Brenda Thomas is as insightful as she is cheeky. She has a lightness of being and a twinkle in her eye which she says is at least in part because she is a member of the Forever Young choir.
“Before joining the choir I was emotionally and physically unwell,” she says.
“I needed to get myself out of myself, if you know what I mean.
“I knew that singing was good for the soul and that it has the power to heal so deciding to join the choir is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has bought joy to my life and happiness beyond what I ever thought possible,” she said.
Such is Brenda’s love for the choir that she describes the break in rehearsals from September to February as a “singing drought”.
“I think about the choir while I’m holidays. I can be enjoying a fabulous cruise and lament the fact that I’m missing out on practising a particular song that I like!
“My favourite song is “Forever Young” because we actually sing that at every annual concert to the Girton students in the orchestra, who are on stage with us. They move to the front of the stage and turn to face us. I have to be careful not to cry but I always get a tear in the corner of my eyes.
“It’s the reaction of the kids when we sing to them that gets me going. We soar when we sing that song and the presence of the kids immediately lifts us.
“For me, the song has meaning because it’s about going out and grabbing life. I feel immensely happy as I sing to those young people that there are so many good things ahead in life for them,” she said.
Brenda also takes immense inspiration from her fellow choir members.
“There are people many years older than me who master lyrics quicker than I do and who are singing songs that are much more unfamiliar to them than to me. They put me to shame which is an excellent motivator!
“We worry about each other. We notice immediately if someone is not at practise and we make inquiries. Its’ so wonderful to know that we have each other’s back,” she said.
Thursday morning rehearsals are a highlight of Brenda’s week and she describes Choir Director, Laura Dussuljee as “magic”.
“Thursday mornings are something to look forward to. I never don’t want to go or even think about talking myself out of going.
“I have made friendships that endure beyond the choir. We go out for coffee in the holidays and some of the other members have introduced me to music recitals in Melbourne and organ performances, which I love,” she said.