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VALE Patricia Forbes

VALE Patricia Aileen Forbes née Whitbread 15 February 1945 – 10 September 2019 ANATS and the Canberra singing community is poorer for the loss of Patricia Forbes – though the hospice became used to the singers asking for Pat Whitbread. Pat began studying singing seriously at 19 and was successful in many competitions, including as State and Commonwealth finalist in the ABC’s Instrumental and Vocal Competition, and Australian representative at the Finals of the Metropolitan Opera auditions in New York. She performed principal roles with the Western Australian Opera Company, Victoria State Opera and, after studying in West Germany funded by an Opera Foundation Scholarship, with Opera Australia. Pat returned to West Germany to perform and teach from 1980-1984. After returning to Australia Pat taught and performed in Sydney and Canberra. She was a creative and supportive teacher who encouraged students to work with and develop their strengths and to enjoy the process. All the members of her singing group Cantare have continued to make singing an important part of their lives. CAMRA (Canberra Academy of Music and Related Arts), which she established with her husband Colin in 1997, developed a community of singers to perform a broad range of works. It enriched their lives, music at St Philip’s Anglican Church, and the broader community. Pat made a significant contribution to the ANATS in the ACT. She was Chapter President from 1997 to 2006. Her President’s reports provide more than information about ANATS events. They show Pat’s commitment to professional development, her flexibility, encouragement of ideas and willingness to give credit where it was due. Perhaps the last observations should be Pat’s. In 2002 she noted that ‘we are a close-knit little community, but very supportive of each other, and of the Chapter’. That did not prevent her making trenchant pleas for engagement: ‘I would still like to see more group discussions amongst teachers. Surely we all face problems that we don’t have answers for. This is our association, and it exists for teachers to communicate with each other, not just pay a yearly subscription, and sit back smugly in their studios, imagining they have all the answers, and jealously guarding their secrets!’ President’s Report 2000 Pat took up the theme again in her final President’s Report in 2006 ‘we had a follow up discussion, which made us think, and perhaps even question some of the things we do and why. It was an enjoyable discussion and it would be good to have more in the future.’ Pat’s service to ANATS did not end in 2006. She remained on the Committee until 2010 and her interest in ANATS activities continued until her final illness.


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