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Copyright © 2003 to perpetuity by RMW

 

 

AN APPEAL TO ALL OUR VISITORS, SUBSCRIBERS AND FRIENDS!

I would very much like to, not only list the names of those who have passed on but, if possible, to ensure that they each get a decent write-up on their lives, particularly their involvement with Rhodie Music.   If you are aware of any of our Rhodie music flock who have passed away please do not hesitate to drop me a line to this effect.  If you are able to elaborate a little on their lives, even better.  I do not expect you to do mountains of research, commit your time or to encounter any unnecessary cost ~ if you drop me an e-mail with your contact details I will "foot the bill" which is incurred by our communications.  Within reason, of course.  To date, whilst I have been aware of a number of Rhodie musicians who have passed on and have hesitated from listing their names for lack of detail.  In future, however, I will list what I know of their passing, even if it is only a name.  I would like to appeal to you all to add any further information you may have in order to build up an individual acknowledgement to each of the departed.  If you have copied material or information from other published sources, please advise me of this so that I can get permission to use such extracts and contributions.  All submissions should be addressed to:  sandmaster@ananzi.co.za


ADRIAN KING (Added 05/11/2011)

The extremely popular, Adrian King, was best known as a stalwart member of the iconic Bulawayo band, the COLLECTION.  Adrian lived for music and continued to play, and collaborate with his life-long friend, Collection lead vocalist, Colin Payne, in England where they both lived.  Adrian appeared with the rest of the band at their 2003 Reunion in Durban on 16 August 2003. 


ADRIAN POWER (Added 05/11/2011)

Instrumental in getting the renowned local band, PRIORY COOMBE, together Adriann died in March 2011.


BENNY MILLER (Added 05/11/2011)

Benny was a local legend on the Rhodie music scene for his talents and the part he played in various bands, including PRIORY COOMBE.  No further details are to hand of his passing.


COLIN GRAHAM (Added 29/08/10)

It is with great sadness that Colin's death during May, 2010, at his home in Newcastle, Australia, is reported.  Colin succumbed to a long fight he had endured with successive brain tumours.  Colin will be remembered by many as the drummer for the renowned Que Que band, the Gasoline Valley Blues Band in the 70's together with Denis and Andy Scott. 


DENIS SCOTT - 29/07/1951 - 03/05/1997 (Added 29/08/10)

Denis was a hugely talented guitar player, vocalist and actor who was blessed with an incredible sense of humour which was often clouded by a dark side. He began dabbling in guitar whilst at Alan Wilson High School in Salisbury  in the mid sixties and it soon became evident that this was a natural born rock star in the making - he simply needed the direction. Denis was to make a serious impact
on the music scene in Malawi (1969 / 1971) playing with Passion Wagon and guesting with Jazz Giants and touring overseas acts. He was complimented hugely by legendary blues player Buddy Guy during a stint at the Flamingo
Club in Blantyre.

Denis returned to Rhodesia in 1971 and found employment in Redcliff at the Rhodesian Iron and Steel works (RISCO). He brought with him a blend of music that had been influenced by the Doors, John Mayall, Free, Otis Spann, Jimi Hendrix, Chicken Shack, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green days) and Ten Years After. After a series of attempts at settling down with regular musicians including long term friend Bill Malkin who was at university in SA, Denis formed the Gasoline Valley Blues Band.

The band revolved around Denis and his musical direction as he weaved and bobbed through his exciting repertoire on an old Hofner that he simply adored. No one could emulate the sound that he got out of that guitar which fell to a sad fate when a stage drop landed from its mounting breaking the neck of his instrument. Very fortunately and by the fickle finger of fate, the owner of a L series fender Stratocaster came to the rescue and that's when Denis really showed his stripes. 

The Gasoline Valley Blues Band was Denis (lead guitar &vocals, brother Andy (bass & vocals), Nikki Cole (rhythm guitar & vocals) and Colin Graham (drums & vocals). Denis strong and frustrated personality often led to rifts in the band though under the management of impresario Jimmy Sanders (owner of the Golden Mile Hotel just outside Que Que), the band rose to a sort of cult status for a time.
 

