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The University
of the Third Age,

Singing For Fun

The Singing For Fun Group meet; as it says on the tin, to sing for fun.

Organiser: Evelyn Richardson (01341 250428)

Venue: Parlwr Mawr, The Dragon Theatre, Barmouth.
Time: 2pm until 4pm on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.

June Wednesday 21st.

May Wednesday 17th.

April Wednesday 19th.

March Wednesday 15th.

February Wednesday 15th.

January Wednesday 18th.

*** 2016 ***

December No meeting - but we will be singing at the Christmas Party!

November Wednesday 16th.

October Wednesday 19th.

September Wednesday 21st.

July Wednesday 20th.

June Wednesday 15th.

May Wednesday 18th.

April Wednesday 20th.

March Wednesday 16th.

February Wednesday 17th at Barmouth.

January Wednesday 20th at Barmouth. Whilst Evelyn is "over the water" Sally Franks is your contact.

*** 2015 ***

December Wednesday 16th at Barmouth.

November Wednesday 18th at Barmouth.

October Wednesday 21st at Barmouth.

September Wednesday 16th at Barmouth. The Fairbourne sessions have finished.

August No meeting.

July Thursday 2nd at Fairbourne and Wednesday 15th at Barmouth.

June Thursday 4th at Fairbourne and Wednesday 17th at Barmouth.

May Thursday 7th at Fairbourne and Wednesday 20th at Barmouth.

April Thursday 2nd at Fairbourne and Wednesday 15th at Barmouth.

March Wednesday 18th

February Wednesday 18th
Join us again for a good sing!

January Wednesday 21st
Come and warm yourself up with a good sing!

*** 2014 ***

December Wednesday 17th
Warm for Christmas with a good sing!

November Wednesday 19th
Come and warm yourself up with a good sing!

October Wednesday 15th
New members always welcome. Come and have fun.

September Wednesday 17th
Back again after the holidays.

August Wednesday 20th
The singers keep on going all through the Summer.

July Wednesday 16th
An afternoon of song, sun and strident voices.

June Wednesday 18th
A chance for you to show your operatic skills. Or just come along and enjoy a new experience.

May Wednesday 21st
After a glorious St Georges Day sing along, come and see what the month of May has to offer.

April Wednesday 16th
More members are joining and the male voices are beginning to make themselves heard.
Spring is a lovely time to sing, with so many songs to choose from. March saw us welcoming spring with a variety of music stretching from an early 17th century poem by Katherine Tynan set to music by Hugh Robertson - All In The April Evening, sung in two parts - through to It Might As Well Be Spring from State Fair by Rodgers and Hammerstein and Spring! Spring! Spring! from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers by Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul - one of my favourites with the wittiest lyrics I have ever heard, and biologically spot on!
The Singing for Fun Group is now into its seventh year so as well as the old favourites, there were a couple of new ones to stretch our vocal cords and learning abilities to the full.
We now have about thirty regular attenders including three very brave men! Yes, men are welcome; we ladies are not so intimidating as you might think!
I am hoping to start a new SFF group in Fairbourne on similar lines to the current one. If we can get the timing right, it will run roughly about two weeks apart from the one in Barmouth. As a prelude to this we are having a SFF on the 23rd April in Fairbourne village hall at 2pm, with homemade cakes and cups of tea, all welcome. We will be singing songs from the shows and others. Watch this space.
Again my thanks are due to all the singers and especially to our pianist Martyn who takes everything I throw at him with humour and skill! All of which helps to make it a joyous afternoon of music, song and cuppas.
And what will we sing in April to go with our other spring songs? Tiptoe Through The Tulips... April Showers... or Stormy Weather?

March Wednesday 19th
Popular singing and lots of fun. See if you can hit the high notes?

February Wednesday 19th
New members always welcome. Come and have fun.

January Wednesday 15th
The new year is here and we will begin to explore and enjoy music new and old.
In February the Singing for Fun group will enter its seventh year. In the beginning, I must confess , I didn't realise how long it would last, if at all. I had never run such a group and wasn't sure how to manage it, and I learnt by trial and error.
Initially, I tried to match the songs we sung with a specific season or festival, but soon found out that this imposed too much on me. It meant the singers and the pianist would have an almost entirely new set of songs each month.
So I slowly built up a repertoire of music we liked to sing, with maybe one or two new ones each month, and this seems to have worked well over the years. We now a have large and varied list of songs to choose from. There are favourites we like and know well, and some we try once but don't repeat, perhaps because they are too hard or not particularly interesting. Christmas is easy as there are many to choose from, Autumn has some lovely songs, and in Spring we find some to reflect this season and so on.
We have a core of 26 to 28 regular members, aged from the late 50s to early 90s which I think is probably unique. The fact that we are not a choir in the respect that we don't perform to others but are willing to go along and sing with other groups, if they so desire, makes us different. Quite a few of our singers also sing in some of the many excellent choirs in this area, where they are provided with more formal and challenging singing opportunities.
2014 will be a testing time for us as Martyn is building up his teaching in Cheltenham where he and his family now live. He has, since 2006, provided stalwart support to me and the singers and has helped in many ways to make the sessions fun. He has been willing to accompany us in a wide variety of songs and, if I might be so bold as to say, he has learned a lot from being with us. I have learned far more than I ever thought possible about music and singing and have gained in confidence as a result of my involvement with the group and made many new friends. One could say that is exactly what the U3A is about - learning, enjoying and socialising.

