A sparkling weekend of Barbershop! - Total Choir Resources

A sparkling weekend of Barbershop!

It was a great honour for Victoria and I to be invited to the LABBS Annual Convention and European Barbershop Convention at the Bournemouth International Centre in the UK. Total Choir Resources follower Deborah Lamble, who also happens to be the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers Chairman, kindly extended a warm welcome and an ‘access all events’ pass to us both.

The four-day event was packed with competition performances, evening shows, exhibition stands and fringe events including talks and discussions on a variety of Barbershop related themes. We visited on the Friday, delighted to see that Bournemouth (which is close to home for us) was showing itself off in glorious Autumn sunshine.

After meeting Deborah, we made our way to the exhibition area. There we met enthusiastic and friendly folk promoting their Barbershop choirs and events. Not being experts in this area ourselves, we spoke to a gentleman who explained the key elements that make something ‘barbershop’. One thing we noticed straight away is the passion of everyone involved and the attention to detail. Each choir seemed to have a uniform for ‘down time’ as well as one for performance.

After a look round, we headed to the auditorium where the main competition got underway. Throughout the morning the seats filled up and with three tables of judges you could feel the excitement and anticipation. We watched many of the choirs and were amazed by their skill and discipline, and how they made movement an integral part of their production. The outfits were stunning and really added to the whole production. Some wore formal dresses while others went for a more eclectic style, there was even a choir kitted out in rock style singing Queen medleys.

As well as watching the performances, we popped in on some fringe events, including interview and discussions. There was no doubt that this organisation took its mission very seriously, while at the same time, it was clear that everyone involved was having an amazing time.

We had a lovely time at the convention and it was great to see the passion everyone involved has for Barbershop singing. A big thank you to Deborah for inviting us and we do hope this event continues to go from strength to strength.

Christine Mulgrew

Christine Mulgrew

Christine is a contemporary choir leader who loves to help novice and nervous singers find their voice.

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Jim Duncan - last year Reply

So glad you got some exposure the Barbershop. I’ve been involved for almost 20 years now, and could not go a week without a fix of tight harmony. I even met my wife singing barbershop. You probably also know that this style is different from typical SATB or SSAA, in that the melody is not in the top line, but below it, requiring a different approach to both singing and arranging. Thanks for giving this style a little publicity.

    Victoria Hopkins - last year Reply

    You’re welcome Jim. I met my husband while rehearsing Gilbert & Sullivan, so we both have musically-inspired marriages!

Deborah - last year Reply

So pleased that you had a good time! The barbershop world is growing all the time, not only in the UK but all over Europe and if any members of this group find themselves abroad in, America, New Zealand, Australia as well, then look up a chorus and you will find that they will welcome you to listen and sing along with them!

    Victoria Hopkins - last year Reply

    Thank you for the invitation Deborah.

Charlie - last year Reply

I was so pleased to read that you had come along to LABBS and enjoyed our barbershop bonanza! After a long break it was barbershop that brought me back to singing when The White Rosettes did a learn to sing course back in 2015 and I am a total close harmony a cappella convert.

I love love love the LABBS association and all the wonderful people and am so happy that you were invited to experience this all first hand! Yay!

    Christine Mulgrew
    Christine Mulgrew - last year Reply

    Hi Charlie, thanks for your lovely message, great to hear how much you enjoy your barbershop singing.

Kay - last year Reply

A lovely surprise to read your message this week about Barbershop singing. There is a chorus here in the Algarve in Portugal , and much also going on in Spain and other countries in Europe. I read your messages every week, and it’s great to see you have enjoyed at first hand the barbershop style of singing in close harmony, and seen how much enthusiasm there is in many people’s hearts for barbershop.

    Christine Mulgrew
    Christine Mulgrew - last year Reply

    Thanks for your message Kay, great to hear about all the barbershop singing going on across different countries. One thing Victoria and I definitely took away from the day was how passionate everyone was about their singing and what a great community it was. Really pleased you follow Total Choir Resources.

Tina - last year Reply

Totally agree with the comments….I too belong to a barbershop chorus…..although we are not a competition chorus (by choice)……we just sing for the fun of it, but in a barbershop style……..still aiming to raise standards though….

    Christine Mulgrew
    Christine Mulgrew - last year Reply

    Hi Tina, thanks for your message, glad you liked the article.

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