DIARIES continued – SEPTEMBER 1963.

28 September – I meet Anne at Edinburgh Court. She has a soothing effect on me. I
sing well for Guy McG and he drools over her. Questions are all fine, as is the sight- singing. He seems pleased. Anne and I go to Macy’s where she buys a carpet sweeper and she says she was delighted with my singing and thinks I should do very well. She says I am turning out to be another Mabel Fenney! She runs me back to the studio in her
blue Anglia and is a regular love.

Webster comes and says he hears I sang fabulously and do I want to pay his 1/- bet right now!

3 September – Meet Gill Viljoen in town and we go skating. The British champion skater, Daphne Walker is there with two little girls.

Daphne Walker (1946)

We lunch at the SABC with Doreen Taylor. I talk to Arthur (tuba player) and see Edgar Cree, Gerrit Bonn and Thea Mullins’ sister, Wendy (Kim Shippey’s secretary). I go to singing and Webster gives me tea and tells me Anne is feeling a bit miserable and has probably caught a chill. She remarks on my hair style and even he says it looks beautiful. They say the lipstick they gave me looks lovely. Sing Father of Heav’n and do it well. Anne is impressed with my skates! I meet Doreen Craig after her trip to Europe.

6 September – Go into studio. Anne comes in looking too beautiful for words. She tells me about her arthritis which keeps her in constant agony. We decide that everyone has something to worry them.

10 September – Ear tests with Edith Sanders. I learn that Guy McG is the examiner for my Associate diploma. I go to the studio and Anne answers the door as Webster is on the phone with Mum. He comes into the kitchen and gives me a message. When Heather leaves Anne asks me if I should like to help at the theatrical garden party on 5 October with Ruth. They are on the committee – should be fun. Anne says I look more beautiful every week. They emote about all the music history I have to learn for diploma exam.

12 September – Go into studio and work very hard as diploma is looming. Anne arrives looking too lovely for words in a pretty summer dress. We run down The King and I together and she says I’m the only person to whom she can say it because S. Africans would say she was acting big! Linda Walters arrives and I go out and meet Webster on the ground floor. He is very sweet to me. Ah, what a life this is!

13 September – Go into studio. Desmond Wright calls. Lucille and Anne arrive and Webster gives me some tea and complains about the heat. I say if I don’t pass, he knows what I’ll do, and he says if I do, he’ll take the keys away! I do vast amount of scales and Anne tells met to open my mouth wider, and he says, “And a very pretty mouth it is too!”

I phone Ruth at night and we decide to go to the theatrical garden party. There is a disgusting article by Jon Sylvester in the Star about Webster. I phone the Star and complain for I feel really bitter about it!

The Star 13 September 1963. Jon Sylvester – radio critic

14 September – We go to see The Blue Lamp with a lovely Jack Warner of 15 years ago – very similar to studio picture.

16 September – Ruth finishes preliminary exams. I do ear tests with Edith then go up to the studio. Webster is still in one piece after the horrible slating by Jon Silvester in the paper. They tell me all about Mabel Fenney marrying again, Anne’s anaemia, and how well Lucille sang in her exam. He makes tea for us and we make arrangements about lessons next week. We go to the Victoria hotel and dine with Uncle John and Aunt Nellie McKee up from Cape Town. I drink wine!

18 September – Go to studio. Webster phones in the afternoon, calling me Jeannie, and asks me to accompany Selwyn and Dennis at an audition in Ansteys building at the home of Gwen Clark on Saturday. I agree, naturally enough. He tells me about Elijah which he is singing in Pietermaritzburg. I wish him luck and tell him I know he’ll sing beautifully! He says, “Bless you, dear,” when we say goodbye.

19 September – Go to studio and have dozens of phone calls including one from Brian Morris. Linda arrives before Anne and then when she comes, I have to show her the broken window of which she knows nothing. She says she hopes I don’t mind playing for Dennis and Selwyn on Saturday. Anne will probably be early in tomorrow after visit to the doctor.

20 September – Work in studio. When Anne arrives, she tells me she hasn’t got anaemia but still feels horrid. We have tea and she tells me that Webster refused to phone her from Michaelhouse to tell her how he is or to enquire about the blood test she had. She is very hurt. We do scales for the entire lesson. She gives me a lecture on my inferiority complex. I phone Dennis’s mother to arrange to meet them tomorrow. I wash the dishes before I leave. Lucille is doing The Merry Widow in Afrikaans in Kempton Park.

21 September – Accompany Dennis and Selwyn at Gwen Clark’s penthouse in Ansteys. Taubie Kushlik and Ockert Botha are there. The boys sing well. We have a lovely tea after the audition (for Amahl and the Night Visitors) is over. I go up to the studio afterwards and Anne is still there. She makes us coffee and tells me she loathes Gwen Clark and all the pseudo-theatrical types in Johannesburg. She says, “You must think I’m a bitch!” but I agree with her. She says that when they first arrived all the society types were inviting them to the races and other events and were not impressed that they were not rolling in money and had to work for a living. I stay in the studio until 2.00pm. Lucille’s father arrives to talk to Anne about Lucille.

22 September – Phone Ruth who tells me about her exams and how Anne raved about me yesterday during her lesson.

23 September – Ear tests. Edith plays me her pieces and I sing mine to her. Go to the studio and Anne is on the phone talking to Lucille’s father. She tells me she’s sick to death of him. She asks me to make tea and tells me about a visit to the Capri where she had the ghastly experience of seeing Dickie Loader and the Blue Jeans. She says Webster did phone when he arrived at Michaelhouse after all. Webster phones the studio to say he’s home again. I wash the dishes.

24 September – Webster answers door and calls me, “Darling!” He says the trip was fun but tiring when I ask how he is keeping. Heather sings a ghastly wrong note and he says, “See what I mean!” We grimace at each other for ages – lovely! Anne tells me that Lucille just passed her exam. The examiner was not at all impressed with her voice.

