SingAbout practitioners

Verity Bird: Freshwater SingAbout

Verity BirdVerity is an architect and was a university lecturer before leaving full time employment and becoming self-employed. She founded the Wight Ukers ukulele group on the Island in 2013 and started leading music sessions in care homes, for Independent Arts in 2017, and began leading our Freshwater SingAbout sessions in Summer 2021.

Music, and especially singing, have always been a favourite leisure occupation, from singing in school choirs from about the age of 8, through performing with Batley Gilbert and Sullivan Society between 1985 and 2002, when she moved, with her family, to the Isle of Wight.

Verity's mother suffered with dementia, and she has a particular interest in how music can make connections, even when cognitive ability seems to be severely impaired.


Amy Normanton: SingAbout and Singing for Breathing

Amy NormantonAmy is a professional cabaret singer originally from Lancashire. She has been singing and dancing since the age of four and took on many roles within her local theatre's productions before studying for a Diploma in Performing Arts in Manchester. She worked all over Europe for companies such as Thomson, Brittany Ferries, Colorline Cruises, Thomas Cook and many more.

Amy leads SingAbout sessions as well as Singing for Breathing. She is also part of our community staff team.


Jessica Ong – East Cowes SingAbout

Jessica OngJessica’s music tastes are as varied as her interests: from folk and country to Motown and soul, rock'n'roll to music hall, swing, musical film and theatre… and everything in between! She believes strongly that music has the ability to create connections, spark memories and warm the heart like nothing else in the world.

Jessica is a lifelong singer and musician, from school days playing the alto saxophone in amateur orchestras, swing bands and performing to audiences in Europe, to summers busking on the streets of the Isle of Wight and performing in punk bands in pubs. She provides music sessions using the acoustic guitar, ukulele, a wide vocal range, and a great sense of humour.

Jessica has many years’ experience owning and running her own businesses, including a vintage and collectable toy shop. She has also used her musical and creative skills working with the elderly as an activities coordinator in an Island care home.

As well as leading SingAbout in East Cowes, Jess also supplies music sessions in care homes on behalf of Independent Arts.


Brenda RoweBrenda Rowe: SingAbout bank practitioner

Brenda trained in dance and voice in London, and became a George Mitchell Singer. She performed in The Black and White Minstrel Show, and later at the Casino du Liban, in Beirut.

Her music qualifications enabled her to teach in four continents from kindergarten, to university and teacher training. This is reflected in her compositions and recordings where she draws on dance themes, folk idioms and several instruments.

On the Isle of Wight she accompanies the Brighstone Belles Choir, plays in a recorder consort, joins with Sandy Kealty in the ukulele band and plays at the IoW Harp Festival. She also sings in the choir and sometimes plays the organ at St Peter's Church, Shorwell.

Brenda aims to share her joy in music and song so you experience a real lift after her SingAbout sessions.


Janice ThornJanice Thorn: Bembridge and Yarmouth SingAbout

Janice runs our monthly pop-up SingAbout sessions in Bembridge and Yarmouth, helping out at other sessions when required.

She trained as a music teacher and worked in schools on the mainland as well as abroad before settling on the island in 1997.

Before retiring from teaching, Janice taught music at Northwood Primary School and Watergate School. She currently sings with Cantata Choir and fully understands the power and benefit of group singing.

She likes to introduce a wide variety of material to her sessions and thoroughly enjoys working with the SingAbout groups.


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