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Leaving on high note
LONG-SERVING Frances Couldridge is leaving her position as accompanist to Swindon Male Voice Choir after 33 years.
Piano player Frances, 68, will be giving her final performance with the group in a concert being held at Holy Cross Church, in Ramsbury, at 7.30pm on Saturday, which will see the choir team up with fellow musical group Bella Voce.
Frances, who was trained at the Royal College of Music, said she has mixed feelings about leaving her role. She has shared the position with Kate Lock, the group’s director of music, and will be replaced by Vicky Burton.
Frances, who lives in Wroughton, said: “This is my last concert with the choir and I expect it will be a really good show. Moving on is going to be a wrench as I’m going to really miss everyone but I think this is the right time.
“I’m involved in a lot of music groups and unfortunately the choir is now one commitment too many. I think 30-odd years is a good run and now is a good time to let someone else take on the position. I’m not viewing this as retirement and I’m hoping not to completely cut ties with the Swindon Male Voice Choir.”
Frances is also involved with Thamesdown Ladies Choir and Wroughton Choral Society as well as performing at concerts and teaching aspiring musicians.
The mother of three grown up sons said that she will leave the Swindon Male Voice Choir with some fond memories.
Frances said: “The camaraderie has always been great and they’ve always made me feel very welcome. I think one of the other highlights had to have been the tours. During my time with the choir we had some great trips to Ireland, Portugal and Malta amongst others which were such a joy.”
Frances paid tribute to her family, in particular her husband Ralph, 66, for their support over the years. She said: “I could not have been able to be part of the group for so long if it wasn’t for my husband being there for me and I’d thank him for that.”
Swindon Male Voice Choir is sad to see Frances leave but thrilled by the many years of help she’s provided to them.
Gordie Smith, the group’s concert secretary, said: “I can’t overstate the unfaltering high standards and commitment she has displayed week in week out for the choir.”
The choir, set up in 1919, rehearses at the New Century Club, in Gorse Hill, between 7.30pm and 9.30pm on Mondays and welcomes new members. Anyone who’d like to join the choir can visit www.swindonmalevoicechoir.co.uk for more information and tickets details for Saturday’s concert.