Why I sing with St Mary's Singers

Just a few stories from some of the members of the St Mary's Singers choir. 

Avril Badder, Alto

I have been a member of the St Marys Singers since the first rehearsal 25 years ago. During that time I had been on the committee in some capacity,  and  President for quite some time. 

I sing alto and have always sang in my parish choir but when my son joined the Cathedral Choir, I gave that up as he had to be at the Cathedral every Sunday.  I, together with some parents, went overseas with the Cathedral Choir and when we came back there was a notice in the church bulletin of the intention to form a miixed choir.  Our Director at that time was Bernard Kirkpatrick who is now Director of Music in Parramatta. 

I joined my local Musical Society as a teenager and performed many  musicals.  I have a great love of the Cathedral and thoroughly enjoy singing in the St Mary's Singers.  I have made wonderful friendships during my time in the choir.

 

Lydia Merrill, Alto

I became a founding member of the Singers almost by accident. My son had joined the St Mary's Cathedral Choir when he was nine, so when David Russell, the then director of music was forming a mixed voice choir and invited any interested choir parents to the first rehearsal. I decided I would like to be part of it.

I had not sung since school and I don't read music and, I still don't know what a B Flat looks like and I wouldn't recognise a C Major chord, but I wanted to give it a go.

Avril and Jane were there and I remember sitting next to Esme (who also had a long association with the Singers) and just watching the notes. Esme helped me a great deal and each week my confidence grew.

I love singing choral music but have no desire to be a "soloist". During the years our choir has grown and improved and, since taking on the membership portfolio a couple of years ago I have enjoyed it even more. I seem to have daily inquiries from singers interested in joining us and I love trying to persuade them to come along. We even receive emails from overseas from people who have discovered our website.

I have made some wonderful friends and, can honestly say Mondays are the highlight of my week.

 

Lidia Stojanovski, Soprano

 Lidia describes herself as a very spiritual person, and joining the St Mary’s Singers has fulfilled a need ‘’to express my praise to God in song, and also because I love singing and music’’.

Lidia, who is a communications professional living in the eastern suburbs, is an accomplished harpist. She also composes music and writes poetry. She loves all sorts of musical genres from Abba and Elton John, the poetry of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen to Mozart and Bach.

‘’For me music is about reflecting what’s inside the heart and soul – giving me a sound of truth and beauty,’’ she says.

She comes from a musical family and says many of her relatives on her mother’s ’s side in Macedonia are well-known musicians.

Lidia had never sung in a choir before joining the Singers in June 2013.

‘’I wanted an outlet where I could sing regularly in worship and also improve as a singer. The choir has definitely answered all those needs,’’ she says.  

Benni Pagdanganan, Soprano

 Singing liturgical music comforts my soul. My spirit is lifted up and one with God through music. As is said when we sing we pray twice.

I grew up with my very religious grandmother and we went to church almost everyday when I was young. My aunties looked after the church music. They had me sing with them for many years.

At St Jerome's Catholic Church we formed the Saring Himig Choir. The group sang in the parish for many years until most of the members left the suburb.

Then I had been a patron of the St Mary's Cathedral and learned about St Mary's Singers. I am quite happy to be with the best group in singing liturgical music and take pride in assisting the choir on technology services.