Singing, sand and sisters in Florida

I have just spent a couple of days in Naples, Florida, as the first part of the fantastic St Mary’s Calne Chamber Choir tour of the State. You can follow them via their website – http://musicatstmaryscalne.wordpress.com/, and if you are in Florida in the next few days, come and hear them! Make an effort – it will be worth it!

The weather is lovely, the people are enormously welcoming, and the singing is just amazing – it is so uplifting to be at the heart of this experience. With the schedule as full as it is, however, my time for writing blogs is limited, and so I shall merely point you in the direction of a fascinating woman about whom I have been reading since arriving in the Sunshine State. Everywhere I go, I seek out stories of interesting women, as I firmly believe that it is through hearing their stories that we – and most importantly, our young people – learn and absorb more about our social history and how the perceptions and roles of women have changed in recent times and are changing still … but still have some way yet to change.

Today’s story is about a woman called Doris Reynolds, 86, who is Naples’ official historian, and feted as having had a hugely successful career. She was, however, born into poverty and abuse, and it was the power of education – learning to read – which freed her from this. A simple but clear message to remind us all – read about her here.

In the meantime, I am off to celebrate more of the achievements of the next generation of women, watching and listening to the girls of St Mary’s Calne in their phenomenal performances. This is a tremendous experience.

Oh, and the beaches are fabulous too …

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