Mercy sister still teaching singing at 101

A Mercy Sister is still teaching singing at 101.

Sister Mary Winefride Blake was a teacher at St Mary’s College in Wellington New Zealand for many years.

She says a highlight of her long career was founding St Mary’s Schola, which became a major source of entry for young singers into church choirs and other regional choirs.

From 1953 until 1992 this group of 24 college girls, aged 14 to 17, were taught skilfully to sing in beautiful harmonies.

She also trained individual singers, some of whom went on to become notable performers in New Zealand and Internationally. They included Andrea Creighton, Suzanne Green, Val Sinclair and Rosaleen Hickmott. Even now she has one or two students.

From 1944 till 1964, she organised concerts in the Wellington Town Hall. She conducted the students from behind a black screen because it was not considered appropriate for nuns to be seen in public at night.

Sister Winefride was born in Kelburn on March 14, 1914, grew up in a musical house.

“My grandmother was very, very musical and my aunts. My father used to sing duets,” she said.

She was trained as a singer before she entered St Mary’s Convent on her 19th birthday in 1933 . She became a Sister of Mercy in 1936.


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News category: New Zealand.

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