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:
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
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
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
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
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
who knew Denis loved him and he is still spoken of fondly around dinner parties,
braais and pubs alike.
BAILIE (Added 21/04/2013)
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
Glasgow, Scotland, on 2 March, 1920 and educated at St Mungoís School,
Jimmyís 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
relocated with his wife and three children in the early 1950ís 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.
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 ďa man for
all seasonsĒ, 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.
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. Rickís 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!
regular appearances on local television shows such as RTVís annual
Christmas Eve event. He also did session work on recordings for various
In 1967 Jimmy
was presented with a shield for Ďthe best jazz trumpeter in southern
Africaí. Over the years he played with Eddie Calvert and is credited by
many as having performed a more impressive version of ďO Mein PapaĒ than
did Calvert. He also backed a number of other renowned artists,
including Eve Boswell.
enthusiasm even saw him performing on trumpet with the Boswell-Wilkieís
Circus which, unlike most modern day circuses, boasted a live band
during its performances. Jimmyís willingness to temporarily join the
ďbig topĒ 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 circusís
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, wasnít 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 1980ís
he started his own mobile disco and was a popular choice, not only for
his selection of music but for his jokes, too!
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
One of the
greatest accolades he received came during Queen Elizabethís visit to
Zimbabwe in 1991. This came in the form of being asked to trumpet her
Majestyís 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
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.
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 ĎJumping Jackí 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
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.
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
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.
youíre given insistent warnings that youíre going to die - and God knows,
Iíve had enough of those - itís only polite to take the opportunity to
prepare a few words for those whoíve bothered to come and say goodbye to
you. I mean you really have to, donít you? Iím afraid Iíve been even
more laid-back than ever recently, and only woke up to the notion a few days
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 donít know whoís here, and whoís notÖ unless all those
spooky stories of the afterlife are true - in which case I do know whoís
here and whoís not, and...wait for itÖ
can s-e-e-e-e-e you!!
in the event that I mention a name and theyíre 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.
had an extremely privileged life, filled with a multitude of interesting
people and good friends. If youíre here, youíre one of themÖ so you know
exactly who and what Iím 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 canít mention everyone by name, and Iíll 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.
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.
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.
youíve been both good friend and a great workmate. Iíve 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.
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 ďbestĒ friend in our lives. Someone who has put up with
all our weaknesses, follies and foiblesÖ 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
Matthewman was one of my partners in my first ad agency, and was always
someone I could turn to as a reliable buddy. Heís 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.
second great friend Iím referring to I didnít 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
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 Iím grateful.
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. Sheíll 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 havenít 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 Iím 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 Iíve taken
as much of your love as I could cram into this failing heart with me.
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 canít 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.
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.
are also people who didnít really take an active part in my life and people
that I havenít seen for years... but who were somehow an enormous influence
in it, nonetheless like Peter Hume, who shaped my love of music. I hope
weíll meet again.
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.
life was chock-a-block, crammed full of shining lights who made the path
brighter for me, and I have to say, mostly easier.
Iím 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, thereís one person who really stands out - Mandy. I never really
got to be close to you, and thatís left a huge void in my life, and in
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.
prompts me to drift off and leave this gathering now, and hope youíll all
stay for a dop or three.
closing.., if I have one regret, itís that I didnít get to see Matthew
Bull working for Mike Frampton before I died. If ever there was a match made
in heaven, that was it. Iím going to have ďThe Last WordĒ now -
apologies Fleckie! - and see if I really am
able to haunt those two. Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye!"
HUDSON (23/05/1934 - 20/12/2005) Added 16/07/06
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Reproduced per kind permission of Chris Whitehead,
the Editor of the Rhodesians Worldwide magazine.
(22 February 2007) Added 07/09/08
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.
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.
BLIZZARD and other bands, often associated with Lennie Strydom.
John died in
London on, or about, the 26 November, 2012.
tribute is still work-in-progress.
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)
NOREEN STOKES (Added
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
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
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
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.
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.
(11 June 2006) Added 16/07/06
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.
(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
Some of the
milestones in Wrex's life included:
for the Rhodesia Broadcasting Company;
the President's Medal for Bisley rifle shooting in 1978;
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
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.
Another former member of the BELAIRES, Noel passed
away in Zimbabwe on 27 July, 1994.