Guildford Harmony – join the club
PUBLISHED: 18:06 09 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:52 20 February 2013
Every month, we find out about a different club or society in the county and what they get up to. If you'd like to see your group or organisation featured on these pages next year, please send an e-mail to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Name of club: Guildford Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus
Based at: Onslow Village Hall, Guildford
In a nutshell: Guildford Harmony is a ladies a cappella chorus who sing in the barbershop style in four-part harmony.
Person interviewed: Jenn Walker
Role in group: Founding member
Member for: 31 years
Joined because: A friend of mine founded the club in 1980 and invited me to join. I had always loved singing and this offered me something new and exciting, which it has proved to be! The mix of friendship and fun, in addition to the expertise we get in singing technique, to say nothing of the unique and amazing sound of four-part barbershop harmony, keeps me coming!
When was the club set up?
Guildford Harmony was set up in 1980 to provide a fun and supportive environment for ladies to share and develop their love and passion for barbershop-style music.
We sing at all sorts of venues, including parties, family celebrations, weddings and community events, and we also like to support local music festivals. Every year, we take part in the annual nation-wide ladies barbershop chorus competition, where we are proud to be ranked amongst the top 20 choruses in the country.
Every year, we also choose a different local charity to support and regularly raise four-figure sums of money.
How many members do you have?
At the moment we have 25, but new members are always welcome.
Where and when do you meet?
At Onslow Village Hall, Guildford, every Thursday at 7.45pm.
Whats the best thing about being a member of the club?
There are so many wonderful things about being a member of Guildford Harmony. Fellowship, the fantastic music and singing are all important. Aiming for top-quality music and performance is very rewarding, and its also very satisfying to set goals and see them achieved, both individually and as a team.
Being in Guildford Harmony is a lot like being in a sporting team, but with sequins instead of sweat. Sometimes, its great just to be able to come along and put your worries aside for a few hours. The chance to do something so different from the day job is very refreshing.
Discovering barbershop has opened up a completely new world for me Ive made some great friends, discovered a new passion, been stretched, inspired and moved.
Do you find being surrounded by like-minded individuals inspiring?
Oh yes, its wonderful! Were a diverse group of people, ages and occupations, but were all focused on singing for the joy of it and to bring pleasure to our audiences. Barbershop is something you just cant do without like-minded individuals we need each other!
Some of our members have been with the club for more than 20 years, which shows it becomes a way of life for some.
Have you got links to other clubs?
Yes, we belong to the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS) and are affiliated with the mens association as well (BABS).
Whats the most interesting story from the groups history?
Last time we competed at a national competition, the prop was a borrowed old leather briefcase that was the pride and joy of one of the members. Our music director put two bottles of champagne and a bag of ice in it to present to us after our stage time but didnt tell us. Unfortunately, whilst on stage, the lights were a bit warm and made the ice melt, leak, and ruin the case not to mention dripping throughout our performance! The champagne still tasted good though.
In addition, we have also been in touch with other local barbershop clubs in the past and have had some wonderful shared evenings with them.
Right now, we are working towards competing at a national convention in Harrogate and are very excited about that.
and the funniest?
Difficult to choose just one, but the moves our members make for our convention number really have to be seen to be believed
Describe your club in five words...
Energising, friendly, supportive, challenging, uplifting!
- For more information about Guildford Harmony, visit www.guildfordharmony.com.
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2011
Every month, we find out about a different club or society in the county and what they get up to. If youd like to see your group or organisation featured on these pages next year, please send an e-mail to the editor at email@example.com
Photo: Pete Gardner