“As a child I didn’t have the nerve to sing in public,” divulges Chordaire Nancy Roberts, daughter of fellow Chordaire Jean Ahnmark, “I was terrified I would be mortified.”
But she always wanted to sing in a group and realized that dream in 2012 when she retired and moved from Findlay, Ohio to Arizona. She joined the Chordaires Show Chorus of Sun Lakes on the spot after attending their Guest Day and her mother joined the following year.
“These two are an excellent addition to our bass section,” says Jana Greene, the newly-elected President of the Chordaires, an a capella all-woman singing group that specializes in four-part harmony, “and the story of their migration here is entertaining.”
“After visiting Mom who moved to Arizona in l985,” confides Nancy, “my husband Spence and I decided to follow her. I was tired of the cold! I resigned from my job teaching Special Education, we put our house on the market and Spence drove down to Arizona to find us a home. Chandler was just a young town in those days. There were miles and miles of nothing but dirt and tumbleweeds between the city and Sun Lakes.
“Surprisingly, the flu I was suffering from while he was gone turned out to be our first daughter’s pregnancy! So, we took the house off the market, I rescinded my resignation and we stayed put for the next 27 years.”
But after retiring, Nancy left her beloved students, and not so beloved winters and moved with Spence to sunny Arizona, joining her mother and best friend, Jean Ahnmark.
Jean was also a Midwest transplant. She was born in Philip, South Dakota, but grew up in Minneapolis. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in medical technology in 1948, the same year she married.
“One of our first homes was in Des Moines, Iowa,” says Jean, “It was fascinating. We lived with an elderly couple in a small house. They used a downstairs kitchen, and we used one upstairs. We shared a bathroom between the two bedrooms. They usually retired to their bedroom after dinner, so we had the living room all to ourselves. It was fun!”
Jean and her husband made many moves during the birthing and raising of Nancy and her siblings in the Midwest, during which time she also worked as a medical technologist. She enjoyed their life in the cold country, but while on vacation to Arizona in 1985, she fell in love with the desert.
“I was all by myself, having lost my husband in 1978,” relates Jean, “and it was scary, but I bought myself a home right then and there. I moved to Sun Lakes permanently a few months later. I love it! And I love singing in the Chordaires with my daughter Nancy.”
“Please visit the Chordaires Facebook page,” invites newly-elected Chordaires President Jana Greene, “We always welcome new members! We also invite everyone to come to our fabulous spring show, Sun Flakes Frivolity at the Cottonwood Clubhouse on Sunday, April 12.”