Denis finest hour may well have been the gig played on the back of a low bed when the band supported Edison Lighthouse and Christie on their tour of Rhodesia. Geoff Christie urged him to leave the shore and head for the bright lights of London. Choosing to be a big fish in a small pond, unfortunately Denis never did.

Denis went to the army where he revelled in entertaining his troopie mates with his wit and impromptu imitations of Elvis and a host of singing stars.  The original band fell apart with Andy taking over lead vocals and bringing in Ian Dunbar on drums and Gwelo based Eric Bradnick on guitar (had a great Gibson 335)who was a solid player.

Denis remained in the Midlands and turned to stage productions featuring prominently as Judas in a powerful performance of Judas in JC Superstar that many who saw it ranked it as world class. His role as "Riff Raff" in the
production of Rocky Horror Picture Show was also widely acclaimed - he was a natch! He played a few duo gigs with Tony Hopkins amongst others though could never be pinned down for long term commitments.

Denis moved to Bulawayo and played in a few ill fated outfits where his unreliability often was the stickler. He sadly got divorced and his musical being began to self implode through lack of direction and his inexplicable lack of zest to challenge the big time. He sadly passed away in Bulawayo in May 1997 through a neglected bout of malaria. His ashes were spread over a favourite spot on
the banks of the Bubwe River with his all time favourite song "Light my fire" by the doors stirring memories a gifted though often misdirected talent, a product of

Rhodesia.


Those who knew Denis loved him and he is still spoken of fondly around dinner parties, braais and pubs alike.


DIGBY BAILIE (Added 21/04/2013)

Under development.


JIMMY McGROATY (Added 01/02/2014)

There is no doubt that, with the passing of Jimmy McGroaty in 2007, the Rhodesian and Zimbabwean music scene lost one of its most popular, colourful and charismatic personalities. Ever the gentleman, he won friends wherever he went.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, on 2 March, 1920 and educated at St Mungo’s School, Jimmy’s father was a barber and stage actor whilst his mother kept the home fires burning.  His brother, John, ran a pub in Rothesay, Scotland.  Jimmy taught himself to play piano as a child, learnt to read music and acquainted himself with the trumpet, followed by the xylophone and double bass.   

Jimmy relocated with his wife and three children in the early 1950’s to what was then Southern Rhodesia.  Prior to this, and during the years of the Second World War, he had established himself as a member of ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) providing entertainment for the troops.  During this time Jimmy played with such luminaries as Jimmy Cagney.   Many well-known stars have performed at ENSA, including George Formby, Wilfred Bramwell, Joyce Grenfell, Paul Scofield, Rebecca Cantwell, Dora Bryan and Vera Lynn. 

Shortly after his arrival in Bulawayo, Jimmy announced his presence on the local music scene when he played with the Bulawayo Philharmonic Orchestra before going on to play with various bands over the decades that were to follow.  When it came to music and entertainment, Jimmy was “a man for all seasons”, ever eager and willing to participate in any live event that was being mooted.   

A loyal and dedicated member of the MOTHS, Jimmy played the Last Post on numerous occasions at ceremonies at the MOTH Shrine in Bulawayo.  Aside from the MOTHS, he belonged to various other clubs in the city. 

Jimmy left his mark on many of the bands and musicians he played with over the years.  Rick Laing of Ramblers fame is one who treasures these memories.  Rick’s Dad, Bill, played piano with Jimmy for many years in groups which included other distinguished local performers such as Mike Barker (guitar) and Davey Dick (upright bass).  As a fourteen year old, Rick was invited to play with the band filling in on bass when the regular musician was absent or indisposed.  He recalls how much he learnt from Jimmy about music, particularly when it came to key changes!  These Jimmy indicated through a unique finger signalling system he had devised and which all the band members understood. Three fingers pointed to the floor, for example, indicated E flat! 

