Meet our new member: Deborah

Back in September, we welcomed a new member into our lead section, Deborah (pictured above in the middle). Here’s some of her thoughts when she joined London City Singers.

Please tell a bit about yourself.

I’m originally from Australia, and I came over to the UK about ten years ago to do some postgraduate study and then work in London. I’m a barrister (specialising in commercial and banking cases), but when I’m not lawyering, I can be found singing, dancing salsa, travelling abroad as much as possible, and eating more pasta than I should (but I have zero self-control).

How did you find out about London City Singers?

I used to sing a lot and then I ended up focusing on study and work, so I left it for a while. I missed the exhilaration I used to get from singing, especially in a group, so I did some searches online, and happily I found London City Singers – located close to work and home, and full of lovely, talented people!

Why did you join?

I was impressed from the moment I found London City Singers’ recorded performances online – the chorus clearly had good quality, dedicated singers who were also obviously enjoying themselves! I joined because it seemed like an excellent group, and it would be a good opportunity to sing barbershop (which I’ve always loved) and the sort of repertoire that I enjoy, and also to make new friends. I’ve been having a wonderful time and I’m sure that will continue.

What’s your thoughts on singing barbershop?

I adore barbershop! My Dad is a big fan of it and he introduced me to the genre when I was little. I grew up listening to a CD by a group called The Demon Barbers, as well as music from Chanticleer, and I was hooked. In more recent times, I love Perpetuum Jazzile, the Swingle Singers, Lunch Break and many others. Singing a cappella harmonies is such a rewarding experience, and I’m looking forward to doing more of that with London City Singers.

New Music Director – Simon Arnott

For those of you who have been following us over the last few months, you’ll know that we’ve been looking for our next Music Director. Well, the search is now over and we’re delighted to announce the appointment of Simon Arnott as our new Musical Director. Hurrah!

Simon is an experienced barbershop singer and director, having directed The University of Bristol Barbershop Singers Auditioned Ensemble (2010-2012) and The University of Bristol Barbershop Singers Men’s Ensemble (2011-2012). He was also the Associate Musical Director and bass section leader of the nine-time British men’s barbershop chorus champions, Great Western Chorus (2010-2015). As a singer, Simon sings bass in Park Street, the 2014 National Barbershop Quartet Champions.

As London City Singers’ Music Director, Simon will continue to develop our unique sound as well as getting involved in every musical aspect of the London City Singers’ work in championing barbershop singing and performance. Simon starts his new role on 05 Jan 2016 and we can’t wait to start working with him!

Read our official press release on Simon’s appointment

Twinkle Tube raises nearly £350 for charity

We’re delighted to report that we’ve raised £342.24 from our Twinkle Tube sessions in cooperation with several London Underground stations. Over two days, London City Singers performed and sang Christmas carols at four stations – Westminster, Charing Cross, Covent Garden and Oval – to raise money for Roko 20 Academy and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Roko 20 Academy opened in January 2014 to educate orphans and disadvantaged children in the rural area outside of Murang’a, Kenya. One of our members, Hazel, participated in this project first hand, which made the fundraising activity a bit more special.

Many thanks goes to the staff and management at the tube stations, of course, with special mentions to Pele and Jon at Covent Garden and Anthony at Oval. Without their cooperation, our fundraising efforts wouldn’t have been possible. They were also amazing in providing us with photos and videos of our performance and sharing them on social media!

The wonderful @LCSchorus graced our station yesterday with good Christmas cheer and merriment. #HappyChristmas
— @CoventGdnTube, December 13, 2015

Lastly but definitely not least, we’re grateful for the generosity of the public. Thank you so much for giving as well as appreciating our performances over these two days. Our recorded Christmas carols will continue to play over the tannoy at these tube stations during the festive season. Do tweet us @LCSchorus if you do hear it!

Happy Christmas to everyone!

 

London City Singers @coventgdntube sounding lovely!!! It’s Christmas!!!! #merrychristmas #christmas

— @steveeypips, December 12, 2015

Beautiful Christmas music @Oval_station with @LCSchorus

— @hannawoodside December 17, 2015

Carols for the underground

We know it’s still November but here at London City Singers we’re gearing up for festive cheer. Bursting out with beautifully harmonised four-part carols takes some prep time after all. Last week, as part of that prep, eight of us were invited to go behind the scenes of Covent Garden Station and do a bit of recording of songs that will be played over the station’s public address system. This is the second year that we’re doing it in collaboration with the management and staff of Covent Garden Station. For 2015 however, the recordings will be heard not only at Covent Garden but also at other stations in the London Underground network.

