|TVC undertook a late summer / early autumn tour of the West Country of England, visiting other Choruses in: Bristol (Black Sheep Harmony, along with Gold Medal Quartets Trailblazers and One Foot in the Stave), Saltash (Gracenotes Acapella) and Kingsbridge (The Kingsmen).
We had a wonderful time as you can see from the attached video compilation of various photos from the tour.
|The chorus finished its run of 5 Christmas engagements with a performance in Henley for their Living Advent Calendar. We had a lovely location on the terrace of the Leander Club, overlooking the River Thames.
Luckily, the weather stayed dry, if a little chilly, for our set. We entertained the public with our usual Christmas selection, from White Christmas to O Holy Night, and everything in between. The gig was a grand finale to a busy season, which started with a concert in Marlow on 2nd December, a recording for Radio Berkshire for the Christmas Carol Concert, followed by Reading Station, John Lewis, a private gig in Yateley then Henley.
The choir will take a well-earned rest and be back with new songs for 2023.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
|Some of the choir gave up their Saturday morning to entertain rail passengers at Reading Station. We were supporting local charity "Daisy's Dream", who offer a professional support service which responds to the needs of children and families affected by life threatening illness or bereavement.
We went through a wide variety of songs for our choice of music. There were carols like "The First Nowell", classics like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas", and our own version of "I want a hippopotamus fof Christmas".
The crowd at the station is usually more interested in shopping or catching the train home, so it can be challenging holding the attention of anyone. When you add the station announcements interupting "Oh Holy Night" it can spoil mood. However we got the attention of many people and we are waiting to hear from the charity how miuch they collected on the day.
It was nice to be back after a couple of years' away.
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|The Thames Valley Chorus 'Barbershopper of the Year' award is given annually to the chorus member who has been recognised in a secret ballot by all chorus members as the person who has contributed most to the chorus over the past 12 months. This years vote went in favour of Ian Dent. This was a hugely popular outcome and richly deserved as Ian is widely acknowledged as contributing hugely to the success of TVC in so many ways. Ian is the TVC Website webmaster creating much of the content (but not this!) and carrying out day to day maintenance. He is also the chorus all-round IT guru and if there is an issue that requires some form of IT input or solution, then Ian is your man. Ian also collates, edits and issues our weekly Newsletter which is emailed every Friday evening to chorus members. On top of that Ian also finds time to lead the Tenor section, which is worth an award in itself. Finally, Ian is one of the principal keyholder's for our rehearsal venue, locking up and setting the alarm after rehearsal.
The photograph above shows Ian (left) being presented with the trophy by Club Chairman, Peter Leverett.
|The guys at Thames Valley Chorus are excited to be joining up with Marlow based, ladies choir, Harmony Belles for an upcoming Christmas Concert on Friday December 2nd. The venue is the beautiful All Saints Church, Marlow, an old favourite of TVC, with the concert starting at 7.30pm. As well as traditional Christmas songs and carols both choirs wlll be performing some more contemporary pieces, but all with a Christmas(ish) theme. We are looking forward to seeing many of our regular supporters at the concert which is raising funds for charity, Epilepsy Action.
Tickets available online from Harmony Belles at https://www.harmonybelles.com/tickets
|TVC's Learn to Sing in Harmony course starts on Tuesday 20th September. It's a FREE course for men who would like to try out harmony singing. It runs for 4 consecutive Tuesday evenings at the chorus's normal rehearsal venue at Bulmershe School, Woodley. The course will cover the fundamentals of good singing including posture, breath management and vocal production. All learning material and teach-tracks for the course songs will be provided and it’s not necessary to be able to read sheet music. Anyone registering doesn't need to worry about not being able to hit the high notes – the chorus sing in four-part harmony and so there is a voice part for every vocal range. September is a great time to start a new hobby and the mental health benefits of singing in a choir have been widely acknowledged.
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|We had a number of visitors attending our Open Rehearsal on Tuesday (June 21st) evening. After a fun warm-up, our MD Anne, challenged us with learning a new Tag. The bar had been set quite high and certainly tested everyone's listening skills but the chords did eventually ring. It was good to have a run through of several songs in our current repertoire, including returning favourites 'Crazy little thing called love' and 'Can you feel the love tonight?'. Our version of 'Tonight' from the musical 'West side Story' is also shaping up well.