He made regular appearances on local television shows such as RTV’s annual Christmas Eve event.  He also did session work on recordings for various artists. 

In 1967 Jimmy was presented with a shield for ‘the best jazz trumpeter in southern Africa’.  Over the years he played with Eddie Calvert and is credited by many as having performed a more impressive version of “O Mein Papa” than did Calvert.  He also backed a number of other renowned artists, including Eve Boswell.

Jimmy’s enthusiasm even saw him performing on trumpet with the Boswell-Wilkie’s Circus which, unlike most modern day circuses, boasted a live band during its performances.  Jimmy’s willingness to temporarily join the “big top” allowed the resident trumpeter to take a break from the constant touring.  In 1968 he travelled throughout Rhodesia and Mozambique with the circus for three months.  Although the circus’s management would have liked Jimmy to have become a permanent fixture, he and his wife decided that living in a train compartment with their little dog, despite its being comfortably fitted out, wasn’t all that appealing.  Nevertheless, his three months with the circus provided him with a wealth of experiences and memories to generate a multitude of funny stories about his time performing with lions, elephants, clowns and other performers!  

On his 70th birthday, and whilst working for Acol Chemicals, he bought the Oasis Restaurant.  This was the perfect acquisition for him as it provided a regular entertainment platform from which he could ply his musical skills.  During this period he performed on trumpet and keyboard alongside his best friend, Jack Buckell, who played the accordion.  Their combined talents ensured that diners were well entertained and eager to return for more.   

In the 1980’s he started his own mobile disco and was a popular choice, not only for his selection of music but for his jokes, too!  

Throughout his life in Bulawayo, Jimmy was always willing to be a part of any musical or entertainment project that was in the offing.   He never hesitated, for instance, to don a Santa Claus outfit and will be fondly remembered by many, parents and children alike, for his many appearances at clubs and nursery schools as a particularly jovial, warm and generous Father Christmas! 

One of the greatest accolades he received came during Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Zimbabwe in 1991.  This came in the form of being asked to trumpet her Majesty’s arrival at the Church of England for the Sunday morning service.  When he had, literally, played his part, he realized that someone had inadvertently moved the chair which had been provided for him to sit on.  The Queen, seeing him standing against the wall, beckoned him to sit next to her where there was an unoccupied chair.  Jimmy readily accepted the invitation and had the honour of the Queen sharing her hymn sheet, and exchanging a few conversational words, during the service.  True to form, he caused something of a stir after the service when he asked the Queen if he could introduce his wife to her!  

In 2003, Jimmy and his wife Theresa followed the rest of the family back to the United Kingdom.  They took up residence in Putney where, despite hating the cold and the rain, he made the most of his time there until his death in 2007.  Theresa passed away in 2011. 

Jimmy is survived by his older son, Jack, who is presently in rehearsals with some ex-Rhodesian musicians who now live in London and hope to get some gigs booked over the coming months.  He was known as ‘Jumping Jack’ when he was in Harare and performed with KLUNK, along with Benny Miller, and was with HOLY BLACK and some other groups prior to that.

The ashes of Jimmy and Theresa are still with the family, however, the intention is to have them scattered at the MOTH shrine in the Matopos when this can be arranged.


LEN STRYDOM (Added 10/11/2011)

Len Strydom, better known as "Lightning Len" to his friends, passed away on 9 August, 2011, in Harare, from severe pneumonia and laryngitis.  Len was a high profile figure on the Zimbabwe music scene and, after playing with a number of highly successful bands in South Africa in the 70's, returned to the Zimbabwe music scene where his impressive guitar "chops" were in constant high demand.   In due course, Len belonged to a number of top bands Zimbabwe including BANNED, ECLIPSE (with Mark Robbins, John Law and Paul Shephard) and KWEKWE where he was in the company of some of the country's finest musicians.  At the time of his death he wasn't playing in a band but was rehearsing for a Mark Robbins' musical production for REPS theatre.  His absence will be sorely felt on the Zimbabwe music scene.