27 September – Anne comes and we do the French song and when Webster arrives, he puts everything on tape. He says I shouldn’t take any pills – just a glass of water! Linda W arrives and tells me she thinks I sing most beautifully. Webster jokes with me and then says, “Darling, I wish you all the best of luck.” Ruth phones when I get home and I say I’ll see her at the garden party.

28 September – I meet Anne at Edinburgh Court. She has a soothing effect on me. I sing well for Guy McG and he drools over her. Questions are all fine, as is the sight- singing. He seems pleased. Anne and I go to Macy’s where she buys a carpet sweeper and she says she was delighted with my singing and thinks I should do very well. She says I am turning out to be another Mabel Fenney! She runs me back to the studio in her blue Anglia and is a regular love.

Webster comes and says he hears I sang fabulously and do I want to pay his 1/- bet right now!

29 September – Go to Mrs Sullivan. Margaret arrives in a state after her exam. Mrs S tells me that Webster embarrasses her when he makes her conduct the proceedings for their nursery school record. He told her that they are very proud of me. All the orphans at Nazareth House were allowed to stay up to listen to his programme last week and were very impressed. Listen to Webster’s Great Voices and he plays his Sound an Alarm which is marvellous!

Nursery School sing-along.

29 September – Go to studio to get the sheet music for Rendezvous. Webster answers – still with bad leg. Gertie is there with Anne and they all congratulate me on Grade VII piano exam 85%. Tell them about the record and then depart. I feel sad about Webster in many ways.

30 September – Go to see Kimberley Jim. Despite Jim Reeves being the star of the film it is very poor indeed. Webster has only a tiny part as the innkeeper but plays it well, complete with monocle.

Kimberley Jim with Jim Reeves, Clive Parnell, Arthur Swemmer , Webster and others.

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EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES: AUGUST 1963

When Anne comes back to the studio we do Love’s Sickness and she tells me that Webster said today that my sight reading is phenomenal now! I have an hour today and really enjoy myself with her.

1 August –Heather arrives and then Webster who is in a lovely mood. We have Yvonne but Margriet doesn’t come so we have a chat about Leslie Green and Desmond Wright.I tell him I’ll soon be 20 and what have I done with my life? He says I’ll have done a great deal if I get the ATCL. Thea, Graham and Freddie come and he teases me through all of them and grins at me amiably We come home in Hillman and he asks me to phone Anne as he has forgotten to do so. I’m going in again on Tuesday.

2 August – Go to studio and work. I get the result for my harmony exam – honours! I leave for an hour while Lucille has her lesson. When I come back we go through Father of Heav’n and decide to make more use of the “or” vowel. She says she still doesn’t feel too wonderful. At half-past she goes to ABC for shoes and I make tea for us. When Anne comes back to the studio we do Love’s Sickness and she tells me that Webster said today that my sight reading is phenomenal now! I have an hour today and really enjoy myself with her.

3 August – Go into Mrs S. I get 88% for my harmony which is not bad, considering how ill I was that day. Webster has an excellent programme tonight – Marian Anderson, Robert Merrill and themselves singing the lovely Nocturne duet.

5 August – Go to SABC at night. I feel dizzy and have to go and sit in the foyer. Hester comes with me and we have a pleasant chat. All the boys from the choir ask me how I am keeping.

6 August – Lunch in Ansteys with Mum. Go up to studio and Webster arrives with a, “Hello, darling.” I tell him over tea about the dizzy turn and the theory exam. He’s pleased about the latter. I say that I didn’t think I would pass. He says, “I’ll smack your bottom if you talk like that again!” We have Linda Walters for a lesson and then I have my own lesson in which I manage to sing fairly well. He does slap my bottom after that and tells me I’m improving! Thea, Winnie and a girl called Lou-Anne come and the last-mentioned gives us a lift to the garage. In the car we talk about films and Mary Harrison. I phone Anne to let her know that he is on the way home as he forgot to do so before he left and she is as sweet as always.

8 August – Go to studio and work. Robert Lang phones to say he’ll send up a costume for Anne for tomorrow night. Heather arrives so we have a chat. Anne comes and I give her Bobby’s message and she is grateful. She congratulates me on my exam result and says Webster was full of it when he came home on Tuesday.

9 August – Go into the studio and accompany for the last time. Lucille arrives first so she sings a bit. He wishes her a happy birthday when he arrives. She sings well with her boyfriend and I have my lesson after she leaves and we do Dream of Gerontius which is very interesting. Gertie and Charlotte come next and then we are finished. He tells me in the car that they want to get a studio with a house attached and give up the present one which is rather disconcerting news.

Webster, Anne and Bill Brewer

10 August – Hilda returns from St Helena. Have a reactionary day. I do ear tests at Mrs S and see Hitchcock’s The Birds in the afternoon.

11 August – Phone Ruth in the afternoon. Hilda is definitely back for she saw her when she called at their house to get a record. They also told her of their horrible Northern Suburbs studio idea. It’ll break my heart if it comes off as I would never be able to go all that way for lessons.

12 August – I go and play at Afrikaans Eisteddfod for Connie (Mrs S’s pupil). She sings better than I expected her to sing and calls me “Tannie”!

Learner’s licence!

13 August – Go and get learner’s licence today and then lunch in Capeniro with Mum. I meet Flom (Frances de Vries Robbé) in the library. Go to singing. This time it’s Linda who has a dizzy turn so Webster walks with her to the station so that she can catch the train to Vereeniging. Anne and I discuss her attack and then I sing – not too badly for a change. When he comes back he says, “Where’s that voice coming from?” He makes me tea after my lesson when Thea is having her lesson. He says, “I haven’t asked how you are yet?” I feel rather miserable – perhaps I’m just jealous because they’re both back again in partnership and don’t need me any more.

