THIRTY years ago singing teacher Julianne Petterson persuaded Mary Devlin to form a choir that could sing Handel's Messiah.
Earlier this month, past and present friends from across Australia including Burrum Heads, Hervey Bay, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Allora, Redcliffe, Burpengary and even Newcastle gathered to celebrate the Gympie Choral Group's rich history.
The chatter of greetings and reminiscences over a sumptuous morning tea was followed by comparative quiet as they enjoyed a DVD compiled from old (and some very old videos) including extracts from Messiah, short clips of soloists and snippets from many concerts.
Choral singers in the group have numbered as many as 62 (performing at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort in 1997), and since 2012 two sacred concerts are held annually. The invitations asked people to bring their Messiah books so before lunch the group gathered to sing and sing they did.
It was an enjoyable occasion tinged with sadness for those unable to attend due to illness and for those no longer with us.
It's doubtful if there will be another 30 years of Gympie Choral Group but members said the past 30 years have been a blessing and a joy to both singers and audiences.
Messages received since the reunion have been along the lines of "what a wonderful time together - lots of fun, food and music”.
Mary Devlin said that for the past 30 years making friends with so many special people in her choir has enriched her live.
"My singers are united in caring for each other and in their efforts to present their very best. Under the influence of our God, the central figure in all sacred song, people will be blessed and uplifted,” she said.
Organisers wished to credit Mary for her enthusiasm, dedication, hard work and love.