Isn’t it just wonderful to be singing together again!
Last Thursday brought the Choir together for the first time in just over a year, in a different hall and different layout from pre-Covid, with extra precautions and admin arrangements. But, most importantly, we were back singing together.
Carlos led us through a number of vocal exercises and songs, encouraging us as always to make the most of the words and the music. A very satisfying evening.
Most of the incidental sights and sounds were familiar to the memory. Friendly faces; the chatter of voices before we started; the shuffling of music as we found the next song; occasional clearing of the throat, and so-on. But one sound I had forgotten was that of the opening of packets – new packets, of course – of Fisherman’s Friends, by those choristers whose vocal chords, rusty through fifty four weeks of reduced use, needed some encouragement and lubrication.
It has always puzzled me how a product called Fisherman’s Friend comes to be used by choristers. I found out when I got home. Once I had recounted to Anne the details of a wonderful evening’s singing, she said, “Have you heard about Doreen Lofthouse?” “No, why?” I replied, racking my brain to find some connection. Anne had picked up from a UK news feed that the said Doreen Lofthouse had just died at the ripe old age of 91, and that she was the person responsible for turning a humble remedy for fisherman’s respiratory ills into a universally favourite throat lozenge, which has become a friend to many more people than fishermen, particularly to choristers.
Her story is heart-warming. She married the great grandson of the lozenges’ inventor at a time when Fisherman’s Friend was known only locally around the fishing town of Fleetwood, near the famous seaside town of Blackpool, with both the fishing fleet and the town in decline. Extending the range of flavours and actively marketing on a national and subsequently global scale, she was instrumental in securing the long term viability of the business, and hence restoring the town’s civic pride. The lozenges, redesigned by Doreen in 1963 in the shape of a button on her favourite dress, are now made in a disused fish processing factory in Fleetwood which employs many descendants of the original fishermen. She was modest about her role in the success of the business and become a generous benefactor to many local civic, medical and educational causes.
To read more of Doreen Loftouse’s story, click here.
As Doreen’s life ended, so the Manly Warringah Choir has sprung back to life. We all look forward with eager anticipation over the coming months to rehearsals and concerts of inspiring music, aided, of course, by the famous Fisherman’s Friend.