14 August – I go into the studio and Linda’s mother phones to thank Webster for walking her to the station. I go to Mrs S for an hour’s lesson and get my accompaniment fee. We go to Afrikaans eisteddfod at night to hear Lucille singing the duet with her boyfriend. The Booths haven’t arrived and Lucille is in a frightful state. She says I will be able to play if they don’t come. They do – the car broke down off Jan Smuts Avenue so Dad takes Webster out to collect it. Anne sits behind me and we have a chat. Lucille and boyfriend sing well but they don’t win anything. Anne argues with Webster. We were going to take them home but their car starts.

15 August – Go to studio and work. Joy Anderson phones. When Anne comes in we discuss events of last night and have a laugh. They spoke to the adjudicator afterwards – she had seen them on TV. Heather is there for her lesson. I meet Webster on the way down and he says he’s still trying to recover from the drama of last night. He didn’t get to sleep until 2 in the morning.

16 August – Selwyn’s mother phones to say that he can’t come so I phone Anne to let her know. Anne arrives and tells me that the Anglia broke down. Lucille arrives with a sore throat. Julie, the girl before me is going to be in Sound of Music and auditioned for a Jamie Uys film today. Anne is furious that she wasn’t asked to audition. We do the Cycle of Life which isn’t too bad. He sings it with me and tells me to use my whole body when I sing it. I am there for a long time and wish them luck for their concert tomorrow.

17 August – Skip going to Mrs S and go to studio instead. What a terrible state of affairs when I’m happier in a place with no one there than to be with other people who are less amenable than the place. I love it! We have lunch in Galaxy and see How the West Was Won at the Cinerama. Listen to Webster at night and he plays Great South African Voices.

20 August – Go skating with Gill in the morning and enjoy being the best skater there for a change! Go to singing and Webster remarks on my skates and concludes that I went with my (non-existent) boyfriend. Anne tells me the Ficksburg concert was a great success and Desmond Wright played well. Webster and Anne argue all the time which is embarrassing! She goes to John Orrs and he tells me that they haven’t yet decided about giving up the studio.

21 August – Go to Mrs S and do ear tests with Edith. I work in the Booth studio. I listen to Webster’s ballad programme. Their duet, Love’s Garden of Roses is lovely.

22 August – Go to studio early. Anne arrives and tells me she wishes the other pupils would work as hard as I do. She calls me sweetie. Ruth phones and suggests I meet her after her lesson on my birthday and we can go for coffee together afterwards. She says they’ll be able to wish me a happy birthday too.

23 August – Lucille arrives early and we “goo” over the beautiful photographs. I meet Webster in the street and he is sweet to me. He gives me tea when I get back. We go over the things for the exam and they are absolutely delighted with it all. He tells me that my voice is getting much bigger and better.

24 August –Go into studio to collect glasses. The men working there greet me like an old friend – I suppose they think I’m their daughter or niece!

27 August – I go skating with Gill again and we have lunch in town. I have super singing lesson. Webster makes me tea and calls me darling and Anne admires my new hairstyle. Into the bargain I manage to sing very well. He teases me and throws a paper pellet at me!

28 August – Go to studio and have doleful conversation with estate agent! Obviously they are still thinking about having a studio attached to the house they intend to buy.

29 August –Work in studio and lunch with Mum. Anne comes and tells me that the Estate Agent should phone but doesn’t say why!

30 August – Leslie Green phones and is most affable. Lucille and Anne come and I tell them to help themselves to Danish pastries which I have brought in to celebrate my birthday. When I return Webster come into the kitchen and potters over me. When I go into the studio there is a birthday gift on the piano for me. I am simply delighted and thank them very much indeed. I sing my exam songs and discuss who the examiner will be. Webster says he’s sure it’ll be Guy McG for the diploma. They wish me a very happy day tomorrow.

31 August – I go to studio to fetch Ruth. Webster answers door and wishes me a happy birthday once again. Anne comes in and sings, “Happy birthday” to me and kisses me all over the place and Ruth does too! Ruth and I go for coffee and Webster says, “Not too much whisky!” In the afternoon we see The King and I with a Durban cast. At night Webster plays In Native Worth and Love Calling Me Home. A lovely birthday – but a teenager no longer!

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES: JULY 1963

20 July – Go into the studio and Webster is there, in a good mood, and making coffee. Anne is evidently worse this morning. We have the morning pupils and the last two don’t come so we go home in the Hillman with the roof down. As we pass the Kensington Sanitorium he says that it’s such a lovely day that he wishes we could carry on driving all the way to the coast! Unfortunately, we can’t do that!

I have made omissions and toned down some entries in this episode before publishing it!

1 July – Go to music library and see Leo Quayle there. Coming home I see Graham Burns waiting for a bus.

2 July – Go to singing. Anne is wearing her mink coat. We have tea and biscuits and she tells me she hates Britain at the moment – with the shock of the John Profumo/Christine Keeler affair. She says they used to belong to the Conservative Party in Hampstead but fell out with them over something or other.

I sing Open Thy Blue Eyes, the Landon Ronald song Cycle, and Love’s sickness. She is pleased. She tells me I can use the studio at any time and don’t owe them anything for this month. I see Dennis and his mum and have more tea with them. I meet Betty on the way home and Ruth phones in the evening.

3 July – Go to studio and work hard in the peaceful atmosphere. I have lunch in Ansteys with Mum then go to Mrs S for lesson. I’m going to listen to our broadcast now.

4 July – Go to the studio and the lunch hour concert. Webster comes in a bit late – Anne phones to let me know that he’ll be late. We have Heather and Yvonne Marais and then he puts his hands on my shoulder and says, “Put on your coat, love, and put some money in my meter!” I do so. He is a honey. We have Graham and Reeka and then come home in the Anglia. He tells me about the near accident he had coming down the Great Orme in his Talbot in Llandudno, and the Springs Operatic Society. He says, “Imagine that I’ll not be seeing you until next Friday!” I say, “How can I bear it?” half in fun, but whole in earnest!

