I’d like to share the following words from a Music Library Member , Dorothy Oliver, who is part of the Southampton Choral Society. She wants to encourage others to get out and join a choir and not let sight loss stop them.
“I joined Southampton Choral Society in January 2015. At first it was rather daunting, but following a chat with our musical director and conductor, I soon felt very much at home. We are an auditioned choir of approximately 120 singers. We perform works such as Verdi and Mozart Requiems, Dream of Gerontious by Elgar, works by Haydn and most recently Rossini. It is fantastic to be part of such a friendly choir.
A number of years ago I was at college in another part of the country. I attended an audition and was told that, although I had a nice voice, I could not be in the choir. When one of the tutors tackled the secretary she said: "We can't have a blind person in the choir. She may come in at the wrong place. John Rutter is conducting our next concert so it would not look good to a professional conductor.” I'm sure John wouldn't care who was singing in the concert as long as they knew the work, but I felt very downcast at the time. I'm so glad to have overcome this by trying again.
I don't receive any preferential treatment with SCS because of my disability for which I'm pleased. I had to undergo an audition the same as everyone else.
This has been a fantastic experience for me and one I'm so glad to be part of. I wanted to share my story as other visually impaired people out there may wish to join a choir but are not sure where to start! Yes it can be off-putting especially if you've had a bad experience but not all choir committees and conductors are the same. Most, I'm pleased to say, look beyond the disability!
So anyone out there who's thinking of joining a choir or anything else for that matter, Go for it! There's nothing to lose. I'm so glad to have taken the plunge!”
Dorothy particularly wanted to thank the conductor, Peter Gambie, for his support and faith in her and the membership secretary, Rosaleen Wilkinson, for laboriously typing out words for her in preparation for brailling where necessary.
And of course, the Music Library supports Dorothy in whatever way we can.
We have scores of choral works in braille music format and also large print format. In addition we have some rehearsal CDs for popular works.
To find out more, contact Heather Nazmdeh, Music Librarian on 01733 375105 or email email@example.com.