1. Tell me about yourself…
I and my husband, Max, have been living for the last 15 years in our home city, Sydney, Australia, and delighted that the management of COVID19 has been so successful here. As I write this, I am reminded of the old adage “Pride comes before a fall”, and we all know by now that COVID has a way of striking back again and again. Our children and grandchildren live in London, so they have not had such a happy time. Neither have our friends in Japan and we are always thinking of you and hoping for a miracle for the Tokyo Olympics.
After leaving Japan in 2005, we spent a year in Singapore and then retired to Sydney to a lifestyle by the sea.
I have now been able to indulge my passion for music, singing specifically, in a large choir performing the repertoire of the major classical choral works both of the old masters and also of contemporary composers. Here I have combined my passion with my corporate management experience in administration for the choir. I count myself extremely fortunate in this.
For a bit more singing and pushing a bit beyond the comfort zone, I have been in a trio, piano, clarinet and soprano, performing in aged care facilities around Sydney. This is the most wonderful experience – to provide an obvious pleasure to others while engaging in one’s own passion of making music!
Some friends from the CWAJ Music group keep in touch and we exchange CDs of our performances. Music just goes on giving us so much pleasure and interest.
2. What is your relationship with CWAJ? Both your current position and any previous involvement?
I joined CWAJ as soon as I arrived in Japan in 1999 for our second time, and became more and more involved through Lecture Series, co-chairing with Akiko Samura, as VP Culture and finally as President (2003, 2004). Although I left Japan in 2005, I continued to work with Print Show for its 50th, specifically in organizing our 50th Print Show Exhibition at the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 2007. Almost 100 CWAJ members and many of our artists travelled to the US for the Opening Event at Cherry Blossom time there. Those trees were a gift from Japan early in the 20th century. The “event” went on for several days, with a fabulous itinerary of cultural events and amazing parties, organized by former CWAJ members then living in Washington, among them being Bobbie Seligmann. Many members will remember Bobbie (President, 1988) who spoke so brilliantly at our CWAJ 70th Anniversary dinner at The Okura Hotel in May 2019.
It is this continuing commitment to the organization which gave us all so many opportunities and wonderful experiences, which is the hallmark of CWAJ and its former members. We just keep coming back to experience time with the lifelong friends we made there, knowing that the brilliant organization of all events continues to impress with its richness.
It is just amazing to have two former members, Pat McDonald-Scott and Jennie Orchard, who continue their commitment by organizing overseas members (OMs) and keep us in touch with the major events of the organization. Being able to “attend” (by ZOOM) the monthly meetings and hear the very interesting speakers before chatting with friends, has been, strangely, a benefit of the COVID period. We must thank everyone involved in making that happen – thank you!
3. What are your goals for the future?
To remain curious about everything, and to continue to do something to help people less fortunate, knowing that to be the route to staying “genki”.
To return to Japan enroute to London visiting family as soon as we are allowed to leave Australia. Perhaps 2022, or perhaps not.
To continue to share music-making with others.
4. What would you say to the you 5 or 10 years ago if you had the chance?
Keep active, keep in touch with friends all over the world, and find at least one focus in life and work at it.
5. What would you like to say to the current members of the CWAJ?
Cherish CWAJ as an organization; take on as much responsibility as you can as that is how you will learn and enjoy. It really is true that “the more you give, the more you receive”.
I hope we can continue to meet over the digital divide.