Frances’ early recollections

I joined Rudsambee in September 1995. The first concert I sang in was at Wiston Lodge that Christmas. I’d recently been made redundant from Napier University, where I’d been working for 10 years(!) and was looking for some sort of musical activity. I joined 3 choirs at once – all of which I’d seen advertised in the Music Library. The first choir wasn’t bad but when they started discussing concert dress and said that “the ladies all wear white blouses and floor length kilts”, I decided that perhaps it wasn’t the one for me. The next choir had a conductor who shouted at his singers and threw tantrums – needless to say I didn’t stay there long! The third choir was Rudsambee, a small friendly bunch of people who met at Sheena’s house and had tea and biscuits after rehearsals. It was ages before I stayed for tea, as I was too shy to speak to anyone!

In 1999, when we knew Sheena was leaving to cross the ocean, there was general panic as we wondered what would become of us without her and how would we find a new Director. Several suggestions were bandied around, such as employing a music student or advertising in The List for some person who wanted to join a choir and run it as well! Sheena had mentioned to me several times that maybe it would be better if someone who was already in the choir took over ….. “what about you, Frances?” – but all I could think was, how on earth could I? Eventually other people in the choir started saying it to me, one by one, and I began to think well perhaps I could. At the next meeting, somewhat the worse for drink (no change there then!), I was voted in and then spent the whole of the Christmas holidays worrying!

I have to say that taking over from Sheena – a very hard act to follow – has been the scariest thing I’ve ever done and also the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m enjoying it so much – I can’t imagine how I could have found anything better!

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