirit.
I feel that the most important part of my teaching is encouraging people to sing together and join their voices in fabulous harmony. It is the most wonderful thing to watch someone grow in confidence with their singing, connecting with others, and really having fun.