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Obit: RIP Venice Manley (1934-2004)

Gray D 15 Sep 04 - 08:21 PM
GUEST,Grattan Puxon 28 Feb 10 - 05:53 AM
Suegorgeous 28 Feb 10 - 07:41 AM
katlaughing 28 Feb 10 - 04:46 PM
katlaughing 28 Feb 10 - 04:51 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 18 - 07:02 PM
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Subject: Obit: RIP Venice Manley
From: Gray D
Date: 15 Sep 04 - 08:21 PM

Some of you may have had the pleasure of singing with or being taught by Venice Manley.

Alas, no more. Venice succumbed to stomach cancer last week.

I first met her at the first Georgian workshop in the UK back in the nineties and we sang together many times subsequently. She was an extraordinary human being as you shall read. I was once present (and singing) when she taught several hundred people a song in 8 part harmony in about, oh, 20 minutes?

She was always good to meet up with and talk to - and bloody marvellous to sing with.

I'll miss her.

Gray D

There's a brief biog and a picture here

And this is Frankie Armstrong's obituary - I know Frankie won't mind.

OBITUARY FOR VENICE MANLEY   from Frankie Armstrong

As many of you will know Venice Manley died last Tuesday 31st August.
She will be so sadly missed by her dear friends, her colleagues, the
members of her Choir and all those who attended her workshops - she was such a unique, warm, funny, gifted and wondrously eccentric woman. She will also be greatly missed by the members of Kite with whom she sang for many years and for whom she began her late but lovely song writing career.

I loved her dearly, as did many of you who will read this, though I'm
not sure why I put it in the past tense, as the love I got and gave has not died - nor will it while those of us who loved her are still alive.

There are many others equally qualified to write her obituary for the
Network, and Kirsty Martin's suggestion is that we devote a section of the next (Natural Voice Practioners Network - Gray D) Newsletter to thoughts, experiences, and stories about Venice.

I may well be the Network person who knew Venice the longest as I first met her in 1969 in a context that seemingly had nothing to do with singing. I was doing a generic Social Work course and needed to do a dissertation on a subject of my choice. Because I had a passionate interest in traditional song, I was interested in and knew a number of Travellers. They were the group who still carried the greatest number of songs from the British and Irish Traditions. Venice was setting up the first Gypsy School on a settled site near Brentwood in Essex. I first went to meet her at a Gypsy Council meeting where she talked so eloquently about the Montessori teaching method and how she was going to apply it to her work with the children. She invited me out to spend the day with her at the school, which I did. She was such an inspiration and yet, as we know, so modest, motivated by her love and passion for the children. She had been helped to set up this pioneering venture by Yul Brynner and the Beatles - no small feat.

I saw her a few times at Gypsy Council meetings but then we lost touch for years till around 1981, at a party given for "Women for Life On "Earth"(the group that gave rise to the march to Greenham). I remember, as I walked through the door, the hostess said "There's somebody in the kitchen who's longing to see you" - it was Venice who had been leading a much quieter life over the previous years, though I discovered at that party that she was taking singing lessons and had sung all her life but had no "outlet" at that time. She had heard about my workshops and so began to come to as many as she could, developing a love of the Balkan songs, which is what I was mostly teaching at that time. Then, as with all of us, her repertoire grew broader and through the C P R's Giving Voice she met Enrique Pardo (then of the Roy Hart Theatre) and began spending part of each summer in Mallerague, first as a participant and then as a teacher.

Despite the fact that she had become a teacher of great skill, being
sought after as a workshop leader in her own right, she still came along to my workshops, spending a week in Spain with us as well as turning up at various workshops in London. I felt very privileged. She came out to spend time with Darien and I when we were in Paris studying with Monika Pagneaux, the movement teacher, and we had wonderful times in pavement cafes and museums. We always kept in touch, though after my move to Cardiff phone calls and cards filled in the gaps between actually seeing each other. I am so glad she came to stay with me during the Cardiff Giving Voice this last April. She stayed on for two days after G V was over and we had delightful times over leisurely breakfasts and sat out in the garden with my cats and flowers in an unseasonably warm spell.

Venice has been such a part of my life for so long, that it's going to be a long time before I really get used to the idea that she's no longer with us, - though, as I've said, in many ways her presence will stay strong and vibrant as it was in life.

I would hazard that her last six years, since her first time in
hospital, have been her happiest and most rewarding ones. It was as if,for the first time, the love and care she was surrounded with through that illness allowed her to really believe in herself.   We, who knew and loved her, knew her wonderful qualities, enjoyed her eccentricities, and valued her warmth and intelligence. But it was only in these recent years that she expressed feeling these for herself - again with no pride or ego, just gratitude.
I think that through the singing, the Network, and the Choir, she found the family she had never really had as a misplaced adopted child. So I know I speak for all her adopted singing family, when I say a sad, loving thank you to her for her life, friendship and voice.

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Subject: RE: Obit: RIP Venice Manley
From: GUEST,Grattan Puxon
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 05:53 AM

Venice and I ran away to Ireland together in the l960s - I say
ran away as I was escaping military service. We joined up with
the Travellers and built the first school, St Christopher's, at
the Ring Road, Dublin. It was burbed down by Dublin
Corporation. Later, with some 400 other Travellers, we took over a
field at Ballyfermot that became known as Cherry Orchard - and
built St Christopher's II, this time fighting off eviction

I've written a fictionalized version of this part of our lives
in FREEBORN TRAVELLER (Small World Media 2007.

Grattan Puxon

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Subject: RE: Obit: RIP Venice Manley
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 07:41 AM

Never knew Venice, but it's just occurred... it was her apartment I lived in while at Malerargues this year...

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Subject: RE: Obit: RIP Venice Manley
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 04:46 PM

One of the best things about Mudcat..I get to learn of new, wondrous people, sadly sometimes after they have left us, as in this case, but still it is uplifting and interesting to learn of another incredible person amongst these "pages." Thank you for sharing.

Gratton Puxon, I hope you don't mind my adding a link to your book. It sounds very interesting: Click Here.

My condolences to Venice's "adopted singing family" and friends.


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Subject: RE: Obit: RIP Venice Manley 31 Aug 2004
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 04:51 PM

There is a really neat bio of her, along with a great picture, HERE.

Scroll about 1/2 way down the page to find Manley's information. --mudelf

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Subject: RE: Obit: RIP Venice Manley 31 Aug 2004
Date: 16 Nov 18 - 07:02 PM

I went to visit Venice's grave this week.

Its unmaked in Hendon cemetery which seems a shame.
The cemetery is in Holders Hill Rd, London NW7 1NB

Anyone who wants to visit and perhaps leave something there would be doing a kindness to her memory.

Get a cemetery plan from the gate house, its grave 88570 in grid location E5. The people in the office will photocopy you a plan and mark it.

(As a clue its the plot just north of the big open book stone monument)

Venice Manley
24 January 1934 - 31 August, 2004

She was buried on 16th Sept 2004

Graham Hale

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