Ladies Association of British Barbershop Convention
The superchorus: Tudor Roses, Spirit of the South and Wessex Harmony on stage in Bournemouth.
Back in the spring I was missing my choir back home so I jumped on the interwebs and found a singing course offered by a local choir. I enjoyed the 6 week class and ended up joining the choir after passing my audition. Wessex Harmony is an a cappella barbershop ladies chorus that is part of the Ladies Association of British Barbershop. The equivalent in the states is called Sweet Adelines. There are some chorus’ in Europe that compete in Sweet Adelines competitions, usually when they consistently place first in the European competitions are looking for the next level of competition.
Some top choirs
When I joined in the spring, the first task was for me to learn the two songs my chorus was preparing for the Convention at the end of October. Because my chorus is relatively small, we banded together with 2 other groups to join a super-chorus. Coaches were hired to improve the group’s singing and everyone met up on a few Saturdays to perfect our efforts. Each member of the chorus was required to submit a recording of themselves singing the songs, which the section leaders reviewed to ensure that the members were singing the right notes.
I’m a tenor so my section is very small: we are usually referred to as the “sprinkles on top”.
“The Barbershop Cone: Barbershop harmonies have a different balance than the cylindrical SATB- Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, i that our top voices sing with less weight and intensity than our lower voices”
Convention was great! I roomed with another member from Australia and we whooped it up! There are songs called Polecats that every chorus learns so everyone can sing the songs together at gatherings. Andrew was even able to join in Bohemian Rhapsody!
Instagram filters with roommate Kelly, The Wessex Harmony Tenor Section, Crazy Cat on my head
Our super-chorus performed on Saturday, 10/28, and placed 16 out of 28 in our category, which was better than we expected especially given that there were limited rehearsals all together. It was a wonderful experience. There was such a feeling of camaraderie and celebration and I enjoyed ever minute of it. The ladies in my chorus are absolute gems!
After everyone competed there was a party themed “A Night with the Stars”. One of the groups took this in a different direction than most of the choirs who dressed up like Divas and went literally to the stars in their Star Trek costumes!
Watch our performances here. “Love Me” and “Once Upon a Time”. The judges noted that our second song was very challenging so we were happy with our performance.