News

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.


In the photo above, from left to right: Lan O’Connor, Simon Arnott, Helen Walledge, Liss Macklin, Mariane Lingley, Hayley Nock, Sarah Palframan, Charl Asuit, Adeline Giacometti, Daisy Blench.


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.

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