LUBA MAHAKLOVIC (Added 10/11/2011)

Luba Mahaklovic was another imposing figure on the Zimbabwe music scene passed away during the course of 2011.  Luba was a member of various Harare-based bands, including his own LUBA BLUES band and the highly succesful Zimbabwe "supergroup", KWEKWE.


NIC PICKARD (Added 18 June 2009)

Nic's sad death earlier this year after a long and brave battle with cancer was an event which touched many people's lives.  A fitting obituary to Nic is in progress and will be posted once complete.


COMMEMORATION OF CLEM THOLET'S LIFE: REFLECTIONS ON A LIFE

Many thousands of us were saddened by the news that Clem Tholet had passed away in Cape Town, after a long illness extremely bravely borne, on Wednesday, 06 October, 2004.  The funeral service, A Celebration Of Clem's Life, was held at the Pinelands Methodist church in Cape Town on the afternoon of Wednesday, 13 October, 2004.  Amongst the mourners who attended the service were family members, friends, fellow musos and, indeed, some whom were there just to pay their respect.  In a  gesture that was typical of someone as unique as Clem, prior to his passing he had prepared a speech relating to his life with a request that it be read out at his funeral.  At times moving, at times humorous, at times sensitive, at times reflective but always unhesitatingly honest, this "work" will be appreciated by those who care.  Here, then, are Clem's final, and parting, thoughts - with Thanks to Jean and Ann for sharing it with us.

Clem’s GOODBYE

 

"When you’re given insistent warnings that you’re going to die - and God knows, I’ve had enough of those - it’s only polite to take the opportunity to prepare a few words for those who’ve bothered to come and say goodbye to you. I mean you really have to, don’t you? I’m afraid I’ve been even more laid-back than ever recently, and only woke up to the notion a few days ago.

I’m going to mention a few of the people who have really been important in my life, and say a word or two of thanks. Now I don’t know who’s here, and who’s not… unless all those spooky stories of the afterlife are true - in which case I do know who’s here and who’s not, and...wait for it…

I   can  s-e-e-e-e-e   you!!

But in the event that I mention a name and they’re bad mannered enough not to be here, perhaps someone would be so kind as to pass the message on, and tell them they were remembered in dispatches, so to speak.

I’ve had an extremely privileged life, filled with a multitude of interesting people and good friends. If you’re here, you’re one of them… so you know exactly who and what I’m talking about. I loved you all. But for fear of boring you all so shitless, that you end up joining me on the other side prematurely, I simply can’t mention everyone by name, and I’ll have to limit myself to barely scratching the surface. But rest assured (as I do right now) that the part that each and every one of you played in my life was valued greatly, and worthwhile to the end.

More than friends, I was really fortunate to have worked alongside some very bright people in my life. Two of the lovelier people spring immediately to mind. To Runette and Carolyn, thank you both for being so talented and for always making me look good.

To Hennie and Simon, on the other hand, thank you both for also being talented - if not nearly as lovely, and as a result still managing to make me look good.

Paulie, you’ve been both good friend and a great workmate. I’ve truly enjoyed the time I spent working with you. Thank you for putting up with all the hassles and keeping so level-headed. And also, thank you for being one of the finest art directors I ever knew or worked with, and an even better person.

Now, a lot of people say that we can consider ourselves well off if we can go back through the years and rake up one, really good, loyal “best” friend in our lives. Someone who has put up with all our weaknesses, follies and foibles… and still somehow, always come through on our side. Someone who would support us, no matter what. I was jammy enough to have had at least two good friends like that, that immediately come to mind. How rich is that?!

Maurice Matthewman was one of my partners in my first ad agency, and was always someone I could turn to as a reliable buddy. He’s another Sagittarian, and I met him in 1973 when he was a sprightly 46, and he taught me a lot about advertising. Unfortunately, I never followed the example he set when it came to health ... b-a-d mistake. He was always a brilliant friend, both to myself and to Jean. Thanks Maurice, and thanks too, Pegs, for being such a friend to Jean.

