Singer back performing

Last updated 05:00 03/04/2014
Rachel Derham
Shelley Greco
MRS D: Rachel Derham will play at the Titirangi Festival of Music after taking a 10-year break. 

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A breast cancer survivor is making a return to the music scene.

Rachel Derham will perform as Mrs D and the New Frontier on Sunday as part of the Titirangi Festival of Music.

The Parau mother-of-five was diagnosed with lobular breast cancer in 2011, which resulted in a double mastectomy.

"It sounds odd but it was a blessing in a way," she says.

"During my recovery I got the hang of [software programme] Garage Band and I focused on multi-layer vocals."

She has wanted to play at the festival for years but says it was never the right time.

Derham will perform her "neo-soul treatment of gospel" music with a core band of four.

As well as performing as Mrs D, she has also started a community adult choir in Laingholm.

Derham, who was born in the UK, first learned her craft when she was a 19-year-old student in Edinburgh. She then accepted a six month residency in Athens, playing at a restaurant.

She moved to New Zealand 18 years ago and for five years was the vocal tutor at Auckland University's jazz school. She left in 2005 when her twin boys, now eight, were born.

Derham's breast cancer was picked up during a routine mammogram.

"I was 46 when I had my first mammogram.

"Then I went for my second routine one at 48 and that's when they found it," she says.

"Life's too short but if you want to do something you have got to just do it."

Call Rachel on 021 057 9956 for more information about the community choir.


Titirangi Festival of Music: Friday to Sunday

See for more information.

Performances by: The Nairobi Trio, Sola Rosa, Heaven Bent Choir.

Also: Buskers, Samba demonstrations, Ukulele singalong. -

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- Western Leader

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