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Ruth Goodwin

Ruth Goodwin started her singing career in 1945 when she joined the Conservatoire of Music in Cape Town, South Africa as a musical student. For three and half years she trained under the guidance of Ms. Valerie Parkins. Thereafter she spent a further four years receiving tuition in singing at the University of Cape Town College of Music under the tutorship direction of Mr. Ernest Dennis.

At the same time she also studied voice training under the very capable guidance of the well known Opera Singer, Ms. Olga Magnoni. She has sung in roles of Violetta (La Traviata), Gilda (Rigoletto) and Cho Cho San (Mme Butterfly). Ms. Goodwin has been featured rgularly as the lead soprano in many of the oratorio work presented by the Eoan Group, and among these, Handel’s Messiah and Mendelsohn’s Elijah.

After studying at the Conservatoire of Music and the College of Music, she began to sing in numerous churches like the Zinzendorf Moravian Church, St. Mark’s Anglican Ms. Goodwin was one of the very first “Coloured” Opera Singers and in the Eoan’s production in 1956, she sang the part of Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. Ms. Good has received many accolades and numerous operatic awards for performances over the years. She was associated with the “Eoan Group” for a number of years. This group, despite the official policies and practices of South African Government of the time, vigorously asserted the right of every human being to be given the opportunity for cultural and social enrichment.

She says she loved the influence of her mother who was a church organist and who always encouraged her to sing. She often found her mother cooking on Sunday mornings while Ruth would play hymns from the Alexander Hymn Book and start singing from Hymn number one until her mother had finished cooking and they ended up singing together.

Ms. Goodwin serve on the Board of Stepping stones, a city-based Day Care Centre in Cape Town, which is home to many children from disadvantaged communities. She is also on the board of the District Six Museum, of which the primary objective for this museum is the broadening of cultural and social horizons. She fondly remembers her career in District Six for this was a place where music reigned, whether it was the guitar, the banjo or the voice. It provided an endless source of happiness for the people of District Six.

Upon receiving this award, Ms. Goodwin says ”this award is an affirmation of the cultural values and aspirations shared by people around the globe, values which cut across all barriers of so called race, colour and creed.”

An Opera Critic in London newspapers quoted: “Now here is Goodwin with “Tutte Le Feste al Tempio!” What a beautiful, virginal quality she brings to this aria...this is a voice that is totally focused. Goodwin is outstanding by any criteria. And-for me– this is bloody saying a lot!”