The second great friend I’m referring to I didn’t know quite as long, but a person who was certainly no less a friend, was Ant Grace. He started off as my boss during army call-ups in the Rhodesian Intelligence Corps, but he became an unbeatable best mate of phenomenal proportions, through good times and bad. We did things, and shared things together, and got into the kind of kak together that only the best of friends can do. To the end, I trusted him with my life.

I think the thing that stands out about both these guys, is that they are probably the straightest, most honest and absolutely reliable men you could ever hope to meet. I was really blessed to have them both as great friends, and I’m grateful.

But of course, the love of my entire life and the best friend of all, has to be my Jean. Anyone who even knew us vaguely, knew how good she was to me, in every way. She was companion, lover, sounding board, soul mate, commiserator, partner and enthusiastic encourager. She was my extremely significant other. She’ll hate me to say this, even though she knows it to be true, but she gave in to me far too often. We got married when we were both puppies in 1967 - you work it out - and things haven’t always been easy for her. Her strength, utter steadfastness and resilience are unquestionably what kept us going, and are what helped our marriage survive some fairly wobbly times, and certainly helped me personally to survive long past my sell-by date. It was an unequal partnership, and I’m ashamed to say it was one I got by far the most benefit from. I know you believe in reincarnation Poephol, and all I can say, is that I certainly hope you score a much better bargain next time around! You are such a fantastic person. It goes without saying that I’ve taken as much of your love as I could cram into this failing heart with me.

There are so many other names of so many other good people who overflow onto the positive side of my life, and people that I loved. Names that come flooding back to me, now that I can’t reach them or tell them what they meant to me. Like Dave Marks and Fran, along with all the other musos who were part of my youth, and helped the music grow. People like Mike Dickman, and Mac and Ben Segal. Suzy and Gary, John Edmond and Andy Dillon. And great talents like Nic Pickard with his beautiful lady Helen, Paddy Rocks, Ritchie Morris, Murray Stewart and Jerry Barnard.

There were lots of really special people and exceptional friends like Eileen and Cy, folks like Jeff and Cheryl, and old mates like Pat and Joyce. Noel Chamberlain, my best man, and his wife Flick. Gentleman Rob Kemp and the vivacious Margs. Malcolm and Di Cullen. Jo and June Sievers. Ray and Beryl Banks. Gentle Al and serene Elisabeth, and of course, Rob and Gilly.

There are also people who didn’t really take an active part in my life and people that I haven’t seen for years... but who were somehow an enormous influence in it, nonetheless like Peter Hume, who shaped my love of music. I hope we’ll meet again.

I look back now and take great pleasure in remembering incredible, star- washed nights camping on the Zambesi or in the Namib, with great people like Blackie and Marianna. Or the first time Jean and I visited Mana Pools with Bev and Marinette. The simple beauty that was Rhodesia then, was an unbeatable and unforgettable experience. It was my homeland, and I loved it deeply and longed for its comforting warmth, to the end.

My life was chock-a-block, crammed full of shining lights who made the path brighter for me, and I have to say, mostly easier.

Yet I’m left with great melancholy when I think of those who I ached to have been able to be more of a friend to, and shared much more time with. And here again, there’s one person who really stands out - Mandy. I never really got to be close to you, and that’s left a huge void in my life, and in Jean’s.

This is getting too fraught. Let me just conclude by saying thank you all for being the terrific people you are, thank you for all the good things and good times everyone has shown me, and thank you for all your love.

Which prompts me to drift off and leave this gathering now, and hope you’ll all stay for a dop or three.

In closing.., if I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t get to see Matthew Bull working for Mike Frampton before I died. If ever there was a match made in heaven, that was it. I’m going to have “The Last Word” now - apologies Fleckie! - and see if I really am able to haunt those two. Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye!"


