Magical music moments

2012-03-13 00:00

THE Maritzburg Singers will pay tribute to one of its longest-standing members, Wendy Jones, who was not only a well-known singer, but a celebrated actress and director.

Jones, who died on February 28 last year, was the group’s treasurer and then chairperson until she died, and was described by current chairperson Basil Munro as a “genuine star”.

Her career began in the fifties when she learnt singing with Elizabeth Towner-Costen and appeared in a production of Jack and the Beanstalk. It was the start of a journey, which would see Jones performing in straight drama and some of the best-known musicals of all time — Oklahoma, Annie Get Your Gun, The King and I, The Sound of Music, as well as in operettas like The Mikado and Pirates of Penzance.

She performed at theatres around Pietermaritzburg, including the now defunct Rowe and Cygnet theatres, and in Durban with the Natal Performing Arts Council (Napac) at the Playhouse.

One of the standout roles with Napac was her performance in Pulcinella in 1984, which was staged with Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and mixed singing and dance.

Together with the Maritzburg Singers, Jones also performed in the memorable Trial By Surgery, which was commissioned for the opening of Grey’s Hospital, and was later performed at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Over the years, she also performed with the Pietermaritzburg Amateur Music Society (Pams), the Cecelia Singers, the Dickens Singers and the Lyric Singers, and directed works like The Joy of Christmas.

“Wendy lived in an era of magical musicals and memorable songs. Our concert is a salute to her, for bringing us unforgettable memories,” Munro said.

The tribute concert will be staged at the Louis Sennett Centre at Woodgrove, off Howick Road, at 3.30 pm on Sunday.

The Maritzburg Singers will be joined by Pams, Andrew, John, Shirley and Belinda Butler for the concert, which will include a performance of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s All I Ask Of You, a song Munro performed often with Jones.

Also on the programme, will be songs like Love Story, A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square, Cabaret, You Raise Me Up, Three Little Maids from The Mikado, and I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables.

Admission to the concert is free, but donations will be collected.

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