A lovely thank you

At our summer concert, we were asked to sing a special happy birthday to Sheila who had been brought along as a surprise treat for her 85th birthday. Sheila’s granddaughter Sal is one of our chorus members in the lead section and Sal’s mum sent us this lovely card afterwards, (excerpt transcribed below).

Simon and the lovely ladies of the London City Singers, just a small note to say… a very BIG thank you for a wonderful evening, filled with such a variety of well sung tremendous music… and of course making my mother’s 85th celebration so special by singing Happy Birthday to her – a perfect memory… 

Meet a member: Adel

In this month’s meet a member it’s our resident social media whizz, Adel who’s celebrating her first anniversary with the chorus.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

Well hello! Firstly I love singing, obviously! My life pretty much revolves around music. I set up events for a ticketing company for work and I spend a lot of my time at gigs, or just being a geek listening to a cappella groups on YouTube. I’m a big fan of the show people love to hate: The X Factor. I also enjoy movies and dance fitness classes (good to get ideas for choreo!).

How did you find out about LCS?

I’m a bit of an old timer when it comes to Barbershop and I was a member of 2 other Sweet Adelines choruses, so I’d heard of LCS through that.

Why did you join?

After a bit of a break I was missing some 4-part harmony singing in my life and when I realised the rehearsal hall was so close to my work I thought I would pop along. I loved it and the rest, as they say, is history!

What was your first experience of a cappella or Barbershop and who did you see?

My first experience of Barbershop was when my mum handed me a leaflet for a free singing course local to my house. I dragged a friend along and quickly realised that they were actually forming a chorus which would later be known as Cheshire A Cappella. I quickly fell in love with this hobby and soon became a member. But what really gave me an insight into Barbershop was an education evening with the male group, Westminster Chorus from the US. I was blown away by their talents and later on, I ended up singing tags in the bar with some of the members. It was a fun, but surreal evening.

Tell us one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I taught myself to do a weird tongue curl when I was a kid. Clearly, I had too much time on my hands.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?

Probably a song by Steps as that would make me forever happy!

Meet our new member: Harriet

This month we welcome a new member to the baritone section: Harriet (AKA Bariet, pictured in the middle with the grey top). With a sister already in the chorus and being part of the team supporting us at the convention in Spain, it’s like she was a member already.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am super psyched to be joining the chorus! I love singing with other people and I think what London City Singers are doing is pretty darn cool. I also like playing games, spending time with animals, especially chickens, and working with children. Also tea!

How did you find out about LCS?

Through my sister Leila who was already in the chorus. She’s older, in case you’re wondering.

Why did you join?

I tagged along to the SABS 2017 convention for a holiday.  It was ridiculously fun and I wasn’t even singing! I’d been in choirs before but never an all female or barbershop chorus, so I was keen to give it a go.

What was your first experience of a cappella or barbershop and who did you see?

The Kings Singers! They were guests at a concert I saw when I was about 15 and I was hooked.

Tell us one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I can make a noise like a woodblock.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?


New Chorus Coordination Committee 2017

London City Singers’ CCC (Chorus Coordination Committee) gets a refresh every May. Each post on the CCC is filled on a two-year basis, with roles staggered to ensure a level of consistency from one year to the next. There are a few roles that need to be in place for each chorus; a team leader, finance lead and membership/secretary, and it’s required to have at least six in total to form the group. We’ve spent time working the most useful mix of roles to form our committee, and below explains each role, a little bit about what they do and who we have in place going forward.

