Surrey Harmony - Join the club
PUBLISHED: 12:25 02 November 2011 | UPDATED: 15:48 20 February 2013
If you were lucky enough to catch them at the Surrey Life Carol Concert, you'll understand why we just had to get Surrey Harmony in the magazine! Here, the group's performance organiser Judith Hunt tells us all about this award-winning women's bar...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2009
If you were lucky enough to catch them at the Surrey Life Carol Concert, you'll understand why we just had to get Surrey Harmony in the magazine! Here, the group's performance organiser Judith Hunt tells us all about this award-winning women's barbershop chorus
When was the club set up?
The club was founded in 1990 by Jenny Lawson who set up Surrey Harmony with 14 singers. Their aim then and evermore was for 'serious fun'!
How often do you meet?
We rehearse every Wednesday in Coulsdon (more when we are performing). We sing at various places throughout the year - ranging from residential homes and concerts to competitions. In 2009, we will be competing in Nashville, Tennessee, because of our high score at last year's UK competition.
What's the best thing about being in the group?
The singing and the friendship.
Do you find being surrounded by like-minded individuals inspiring?
Yes! We are women with a wide age range, and from many different walks of life, yet we are united in the love of this special kind of singing. We want to sing well, and we want to succeed and we have a huge amount of fun doing it! We always leave the rehearsal feeling uplifted and rewarded.
How many members do you have?
There are 88 of us in total, but we are always recruiting. The basic requirement is to be able to sing well and in tune! We do the rest.
What is the age range of the group?
From 13 to 70 plus!
And do your members tend to meet socially outside the club as well?
Yes - many people have made life-long friends within the chorus. Also, quartets sing together and entertain once they have passed the basic requirements.
Do you have links with other similar clubs around the country?
Yes, and in other parts of the world! Every year, there is a competition for our region (UK and Netherlands) and we cheer each other on during the course of a whole weekend of music, competition and education. We also have education weekends in different parts of the country. Plus, Surrey Harmony has met choruses from all over the world at international competitions in various parts of the US.
Do you have any famous members?
Not to date!
What's the most interesting story from the group's history?
We travelled to the US to compete in an international competition three weeks after 9/11. We had a long wait at Dallas airport and sang comforting songs to traumatised American passengers while they waited for their next flight.
...and the funniest?
One of the annual education weekends was open to European choruses and we were all each asked to prepare an entertainment involving something from our own part of the world. As Surrey 'ladies' we sang Ascot Gavotte in the poshest voices we could muster. Then, as one of our number announced that our next song was in honour of our Scottish director, Jenny, we all had our backs to the audience. When we turned round we all had on tam-o'-shanters sprouting ginger hair and beards! The whole audience collapsed with hysterical laughter as we sang the 1950s Bill Haley song, Rockin' through the Rye!
When is your next event that is open to the public/potential new members?
We have two coming up: a concert in the Martineau Hall at the Dorking Halls on Friday February 20 at 12noon, and an evening concert at Caterham School in aid of the Caterham Overseas Aid Trust on Saturday February 28.
Describe your club in five words...
Fun, friendship, harmony, dedication and success!