DEREK HUDSON (23/05/1934 - 20/12/2005) Added 16/07/06

Derek Hudson, former conductor of the Bulawayo Philharmonic Orchestra and Director of the Zimbabwe Academy of Music, passed away peacefully in his sleep in Johannesburg on 20 December, 2005, after contracting pneumonia.

Hudson was born on 23 May, 1934, in Hove, England, and was educated at Tonbridge in Kent.  He then spent four years as a pilot in the Royal Air Force before winning an award to study piano, composition and conducting at the Guildhall School of Music in London.  He later studied in Geneva with Ernst Ansermet.

His orchestral debut was with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Wigmore Hall in London.  In addition to further concerts with this orchestra, he also appeared with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Festival Hall.  He conducted for many ballet companies including the Royal Ballet Company at Covent Garden and the Paul Taylor Company of New York.  He conducted orchestras all over the world, including France, Austria, Holland, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, the Czech republic, the United States, Canada and South Africa.

Appointed to the Bulawayo Philharmonic in 1974, Hudson also became Director of the Zimbabwe Academy of Music in 1976.  He was largely responsible for the formation in 1977 of the National Symphony Orchestra, with whom in 1980 he performed his own composition 'Prelude: Zimbabwe' to mark Independence.  As well as giving first performances in Zimbabwe of Beethoven's Ninth and Tenth symphonies, Elgar's Enigma Variations and Britten's Noye's Fludde, Hudson also appeared as soloist and accompanist.

Well known throughout Zimbabwe as a lecturer, writer and broadcaster, he was for seven years a member of the Board of Governors of ZBC and in 1996 was awarded Bulawayo Civic Honours for outstanding services to music.

He retired from public life following a heart attack in 2001.  He was married for nearly 40 years to Jill, a cellist and music teacher, to whom he was devoted.  After her death in 2003 and because of his own declining health, he left Zimbabwe and moved to Johannesburg to live with his daughter.  He leaves his two daughters, Joanna and Kate, and seven grandchildren.

Reproduced per kind permission of Chris Whitehead, the Editor of the Rhodesians Worldwide magazine.


IAN MILLS (22 February 2007) Added 07/09/08

Ian Mills passed away in Harare on 22 February, 2007, after a long battle with leukemia and, latterly, cancer.  He was born in Dorking, Surrey, in 1932 and moved, with his parents, to Umtali, Rhodesia, in 1949.  After short spells as a customs officer and soldier, he joined The Rhodesia Herald at the age of 26.  He became municipal correspondent and, latterly, political editor.  He left Herald House in the 1970s to freelance and was the BBC's correspondent for Rhodesia, and then Zimbabwe, in the last years of UDI and the early years of the Mugabe regime ~ "One of the BBC's all-time great correspondents", according to a senior BBC editor. 

He reported for several other newspapers, radio stations and magazines around the World, including Newsweek and Time magazines.  Friends remember him, also, as a keen cyclist, skater and golfer.  Ian was not only a first-class journalist, he was also a very talented musician, considered one of the finest jazz pianists to play in southern Africa.  Many older Rhodesians will remember bring highly entertained by he and his group, SOUNDS ANONYMOUS, at Highlands Park Hotel, Salisbury.

Ian had two sons ~ Stephen and Paul ~ by his first marriage to Jill and two daughters ~ Melissa and Camilla ~ from his second marriage, to journalist Heather Silk.  At this memorial service, Melissa played a hymn, to the tune of Danny Boy, which reduced mourners to tears.

Reproduced per kind permission of Chris Whitehead, the Editor of the Rhodesians Worldwide magazine.


JOHN LAW (Added 21/04/2013)

Formerly of BLIZZARD and other bands, often associated with Lennie Strydom.

John died in London on, or about, the 26 November, 2012.

This tribute is still work-in-progress.


MARGIE STEVENS (Added 16/11/2011)

Margie Stevens was a well known solo artist on the Salisbury night club circuit during the late 60's and early 70's.  She became more widely known after her performance in the REPS production of Godspell, recording the song "Day By Day" from the musical.  This record reached the Top 10 of the local hit parade.  Margie tragically died a few years later in what is believed to have been a house fire.

