Mike Cook was voted the Solent City Chorus Barbershopper of the Year for 2023 by the chorus members at the club AGM on Weds 13th September.
Mike has done sterling work as the club secretary keeping the committee and the club as a whole on track. He has also been active in trying to keep the clubs profile high by advocating and providing the copy for articles published in local press.
|What an evening and what a concert! |
Solent City and special guests the Queen Bees performed to a full house at Portchester Methodist Church on 21 st July. Although entrance was free, a raffle and donations by the audience raised £444, which is being split equally between the Church and the Mountbatten Hampshire Hospice.
Both choruses were in sparkling form and received a great response from the audience. Solent’schoice of songs ranged from the beautiful Maori anthem “Pokarekare Ana” to “This Is Me” and “A Million Dreams”, both from the movie The Greatest Showman. And the hilarious “Blew by You”, featuring soloist Philip Davies, brought the house down.
The Queen Bees also featured a terrific range of songs: from a beautiful version of “The Sound of Music” to the tongue-in-cheek “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”, and a saucy rendition of “Hey Big Spender” as an encore.
Our thanks go to the amazing Queen Bees for coming over from Southampton to join us, and to help make it a wonderful evening’s entertainment.
12 th July: a joint rehearsal with the wonderful Spinnaker Chorus and their MD John Palmer.
A much more energetic physical warm-up than usual (thanks to the athletic Nicky Best) that left most of the guys gasping for breath, followed by a vocal warm-up with our own Steve Morris.
Each chorus then took turns on the risers. Great to hear Spinnaker in action - one of the country’s top barbershop choruses. Pleased to say they enjoyed listening to Solent City as well, and our comedy number “Blew by You” went down a storm.
And then to the pub next door where both choruses worked their way through their repertoire!
A really fun evening – lovely singing, lots of humour and banter….and cake as well! A real privilege for us to share the risers with such a terrific chorus for a couple of joint numbers.
|This was an evening to remember for Solent City. Competing at the Fareham Music Festival, the guys picked up THREE trophies, achieving some spectacular marks along the way. This was the third year in a row that the chorus have won top prizes at Fareham.|
In the Adult Choir category, Solent picked up the Hills Cup, with a ranking of “Distinction” from the adjudicator, the celebrated opera singer and music coach Maria Jagusz. Eight members drawn from the chorus, competing as “the Ferrets”, then triumphed in the Barbershop Ensemble category, winning the Cabin Crew Acapella Cup. Ms Jagusz awarded the Ferrets an “Honours” rating, a rare and prestigious achievement in music festivals.
There was yet more success for Solent in the Barbershop Chorus category, where they won the Acapella Cup with another rating of Distinction.
Among many positive comments, Ms Jagusz commented on Solent’s “lovely sense of performance” and “the super blend of voices”. She also loved the originality and humour in the performance, notably in the songs “Blew by You” and “My Girl”.
Remarkably, the guys also came second in three further song categories. In each case we were pipped by a wonderful new ladies ensemble from Southampton, the Queen Bees.
It was great to have James back singing with the chorus on Wednesday and he was also presented with his long service pin to recognise 20 years as a member of BABS.
Well done James!
Wow - what a week for Solent City!
This was the first time that Solent had competed at Chichester, but they topped the Male Voice Choir category, for which they were awarded the Oriana Cup, and also claimed first prize in the Barbershop Choir category.
Adjudicator Christopher Field was especially impressed by Solent’s performance in the Male Voice class, awarding a Distinction and commenting on the choir’s “beautiful resonant sound” and the “wonderful rhythmic security”.
|The chorus are proud to be performing at the Light Up A Life service at Holy Trinity church in Fareham. |
The service is in support of Naomi House and Jacksplace hospices for children and young adults.
The service will start at 7pm.
The club held its Annual General Meeting on Wednesady at which the new committee was elected. It turned out to be the old committee but welcoming Philip Davies as our new Vice Chair.
Our re-elected chairman, Ian Barbeary also awared a 20 year long service pin to Colin Bird:
And finally, the chorus members voted for Andy Douglas as our new Barbershopper of the Year :
|The chorus took a night off from normal rehearsals to vist a pub or three in Old Portsmouth and sing some songs.|
This was the second year in succession that Solent has won a top prize at Fareham. Adjudicator Angela Rowley awarded a “highly commended” rating on the performance, praising the beautifully blended singing, the dynamic variation, and gave a special mention to the delicate tenor line in all three songs.
Our dear friend Gabriel Dooley sadly passed away unexpectedly just before Christmas, aged just 60.
