At a farmer’s market held at Volunteer Park in 1998, Barbara Bence was introduced to the newly organized Key Singers choral group by a guitar player she stopped to chat with that afternoon. She has been a member ever since, sometimes singing soprano solos. She is the publicity person for the group, creating posters, making displays for events, and keeping the Singers’ scrapbook. Bence is “always willing to get things done, and is a great gal to have in our group of dedicated singers,” says Director Marianne McColley.

Barbara Bence

An accomplished oil painter, Bence also enjoys crochet, puzzles, and open-mic night at O’Callahan’s, where her son-in-law plays guitar and sings.

She meets with other Key Singers weekly for rehearsals that include musical venues ranging from show tunes to spirituals, classical fugues to country Western ballads. An upcoming concert will be at the traditional Key Center tree lighting on Dec. 3. The group currently has around 20 members, sometimes as many as 31; folks drift in and out, with new members always welcome.

“I just wish everybody could have the opportunity to join a group that has as much fun as we do,” she says.

Bence is the oldest of 15 children and originally hails from Arkansas, by way of a stint in the Army in Texas, where she met her future husband, whose home state was Washington. She has lived on the Key Peninsula for 37 years, and looks forward to participating in Key Singers’ concerts for a long time to come. She says McColley and piano-accompanist Ann Craven do a fine job giving all voice-range sections opportunities to lead during performances. The Singers have several concerts in the offing, both on and off the peninsula, and it’s a sure bet Bence will be both sharing her voice, and lending her artistic talent to the publicity beforehand.

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