Team Coordinator: responsible for overall management of the group
Mariane Lingley, replacing Helen Walledge

Team Secretary: compiles event handbooks, notes meeting actions and generates agendas
Leila Wong, replacing Liss Macklin

Membership Coordinator: tracks attendance, coordinates new starters and registers the chorus for Sweet Adelines International membership
Nat Faulkner, replacing Mariane Lingley

Fundraising Coordinator: leads on recommending fundraising methods and monitoring progress against set targets
Sal Rowberry, replacing Charl Asuit

Image Coordinator: determines what we wear for our events, ensuring we look fabulous dahling
Mea Wilson, replacing Linda Clayton

Simon Arnott (Music Director), Daisy Blench (Events Co-ordinator) and Lan O’Connor (Marketing Co-ordinator) remain in post, as well as Aurélie Gandour (Finance Co-ordinator) who took over from Sarah Palframan when she went on maternity leave late last year.

A big thank you to those who’ve supported the chorus over the past year working in the CCC, and special thanks to Aurélie for sourcing these lovely presents for those leaving their roles (click to see the pics on our Instagram page).

Simon was also given a present, though he’s still on the CCC (I suppose he does do a lot for us…) Here’s him enjoying it 🙂

A birthday, quartet night and awards on one night!

Last Tuesday, 15 Nov, was a very exciting night at London City Singers for three big reasons — it was our annual quartet night, the chorus awards results were announced and it’s our 9th birthday!

The awards/snacks table was set out and we were ready for a night of great entertainment from our talented members. Eight quartets stepped up to perform. Some had epic ballads, some had sweet melodies, and some were just damn right wacky and hilarious.

Highlights were Hail Mary and their side-splitting rendition of Big Hair, complete with metallic ponchos and a balloon at the back of Katherine’s head (don’t ask!). Pindrop had the moves, and Relativity began their set by candlelight singing Pitch Perfect’s Cups song.

While our judges for the night (Sophie Hasson, Luke Stevenson and Ali Hay-Plumb) were making their tough deliberations, the winners of the LCS Awards 2016 were revealed. We had awards for Joker of the Pack (Ruth & Sal), You Got the Moves (Adeline), Little Miss Sunshine (Emma), Can’t Get Rid of Her (Hazel) and even a Red Knicker Recipient (Mariane). Our musical director, Simon, won the You Go, You award, and the ultimate recognition, the chosen Sweet Adeline of the Year was Katherine.

After the whole chorus sang Happy Birthday and blew out the candles for our 9th anniversary, the time had come for the quartet results.

Pizzazz snagged third place, Hail Mary came second, and Relativity received the coveted first place for their awesome performance.

All in all, it was a fantastic night of laughs, singing, and a few too many sausage rolls. Now we have a whole year to wait until we can do it all again!

Written by: Adel Hanily, baritone

See more photos of this special night on our Facebook page and don’t forget to ‘like’ our page to keep up-to-date with London City Singers

New Chorus Coordination Committee 2016

Our chorus coordination committee (CCC) is renewed each year. Members select from those who put their names forward and volunteer to do these roles to help manage the chorus. For this coming year, the roles of Team Coordinator, Events Coordinator, Finance Coordinator and Marketing Coordinator needed to be filled. At this year’s annual general meeting, we selected the new members of our CCC – some have moved from other roles and some are serving for the first time. They are:

  • Helen Walledge, replacing Hayley Nock as Team Coordinator
  • Daisy Blench, replacing Lan O’Connor as Events Coordinator
  • Sarah Palframan, replacing Adeline Giacometti as Finance Coordinator
  • Lan O’Connor, taking over the vacant role of Marketing Coordinator (filled by Charl Asuit on an interim basis)

Helen is the incumbent Membership Coordinator and her moving to the role of Team Coordinator means the post was to be left vacant. But thankfully, Mariane Lingley stepped up and agreed to take over matters of membership for the remaining term.

The new CCC members join Simon Arnott (Music Director and Music Coordinator), Liss Macklin (Secretary) and Charl Asuit (Fundraising Coordinator) for the 2016-17 term.

LCS at Convention 2016

Fresh off the back of the sell-out dress rehearsal, members of London City Singers (LCS) made their way to Newcastle, excited to perform in The Sage.

