2005, Fran and John Kendall became members of U3A and, after noting a request in a newsletter for someone to start a choir, they decided to offer to do so.
The U3A choir commenced in 2006 at St. Patrick’s hall at East Gosford with Fran as director, Sue Watson as accompanist and John Kendall on refreshments duty.
The members chose ‘The Frantastics’ as the name for the choir.
Bookings from retirement villages, aged care centres and Laycock Street theatre were consistent and very well received.
Membership grew to such an extent over the ensuing years that a larger venue, the Walter Baker Hall at Woy Woy became the new home for the choir in 2005.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Fran and John decided to break away from U3A in 2011 and, with a members’ committee established ‘The Frantastics Choir Incorporated.’
Such is the popularity of performances that most convenors book the choir more than once annually and return bookings are common. The 1 hour programme consists of choral items alternating with solos, duos and comic monologues. Short melodramas were also a common feature for many years.
Although the choir has performed as far north as Newcastle, over the years performances have been limited to the Central Coast area as much as possible.
‘Choralography’ features in many performed items and members have developed great confidence in this area over the years. Those hindered with physical problems ‘sit out’ such items.
A ‘Family and Friends’ performance is held annually with large audiences and profits from raffles going to nominated charities.
Auditions are not held for membership and members can opt to receive either lyrics or music.
Contact with members is made via email or telephone.
The choir has purchased its own sound equipment and keyboard subsidised in the early years by council grants.
Sue Watson retired from the choir in 2018 and Lindy Nankivell took over the task of accompanist.
The committee, which has seen various members come/go, has always been the supportive backbone of the group.
The choir prides itself on the warm camaraderie of rehearsal sessions on Mondays together with the preparation of an entertaining repertoire.
Performances are not mandatory, with some members preferring to attend Monday sessions only.
The committee arranges social outings such as theatre parties, luncheons and a ferry trip to The Basin (organised by Pam Brown, the creator of the choir’s website http://www.frantastics.org ).
During Fran and John’s annual overseas holidays, Ruth Ireland, Thayer Donaldson and Pam Brown have ably taken over the choir direction with Peter Whiteman, the husband of a member, taking over John’s responsibilities with afternoon tea.
The number of members has fluctuated over the years but a large core of original members exists.
The friendships that have developed over the years are very strong and supportive. The joy of singing and the bonus of being able to entertain and bring joy to others makes the choir a supremely rewarding hobby. The photo below was taken in 2011.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Just a few of the many many photos we have gathered over the years. Lot’s of fun memories with performances especially our ‘Melodramas’ which have been rewritten a number of times. Some of the members in the photos have been with the choir since the beginning at East Gosford. Thank you to talented Brenda Bryant who wrote the originals and allowed us to take poetic licence with her work.