Those members representing TVC at the upcoming Wargrave Festival on Saturday (25th June) had the chance to run through the set-list with a performance in front of the rest of the chorus. Our slot at the Variety Show is scheduled for just after 8.30pm on Saturday. and takes place at the Marquee on Mill Green, Station Rd, Wargrave, Reading RG10 8EU.
|TVC had a great rehearsal on Tuesday evening with Anne as we prepared for our concert at Crowthorne Methodist Church this Saturday (May 21st) . It was really good to run through all our concert repertoire with everyone enjoying singing their favourite songs.
It is so good now to be singing again in front of live audiences.
Tickets for Saturday's concert are available at https://bit.ly/TVC_Crowthorne
|Barbershop singers from all over the UK converged on the attractive spa-town of Harrogate over the first Bank Holiday weekend in May to participate in the British Association of Barbershop Singers Annual Convention. Because of the pandemic the events in 2020 & 2021 were cancelled and so there was a palpable sense of excitement as singers prepared to take part this year. For TVC there were a number of firsts. For our new Musical Director, Anne Fairbrother, this was her first experience of a Barbershop convention. This was also the first Convention experience for two of our newer singers, David Jubb and Simon Cooper.
Our chorus leadership had put together an exciting package for our Convention performance. Our first song was the up-tempo ‘I’ve got a dream’, taken from Disney’s ‘Tangled’. Alex de Bruin, our Deputy MD, had put together an inspired arrangement, incorporating a cleverly inserted parody section, (with due acknowledgement to US quartet Mainstreet). Our MD, Anne, had desperately wanted to take us ‘out of our comfort zone’. I think it’s safe to say that as we stepped across the contest risers with chorus members individually donning an assortment of eye-patches, pirate bandanas and sinister hooks her intention was achieved. And this may have been the first ever Barbershop performance featuring Sooty & Sweep! Any lingering doubts any members may have had about the plan were surely quelled as we heard the first audience laughter, early in the song. Our front row hammed-up their little cameo pieces splendidly and the chorus choreography was handled with some aplomb. And at the end, as the song lyrics state, we did (well almost) hear the audience ‘yell and scream’.
Our second song, could not present more of a contrast. ‘If I can Dream’ is a song that was made famous by Elvis Presley, and its lyrics have notable similarities with Martin Luther King’s 1963 ‘I have a Dream’ speech. Presley recorded the song in 1968, just two months after King’s assassination. So, with such a powerful message to convey it was important that as a chorus we got the delivery right. The reaction from the audience suggested that we had and it was very satisfying to notice members of the judging panel applauding as we left the stage.
TVC were one of the first choruses to sing and so we had a long wait, until almost 5pm to learn that we had scored a very pleasing 72.6% and were positioned in 6th place.
Having competed with two such challenging (in different ways) songs we were delighted to have delivered the plan with an entertaining and powerful performance.
|A group from Thames Valley Chorus are delighted to be attending this year's Woodley Community Carnival on Saturday 11 June. Throughout the afternoon chorus members will be on hand to meet the public and will be providing some close-up demonstrations of a cappella close-harmony singing.
They are also excited to be performing on the Arena Stage mid-afternoon.
At their stall the guys will be providing information about their upcoming special Open Rehearsal being held to help celebrate 'Make Music Day' on Tuesday 21 June, The Open Rehearsal is open to any men who enjoy singing and are interested in finding out more about close-harmony singing.
|TVC are sad to report the sudden death on Sunday 16th January of club stalwart and long standing mainstay of the Bass section Brian Callaghan, following a heart attack whilst at home in the evening. Members of the chorus have expressed their sadness and shock at the loss.
Brian has sung with the chorus since 1988 and performed with a number of Quartets, including BABS Gold Medal winners Rockaholix and current quartet Timeless.
He will be greatly missed by the chorus, and our thoughts are with his wife, children and grandchildren at this difficult time.
|We welcomed 11 men to our Open Evening. Anne and Alex put them through their paces with a couple of tags and a section rehearsal for "Wonderful World". We can't wait to see how we can integrate the guys into the chorus.