*** 2013 ***

December Wednesday 18th
This months' meeting has a Christmas theme with traditional songs and carols, and maybe mince-pies. Everybody is welcome.

November Wednesday 20th

October Wednesday 16th
I would like to congratulate Mary and Nikki on The Cambrian Coast Community Choir's first outing, a successful fund raising venture in aid of the old library in Harlech.
Starting off such a venture requires a great deal of hard work and determination, the overcoming of obstacles and keeping the impetus going. Well done both of you, and those who have supported you in it. Glad also to see that you both remain loyal members of the Singing for Fun group despite the added work load you have undertaken.
We have been functioning as a singing group since 1998, we have members whose ages are over 90 years and quite a few youngsters all of whom sing heartily and help make the afternoon enjoyable.
There are changes ahead and I will keep you posted regarding these and hopefully we will continue to grow and develop both in numbers (we are the biggest Barmouth U3A group) and in our scope and repertoire.
Once again I cannot thank enough all the members who help in many ways to keep us singing - just for the fun of it. I couldn't do it without you.

September Wednesday 18th

July Wednesday 17th

June Wednesday 19th

May Wednesday 15th

April Wednesday 17th

March Wednesday 20th
It would seem that all our efforts on Wednesday to encourage Spring to come, failed. We sang three songs welcoming Spring, two which we enjoy singing each year about this time: Spring, Spring, Spring from the show "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers", and "It Might As Well Be Spring" from "State Fair". Both of these are lively and tuneful with witty lyrics and could be called relatively modern.
We also sang a song from an old school song book which one of the singers had picked up at a table top sale, this is called "Spring Is Coming" and is from the 17th century. Many of you may have sung it in school as youngsters; it is a lively and charming addition to our repertoire.
Thankyou Rosemary for bringing it to our attention. We will have to try a bit harder next month!
Attendance has been good over the past few months and we now regularly cover the costs of the sessions with a bit over, of course we would love to see a few more men who have the courage to sing with us and who would give Martyn and Peter a bit of support. We would give you an unqualified welcome. As it says on the label - it's 'Singing for Fun' and we probably spend as much time laughing as singing. Thank you to all who come and make it such an enjoyable afternoon.
"Scarborough Fair" and "Greensleeves" have been requested for the April session and we will probably also sing "All In The April Evening" and "April Showers" along with some of our regular favourites. Biscuits and tea as usual to round off the session, the former sometimes homemade and delicious! If you are interested in swelling our ranks even more, then come along you won't lose anything by giving it a go!

February Wednesday 20th

January Wednesday 16th

*** 2012 ***

Singing is an ordinary activity which many people enjoy; we may sing alone or in the company of others. Even those of us who say they can't sing may do it in the privacy of their own homes.
At present there is a great deal in the media about singing due, to a large extent, to the very popular series featuring Gareth Malone and the choirs he has started. I was listening to a very interesting programme about the many health benefits singing can bring in terms of both physical and mental wellbeing. However there was one voice of disagreement, not with the actual idea of it being good for one, but that it is worthy of practise just because it is, or can be, so beautiful and that in itself is justification for doing it. This I had to agree with, and for me singing brings much pleasure. Not that I am particularly good at it, but simply for the sheer enjoyment. This set me wondering if I would do it even if it was frowned upon.
Would I hide somewhere and have a little sing, risking censure and disrepute? I have to confess that I probably would, but that it was highly unlikely to happen that such an innocent pastime could be so judged.
A few days later, listening to the radio again, I heard a report about the situation in Mali, a large country in Africa. Since parts of the country have been taken over by a fundamentalist Muslim sect, singing the traditional songs of the country has been curtailed and people can be punished for singing them. The singers have had to go underground and risk severe punishments if caught. It made me think that we take our ordinary freedoms so lightly, expecting that we can exercise them freely whenever we wish. How fortunate we are.
So keep singing, in the morning, in the evening, when working or when relaxing. Sing whatever you want when you want and enjoy!
Happy New Year to you all!

November Wednesday 21st

October Wednesday 17th

September Wednesday 19th

The Singing for Fun group decided they would meet in August and 12 of us had a good sing. This is the first time we have met during August so it may be the start of something new. After all, singing is pleasant at all times of the year.
Two of the group have been working hard to set up a new choir - the Cambrian Coast Community Choir. This choir is based at Coleg Harlech and meets on Monday evenings from 7.30pm to 9.00 pm. This will be a more formal singing session than our own session and I see it as a progression for those who wish to sing more complex music and to be musically challenged.
The new choir is led by a member of the college staff who is a trained musician and singing teacher. If you are interested -contact me or look out for the posters. I went to the first session last Monday and thoroughly enjoyed it.

