Christ­mas choir a ‘‘de­light’’

Pen­nell to per­form

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By TERESA HATTA

Avis Pen­nell might be turn­ing 90 next year but she still has the voice of an an­gel.

Pen­nell has been in­vited to be a soloist in this year’s Mata­mata Christ­mas choir, which be­gins to­mor­row night.

Next year, Pen­nell will have been in­volved in mu­sic and singing for 75 years, both per­form­ing and teach­ing.

She ad­mits she didn’t know what life was go­ing to hold. She never re­ally thought she would still be singing at the ten­der age of 89. She’s not sure whether it’s the singing that keeps her go­ing, her love of mu­sic, or the fact she’s been a veg­e­tar­ian all her life. Who knows, she says. All jokes aside, she says good health has been im­por­tant.

‘‘You can’t do any­thing with­out that.’’

Pen­nell last sang with the Christ­mas choir about 15 years ago when she per­formed a duet with a young male so­prano. They sung An­drew Lloyd Web­ber’s Re­quiem.

This time around she said she was very much look­ing for­ward to per­form­ing with the choir. ‘‘The voice is still quite good. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t be per­form­ing, be­cause I have a stan­dard to main­tain. There’s noth­ing worse when you hear of some of the so­pra­nos who have farewell per­for­mances and then the next year it’s a farewell per­for­mance, they don’t know when to give up. You’ve got to know when to draw the line.’’

Pen­nell said she gets such en­joy­ment from be­ing in­volved with a com­mu­nity choir.

‘‘ I can­not imag­ine my life with­out mu­sic, it’s been such a de­light.’’

She has stu­dents across the world per­form­ing and teach­ing.

‘‘They’re mak­ing their fame and for­tune. They still keep in touch.’’

Pen­nell said she was amazed that most of those singing in the Mata­mata Christ­mas choir don’t read mu­sic. They just do it for a love of singing. Much like her, re­ally.

‘‘It’s a great achieve­ment. Mata­mata has al­ways had a lot of tal­ent. We’re very for­tu­nate.

‘‘Per­haps there’s some­thing the wa­ter,’’ she jokes.

Pen­nell will be per­form­ing two pieces with the choir. The first be­ing an adap­ta­tion of a French carol, O Holy Night. The sec­ond is an op­er­atic aria by Jo­hann Strauss, ‘‘the great waltz king of Vi­enna’’. She will be singing The Nun’s Cho­rus.

Pen­nell said she was ‘‘tremen­dously’’ look­ing for­ward to per­form­ing with the choir for the town in the leadup to Christ­mas.

‘‘ I’d love to see the church filled,’’ she said.

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Photo: TERESA HAT­TAN

SOLOIST: Mata­mata’s Avis Pen­nell will be per­form­ing two num­bers as part of this year’s Mata­mata Christ­mas choir con­certs.

The Christ­mas choir con­certs be­gin to­mor­row night from 7.30pm at Mata­mata’s All Saints Angli­can Church. Con­certs are also held on Novem­ber 28 and 29 at 7.30pm and on Novem­ber 30 from 1.30pm. En­try is free but a do­na­tion would be ap­pre­ci­ated.

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