Socialising and singing with Bathurst’s University of the Third Age

VOICES HEARD: The Singing For Pleasure choir performing at a previous Bathurst U3A Christmas party.
VOICES HEARD: The Singing For Pleasure choir performing at a previous Bathurst U3A Christmas party.

EACH week during term, 500 members of Bathurst University of the Third Age (U3A) participate in 40 classes covering a wide range of topics.

Topics include physical activities such as yoga, tai chi and table tennis, more cerebral pursuits such as writing, foreign languages and chess, a range of craft and art classes, musical studies and more.

For an annual cost of just $30, members can participate in as many classes as they can fit in, and the only qualification is to be aged over 50!

Singing For Pleasure

ONE of the Monday U3A programs is the Singing For Pleasure group, led by Marie O’Donnell.

Fifteen singers get together at the Bathurst Baptist Church under Marie’s expert tutelage to harmonise their way through two hours of folk songs, songs from the great musicals, sacred songs, Irish, Scottish and even Japanese songs.

Marie is a very experienced musician and chorister, having been in choirs, including the Panorama Chorus, for many years before starting the Singing For Pleasure group five years ago.

Marie chooses a lot of the songs for the group, however, suggestions from members are also included in the schedule.

Singing For Pleasure is also fortunate to have local pianist Margaret Longhurst provide expert accompaniment.

Singing For Pleasure has performed in various locations in Bathurst, including the Bathurst Seymour Centre, and as part of the Bathurst Sings festival, sharing members’ musical gifts and enjoyment with the community.

Some members have been part of Singing For Pleasure since its inception.

Some are blessed with great singing voices, however, this is not a prerequisite at all and everyone is welcome.

The group’s name suggests that having fun is what it’s about and that is very much the case.

Members enjoy their weekly catch-ups and the social aspects of membership are truly valued.

Planning ahead

THE Bathurst U3A Committee is considering a number of new courses for 2018 - either the return of courses previously run or brand new ideas. 

Proposals on the table at this point include First Aid and Health for Seniors, Mi-Chi Healing and Art, Armchair Travel, French, Lawn Bowls, Computer Skills, Photography, Shakespeare and Literature.

For more information about Bathurst U3A, or to suggest further new courses for next year, visit or contact secretary Sue Lasky on 6331 6968.

Christmas party

INVITATIONS are being sent to all Bathurst U3A members for the annual Christmas party to be held at Panthers on November 30.

Members will meet at noon for a 12.30pm start and the cost is just $35 for a delicious lunch and the chance to catch up with other members.

RSVP is November 16 and members can either book online or by completing the form at the bottom of the invitation and returning it to the Bathurst Neighbourhood Centre at 96 Russell Street.

Anyone who has not received an invitation by the end of October, either online or though the post, should contact the secretary Sue Lasky on 6331 6968.

Social Scrabble

U3A introduced Social Scrabble in term one this year. Each Thursday in the Bathurst Library meeting room, Anne Ford leads a group of 10 men and women enjoying a friendly, sometimes competitive afternoon with the classic word game.

Scrabble has been played around the world for several decades and remains a popular way to not only enjoy spending time, but to increase word power and vocabulary.

Words used in Scrabble include everyday words and what are referred to by some as “Scrabble words”. Anne says that if a word is included in the Scrabble Dictionary, it’s acceptable. 

The group has access to the Scrabble Dictionary to check the authenticity of a word and its spelling.

The group has found that three players is the best number for a game. With just two players, it can be too easy to predict the next development, while with four players, the games take too long. Having three players also enables everyone to play two games each afternoon.

After more than three terms, the group remains disagreement-free, and games are all played in a relaxed and friendly spirit. The aim is to have fun. 

The social aspect common to all U3A classes is very much in evidence as members catch up each week for a friendly chat.