5 July – I work in the studio in the morning and lunch with Mum. In the afternoon Anne comes in and I have an hour lesson and I enjoy it enormously. We have tea and biscuits and she says I must eat them up when I’m in the studio by myself. She says Webster told her all about my account of Jossie B’s singing lesson and she enjoyed it. She lends me Doris Bolton’s Joan Sutherland biography to read over the weekend and says that of course I can come in on Monday although it’s a public holiday. She’s a sweety.

8 July – Family day. Go to studio to return the Joan S autobiography.

9 July – Go to singing in afternoon. Anne is there teaching Jimmy Elkin, the son of the optician! She tells me that I’ll be in on Monday to play for Webster for he really can’t manage without me. Last Monday was too much for him! We do Love’s Sickness and when we are having tea Anne shows me the Ravel song cycle she sang at the Wigmore Hall as Irené Eastwood – Scheherezade. We do the unaccompanied folk song and she imitates my serious face during my singing of it. We both end up in the giggles. Webster phones and she gives me a whole hour. We finish with Love, From thy Power and then Winnie arrives. I wash the dishes before I leave.

10 July – Go into the studio and read the script for Mrs Puffin. Lunch in Ansteys with Mum then go to Mrs S for lesson. Listen to Webster’s super new programme Ballads Old and New. He plays the Evening Song by Blumenthal – beautiful.

Ballads Old and New – July – not October!

12 July Go to studio and Webster arrives at 3.00 but Lucille doesn’t arrive!! He tells me of the difficulty they are having to find an accompanist for their concert in Ficksburg. He says he would ask me to play for them but they have always preferred a male accompanist as a woman takes the audience’s attention away from Anne. Mayor of Brakpan’s son comes and sings pleasantly. I have a lesson and we go over all the Messiah arias. Gertie and “Clara Butt” come later. Come home in the car from the garage and we have a discussion about Gert P and Jossie B!

13 July – Webster’s programme is excellent. He plays one of his own records. Go to Mrs S and work with Margaret and company. We see Sammy Going South.

15 July – Go to the studio to play. Webster makes me tea the moment I arrive. Myrtle is our first pupil. We talk about his programme on Saturday and have a number of pupils. He talks about making the Afrikaans record on the way home.

16 July – Go to Mrs S and work with Margaret. Lunch with Mummy and go to studio where Anne makes me tea. Tells me the lights fused completely last night and they didn’t eat until 10.00! I sing well and she is pleased. Jimmy doesn’t come so she gives me an hour because she says she enjoys working with me. There is a lovely picture of them in the paper at night. I listen to the recording of the SABC choir and think it is very good indeed.

18 July -Anne phones to say Webster will be a bit late. Yvonne, her Mum and little sister arrive early. Yvonne wants him to hear her sister sing. He tells them that she can’t start having lessons as she is far too young – wait until she is in her teens. We have Heather, Yvonne and Colleen. He tells me that Anne has caught a cold from Leslie Green – she went to a film with him last night. On the way home we go up to Wallie Petersen’s theatrical agency where he is offered a directorship of a film company. He introduces me as, “This is Miss Campbell – she plays for me.” We are pleased about the offer. I hope something comes of it. He says he’ll phone tomorrow if he wants me to go in and work for him at the studio.

19 July -Anne is too sick to come to studio and my father has ‘flu too so Webster and I “do” again. Lucille comes first and tells us about a funeral she attended. She sings well for an hour and I play well. I have my lesson – oratorio as before. Selwyn arrives in a weepy mood. Gertie comes next and he says to me, “Jean, darling, make me a cup of tea.” Gertie and Brian Morris come afterwards. Webster brings me home and I tell him to give Anne my love and I hope she will feel better.

20 July – Go into the studio and Webster is there, in a good mood, and making coffee. Anne is evidently worse this morning. We have the morning pupils and the last two don’t come so we go home in the Hillman with the roof down. As we pass the Kensington Sanitorium he says that it’s such a lovely day that he wishes we could carry on driving all the way to the coast! Unfortunately, we can’t do that!

21 July – I wash my clothes and hair in the morning. I phone Ruth in the afternoon and she is full of her recent holiday to Victoria Falls. We decide to go out together sometime next week. She’ll phone me on Tuesday. I phone to see how Anne is keeping. Webster answers and is pleased to hear from me. He tells me she is improving and crawling around the house. When we part, he says, “Goodbye, darling.”

22 July – Lunch in Ansteys with Mum. Go to studio and Webster tells me that Anne is a lot worse today. Myrtle comes for her lesson and he tells us about the loss of vision he experienced last night. When he went to lie down the room spun around him and he felt awful. He makes a tape of the pupils today for his cousin in England, Jean Webster. Janet and Lucille come. Webster is always far too nice to the latter for my liking! Reeka is the last pupil and then we come home and discuss the possible reasons for his bad turn yesterday. I hope there is nothing seriously wrong with him.

23 July – Work. Lunch in the Capeniro with Mum. I feel in rather a remote frame of mind after the obsequious way he behaved with Lucille yesterday. I must be jealous! When I get back to the studio Anne is there looking terribly ill. We spend a long time discussing Webster but I don’t say anything to her about Lucille. She says he used to be such a good husband but these days he’s always in a bad mood and drinks and smokes too much. She wants him to see the doctor but he refuses to go. We do some Elijah and have tea. She says he hates teaching in the studio (apart from a few pets), and he is too indulgent with Lemon so he is too spoilt for words. I wish her well and depart feeling somewhat restored but sorry for Anne.


