"Singing in a choir,” says Nadine Majaro, “is fantastic. You’re challenging yourself to control your voice and hit the notes, so it’s a physical workout; it gives you intellectual stimulation, learning all those pieces; and it’s a communal activity – a coming together with other people. And then on top of all of that, when you all hit those notes, and there’s a full orchestra and wonderful soloists, you get moments of pure magic.”
Majaro has been singing “most of my life” and is a member of the Highgate Choral Society and the University College School (UCS) Centenary Choir in north London. Since leaving the day job at PwC she also has taken up the cello (“there was one lying around the house that nobody played, so I thought I’d have a go”), completed an OU degree and a Masters, volunteers with a number of charities and is preparing to revamp and redesign a recently acquired overgrown and neglected two-acre garden. It’s a wonder she ever found time to work.
“I think you have to make the most of your time, and do something social and sociable,” she says. “I’m thoroughly enjoying it all.”
Majaro joined what was then Price Waterhouse’s graduate training scheme straight from the University of Oxford in 1978. Her degree in philosophy, politics and economics gave her five immediate job offers but she admits: “I chose accountancy so I could defer deciding what I really wanted to do for another three years!”
But she ended up staying for the next 25, beginning in audit and working with the firm’s financial services practices in New York, before returning to London, where she “mainly audited banks”, became a partner and then ran PwC’s Transform practice, delivering training to clients.
She left PwC in 2003 but was keen to put her experience to good use. “I had done a lot of work in social investment and wanted to keep working in a social, charitable capacity.” Her skills were soon snapped up with voluntary roles at organisations promoting social investment, including CAF’s Venturesome Investment Committee and Big Society Capital. “It was a great opportunity to use my knowledge for good,” she says. “If you can do that, you have a responsibility to do so.”
Majaro, now 60, sounds like someone who counts her blessings. “We (she is married with two grown-up children) are fortunate to have the opportunities we do. We have two properties – in Hampstead, where we enjoy all that London has to offer with theatres and restaurants, and another in Devon, where we have the two-acre garden. That’s a lot of work in the planning and the execution, but it’s tremendously exciting.”
But music remains her keenest passion. “I love it,” she says. “I’m enjoying the singing, and the cello lessons – I even play lead cello in a small amateur orchestra, which carries some responsibility. Do we play to the public? I think of them as tolerant friends.”