JUST FOR FUN: The Companions choir will sing at the ETTALONG 50+ Leisure and Learning Centre's Bazaar by the Sea on Saturday, October 28.
JUST FOR FUN: The Companions choir will sing at the ETTALONG 50+ Leisure and Learning Centre's Bazaar by the Sea on Saturday, October 28.

Companions choir hits bazaar note by the sea

ETTALONG 50+ Leisure and Learning Centre will host its first Bazaar by the Sea on Saturday, October 28.

The event, running from 10am to 2pm, will both showcase the arts and crafts enjoyed at the centre and raise money to improve activities and resources.

Stalls will include all the usual favourites, such as cakes, jams and pickles, plants, a white elephant stall, art and painting, handicraft, leatherwork, books, DVDs and toys and even a women's shed.

The centre has over 600 members and a full week of activities from $5 annual membership and as little as $1 per activity, including everything from chess to old-time/new vogue dancing to indoor bowls, line dancing, painting, cards, fitness and yoga to crafts, ukulele, folk art, table tennis and beyond.

Each Friday for nearly a year, the centre's choir, The Companions, has also been practising, and will showcase their talents at the bazaar, along with the ukulele group.

Lonny Edge is the choir convenor and is looking forward to another chance to perform, with the choir debuting last year at Christmas and having sung at a number of retirement villages.

Lonny was a professional pianist and keyboard player, having trained at the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney, and played for over 30 years in South Africa, predominantly in Capetown.

In 1992 she established a charitable group there called The Companions to bring music and happiness to old aged homes.

Today there are more than 66 people still involved in that Capetown group, which was the inspiration for establishing her new choir.

Lonny moved back to Australia three years ago and views her home in Blackwall as "like a paradise".

But she's not putting her feet up, already playing with the five-piece Crescendos Jazz Band and the Tempo Terrific Brass Band before also deciding the centre should have its own choir.

"I've played for many choirs over the years and I thought 'I'm going to have my own this time',"she laughed.

Twelve people attended the first practice and there are now 25 on the books, with a regular showing of about 18.

"It's quite a simple choir. We don't have to learn anything; we have sheets for everything and we have fun!" Lonny said.

"We sing all the stuff we used to know; music from all different eras, some Elvis, Abba, Barbra Streisand ... the music people identify with."

And while Lonny may be the leader, this is a democracy, and choir members choose the songs they want to sing.

There's not even an audition, she said, you just have to enjoy singing.

So go along and enjoy The Companions and ukuleles, bag some bargains and enjoy Devonshire tea or a sausage sizzle and find out more about the centre's activities, including the choir.

The centre is on the corner of Broken Bay Rd and Karingi St. To find out more call 43258222.


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