On song for 25 yrs

THE famous Kiama Men's Probus Choir celebrated its 25th anniversary last Friday by returning to where it all began - Mayflower Retirement Village at Gerringong.

"That performance was the first of 604 performances over the next 25 years, and it was only fitting that they held a special choral concert at the Mayflower Village," choir chairman John Porter said.

"We currently have 32 members with an average age of around 76 and perform at retirement villages and other venues throughout the Illawarra and occasionally beyond, presenting a varied selection from their total repertoire of approximately 400 songs, selected to suit the particular audience."

Following Friday's performance, the choir and other guests celebrated at the Harbourside Brighton Restaurant at Kiama with a dinner and cabaret, attended by more than 70 people.

The enthusiasm, dedication and camaraderie generated within the choir members will no doubt ensure that the next 25 years will be even more rewarding for their varied audiences and themselves.

In 2005 Wendy Stocker became musical director and Pam Harris was pianist until 2009, when the accompanists' role was taken over by Michael Maude and Steven Leatheam, who still currently share the role.

One of the choir's favourite songs is Music Has Brought Us Together and for Wendy and Steven the sentiment became reality when they married in 2010.

"In recent years we have challenged ourselves by extending our boundaries, and have improved the professional presentation of our performances by competing in a number of choral competitions," Mr Porter said. "(These include) the Shoalhaven Eisteddfod were they achieved first place; the ABC Classic FM Choir of the Year Competition, achieving a Certificate of Commendation and the Illawarra Battle of the Choirs where they acquitted themselves creditably among some very professional opposition."

Retired or semi-retired men in the Kiama community are welcome to join the Kiama Men's Probus Club and their choir.

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