24 July – Go to the studio. After lunch I go to Mrs S and work with Elaine and Edith and have my piano lesson. Ruth phones. She’s coming to fetch me tomorrow at the studio for lunch. She tells me about all her activities, including Yoga lessons which she is enjoying. Listen to Webster’s Ballads Old and New and it is terrific as usual. Why is he always so good?

25 July – Leslie Green phones the studio wanting to speak to Anne and Webster. He talks to me for quite a while – he is just as pleasant as he is to his listeners on the radio. Ruth comes up and we have lunch in the Chesa – she tells me all about her holiday while I spend time imitating my two current bones of contention – “Ag, Uncle Boooo!”

26 July – Lucille arrives early so we go out for an hour and return together. He calls out a casual greeting to me, then when he sees that Lucille is there he makes a great fuss of her. I am upset and spend a dismal hour playing for her during her lesson. He tells me that Anne is just as ill as ever and has been physically sick today too. In the car we discuss Leslie Green, Brian M and Show Boat. He promises to phone me tomorrow if he needs me.

27 July – Anne is still sick so I go into the studio to play for him. Webster makes me coffee and this time it is he who tells me he’s had a disagreement with Anne over Leslie Green and the doctor! Anne insisted on them going to dinner in Leslie Green’s draughty house despite the fact that she is not at all well. Ruth has a lesson and she is full of the joys of spring over the results of her aptitude test. Coming home in the car he talks about Gary A. I listen to him on the radio at night.

29 July – Go to town with Mum and lunch in Ansteys. Go to studio a little early and have tea with Webster. He is tired but in a lovely mood. Ruth phones. She has passed her driving licence and asks me to dinner. Webster says he will drop me off at her house which means a much shorter trip home for him. We pass Zoo Lake on the way to the Ormonds and he says the bowling club is in one of the loveliest settings in the world. I have a pleasant dinner with the Ormonds and they drive us in their huge Rover to the SABC where we have a meeting and then refreshments a la Anton H. Mr O drives me home – lovely day.

30 July Go to singing in the afternoon. Anne tells me she is going to see the doctor on Thursday about her laryngitis. She would have preferred to go on Wednesday but Webster is going to play bowls then come hell or high water! We have tea together and discuss Ruth and the effects of the lottery on her life – all favourable. We work at Father of Heav’n and concentrate on breathing. I see Lucille’s invitation to her twenty-first birthday – they can’t go. Good!

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES: JUNE 1963

She also tells me that Hilda is going to visit her family in St Helena soon and will be away for six and a half weeks so I shall probably be accompanying for Webster again on alternate days. Apparently, he is threatening a cold today but will have to persevere with the Yeomen. She says he’d be very hurt if I didn’t go and say hello backstage on Friday night. I sing exceptionally well today and she is thrilled.

1 June – Go into Mrs S and work with Margaret and Elaine. I have a look at the picture of the juvenile lead (Colonel Fairfax) in the OK.

Webster as Colonel Fairfax

3 June – Go to SABC at night and Chris Lamprecht takes us. Ruth and I meet at interval and have a good chat. She says that they were charming to her on Saturday – lucky her! We’ll see each other at the theory exam on Saturday.

4 June – Work. Go to singing and Anne is there by herself. Webster is exhausted with rehearsing The Yeomen. The musical director, Desmond Wright picked him out for singing flat in the quartet! I don’t believe it! He hardly even retaliated! We work very hard and I send my love to him and wish him luck for the opening night. She wishes me luck for my theory exam on Saturday.

5 June – Go to studio and work hard. I lunch in Ansteys with Mum. A Mr Haagen comes to the studio in the afternoon to give Jossie Boshoff a lesson. I have a lesson with Mrs S and work with Elaine. Gill, Corrie and everyone think that JB is the limit!

6 June – Webster was obviously the hit of the evening for both critics say that although his singing is not all it once was, his great sense of timing, his experience of G&S in D’Oyly Carte, and his perfect diction carried the show through admirably.

Lewis Sowden – Rand Daily Mail.

7 June – Work. Go to singing and meet Roselle’s sister on the bus. Anne is in the studio by herself again. She has her hair in curls on top of her head (set for the first night). She tells me over tea that he stole the show. We work hard and she is very pleased. Selwyn comes after me and I wash the dishes before I leave. I meet Brian McDade on the bus coming home.

Oliver Walker – the Yeomen of the Guard crit.

8 June – Go to write theory exam and Ruth is there writing one too. Afterwards we have a cup of coffee in De Beers and she tells me that Anne raved about my concentration yesterday. I go up to Mrs S and deteriorate from then on. I faint 3 times while singing in the choir and my father has to come in to town to fetch me. I am ill for the rest of the day and Mrs S phones to see how I’m keeping.

9 June – Dora Sowden gives Webster a super crit in the Sunday Times.

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10 June – Work. Go to SABC at night and Ruth tells me that she might be going to Cape Town music school next year. We work hard with Chris Lamprecht.

11 June – Work. Go to singing in the afternoon and tell Anne about the fainting attack on Saturday morning. She is very sympathetic and tells me that she had much the same trouble herself, especially when she was on tour. She also tells me that Hilda is going to visit her family in St Helena soon and will be away for six and a half weeks so I shall probably be accompanying for Webster again on alternate days. Apparently, he is threatening a cold today but will have to persevere with the Yeomen. She says he’d be very hurt if I didn’t go and say hello backstage on Friday night. I sing exceptionally well today and she is thrilled. I wash our teacups after my lesson and this pleases her.

12 June – Go to SS studios and work at ear tests with Edith Sanders. Lunch in Ansteys with Mum and have my piano lesson in the afternoon. I meet Colleen McM on the bus – she is back working in an office and feeling miserable.

13 June – Go to SS studios and work with Edith Sanders again. I have lunch in the restaurant opposite Show Service and see Leon Gluckman there.

