Local Face : Sandra Maizels

  |  Published: Jul 1st 2013

Sandra’s early years were spent in Willesden, London, where her father was a well known musician. She learnt piano, violin and flute but her chief love was singing with her first stage appearance at six in “The Gondoliers”.

She taught music for nine years in a comprehensive school in Neasden, London as head of the music department, which brought the opportunity to mount the first ever schools performance of the abridged version of Handel’s “Passion of Christ”. She also had the pleasure of taking pupils to Covent Garden Opera House where she managed to clock up twenty one performances of “Swan Lake”. The most nerve racking part of these trips involved travelling on the tube changing at Piccadilly Circus and doing frantic head counts to make sure they were  all there. At the same time she was singing semi-professionally  on TV and radio.

On marriage (45 years ago), she and Alan moved to the United States where they lived for five years and Sandra worked in St Christopher’s Children’s Hospital, Philadelphia, as a play therapist. Their two children were born in the States, a daughter in Philadelphia and a son in Boston. On their return they lived in Sanderstead, Surrey where their  children were brought up, and Sandra changed to primary teaching but still as a music specialist. Ridgeway Junior School soon boasted two choirs, the senior choir giving shortened performances of “Trial by Jury”, “The Mikado” and “The Pirates of Penzance.” It was during this period that, after reading an account of a narrowboat holiday by a boy in her class, they decided to try it and were soon hooked; she and Alan still spend a few weeks each year cruising on canals and rivers in a shared narrowboat.

With ageing parents this side of the river and children in university they decided to move, and chose Weston Turville for their new home where they have lived for over twenty years. They soon became immersed in local life, Alan joining Rotary in Great Missenden, and Sandra picking up the threads of her career in school music, teaching briefly in Halton and Beaconsfield, followed by  High Wycombe Music Centre. The commute to work early in the morning was sheer pleasure, driving through the countryside which changed with the seasons, a far cry from inner London where her career began.

She took up handbell ringing which was introduced to schools and soon had the largest junior handbell team in the country, even performing in the Royal Albert Hall at the millennium. The Thame Concert Band, in which she played, lost their conductor and, for two years, she had the pleasure of conducting them, creating the Kids-Aid concerts which raised thousands for charity. Both Alan and Sandra were founders of the Weston Turville Historical Society, and support the Wendover Arm Trust, hoping to see the project completed so they can do their shopping by boat!

Sandra  has been active in Wendover  ever since the Rotary Club of Wendover & District was formed  and this year has the privilege of leading them as their president and is often to be seen on  the Manor Waste selling cakes on a stall to raise money for local charities.

She is looking forward to supporting PACE and School-Aid as the major charities, and hopes to complete the international project of providing a school library for Tembisa Secondary School in a township in South Africa, with help from other local clubs and schools.

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