Diamond day for celebrated music teacher

PAT VELTKAMP SMITH
Last updated 05:00 15/12/2012

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Today is a day of celebration for First Church musician Veda Kellock.

Not only will she celebrate her diamond wedding anniversary to husband John, but tonight she will be recognised at the centenary dinner of Southland registered music teachers for her 65 years teaching music.

Together with Margaret Edmonston, Isobel Walsh, Helen Watson and Jocelyn Donaldson, Mrs Kellock will be feted as a senior member of the Southland branch of the NZ Institute of Registered Music Teachers.

The branch has always included sisters from the Dominican and Mercy Orders, the most recently retired being Sister Mary Gertrude, OP, who taught music for 70 years. "And I am catching up," Mrs Kellock said.

She still enjoyed teaching singing and valued the stimulus teaching gave her, she said.

Together with her husband, she has sung in a wide variety of places. She has performed and accompanied others at the Southland Women's Club for 60 years and both she and her husband have been members of the First Church choir for nearly as long.

Her involvement teaching music is something of a family tradition, with her parents James and Edna Simpson both holding office as president of the Southland music teachers association.

Her father conducted Invercargill's First Church choir of 40 in the 1940s.

Mrs Kellock took the 25-strong choir there on Sunday, noting that choral membership had remained steady even when congregation numbers dropped.

Mr Kellock came out from Scotland in 1950, and met his future wife at the Peter Pan milk bar in Tay St.

Greatly taken by her, he gave her a ride home on his bike and proposed within a fortnight.

"We kept it quiet until my 21st in February and then married near Christmas, December 15, 1952, my parents won over by John's accent and good tenor voice - and then that he became a teacher too."

Mr Kellock taught woodwork and technology at Southland Technical College and then later Cargill College. Their daughter Susan Patterson, of Lake Hayes, became a schoolteacher, a musician and a skilled choir conductor.

Another daughter, Glynn Smith, became a nurse in Dunedin, a profession Mrs Kellock was initially keen on herself.

"But music was such a dominant thing in our family that other options didn't get much of a hearing!"

Those daughters, their sister Janet Bennett and brother David, who both live in Australia, are travelling to Invercargill for the celebrations along with some of the 11 grandchildren.

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- The Southland Times

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