About Christine

Christine has sung since childhood.

Teddy Bear’s Vespers © SGB 1962

http://www.christinebennett-soprano.com/ChristineBennett-Soprano/About_Christine_files/droppedImage_1.pngCMB sing cert 1968

She was a soloist with her church and school choirs.  Her first formal singing lessons took place while she was at Manchester University in the early 1970s.  More recently she has had lessons with John Bernays and with Joy Timms.  Her current singing teacher and voice production coach is Julie Bale.

Although her career, until early 2010, was not in singing, she is experienced as a soloist: singing oratorio, opera arias, art songs, early music and church music, as well as a wide range of popular, humorous, and folk songs.  She is a versatile and musical singer, with an understanding of ensemble singing, a clear voice, and the ability to blend with most voice types.  At the current stage of her vocal development, as a concert soloist in classical repertoire she is probably more suited to works from the baroque and classical periods - or material calling for a similar voice-type.

Because singing had only been a (very important) hobby, Christine had never taken any singing exams, but her career-switch made it appropriate to gain the paperwork as evidence of competence.  She is delighted to have gained a high-mark Distinction for her ABRSM Grade 8 Singing exam, taken March 2011.  She is now working on expanding her repertoire, and increasing her technical skills.

At the invitation of her teacher, Julie Bale, Christine joined the team of affiliated teachers at The Singing School in Bushey in autumn 2012.  She teaches the Beginner’s Course, which consists of six half-hour sessions of basic singing technique, to enable her students to get more out of their singing voices, and appreciate the enjoyment they can get from singing.

Christine lives in Bushey, with her husband.  An active member of her local parish, she has used her musical interests and enthusiasms as a member of the parish church choir (where she is amongst those selected to sing solos both at the parish church and when the choir is visiting cathedrals or other churches); and she is involved in organising charitable concerts.  She has sung as a member of several local choirs and choruses, including the Bushey Chamber Choir, and Harrow Philharmonic Choir, The Gaudeamus Singers and The Anselm Singers, and as a guest singer with a number of other choirs and choruses.  She has also enjoyed taking part in local amateur dramatic productions (St James Music & Drama Society).  In March 2012 she was a member of the chorus for Harrow Opera’s production of Verdi’s Falstaff.

Having sung with the joint Stamford Schools Madrigal Group, under the direction of Frederic Goodwin, Christine is very pleased to have retained that contact and sung again under his direction, augmenting the choir for John Lyon School concerts and, more recently, with Louth Chorale, as well as two recitals at St James’s Church, Louth, for which Frederic was the accompanist.   She feels very privileged to know that some of Frederic's pieces had been composed with her voice in mind.

In November 2014 she was privileged to be part of a select chorus in the inaugural concert of Opera Herts, under the direction of Phillip Thomas.  She feels privileged to have been a chorus member for all subsequent OperaHerts performances, benefitting from the direct chorus tuition of Phillip Thomas, himself.

When she is not singing, Christine is likely to be pursuing her addictive hobby of family tree research (using sites such as FamilyTreeForum.com).

In January 2011, Christine celebrated her 60th birthday by raising money for Cancer Research UK.  The Party Piece Concert, on 5 Feb 2011, proved to be a great success and raised in excess of £700 on the day; and more donations were sent direct to her Just Giving page, ending with a grand total well into four figures.

For those of you who have any experience of the destructive effects of dementia, you may be interested to read about the Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain events and how positive they can be.  The NHS has info about it here.  Christine is privileged to have been a support singer with the local sessions in Watford.  A funding change would have brought those sessions to a close but a new charity, Herts Musical Memories, is being set up to enable them to continue under the new name.  It is such a delight to see the positive responses amongst all who attend.  A while ago, Hertfordshire CC elected to transfer finding form the Alzheimer’s Society to a consortium of AGE UK and some other more local charities.  In order to continue the very valuable service that SftB provided a new charity, Herts Musical Memories, was set up and Christine continues with this activity under the new charity.

Christine and her husband’s elder son was married in October of 2011.  She was very specially privileged to participate in the ceremony by singing, accompanied by her talented newly-acquired grandson, Ed, on guitar.  The affirmation of that performance was that their younger son asked the duo to do a reprise in August 2014, at his wedding; this time they were augmented, during the refrain, by some harmonies from Christine’s brother and sister.  This summer (2017) she is delighted to have been invited to sing at her niece’s wedding.

Photos, above clockwise from top-left: St Paul’s Church, Bushey; St James’s Church, Bushey; St James’s Choir rehearsing at York Minster (1 Jan 2005).

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