Lead section leader, Cat, checks balance

Liss, one of the members who joined us in the lead section last July, shares her experience, “I love seeing the backstage of places people aren’t normally allowed to go, so I was pretty excited. We crowded into the control booth, which is basically a wall of glass and monitors, and a wall of paperwork. Two station staff made us very welcome, with flattering noises about being fans of our work, and various others popped their heads in over the course of the evening to listen. A free-standing microphone was set up in the middle and we sorted ourselves round it, doing a couple of test runs to work out the best balance. The staff was also recording us on video but it was weirdly easy to forget that we were on camera. To be honest, I found the curious stares of the public as they streamed past much more distracting. They must have wondered what on earth eight women in purple Santa hats were doing in the nerve centre of the station!”

We recorded six carols over the course of about two hours. Each one had a couple of rehearsals, with much emphasis on a clean end to the ‘s’ of Christmas (surprisingly hard to get right with only eight people).

Selected London Underground stations will start playing the carols in December, when it legitimately becomes the holiday season, so keep your ears open! London City Singers will also do some live performances at several stations, dubbed Twinkle Tube, to raise money for Roko 20 and Macmillan Cancer Support. If you’re passing through Covent Garden, Westminster or Knightsbridge stations on 12 December, or Oval on the 17 December, do come and say hello!

Quartet night for our 8th birthday!

There was cake, bubbly and singing, of course! Quartet Night 2015 was hotly contested this year between six participating quartets. With the high quality of the performances, it was quite challenging to identify which quartets regularly sing together from those who only formed from drawn names.

Bar-bar-bar-bar-bar-barellas were drawn first to perform but with their tenor, Sarah, delayed due to the DLR strike, Acapitches kicked off the proceedings. They started off with a perfect rendition of And So It Goes by Billy Joel followed by a choreographed, complete with props, One Direction song, That’s What Makes You Beautiful. Acapitches finished off their set with a barbershop classic, Flirty Eyes. They were indeed a tough act to follow! But Sisters of Mercy were up to the challenge giving a solid performance of Duffy’s song, Mercy. Next up was SW with their new lead, Hazel. Their delivery of David Guetta’s Titanium (arranged by David Wright and Deke Sharon) was nothing short of energetic.

There was a brief pause afterwards to allow Charl to change costume as she was also singing bass in the next quartet. Beehive sang Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends beautifully. The Margaritas, with former LCS member, Clare, followed with a very tuneful performance of True Colours by Cyndi Lauper. Just as Bar-bar-bar-bar-bar-barellas were about to withdraw, Sarah walks in and allowed them to perform Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Unlike last year, selecting the winners for Quartet Night 2015 were down to the members. Everyone was asked to identify their 1st, 2nd and 3rd as well as best in costume, choreography and most entertaining with one condition – one cannot select their own quartet for any of the categories. The results of the Eurovision-inspired voting were:

1st place – The Margaritas
2nd place – SW
3rd place – Acapitches

Best Costume – The Margaritas (rising above the other quartets who wore all-black!)
Best Choreography – Acapitches
Most Entertaining – Acapitches

 

Acapitches win bronze

 

 

 

SW wins silver

 

 

 

The Margaritas win gold

 

 

 

Our team coordinator, Hayley, summed up the evening perfectly:
“What a fab quartet night! Some incredible singing from amazing quartets. So much talent in our small-but-perfectly-formed chorus.”

See the rest of the photos of the night on our Facebook page

Meet our new member: Mariane

About two weeks ago, we welcomed a new member to our baritone section, Mariane (pictured above, second from left). We asked her a few questions about herself and what she is looking forward to in joining London City Singers (LCS), the only women’s barbershop chorus in zones 1-2 in London, and here’s what she had to say:

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Mariane (pronounced Marion) and am from Barnet, North London, which is where I still live. I’ve worked in the NHS for nine years in a mainly administration and project manager roles, though my degree was in ceramics. I currently work at Great Ormond Street Hospital, which is my first job working in Central London and I’m one of those weird people who enjoys commuting. In my free time I’m involved in amateur dramatics, and can often be found crocheting little gifts for people.

How did you find out about London City Singers?

I joined a Choral Society in Barnet earlier this year to improve my singing, and was talking about my jealousy of male voices (particularly barbershop) to one of the longest standing members, and he told me about Sweet Adelines as his sister had been a member. A brief bit of googling brought up the very-near-to-work-located London City Singers.

Why did you join?

It was very useful being able to attend a taster session and have a few weeks’ prep before auditioning – this was one of the reasons I decided to come along as I wouldn’t feel pressured into staying if I didn’t like it! I joined LCS to improve my intonation, confidence and ability with harmonies, as well as to meet new people.

What’s your thoughts on singing barbershop?

