Who would have thought that an evening class at Ware College would have developed into an operatic society that is still thriving 40 years later? Peter Davies and Deirdre Neagus started in those early days, became "stage-struck", and are still members today.
From the Society's inception in 1969, its members have relished singing and performing most of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas, several times over, to enthralled audiences, starting with The Pirates of Penzance at Ware College. This was closely followed by a concert version of The Desert Song and several more G&S operas at Ware College. Then other venues were used, including the Corn Exchange for Orpheus in the Underworld, and Sele School. The first venture onto the Castle Hall stage (now the Hertford Theatre) was in 1978 for Die Fledermaus. This venue has suited us ever since for our main annual production.
In the early years Gilbert and Sullivan formed a lot of the Society's repertoire, but there has always been a second production each year - usually in the form of a concert or concert version of a show, when members can try out different types of music. In fact a few years ago Debbie Miles-Johnson had us singing in Russian! The last 11 years have found us broadening our repertoire so that we have performed such Grand Operas on the Castle Hall stage as Carmen and La Traviata and, at the other end of the scale, contemporary shows such as Fiddler on the Roof and My Fair Lady. In this way we have tried to cater for the changing tastes of our audiences.
For many years, rehearsals were held at Hertford Heath, but in 1986 we began our association with Ware Arts Centre, gradually making it our "home".
Another of Ware Operatic's activities has been the Music Hall group which came into being in 1975. Prior to that, members had started helping out at semi-professional concerts, providing a bit of dancing etc. But with Deirdre at the helm, the Music Halls took off and provided a lot of fun for both performers and audiences. Then they changed their format and provided the popular Variety Nights. Sadly the group disbanded in 2007, but a new singing group has emerged, known now as Singers A'Ware, happy to entertain for charities and fund-raising events.
Always a happy family, we have enjoyed plenty of social activities, including a Merrie England workshop at Covent Garden with Richard Gregson, garden parties and dinner dances to name but a few.