Goodbye to Ros

There was a poignant significance to Harmony 303 ‘s first gathering after more than a year of Lockdown silence, in singing to celebrate the life of our founder Ros Beattie who died earlier this year.

On the most beautiful summer’s day in August in the glorious countryside setting of the Natural Burial Ground near Beaminster, thirty or more members sang for Ros in an open-sided barn overlooking fields of long grass and wild flowers. We sang in remembrance of a person whose significance to the choir is inestimable, in gratitude for all she had done, and with sadness that she is no longer with us. Caroline led as she has for the past ten years – wonderfully familiar – singing songs from our repertoire that were particularly dear to Ros. I am sure we all felt a determination to make this performance as good as it could be on this very special occasion, and the rafters of the barn really did seem to ring.

Friends and relatives shared memories of Ros- fascinating to learn a bit about her active and inspiring past. Specific aspects came through, most notably Ros’s generosity- with her time, her energy , her skills and gifts- and her attention to detail which ensured that any event she was organising was meticulously planned. Harmony 303 members benefited from both; I recall Ros going to great lengths to ensure the coach used for an outing had the facility to lower, to facilitate access for less mobile members.

After the singing and service we wandered, singly and in small groups down the hill and a little way into the meadow where one of Ros’s scarves waved in the breeze marking ‘her’ spot. Scarves were very much Ros’s signature item, and as we made our way back up the hill there were stands absolutely full of her extraordinary collection, and we were all invited to help ourselves. Many were in water shades- blues, greens and turquoises -worn by the choir for performances. Through her scarves Ros will go on with us into the future, a tangible part of her unique legacy- the Harmony 303 choir.