THE old Chidlow Town Hall has a long-distance supporter, all the way from Lyon in France.
Chidlow resident Emmanuelle Daw, originally from France, married a West Australian and has made her home in Chidlow with her two daughters and husband.
Once every two years her parents visit from Lyon and in recent years her mother has been conducting a French choir while she is in Australia.
Since the choir started, Mrs Daw has been organising events to raise money for the upkeep of the old hall, which local residents use for the choir practise and where a monthly fresh food market is held.
Since the Shire of Mundaring decided to build an alternative town hall attached to the local sporting complex, there have not been funds available for the old hall’s maintenance.
Groups using it are happy to help with the fundraisers to maintain the old building with its floorboards that are great for martial arts and dance groups and choirs.
When Emmanuelle Daw’s parents visit Chidlow between October and April every second year, the choir re-forms and entertains at community events.
Mrs Daw’s mother Christiane Gattet and her father Jo Gattet inspired the choir to sing at the Perth Alliance Française Fête de la Musique 2016 held in each Australian capital city.
Mrs Daw said her parents had strict rules regarding their timing for the visit to Chidlow.
“Because my father is a gardener, they come after the last tomatoes of the European summer and the first potatoes that need planting in spring,” she explained.
Her mother is the choirmistress who has been conducting the choir for the past few years. She is now imparting her wisdom to her granddaughter to conduct the French singers, while she is in France.
Mrs Daw said when her mother visited Chidlow their choir practise sessions had to be crammed together.
“She has three sessions a week for about six weeks each year she visits.”
The choir’s most recent performance was last Sunday in Perth at the Langley Plaza Hotel.
It included solos, a dash of accordion playing and folk dancing in the repertoire.
The all-female section of the choir was conducted by Yami Daw, since Mrs Gattet was in France. Yami’s sister Ana Daw accompanied her on the piano.
The choir had a dress rehearsal for the event and combined this with a fundraiser in Chidlow at the Town Hall on Friday, June 17.
Choir member Bettina Bowling said all the songs were sung in French.
“I’m not a native speaker but it made it easier to learn the songs with them teaching us as they are French speakers,” Ms Bowling said.
“We are very lucky to have the Daw family living in Chidlow.”