The SaddleBrooke Singers recently held their annual “Welcome Back Singers!” party, and it has become a joyful tradition to begin our fall rehearsals. Hosted by Jim and Kathy Barrett, we all look forward to this informal gathering that unites returning and new group members. It’s a wonderful way to get to know fellow SaddleBrooke Singer members better, before we start the official rehearsals to prepare for the concert.
And with the September 16 first rehearsal, our group has begun practicing for our concert: HOLIDAY IN MOTION…Pictures, That is! (With Forever Christmas).” As I mentioned in my last article, this show will feature beloved holiday songs from television and movies. You’ll delight in the heartwarming and memory evoking tunes you have loved for years! I’ll bet you will even be humming or singing along right from your seat in the audience.
It has been several months since I included a “Meet the Singers” section to the SaddleBrooke Singer article, but I am delighted to introduce you to Charles Riddell. In the past I have written articles about our director, musicians and various other members of the Singer family, but now you get a chance to meet Charles, who sings and helps direct the SB Singers. Let’s hear from him in his own words. He writes, “I must begin my story by saying that I have been very fortunate to be in the right places at the right times so often over the years. This includes getting to know the American tenor Richard Crooks who sang at the Metropolitan Opera, and participating in a workshop by the great choral conductor and music arranger Robert Shaw. Here are some of the musical activities that have been an important part of my life. I was born in Alexandria, Virginia and attended the youth concerts of the National Symphony Orchestra, took guitar lessons, sang in the school glee club and our junior church choir.
While attending high school in the San Francisco Bay Area, I sang in the choir, Madrigal Singers and Campus Ten (a popular singing group). I attended the College of San Mateo, sang in the choir and college chorale, and conducted a women’s chorus. I also attended San Jose State University where I sang in the Advanced Chorus, the Men’s Glee Club and was student music director for two theater productions and a performing group in the Drama Department. After college I taught high school music in a suburb of Sydney, Australia for a year and a half. I then taught K-12 music in California, until music teachers were hit by cut backs in the public school arts programs. Fortunately, I was able to continue directing various church choirs over the years during this period. After leaving teaching, I worked for United Airlines in various capacities for 30 years.
I have two daughters and four grandchildren that live in the San Francisco Bay Area. My wonderful wife Vicki and I, along with our dog Samantha, moved to SaddleBrooke in 2009. I was the choir director for the Community Church at SaddleBrooke for four years and have been a member of SaddleBrooke Singers for nine years. For two seasons I sang with the Southern Arizona Symphony Chorus and helped to start a community orchestra. I am currently the choir director for the Resurrection Church at SaddleBrooke. It is hard to believe that I have been conducting choirs for fifty years. I owe a lot to the exceptional choral directors, voice teachers and many other instructors, friends and performers who helped to guide me during my early years. Now that my busy schedule is beginning to slow down, we will be able to begin the traveling experiences that we have been planning for many years.” Thank you, Charles!
Our 2018 Board of Directors have been working throughout the summer to keep the club running smoothly. I am delighted to work with such a dedicated group! Don’t forget to mark your calendar for December 7 and 9, and plan to welcome the holiday season with the SaddleBrooke Singers at DesertView Theatre. We are also still looking to add an additional piano accompanist and video technician to our group. Our rehearsals take place on Sunday afternoons (3:00–5:00 p.m.) at the SaddleBrooke One Activity Center. The SaddleBrooke Singers Organization is comprised of SaddleBrooke residents and has been presenting programs to the community for 25 years. For more information about the SB Singers, please contact Jay Hansen at 520-271-8542.