Adopt a Singer: 1st Soprano, Barbara van Gaasbeek

by Allison Hieger

Barbara van Gaasbeek, aka Lady Spitfire, announced her retirement from the first soprano section of the OCWC at our December concerts. A ball of energy and a driving force behind the formation of the OCWC in 1997, Barbara is a donor and volunteer as well as a beloved alumna of the chorus.

Born near Sherwood Forest, Nottingham, England, Barbara grew up in the beautiful agricultural countryside of Somerset. A self-proclaimed “jock” at school and college, she was captain of London University women’s judo team, as well as captain of the University College women’s field hockey team. She also ran track for London University, and loved water-skiing. Barbara graduated from University College, London University, the first college in the UK to admit women, with an honors degree in modern languages. In addition to Italian and French, she jokingly adds that she also speaks “some American!”

After graduating, she joined the National Health Service, in administration, and “almost died of boredom!” She then switched careers and, after training in London, became a commercial interior designer, enjoying a twenty plus-year career as a designer. Barbara served as the National Administrator of Green Building Programs at American Honda Motor Company, Inc., actively researching and promoting environmentally friendly building practices across Honda.

Since Barbara’s parents were both Welsh, she says it is natural that she loves singing. It was long Barbara’s dream that the OCWC would participate in the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales–and in 2015, we did just that! We owe her a great debt of gratitude for more than 20 years of commitment to our development, and we look forward to seeing her in the audience for years to come.

Adopt Barbara

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