 


MARTIN JACKSON (Added 21/04/2013)

Under development.


NOREEN STOKES (Added 21/10/12)

This obituary was compiled by Noreen's son, Peter Goresymnes, and has been reproduced with his kind permission.

Noreen STOKES, the respected Adelaide concert pianist and teacher, died peacefully on Sunday, 11 March, 2012, at Resthaven Leabrook in Adelaide.  She was born on 13 December, 1917, in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where she lived until the late 1930's.  The family initially lived in Fort Street before moving to Jameson Street.  Noreen attended the Dominican Convent where, apart from her mother's teaching, she had her first piano lessons with Sr Cecelia and, later, Sr Raymond.  Her parents were George Morris Stokes and Vivienne Agnes nee Bennett.  Throughout her life she retained Stokes as her professional name.

As a child, and throughout her student years, Noreen was known as "Bobbie".  Her first piano teacher was her mother who supplied her precocious daughter with a constant stream of new music scores.  Noreen soon began dominating the Bulawayo Eisteddfods and was appointed organist at her church.  She began formal piano lessons at her convent school but was already sight-read well enough to fool her teachers.  As a nineteen year old, she was chosen to accompany the prestigious visiting Russian violinist, Leo Cherniavsky, who, twenty years later in Singapore, requested that she accompany him again.

Winning a four-year Beit Scholarship to the College of Music (University of Cape Town) freed Noreen to take lessons with as many pianists as she could, including Minnie Seabridge and Colin Taylor, Adolphe Hallis in Johannesburg - and even some lessons with Herbert Freyer of London's Royal Academy who happened to tour South Africa at the time.  Noreen discovered that she needed to completely revise the keyboard technique she had been taught in Bulawayo.

During her first year as an undergraduate student at the college she was appointed as Departmental Accompanist for examinations and public concerts, and held that position for the duration of her studies.  She also performed exclusively as a soloist, playing many of the standard concerti with Cape Town's municipal orchestra.  She won numerous prizes, as well as the Van Hulsteyn Scholarship for best performance (she chose Chopin's Ballade No 4).  In particular, Noreen loved the piano trip repertoire and was a member of two trios, both of which toured.  To earn extra money during her studies, she performed chamber music in the foyer of Cape Town's Carlton Hotel.  She was elected as head girl at college and even found energy to act with the Cape Town Little Theatre.

During 1941 Noreen enlisted in the war effort.  Sergeant Stokes helped to locate enemy shipping approaching Cape Town by cranking the wooden handle of  a new-fangled machine called Radar.  Noreen impatiently waited for the war to end so that she could travel for lessons at London's Royal Academy.  In the meantime she continued performing and began teaching piano, spending a year at Eveline High School in her home town of Bulawayo.

Finally, in 1946, Noreen was able to sail to London on board an ex-troopship.  On board she met Eric Symes whom she later married in Gibraltar.  London, in 1947, was still under war-time rationing and was experiencing the coldest recorded winter for 100 years.  Undaunted, Noreen took lessons with pianists such as Arthur Alexander, Hilda Dederich and Edith Vogel, as well as touring for the British Arts Council and performing at Wigmore Hall.

In 1950, Noreen's husband was transferred to Singapore.  The colony, during those years, was frequented by many world-class artists from Europe and America, often en route to Australia.  On her arrival in Singapore, Noreen was promptly appointed as accompanist for Radio Malaya.  For ten years she was the pivotal musical personality throughout Asia, performing frequently with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and numerous artists such as Leon Goossens, Mattiwilda Dobbs, Alfredo Campoli, Max Rostal, Marilyn Richardson, Constance Shacklock, Lauris Elms, Gabor Reeves and harmonica virtuoso, Larry Adler (with whom, years later, she was to tour Australia).