Many of us were able to head up in time to enjoy the quartet competition on Friday and were treated to another high quality contest. This was a great way to start a weekend of singing, as well as a fantastic learning experience for members, especially the first timers. We were all excited to hear the results and congratulate the winners The MIX (International Division) and Oops! (Open Division).

Several of our members were involved in the new social media initiative with Region 31 Management Team to promote interest for new members to join Sweet Adelines International and support the new webcast for Region 31. We’d certainly encourage more of this next year: it was fun, rewarding, and a great way to meet other members in the region.

Finally, it was the day we’d been waiting for!

We had a relaxed morning getting ready, warmed up and energised. What’s a Saturday morning without lots of hairspray, false eyelashes, line dancing and even some tears anyway?!

Once we had provided ample entertainment for the rest of the hotel guests eating breakfast, it was time to polish our makeup and get “blushed” by Linda. Sequins finally in place, we were ready to head to The Sage.

Even though there was a slight delay with the contest proceedings, a relaxed LCS were patiently waiting to join the traffic pattern. We knew our plan and were going to deliver!

Stepping out on stage was as exciting as ever– whether at contest, weddings, tube stations, anywhere! LCS loves to perform. We had a great time sharing our package and walked off confident that everyone did their job. What more can you ask?

The chorus was excited to watch the remaining contestants. With some of the larger choruses performing you really get a sense of sound on stage. We even got to wave on the webcast for our supporters at home. Then drum roll, the results. Well, it turned out to be a disappointing outcome for us. Big congratulations, though, to champions Forth Valley with a record breaking regional score. We can’t wait to see them take the stage in Vegas in 2017.

The weekend wasn’t over yet though. Members of LCS proved why we are together – we love singing. We entertained several groups in our hotel prior to dinner (they didn’t want us to leave!) then had a fantastic time singing in our own afterglow hub. But since the tenors went to bed, other members took their turns at filling in, with varied results.

Sunday was activity packed, with three of our members performing as part of the Young Women in Harmony chorus. So, after a busy morning of education and even more singing, convention was drawn to a close with another rousing performance of How We Sang Today, the Sweet Adelines International anthem.

So how do we sum up our collective learnings from convention 2016?

We LOVE singing, we can deliver our plan for any song, we know how to entertain, Simon’s costume needs more sequins, we follow commands well (“wave!”), we have improved our sound year on year. If all that wasn’t enough, this is a fabulous group of people who know how to enjoy what they are doing and have FUN!

Check our Twitter and (brand new!) Instagram feeds for more photos from the Newcastle 2016 Convention. We’ll post the video of our performance on stage soon.

Meet our new member: Emma O

The prospect of singing regularly and working towards a goal (like convention) were some things that made Emma (pictured in the middle) join London City Singers. She joins our bass section already with the knowledge of barbershop and experience of a Sweet Adelines convention.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

After university, I completed a TEFL qualification and began teaching English as a foreign language to international students in central London. I absolutely loved it as I met such interesting people from all over the world. The teaching bug took hold and I wanted to pursue my own foreign languages which I studied at university (French and Italian) so I decided to do a PGCE in secondary languages. A year and a bit later, and I’ve almost finished (or should I say ‘survived’?!) my first year of teaching in a secondary school in Hertfordshire! To escape from my mounds of work, I enjoy baking and (of course) singing!

How did you find out about London City Singers?

I have always enjoyed being part of some kind of singing ensemble, from chamber choir and musicals at school to barbershop choruses and quartets at university, to female a cappella during my PGCE. Since moving back to London from Cambridge last year where I rehearsed 2-3 times a week, I really missed singing regularly and was searching for choirs in London when a friend (and another new chorus member) told me she was going to the LCS taster session. It looked and sounded like the kind of thing I would like and so we went along together.

Why did you join?

From the taster session I found that I really liked the variety of music that the chorus sang, it was fun and yet challenging; everyone was keen to work really hard to create the best sound possible while enjoying it along the way. I was excited at the prospect of having singing regularly in my life again and also to work towards the goal of performing at convention. Everyone was very warm and welcoming and so I decided to go back the following week.