Gabriel joined Solent City Chorus in 2011 after attending a Learn to Sing course run by the club. After receiving his 10-year pin from BABS last year, Gabriel’s reaction was: “I only signed up for a 6-week LTS course. I’m not sure what happened – I must be a slow learner”.
A proud Irishman, Gabriel was passionate about his singing and loved the “craic” of being with the other guys in the chorus. In recent years he commuted daily from Portsmouth to London where he was a senior engineer on the Crossrail project: he would take the train home in the evening and jump into a taxi at the station to arrive just in time for rehearsal. On the risers his style was distinctive and idiosyncratic, as Gabriel himself was the first to acknowledge. With his eyes invariably tightly closed as he sang, he was always a challenge to the MD. But with that wonderful cheeky smile, enormous charm and gift of the blarney, we all loved him.
The Chorus sends its sincerest condolences to Gabriel’s widow, Kay, and their fourchildren.
At his funeral on 17th January, Solent City members past and present sang “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
Solent City’s festive season got off to a sparkling start with two gigs on
Wednesday 1 st December.
In the morning the chorus performed for the NHS Retirement Society in
Cosham, singing a selection of repertoire songs in the first half and then a
mixture of carols and Christmas songs in the second half. Tim Coney, the
society’s Branch Secretary, said the concert had been really enjoyable and
had brought some much-needed Christmas cheer to his members. Then in
the evening Solent City enjoyed a return visit to Denvilles WI in Havant, after
a gap of more than two years due to the pandemic. Another terrific evening of
repertoire songs and carols concluded with an impromptu rendition of
The chorus were pleased to welcome back Peter Mumford to their ranks: a
former Music Director of Solent City, Peter has rejoined as a singing member
in the bari section. We were also thrilled to have Philip Davies (lead) and
Chris Franks (bass) make their debuts with us - both joined very recently
following the learn to sing course. Both were really buzzing at the end of the
evening and said they’d had a great time. “But”, said Philip, “it was a bit
daunting when we lined up and I was suddenly facing all those ladies.” Philip
- all we can say is well done and don’t worry, it’s only very occasionally that
they start throwing things at us…..
Another fun-filled evening, this time performing for the Bidbury Mead WI.
Great facilities, including a rehearsal room with acoustics to die for, a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the Bidbury ladies, and Richard on sparkling form as usual with some impromptu banter.
Lockdown meant it was almost two years to the day since our last visit, but an evening well worth waiting for.
The 2021 Learn To Sing course came to an end with a concert for family and friends. The delegates and chorus sang the song we had learned together - Pokarekare Ana - and the chorus also performed some of our rep songs for the audience.
More photos from the concert are here: Learn To Sing 2021 Photos
Solent City maintained their winning run with another trophy on Friday evening 22nd October, this time at the Fareham Music Festival. The chorus won the Peter Fielder Memorial Cup for best adult choir, achieving a “commended” ranking, and came narrowly second in the Barbershop Chorus category.
A really fun evening for all of us in Solent City as well, and a big thank you to the Totton ladies for their friendship and hospitality.
We are running a free Learn To Sing course over six Wednesady evenings starting on 29th September.
All levels of experience are welcome.
|For more information, see:||https://www.solentcitychorus.com/dbpage.php?pg=LearnToSing|
|Ian Barbeary was nominated and elected unanimously as our chairman at the club AGM on 15th Sept. |
I'm sure you'll all congratulate Ian on his election to the post and we thanks him for standing.
This is Ian's second stint as our chair and so we are in safe hands for the next year.
As is traditional we voted for our Barbershopper of the Year at the AGM on 15th September and this year the award was jointly won by Ian Ayres and Dave Potts.
Congratulations to them both.
Here you can see the John Beck trophy being awared to them by our newly elected chairman, Ian Barbeary
Finally, finally after all these months we got together again for our first sing out since March 2020.We were invited to sing at the East Meon Village Festival which was a celebration of the easing of lockdown restrictions.
It was an open air event so we were competing with other attractions such as the beer tent ,the hog roast and children’s races.
Nevertheless our singing was really appreciated:
“Just to say thanks so much for your wonderful performance yesterday "
“Thank you for bringing your delightful choir on Sunday .Very accomplished indeed and I greatly enjoyed listening to them “
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|We are getting ready to meet again in person - starting with outdoor rehearsals, preparing for indoor rehearsals as regulations are relaxed and even thinking about singing to audiences.|
We'll post more information here as soon as events are arranged.
We have started to take preliminary bookings for some sessions so if you would like us to sing for you please get in touch via e-mail to