In later 1959 her family migrated to Australia.  At the suggestion of William Lovelock, Noreen chose to settle in Adelaide where she was ABC Accompanist from 1961 - 1975.  Noreen taught piano for various Adelaide institutions such as the TAFE School of Music, the Adelaide College of Advanced Education and the Elder Conservatorium, performing and recording extensively with many Adelaide musicians including the Adelaide Piano Trio with Robert Cooper and Waldemar d'Almeida.  She was Director of the South Australian Keyboard Summer School from 1991 - 1996, Patron of the SA Accompanists' Guild, Vice-President of both the SA Society for Keyboard Music and the SA Music Teachers' Association, as well as Vice-Patron of the Adelaide Eisteddfod Society. 

In 1995, Noreen was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Australian Music Examinations Board, having served as Chief Examiner from 1962 - 1993.  In January 2000, she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to music.

Noreen is survived by her two sons, Peter and Adrian, as well as grandchildren, Dale and Liberty, and her great grandchildren, Dennekka and Sonny.  


SCOTTIE STEVENS (Added 05/11/2011)

Scottie was known for his contribution on the drums to the well known Rhodie band, PRIORY COOMBE.  No further details are known of his passing.


TIM LEACH (Added 21/04/2013)

Under development.


WREX TARR (11 June 2006) Added 16/07/06

The grandfather of chilapalapa stories, Wrex Tarr, died from an apparent heart attack whilst in the bar entertaining participants at the end of the second day's play in the All Cape bowl tournament.  The event was being hosted by the Gonubie Bowling Club in East London.  Wrex was participating as a member of the St Francis Bay team.  He was 71 years old.

Apart from his fame through his chilapalapa stories, Wrex had many other achievements to his name.  As a BSAP Field Reservist he won the President's Medal for Shooting in 1978.  This was but one of Wrex's list of accomplishments.

With acknowledgements to The Daily Despatch (East London) for additional detail.


WREX TARR (24 June 1934 - 11 June 2006) Added 28/04/07

 

 

Wrex Tarr was the eldest of of three children from Thomas and Ann Tarr.  Wrex had a brother, Tom, and a sister, Mauveen.  Wrex married Beryl Tarr (nee Lancaster) on 21st September, 1957.  They had three children; Berenice, Giselle and Darryl.  Wrex was educated at Prince Edward High School in Salisbury.  He re-married on the 15th October, 1979, to Merrellyn Tarr (nee Churchman).  They did not have any children and were still happily married at the time of Wrex's passing. 

Some of the milestones in Wrex's life included:

  • Newsreading for the Rhodesia Broadcasting Company;

  • Chilapalapa Records;

  • Being awarded the President's Medal for Bisley rifle shooting in 1978;

  • Together with his second wife, Merry, representing Zimbabwe in Archery at the 1988 Olympic Games at Seoul.

Wrex was not just about entertaining, he was also a family man and placed a high value on these relationships.  He ran a successful swimming pool business in Zimbabwe and, later on after relocating to South Africa, was an organiser and contributor to the St. Francis Conservancy Project where he served as a Steering Committee member.  These achievements, together with his many Chilapala records is how Rhodesians and Zimbabweans will remember Wrex.  He excelled at whatever he turned to and, ironically, was entertaining at the time of his death.  He will be sadly missed by all.

Reproduced per kind permission of Chris Whitehead, the Editor of the Rhodesians Worldwide magazine.

 


 

IAN STRACHAN (Added 17/11/09)

Ian will be fondly remembered as the drummer from the extremely popular band, the BELAIRES, whose golden era on the Salisbury music scene occurred from 1962 - 1967.  Ian emigrated from Zimbabwe to South Africa in 2007 and lived in Johannesburg where he remained involved in music.  His death on 4 November, 2009, came as a shock to all.  Ian suffered a heart attack whilst lifting speakers at his music shop.  He is survived by his wife, Christine, and family.


NOEL BROWNE (Added 17/11/09)

Another former member of the BELAIRES, Noel passed away in Zimbabwe on 27 July, 1994.


 


 

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