What’s your thoughts on singing barbershop?

I love singing a cappella and I think barbershop style arrangements are often a really fun and technically interesting way to do so. Having competed a few years ago in the Sweet Adelines convention as part of a quartet, I know what a wonderfully mad world the world of barbershop is and am excited to be part of that again.

Meet our new member: Emma W

Emma (pictured, with green top) sang barbershop in uni and was missing it. After attending London City Singer’s Taster Tuesday session, she found a group that she could sing barbershop with on a regular basis. Read the story of the newest member of our baritone section below.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a Music Teacher in primary schools and enjoy teaching children from 3-11 years old. I’ve recently moved to London from Bristol and changed role from class teacher, covering all subjects, to specialising in Music. This has proved really fun and I do a lot of singing in a typical day – but I was keen to join a singing group outside of work and sing something other than children’s repertoire! Throughout university I sang in various groups with a barbershop society and developed a love for a cappella singing.

How did you find out about London City Singers?

Through fellow singer friends advice, I had seen videos of the chorus online and then looked up their website. I thought the group looked really friendly and sang a fun range of songs. Luckily, there was a taster evening coming up soon!

Why did you join?

I really enjoyed the taster evening and was excited by the sound and the journey the chorus seemed to be taking. The evening was fun but we also focused on technical aspects of singing so I felt I could learn a lot from the chorus. I also wanted to be part of a singing group with regular rehearsals and goals (such as convention) so I had dedicated time to enjoy singing and meet new people. The chorus were really relaxed and friendly, which made me keen to go back.

What are your thoughts on singing barbershop?

I enjoyed singing barbershop in uni and have missed it since! I think singing a cappella is a great challenge and really satisfying when the sound comes together. I also like that there is a yearly convention to work towards and always a friendly atmosphere.

LCS Retreat 2016

London City Singers goes on a retreat weekend each year, usually around spring, to prepare and focus on our contest package for convention. For our 2016 retreat, baritone section leader Katherine sums up the weekend.

We’ve recently returned from our annual retreat, a residential weekend packed with singing and fun aimed to focus our energies on our upcoming convention performance.

Last year I was a newbie at retreat, having passed my audition at the start of the same week. The retreat was a wonderful way to get to know the chorus, as well as learning barbershop basics like coning while I tried to wrap my head around the mysteries of something called ‘convention’. I remember us videoing a pyjama-party cut of our uptune and trying to sing every song the chorus had ever learnt as we walked back to our accommodation block in the middle of the night.

A year later, we were back at the same venue, and I suddenly felt like an old hand as I helped out with warm-ups. Once again I grappled with ‘convention’, this time trying to sum up the experience for another generation of new members.

Once warmed up, we were joined by our coach, Nicky Salt (now coming all the way from France) and our new director, Simon Arnott. In the collective psyche of the chorus, this meeting of coach and director felt like the first time you invite two different groups of friends to the same party. We love them both but what would they make of each other? We needn’t have wasted a minute on this idle speculation. They were immediately united by their ambition for us as a chorus, their appreciation for our chorus personality, and their flair for creating an entertaining performance.

Two days well spent and well rewarded—including another memorable Saturday evening, this time testing our knowledge of pop, rap and rock lyrics, eating kilos of sugar, and watching Pitch Perfect 2.

Helen and Hayley excited to watch Pitch Perfect 2

Quiz night winners, PJ Ninjas

It was impossible to capture everything we learned in a single page, but we brought some real changes back home. We changed our weekly warm-ups so that we’re unifying our sound right at the start of every rehearsal. Working on our ballad has unlocked the emotion of the song for us, connecting us with the magic of the lyrics. As for our uptune, well… we can’t wait to share it with our region at convention in a few weeks. We hope our friends in Region 31 enjoy the performance as much as we do.