14 June – Anne phones in the morning with a king-size attack of the ‘flu. Evidently Webster is almost as bad. I promise to phone Ruth for her and do so in the afternoon to put her off. We go to Yeomen of the Guard at night and it is really gorgeous. Webster sings beautifully and (as I tell him afterwards) makes a charming young man. I go back to see Webster in his dressing room and say how much I enjoyed it. He is terribly pleased. He has a large glass of whisky sitting on the table. He says his temperature is down and Anne is feeling much better tonight. He is a real honey and as unassuming as always. I say, “Ta, ta,” and leave him to dress and get home to bed to nurse his ‘flu.

The Yeomen of the Guard

15 June – Go into the SS studio and rave about the Yeomen. Mrs S is very derisive about it. I work with Margaret and Elaine, sing in the choir and chat to Binky. Come home with Margaret. See Fast Lady (Stanley Black). Listen to Great Voices and he plays a woman of 69 singing. He says, “I wonder if I’ll sound as good as that when I’m 69!”

17 June – Anne phones me in the morning and says she is still sick. We talk for an hour and I think it cheers her up. She runs down Julietta Stanners-B for the peppermint green costume she produced for Webster in the last act. He’s still sick but managing to crawl on stage every night. She says she’ll let me know on Friday about the arrangements for the next six weeks, and certainly, I may have the studio key once more. I go to SABC at night and chat to Ruth. We have rehearsal for Friday and Anton Hartman comes into the studio to talk to us.

18 June – Go to SS studio and work with Edith. Have lunch in Ansteys and then see Sparrows Can’t Sing – an excellent and unusual film. Clive Parnell sits in front of me. Ruth phones to ask me to go to the SABC. Chris L is a pig to everyone in general and Ruth in particular -ugh!

19 June – Go to SS studio and practise. I lunch in Ansteys, have piano lesson and work with Elaine. I phone Anne at night and she still feels revolting even though she’s up. She’s not even sure if she’ll come in on Friday. She says that if she does, she wants Webster to come in with her to offset things as it is too much for her to cope with everyone on her own.

20 June – I go to final rehearsal for SABC in the evening. For a change, Chris L is very affable. Ruth is going for her singing lesson at home on Wednesday but they are not making up the two lessons she missed. She’s cross.

21 June – I go to singing in the afternoon and Anne is back in the studio once more. Lucille, Anne and I have tea together and then I have my lesson. Father of Heav’n goes fairly well. Anne asks me to go in on Wednesday to work for Webster and also next Friday. I’m going to fetch the keys tomorrow. We sing in the Light music concert at the City Hall conducted by Jos Kleiber and it goes well. Ruth remarks that Jos Kleiber is very energetic! Anton H and Edgar Cree congratulate us on our performance.

22 June – Phone early in the morning and speak to Webster to remind Anne about the key. He is sweet to me. I go to Mrs S and work with Margaret and Elaine and then go up to Anne’s to get the keys. I say hello to Robin Gordon and “Clara Butt”! I return to sing in Mrs S’s choir and come home with Margaret. I listen to Webster at night and he plays a super duet by him and Dennis Noble.

24 June – Go into town and buy some clothes. Practise with Margaret. Lunch with Mum in Capeniro. I go home on the bus with Colleen McM who tells me about Norma D’s husband and other theatrical gossip. Anne phones in the afternoon and asks me to go in for an hour tomorrow. Go to SABC at night. Ruth saw the Yeomen but didn’t go backstage to see Webster. She saw Anne in the audience but didn’t talk to her. She says she thought his voice was rather awful yet I thought he sang well. Work at Creation.

25 June – Go to singing for an hour and Webster is back in slightly disgruntled frame of mind. Work fearfully hard at Father of Heav’n but he is sparing with his praise. I sing the Landon Ronald song cycle and Anne raves about my singing and moans at him for being so grim. I have to play for him tomorrow at 3 o’clock. I hope he is in a better mood tomorrow!

26 June – Go into Booth’s studio and practise. Webster arrives in the afternoon and we have Heather Coxon first. I make tea for us and then we have Colleen, and after her our two demons. When Graham has his lesson Webster shines singing all his bass arias. Webster brings me home and talks about the Yeomen and how tiring it was to change into three different sets of tights at every performance!

27 June – Go to studio and work in the lovely calm atmosphere. Yvonne Marais’s mother phones to say she’s sick so I phone Anne to let her know so that she can come in later. She is grateful. Go to ghastly lunch hour concert featuring Jossie B, then come home and wash hair.

28 June – Go to studio and get a lift into town with Mr McKenzie. Webster comes in the afternoon moaning about the rain. Lucille arrives with her boyfriend and they sing a duet together. She’s there for an hour and then we have tea. I have my lesson and sing unusually well and he is pleased for a change. Selwyn comes and then we have an hour’s break before Betsy Oosthuizen and Graham. Webster brings me home in the Hillman, cursing the rain and the cold engine.

29 June – Go to town with Dad and we see Raising the Wind again – I love that film. Webster’s programme is super.

30 June – Have fairly quiet Sunday. Webster phones unexpectedly at night for no apparent reason except to chat with me. He tells me that he doesn’t think I owe them anything for July because of all the work I’m doing with him. We talk about various pupils, Brian Morris and Drummond Bell. He says he’ll go in tomorrow on his own as he can probably manage by himself as everyone is so awful and don’t need a proper accompanist!


PUPILS OF WEBSTER BOOTH AND ANNE ZIEGLER IN JOHANNESBURG.

Students of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth

The following people studied singing with Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth at their studio on the eighth floor of Polliack’s Building, Pritchard Street, Johannesburg, or at their home in Parktown North. The list is incomplete as it has been compiled from memory and from the diaries I kept at the time I was accompanying for Webster in the studio. In some cases, I have forgotten people’s full names.

