Who said that country boys in the 1960’s did not do operetta or musical theatre? Fyfe Grieves did both at Kerang High School although he does concede that he also played football, cricket, tennis and badminton.
Fyfe is a Scottish name but Kerang is where Fyfe and his twin brother were born. His fathers and mothers grandfathers were the last family members to live in Scotland, but like many migrant Australian families, the Scottish legend lives on in some way.
Fyfe grew up in Durham ox, 80 km north of Bendigo on a property that farmed sheep, wool, ‘fat’ lambs and crops. Their father and his two brothers were all competent musicians, their father playing many instruments including piano, piano accordion, bass guitar and banjo. This is where Fyfe gained a love of music, and certainly made the most of it performing in school productions, including “Pirates of Penzance”, “King and I”, “HMS Pinafore”, “Oliver” and “West Side Story” having major roles in all productions, as well as playing piano accordion, and singing solo, duet and ensembles in Eisteddfods. He and his brother caught the bus to school each day in Kerang and it was here that Fyfe’s love of music was further enhanced.
After completing his schooling, Fyfe craved a change of scene, headed to Balranald in NSW, and immersed in wool classing and sheep shearing. Before too long he met a “beautiful girl” named Megan who he married. Together, they cleared 10,000 acres of Mallee scrub to share-farm crop with his father in law and later with his two brother in laws. Fyfe ended up in the wilderness as far as music was concerned for about twenty years.
Fast forward 20 years and three children later to 1996 when Fyfe and Megan purchased their own property at Raywood, to further educate their three children. Here, they farmed until retirement last year. It was a very positive move in all respects, especially for the children. Fyfe and Megan now live on 22 acres at Axedale.
Fyfe and Megan have three children who, much to Fyfe’s delight are living close by. Laura, who is a mother of two children lives in Huntly North with her husband Jeff, Jacob is a mechanical engineer in Bendigo. He and his wife Naomi live on 16 acres at Goornong with a 5-month-old boy and Jordan, who attended Girton Grammar, lives a little further away in Tasmania with his partner Hayley fitting out, and building communications towers with digital equipment. They are expecting their first child this October.
Whilst farming in Raywood, Fyfe performed in eight Musical Comedy productions with a theatre group in the tiny township of Dingee and his love for music and performance was re-born. Recently, Fyfe decided that performing on the Ulumbarra stage was something he would dearly love to do and so it was that he joined the Forever Young Choir.
Fyfe already sings in a choir in Axedale in which fellow Forever Youngster, Chris Hobson, also sings so it did not take much convincing from Chris to get Fyfe along to the first Forever Young rehearsal and by his own admission he “could not wait” to join the formidable group of Bendigo senior citizens.
Fyfe is no stranger to music having been a Bass guitarist in a band and the player of the piano accordion.
Sport is also a passion for Fyfe, who has a long history of playing badminton and tennis. He is also involved in the Calivil United Football Netball Club, undertaking many positions in the running of the football teams, of which both his boys have played many, many games. More recently, due to an ageing body, tennis and badminton have been replaced with bowls, which he thoroughly enjoys playing with and against friends.
Having mechanical and engineering backgrounds from both his parents another passion is cars, along with his two boys they have a few Valiant cars of which some are on the road, but there’s still more to come.
When asked what he thinks of the Forever Young Choir Director, Laura Dusseljee, Fyfe immediately says “dynamite”, a great musician, and a lovely person to boot.
He says that the best thing about the Forever Young choir is the fellowship that it provides and fulfilment of his love of singing, which he describes as the international language.
“The same song can be sung in other languages but the tune always stays the same,” he says.