The University of the Third Age is an international movement whose aims are the education and stimulation of mainly retired members of the community—those in their third ‘age’ of life. It is commonly referred to as U3A.
The Manning Valley U3A doesn’t have its own headquarters, and we are a non-profit organisation. We enroll each term at the Uniting Church in Taree, where we base ourselves. Terms are loosely based on the school terms.
The U3A is run by a committee, and we set up classes which are run by members for members. We, the committee, meet once a month to discuss the group; what classes are happening, planning
ahead and balancing the books. Our time is given freely for the benefit of our local community. We usually meet in one of the smaller rooms at the Uniting Church in Taree.
Our website is manningvalley.u3anet.org.au. It has a link to our timetable of events for the next semester.
Classes are held every week. A person may decide to go to several courses each week. There is no limit at all. Most classes run for about two hours. All classes are charged for, but they are very, very
reasonable, usually around $10 per term. Classes are held morning and afternoon. Morning and afternoon tea is provided.
We have over 400 members, and classes range from ukulele, recorder and harmonica classes, to Spanish lessons, tai chi, various card and board games, gardening, croquet in season, gentle exercise, stretch and strengthen classes, Time Traveller. Everyone has a story. Line dancing, folk dancing and ballroom dancing are very popular, as is our philosophy class, all run by local people and members. As we move into our older years, staying in touch, being involved and enjoying learning is so beneficial.
These classes are held in various halls and churches around the area.
Pam Archer is our unsung hero. She has been musical director of the U3A Silver Tones Choir now for a number of years. The choir put on a wonderful show for the residents of Bishop Tyrrell Anglican Care Home in Cundletown, which I had the pleasure of attending, and thoroughly enjoyed the medley of Seekers songs, songs from our best loved musicals, and some very good sing-along music. It was just wonderful to see the choir and residents happily singing along and being thoroughly entertained.
The choir is in need of more male singers. So, if you are interested, do please to get in touch, we would be thrilled for you to join us.
As the newly elected Publicity Officer for U3A in the Manning area, my job is to promote and publicise the group and any events coming up. My first task is to highlight the Silver Tones choir which, frankly, moved me when I heard them for the first time.
Its Musical Director is Pam Archer, AM. Pam is an incredible lady, and her energy and dedication to music are simply amazing. She was a music teacher in Taree and Wingham, and now is involved with Kantabile. I saw her perform with Don Secomb at the Taree Winter Festival just recently. She really is a wonderful, unassuming lady, who gives and gives to the community.
Pam took on training the Silver Tones, and they have a concert coming up on 11th September at 2pm at the Community Church at Harrington, followed by a second concert at St John’s Anglican Church on 9th October at 2 pm. All proceeds go to Manning Valley Push for Palliative.
Silver Tones are but one group within U3A. We are all people over 55 who get together every week for various courses. The idea is that we continue to learn and grow even into the third age. It really is a wonderful way to meet new friends, pick up old hobbies or learn new ones, like Spanish, the harmonica or ukulele.
All classes are lead by a tutor within U3A and are done on a voluntary basis.
We welcome new members and encourage them to contact us or come along to one of our enrolment days. These are advertised ahead of time in local papers. I’m more than happy to call anyone who does contact U3A.
As I see it, we need to capture a new group of retirees coming up. We want to grow our membership and offer more and more classes. I’m continually surprised when I hear people say they have
never heard of us.
So, please come and join the U3A and discover a whole new world of friends, ideas and new talents and experiences!