Singing for Fun
I recall meeting a smiling Anne Hughes at her home 2 years ago, as though it were yesterday. I discovered then that she has a heart the size of the moon and a generosity of spirit that is a delight to be around.
I wanted to know then where her love of music comes from and she explained that she began playing the piano at about 8 years of age, adding that unlike many young children she never found it a chore.
Her favourite teacher had been an Italian from Australia. “Learning with him (at the Royal Academy of Music in London) was wonderful.”
Anne went on to obtain a degree in Music and as a Post Graduate, she earned her bread by serious performing and also playing cabaret-style in restaurants. There were a lot of concerts, and a great deal of travelling, earning her Equity card, working on T.V. and radio.
“I was going to study medicine, she tells me, but I rebelled when I read just how much it costs to train a medic, though medicine and illness still interest me.”
Instead of a life in medicine, she became a teacher and worked in various schools, also continuing as accompanist to the music department at Reading University. She also jointly ran a professional Arts Society at the school for over several years. Anne’s restless spirit remained committed to education and over the years took her to a number of
different schools throughout the country, rising to Head of Department.
“I developed problems with my voice due to health issues, so singing for a living became less viable from my mid-thirties,“
Undeterred, Anne set up 8 choirs in Leicester involving 500 singers, many of whom still keep in touch, but eventually, the pull to return to Pembrokeshire became too much to ignore.
“I was born in Fishguard and the sea is in my blood. I commuted between Leicester and Pembrokeshire for so many, years. I finally made the complete move back home in December 2016.”
Anne now runs a number of singing groups in Pembrokeshire, involving people from all walks of life. Amongst her singers she has people from their early twenties’ to their nineties’, young mums, disabled people, working and retired. All are made very welcome.
“I love the sense of community, the good old fashioned sense of social networking. Pembrokeshire people are very hospitable, and singing is a wonderful way of bringing people together.”
And Anne’s groups are definitely a joyful supportive place to be. Her enthusiasm is electric. But the choirs are not just fun. Over the years they have raised over one hundred thousand pounds for a huge number of charities, including
Wales Air Ambulance, Shalom, The Rainbow Support Centre and the RNLI, to name but a few.
Annes love of music includes just about everything from Opera to Jazz and means she offers her choirs a huge repertoire of music from which to draw.
A keen gardener, and passionate filmgoer in her spare time she told me then that alongside heavily nuanced French films, she is a massive fan of Paddington Bear.
“Aunt Lucy’s maxims make the world a better place,” she laughs, “Look for the good in everything.”
So I asked, “how does Anne Hughes find the good in everything?”
“Oh singing is the best,“ she told me brightly without having to think about it, “ Singing is like giving yourself a holistic massage. People who come to the groups tell me constantly that singing with others is so uplifting. For the time you are there, everything else is forgotten.”
Well, that can’t be bad.
So, why not contact Anne and join one of the groups she runs throughout Pembrokeshire. Everyone is welcome.
For more information: https://www.singingforfun.co.uk/
What some people have said about Singing for Fun,
The thrill that I get from Singing for Fun evenings is immeasurable.I can’t tell you how much our SfF sessions mean to me – and I always enjoy the extra ‘gigs’ that we do.
We learn so much – and painlessly. Totally exhilarating!
The buzz stays all week – I go home on a real high. Singing for Fun is exactly what is says. I leave feeling that I have improved vocally – and had a really good time doing it!