Soprano Stories - Jenny Leitch

Submitted by huw on Sat, 05/27/2023 - 17:05
Jenny Leitch picture

My musical story probably started in my genes. My paternal grandfather was a church organist for 30 or 40 years; he played at our wedding in 1970!  My maternal grandfather was gassed in World War 1 and shipped back to the UK for hospital treatment. My granny was a young voluntary nurse in the same hospital. They both happened to join in the hospital concert party! After the war they shipped off to Mildura in south east Australia, where this grandpa joined the church choir!

As a small child I was fascinated by Mum’s wind-up HMV gramophone playing Teddy Bears’ Picnic and Noddy songs. Seemed quite magical to me! BBC Schools Radio was an important resource for schools in the 1950s and 60s. Singing Together & Rhythm & Melody were a regular part of our week and craft lessons were often accompanied by Peter and The Wolf on the school record player. Our head mistress also ran the Brownies and Girl Guides which involved more singing, especially campfire songs.

Several of us also joined the church choir from about nine till leaving home for college. I grew up on a farm two miles from the village centre, so attendance entailed a lot of cycling, but in adolescence it gave me a bona fide reason to be in the village on a Friday evening!

Then a gap through college, marriage, teaching, children and Open University degree, till I joined Dunmow Singers and trips to Dunmow’s twin town in France to perform in joint concerts and enjoy French family hospitality.

Moving to Great Chishill in 1998 I discovered Royston Choral Society – and more French trips – Run by Singers singing holidays in Europe & UK, and Icknield Way Parish Choir.

For three or four years, I took my late husband to music therapy groups for people with dementia in Sawston and Saffron Walden. This last-mentioned group is sponsored by Anglia Ruskin University and Saffron Hall. It has recently been honoured with a prestigious Queen’s Award for its positive impact on people with dementia – and their companions.