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.