Singing barbershop style (particularly as a baritone) is a really nice balance with the choral group which is a large mixed choir – I’m really hoping it will improve my sight reading and learning to blend my voice with other singers. In the couple of months I’ve been at LCS I feel like I’ve already learned a huge amount about singing and music, and how much difference a bit of ‘interp’ can make to a seemingly basic piece of music.

Meet our new member: Liss

Liss (pictured above on the left) successfully passed her auditions within three weeks of her first visit and joins the lead section. We asked her some questions about her joining one of the most dynamic and fun singing group in London, to which she happily obliged.

How did you find out about London City Singers?

I came across a flyer for an open evening a couple of years ago. I went along and had a great couple of hours, but my job at the time meant I couldn’t commit to regular rehearsals or the main performance of the year. When I moved jobs, to somewhere that gave me more free time, I came back again.

Why did you join?

I did a lot of choral singing all the way through school and university, and loved it. The feeling you get when everyone’s voice moulds in harmony – it sends shivers up my spine. I really missed that in my working life and, once I got to a point in my career where I could afford NOT to work all the hours of the week, I went in search of it. The atmosphere at London City Singers is so welcoming – relaxed, fun, but with a level of skill and professionalism that would get my voice back into condition. It was never really a question in my mind of whether I would join. It’s a workout, and a laugh, and a place of creativity, and hours when I don’t think about anything except music. I’ve been grinning all the way through.

What are you thoughts on singing barbershop?

Love it! In the past I’ve mainly done church music, which is beautiful but not exactly bouncy. This music is the stuff I listen to by choice, and now I get to sing it. And dance. Badly.

Well, Liss, don’t worry about the dancing bit, you’ll get to learn and improve on that, too. Adeline (also pictured above on the right), who is our dancing diva, can certainly give you some tips!

LCS awards 2015

Last year we introduced the LCS Awards where we recognise the awesomeness that our fellow members have shown to drive our chorus forward towards achieving our goals. The winners are selected from the members by the members, which makes it an extreme honour to be highly regarded by peers.

The winners this year are:

Little Miss Sunshine – always upbeat, cheery and positive on Tuesday nights
Katherine Richardson

Red Knicker Recipient – one who always know how to turn on the sassiest attitude
Charl Asuit

She’s Got the Moves – she can dance, she can jive, she busts the best moves
Adeline Giacometti

You Go, Girl! – overcame problems, tried something new or gone way outside of her comfort zone to do something amazing
Cheryl Pardey

Joker of the Pack – always makes us laugh
Lan O’Connor and Ruth Butchers

Can’t Get Rid of Her – demonstrated impressive attendance (based on actual attendance records)
Hayley Amoss and Charl Asuit

Sweet Adeline of the Year – who exemplifies the spirit of our chorus and the mission of Sweet Adelines International
Hayley Amoss

Congratulations to the winners!

Christmas recording for Covent Garden tube station

If you happen to be in London and passing through Covent Garden tube station, you might hear Christmas carols from us played over the tannoy between now and the new year.

It was certainly one of the most exciting and unique things we’ve done spreading festive cheer in the British capital. We recorded three carols – Silent Night, Jingle Bells and Coventry Carol – over the station’s public address (PA) system, which they’ll be playing over certain intervals until the new year. Hopefully this’ll put a smile to some people amidst the flurry of Christmas shopping and merry-making.

Here’s a video of us recording Jingle Bells

We’re so grateful to station manager, Pele, and the staff at Covent Garden station for giving us this wonderful opportunity. It was so cool to be inside the control room with all the CCTV monitors. Oh, and thanks for the chocolates, too!

Check our Facebook or Google+ page for more photos.

Celebrating our seventh birthday!

After seven years, starting with only seven singers, London City Singers is slowly but surely making its mark on the London a cappella scene and the barbershop world. To celebrate, we had a Fun Quartet Night last 04 Nov where we formed quartets after drawing names from a hat. As these were randomly drawn, some of us needed to parts that they don’t normally sing – bass singing lead, tenor singing bari, and so on. It was not only great to ‘stretch’ our vocal abilities but also gave Mel, our music director, an idea of re-voicing some members if needed.

The fun quartets who performed on the night were:

  • The Sublime Katie’s
  • SW Quartet
  • The I Do’s
  • The Dreamers
  • The Sublime Mommas
  • Ode to the Baritone
  • Happy Together

We invited guests to ‘judge’ each quartet and give some useful feedback. Our guest ‘judges’ for that evening were Maggi McEwan, president of Spinnaker Chorus and Region 31 team coordinator, and Jenny Savory, music director of Spinnaker Chorus.

After all the singing and ribbon-hoarding (Cheryl with her four ribbons!), we partied on with cake and wine (which was kindly presented to us by London Welsh Centre).

As we enter our eighth year, we are committed to hone our craft and hope to share more joy through our performances.