LUCILLE ACKERMAN (Soprano) I was in the middle of my lesson when Lucille and her family arrived for her audition. She had spent a year recuperating after an illness on the family farm near Piet Retief. During that year she had worked at improving her singing technique. Hendrik Sussann, the well known Afrikaans bandleader and violinist, lived on a neighbouring farm. He featured her as a singer in his band’s broadcasts on the SABC. She was nineteen years old – a year older than me – and she had a remarkably mature and pleasing soprano. She was already a consummate performer, but needed lessons to improve her musicianship. She and I did several singing examinations at the same time.

During her studies with Anne and Webster, she took the lead in an Afrikaans production of The Merry Widow in Kempton Park. She went on to make a number of Afrikaans recordings and formed a successful duet partnership with the broadcaster, the late Francois van Heyningen, who became her second husband.

DENNIS ANDREWS (boy soprano) I played for Dennis and Selwyn Lotzoff at an audition for Taubie Kushlick’s production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. The audition took place one Saturday morning in Gwen Clark’s luxurious penthouse on top of Anstey’s Building in central Johannesburg. I accompanied the boys on an excellent grand piano, and afterwards we were treated to a slap-up tea with Mrs Kushlick, Mrs Clark and Ockert Botha. Neither boy won the part of Amahl as a boy soprano was imported from England.

DORIS BOULTON (soprano) Doris Boulton was originally from the Potteries district of England. Her husband worked at a pottery near Irené, on the outskirts of Pretoria. She had an exceptional soprano voice and was also extremely musical – the two gifts do not always go together! She had broadcast extensively with the SABC, but with a change of management, her file was mysteriously lost and she was required to re-audition. This second audition was not favourable, despite her being a better singer than many who continued to give regular broadcasts.

She was singing Richard Strauss’s Serenade in an impossible key, and my attempt at sight-reading this makes me blush even forty-odd years on. Doris and her husband gave Anne and Webster a beautiful white tiled table, inscribed with roses and a few bars of their signature tune, Only a Rose, made by Mr Boulton on the occasion of their silver wedding anniversary in 1963.

In 1966 Doris Boulton produced The Merry Widow in Irené and took the leading role of the widow in question, Hannah Glavari.

Webster and Anne attending “The Merry Widow” first night as guests of honour.
Doris Boulton as the Merry Widow (1966)

Doris remained friends with Anne and Webster and visited them a number of times in Penrhyn Bay. She returned to the UK some years ago and settled in Stone. I was sorry to hear from her daughter, Jan Bruns that Doris had passed away in 2008.

 

HEATHER COXON (soprano) Heather was a charming young schoolgirl. She had a light, sweet soprano.

ROSELLE DEAVALL (mezzo soprano) I first heard Roselle sing when she was fourteen years old. I was impressed at the maturity of her voice at such a young age. We discovered that we lived in the same suburb, and visited each other several times. I still have a reel-to-reel recording of her singing The Mountains of Morne, complete with Irish accent.

She stopped having lessons but took them up again after she left school.  In 1966 Webster told me that Roselle had stopped having lessons with them as “They were unable to teach me anything more.” The last I heard was that she was singing with the Performing Arts Company of the Free State. (PACOFS).

NORMA DENNIS (soprano) Norma was the understudy to Diane Todd in the role of Eliza in the production of My Fair Lady in the Empire Theatre, Johannesburg.

Mabel Fenney (extreme left) as Jill-all-Alone in East London production of Merrie England. (Photo courtesy of Julian Nicholas)

MABEL FENNEY PERKIN (soprano) Mabel met Anne and Webster first when she appeared with them in a production of Merrie England in East London, in the Eastern Cape. At the time she was preparing for further music diplomas, so she decided to come up to Johannesburg to have lessons with the Booths.

In 1960 she came to Jeppe Girls’ High as a relief music teacher and gave a recital for the girls in the School Hall. She was instrumental in my decision to study with Anne and Webster. She won the University of South Africa Singing Bursary and studied at the Hochschule in Berlin for two years.

She met her second husband, Maurice Perkin while she was abroad and after her divorce and remarriage to Maurice, she lived and worked in England for a number of years before they came out to South Africa. During her time in England, she sang the role of Susannah in a semi-professional production of The Marriage of Figaro. I met her again in 1976 when she was living in Florida (South Africa) and we became very good friends. We sang duets together until she and her husband retired to the South Coast of Natal.

In April 2009 Mabel celebrated her ninetieth birthday. She died in Uvongo on 6 March 2011, just a month short of her ninety-second birthday. She is sadly missed but ever remembered by me.

VALERIE FIGGINS (soprano) Valerie Figgins also attended Jeppe Girls’ High School, and she too was present at the Mabel Fenney recital. Valerie had a strong voice at an early age and studied with another teacher in Johannesburg before going to Anne and Webster for lessons. I do not know how long she remained with them. We were in the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal’s (PACT) production of Nabucco together in 1965.

ROBINETTE GORDON (soprano) Robin had a sweet soprano voice. When I first met her when I was accompanying for Webster she was singing in the Johannesburg Operatic Society’s production of Show Boat, in which the great Maori bass, Inia Te Wiata was engaged to sing Ole Man River. She went on to sing in further JODS productions of The Yeomen of the Guard, The Merry Widow and Guys and Dolls. I remember coaching her in a jazzy chorus in the latter work – Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat! She later joined PACT, where she sang in a number of operas. I was sorry to read of her death several years ago.

MARY HARRISON (mezzo soprano) Mary was an Australian who came to South Africa with a production of My Fair Lady. She and the understudy to Scottish Diane Todd’s Eliza Doolittle, Norma Dennis, took lessons with Anne and Webster while they were appearing in My Fair Lady in Johannesburg. Mary was an attractive redhead, with a lively personality and ready wit. She stayed on in South Africa after the show and established herself as a professional actress in Durban. She died prematurely some years ago. I was also sorry to hear that Diane Todd died from leukemia in London earlier this month  (April 2010) at the age of 72.