July Wednesday 18th

It's Saturday 16th June and I'm sitting at my computer. I have two tasks to do by the end of today. To write this report and to select songs for the next singing session.
These are not in themselves particularly difficult jobs, but as I look out at the horizontal rain, the little hill opposite shaking like a dropped green jelly; the grasses in the field doing their best to emulate storm-tossed waves, the tasks seem rather harder than usual.
I try to link some of the songs to the time of year. For example, love songs around St.Valentine's Day and maybe some traditional Welsh ones near St. David's Day. Later on maybe a theme of winter or autumn - Autumn Leaves one of our favourites, and so on.
So what leaps to my mind now that Summer is officially with us? Oh yes! Summertime from 'Porgy and Bess', a lovely song; or perhaps June is Busting Out all Over, or even The Sun has got his hat on. But, somehow, none of them seem quite appropriate when I view the weather outside and read of floods.
The train yesterday was almost full of holiday makers on their way to the Lleyn peninsula, and as the train made its way across the bridge to Barmouth all one could see was clouds and rain. In the distance towards the sea, boats could be spied trying to get into the harbour in readiness for the Three Peaks Race. All the beautiful hills were obscured by low cloud. I have plenty of songs about rain but do I want to depress the singers even more? Some songs welcome rain, as do we gardeners but we can have too much of it!
We all seem to like Singing in the Rain and Isn't it a lovely day to be caught in the rain, a sweet love song. Perhaps I could find the words and music to Muddy Water Blues and we could have a go at that.
One thing I do know is that at the Singing Group I go to on Wednesday evening we will sing for water, as part of the proceeds goes to the charity that attempts to bring the luxury of running water to parts of the world where there is never enough of the wet stuff.
So I think I will do a mixture a bit about rain a bit about sunshine and try to cover every eventuality. Oh yes, I am also planning to have a go at In the Mood. Most of us know the tune but the words are rarely heard, that should get us off to a good start. Whatever we sing we will have an enjoyable afternoon singing a wide variety of songs which reflect different feelings and emotions. It's Sunday now and the sun is shining. HURRAY!!

June Wednesday 20th

May Wednesday 16th
I'd like to say a big thank you to Bobbie Cartmell who kept the SFF going during my holiday in NZ.
We are once again singing some songs to welcome Spring, as we do most years, and now have quite a large repertoire as on average we try at least one new song a month. The old favourites get regular airings and we have a few songs which we sing in parts.
It's a pity that no men have the courage to sing with us but we don't really miss them do we girls? Do I hear a chorus of ......... OH YES WE DO!!!!!! Well you can't have everything.
What we do have are lots of laughs, a wide variety of songs and the physical and mental benefits that singing provides.
Not to mention the psychological and social benefits, cups of tea and occasionally homemade biscuits - and all for £2.50 once a month - on the third Wednesday 2 to 4pm in the Parlwr Mawr ...

April Wednesday 18th

March Wednesday 21st
Evelyn is back from her travels: “I would like to extend our repertoire of songs in Welsh over the next year and do a bit more part singing, trying to maintain the balance between making progress and still retaining the "fun" element is a challenge. I resist being called a choir as I think this puts pressure on the singers and may put off those who enjoy the afternoon for what it is - a time to enjoy singing together and sharing the pleasure it affords.”

February Wednesday 15th
Bobbie Cartmell (01341 430248) will be standing in for Evelyn in leading the group.

January Wednesday 18th
Bobbie Cartmell will be standing in for Evelyn in leading the group.

*** 2011 ***

November Our November meeting is on the 16th November.
We have a couple of gigs coming up: November leading Fairbourne W.I. in a Singalong (photos here) and a similar songfest at the Fairbourne Speakeasy Christmas show; and of course our own Christmas party.
So, a fairly busy time ahead. If any U3A member wants to contribute to the musical extravaganza contact me. Soloists, duettists - now's your chance!
Or, if you are prepared to make a spectacle of yourself, you could relieve Rachel and me of the responsibility of what I fear, is becoming our usual fixture. I already have some ideas but think that Rachel's getting cold feet! Well, it was her idea in the first instance so she's only herself to blame.
Come and join us if you like a lot of laughter, singing and some super piano playing....

October Please Note: The day for Singing for Fun has been changed, for October only, from the third Wednesday (19th) to the third Tuesday (18th).
This is because on the third Wednesday the Parlwr Mawr is not available. It is the day of the annual Drugs Education event for school children run by the police force.

September We met yesterday 21st September for our first sing after the Summer break. I was very pleased to welcome 16 singers including one new recruit.
We sang a few old favourites plus two new songs which I thought were appropriate "The Sound Of Music" and "Climb Every Mountain". We sang two songs related to Autumn, "September Song" and "Autumn Leaves", both rather sad songs. As usual much laughter and some good singing. If we could entice a few men to lend their voices for 2 hours a month they would be most welcome.
We have a few gigs lined up, not performing but leading a community sing.
Thank you to all the participants who bring such enthusiasm and humour to the afternoon. Ideas for new songs always welcome.

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