I am a foundation singer with the Western Australian Opera Company and was honorary secretary in the early years.Â As we had no permanent rehearsal rooms I was advised weekly where the rehearsals would take place frequently in Lord Mayor Thomas Wardleâ€™s old church in South Perth.Â He of course was â€śTom the Cheap Grocerâ€ť.Â I would then have to phone all choristers to advise of that weekâ€™s venue.
I sang with the Company for 25 years and was Chorus Representative on the Board for 11 years.Â I continue to sing with Ian Westripâ€™s small group. One of our choristers had to prepare an aria from Rigoletto.Â He had forgotten his score. It David Helfgott who was our then repetiteur at 88 Guildford Road Mt Lawley our then home, with fag hanging out of the corner of his mouth as was his wont then proceeded to play the whole of the score from memory!!
Another time the Company was performing The Mikado at the Entertainment Centre, sponsored by Channel 7 when all of a sudden the movie screen behind us lost its moorings and one end of it fell, shattering glass over the stageâ€¦panic.Â The curtain was dropped and we all exited to the dressing rooms not so our Yum Yum June Bronhill who went in front of the curtain and proceeded to entertain the audience for ages until the stage was put to rights and we continued on!Â What a trooper the late great June was.