DUDLEY HOLMES (bass) Dudley was completely taken aback to find me at the piano for one of his lessons. He told me later that he had never sung for anyone but Anne and Webster and was very nervous to sing in front of me. He need not have worried. He had a pleasing bass voice, and went on to do many concerts, recitals and shows, first in Johannesburg, and later in Kimberley, where he lived for many years. He returned to Johannesburg some years ago and kindly contributed a memory to my book with an article about his long association and friendship with Anne and Webster.

INNES KENNERSLEY I played for Innes, who was a miner, several times. At the time he was singing a series of Victorian and Edwardian ballads, such as Goodbye and Parted. He used to arrive at his lesson with a large reel-to-reel tape recorder and record the entire lesson. I wonder what happened to all those interesting recordings. They would certainly be of great interest to me if they are still around.

MYRNA LEACH I played at some of Myrna’s lessons and got to know her better when we were in The Merry Widow together in 1964. She had recently married and was particularly proud that Webster had sung My Prayer at her wedding. I believe she subsequently divorced and married for a second time later.

MARGARET LINKLATER (soprano) Margaret was Scottish and lived on the East Rand, where her family ran a bakery in Benoni. She had a very pleasing soprano voice. I remember her singing Gounod’s O Divine Redeemer.

ROBIN LISTER (boy soprano) Robin had an exceptional soprano voice, more like a mature female soprano than the typical Ernest Lough boy soprano. He made several recordings which Anne and Webster supervised. Through the recordings he became well known and appeared at a number of concerts until his voice broke. After his voice broke, Anne and Webster taught him to play the piano. He became an engineer and immigrated to Australia.  Robin Lister sings “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”. 

Robin Lister (1964)

SELWYN LOTZOFF (boy soprano) I played for Selwyn at several eisteddfods and at the Amahl and the Night Visitors audition. I particularly remember him singing the Afrikaans song, Die Roos. He immigrated to America and now lives in New York. He is pictured (above left) with his wife.

COLLEEN MCMENAMIN (mezzo soprano) Colleen had a rich mezzo voice and she was very keen to turn professional. She auditioned for Brian Brooke’s production of The Sound of Music at the Brooke Theatre. Brian Brooke was impressed with her singing but suggested that she should take speech lessons before considering a stage career. Despite this setback she appeared in several professional productions in Johannesburg.

BRIAN MORRIS (baritone) He had a voice reminiscent of Peter Dawson’s and a confident stage presence. I got to know him better when he sang in PACT’s production of Nabucco in 1965. Anne chose Brian to take the leading male role of Danillo in her Bloemfontein production of The Merry Widow in 1965. Through this blog I have heard that Brian died in 2006 and is survived by his wife Denise. Those who heard him sing through the years will remember his beautiful voice and charming personality.

PIET MULLER (tenor) Piet Muller had a beautiful tenor voice. He was studying with Anne and Webster in 1962 and for a time had the lesson before mine. I particularly remember him singing Can I Forget You? on the day Webster returned to the studio after his serious illness in 1962. Webster sang part of the song to illustrate a particular point to Piet. Amazingly, Webster’s voice sounded as good as ever despite his illness and his advancing age. Several years ago I heard from Piet’s family member that Piet had died some years ago.

RUTH ORMOND (soprano) Ruth was my special friend at the studio. She and I joined the SABC choir,when it was resurrected in 1961, and Anne suggested that we should meet one another. She was still at school, a year-and-a-half younger than me and, like me, she was originally from Glasgow. She was short, with piercing blue eyes and honey-coloured hair. We both thought the world of Anne and Webster and we loved singing, although neither of us was filled with confidence about our vocal abilities. We did exams together and although we lived a fair distance apart, we visited each other regularly. We made up for the distance between us by making frequent telephone calls. At the cost of a tickey (3d) a call, we could afford to talk as long as we liked – and we did! We made tape recordings of our singing and impromptu play-readings. I still have these recordings in my possession today. In 1962 her mother won a substantial amount of money in the (then) Rhodesian Sweep.

My dear friend, Ruth Ormond, 1963

Ruth went to Cape Town University to study singing in 1964 and sadly died of a cerebral haemorrhage at the end of her first term there. Her parents created an award in her name at Cape Town for the best first-year soprano. She was nineteen years old when she died. I still miss her. I have never had a dearer friend.

LINDA WALTERS Linda came all the way from Vereeniging for her singing lessons. She sang lighter material, like Fly me to the Moon.

ERNEST WESTBROOK (tenor) I did not know Ernest when he was taking lessons, but I met him many years later when Paddy O’Byrne,  the broadcaster gave him my phone number. He had many of Anne and Webster’s recordings and was also an admirer of the Australian bass-baritone, Peter Dawson.

MARY WRIGHT (soprano) Mary’s brother, Desmond Wright, had conducted The Yeomen of the Guard in 1963 when Webster took over the role of Colonel Fairfax at short notice. She had a pleasant light soprano and concentrated on oratorio.

OTHERS: Richard Darley, Elizabeth du Plessis (soprano), Jennifer Fieldgate, John Fletcher, Yvonne Marais (soprano), Joan Metson, Thea Mullins, Betsie Oosthuizen (soprano), Bill Perry (tenor), Piet van Zyl (bass).

I do not remember the full names of the following: Corrie, Dell, Erica, Ferdy, Frances and Henrietta (sisters who sang duets together), Gertie, Graham, Gretchen, Miss Greyvenstein, Hennie, Janet, Kathy, Leanore, Lorentzia, Louella, Louis, Marian, Myrtle, Nellie (a mezzo-soprano who moved to the Free State), Reeka, Shirley, Winnie (a Scot who lived in Modderfontein and sang in the local operatic society).

If anyone can tell me what became of any of Anne and Webster’s pupils, or if you studied with them, I would be very glad to hear from you.

Jean Collen 12 September 2018.