Meet the Choir
The Starlight Hotel Choir is a Community Choir open to everyone!
The Choir meets every Monday for singing and Tuesday’s for song writing at St Patrick’s Community Support Centre in Fremantle.
Meet some of the Choir members and hear their stories:
May Lillian (90 years)
“I’ve been coming to St Pat’s for nearly 40 years and joined the Choir when it started in Parry Street nearly seven years ago because I like to sing! St Patrick’s means love and respect to me and over the years I’ve accessed the services of St Pat’s through the breakfast and lunch services. I’ve also participated in the painting classes. I also love fishing. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the first audition of Australia’s Got Talent, but I’m looking forward to the next audition if we make it through.”
“I joined the Choir in 2012 with my friend John, he enjoyed it so much, and I couldn’t help but join in. The Choir members are so welcoming. I really enjoy the community feel and the ‘have a go’ mentality and the encouragement that everyone gives one another – not to mention the friendship!”
I joined the Choir before we called it a Choir – back in 2007 when a group of us would sit around in a circle singing at the Old St Pat’s Centre (Primary School Hall) with Pedro and Dave, a couple of guitars, bongos and a harmonica. We would try out old songs and well known popular oldies. I arrived in Fremantle in 1996 having just gone through a divorce. I had no relatives or Friends in Perth and no work at times. I lived in hotels and shared houses – it wasn’t pleasant. If I didn’t turn up for practice, the people at St Pat’s were the only ones who would call me up and ask if I was okay –they kept me going when I was not okay.
My musical background is with pub-rock bands near London and in the bass section of a Choir over ten years. I also played piano, organ and guitar, by ear from my early teens. When we auditioned for Australia’s Got Talent – the man on the panel brought tears to my eyes with his compliments – I wasn’t expecting such a positive response.”
“I joined the Choir about five years ago and it’s been a big part of my life ever since. I enjoy the feeling of belonging, friendship, confidence, and self-esteem. The Choir is like a second family to me. St Pat’s has offered me support in the area of my health and overall well-being– I love to sing, listen to music and to reading (especially Harry Potter). Before I joined the Choir I suffered anxiety in front of people – now I take the lead in singing.”
I immensely enjoy the camaraderie and good friendships shared. I’m a tenor who trained at St John’s College, Lismore, NSW, many years ago – gaining a diploma of singing. I was fortunate to perform with the West Australian Opera Company in 1976 in the production of the Gondoliers and Tosca at His Majesty’s Theatre. A great highlight was singing with the fabulous June Bronhill and many others. I greatly enjoy musicals and the opportunity to perform with others. From opera to Nick Cave – I love the challenge!
I have been volunteering in the kitchen at St Pat’s for more than 25 years and one day heard the Choir singing. I joined that day because I have always enjoyed singing and listening to others – It’s infectious! I still volunteer as well in the kitchen and also sew, paint by numbers, make my own jewellery and enjoy crafts.
I work with disabled people and first heard about the Choir when I was out in the community with a client and a Choir member invited me to join- I’ve never looked back! I thought some of my clients would get some joy about belonging and being a part of a Choir – we all do!
I first discovered the Choir through the inimitable Peter Anthony – an old colleague and friend. I joined in December 2012 and as a veteran of the music scene since 1976. I found myself in an awkward position of requiring a food package – guess I just sang my way through. I truly embrace the Choir and enjoy the overwhelming sensation of being in the cast of a David Lynch film! Thank you!
I was initially involved as a volunteer through TAFE – I love to sing and have issues with mental health. Having a place where I feel safe and secure and free to explore my creativity is so important. The Choir is the single most successful tool I have utilised to help me on my ongoing day-to-day ‘call and answer’ recovery from mental health issues.”
I enjoy the company and discovered the Choir a few years ago on the flyer. The songs are really to my taste and it’s a real sense of belonging. Here I am John – not a blur. I appreciate music and enjoy a variety of styles with music. I want to help out and contribute to a group I feel comfortable and accepted in.”
I first heard about the Choir through Dave and Alan. I joined for the sense of team-work, self-expression and friendship. It’s all about shared experiences and laughter! St Pat’s is about caring and sharing for me. I’ve been fortunate to receive support in the areas of food from time to time. I was in the navy, I’m from the East Coast originally, it’s been a fascinating journey ups and downs. I love singing and song writing and write poetry, even play the drums. We need to do the Conga Wronga more in this life!
I found out about the Choir from the reception at St Pat’s. It offers expression for everyone and a sense of community. I access the meals services at St Pat’s and hold a Certificate I at Abmusic. I’m also an artist and have illustrated several children’s books. I enjoy fashion, drawing and love being around such inspiring others who care and help me to be even more creative.”
Check out Harmony’s artwork here
I heard about the Choir from Dave and others, I enjoy the atmosphere and the collaboration in song writing. I enjoy the shared experience of developing new songs and sharing a love of music. Dave and Pete’s musical expertise adds a lot to the professional works produced. Although I have never needed the services of St Pat’s, I appreciate what they do and enjoy the creative environment. I have a long-term interest in music – I love singing in choirs, have learnt the piano and some guitar.
I was brought up in Ireland by the convent when my mother died. It was sheer brutality but that was ay of the world back in those days. I was in the war and traveled a fair bit before reaching Australia and making Perth my permanent home. Being lonely, I’ve battled with alcohol and much related depression – but I’m a battler and always enjoy belting out some Irish songs with the choir when I can.
I joined the Choir in 2006 after going through a pretty rough time where I suffered depression after a marriage break up. I enjoy the friendship and sense of support with the Choir and St Pat’s. I play the harmonica, sing and enjoy surfing. I don’t suffer from depression any more.”
Special Guest Supporter – Professor Derek Parkin
Derek Parkin is the Professor of Accounting at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle. A Chartered Accountant, Derek is widely respected in the WA business and professional communities as an advisor, mentor and Board member. He is an unashamedly keen amateur musician, still playing in a band of ‘mature souls’ – the Zimmers’ Apprentices – which is on track to release its third album to family and very close friends shortly. Derek has been involved with the Choir for close on a year, providing moral, vocal and keyboard support.
“I heard the choir sing at a St Pats function last year and it really moved me. I had to be a part of it! I’ve really enjoyed the people, the music and the laughs – it’s a great leveller and good for the soul. I admire the work of Dave and Peter, the musical Directors – their unassuming commitment and leadership is a lesson to us all.”