Latest News


  • European Singing Coach Stephanie Schmidt teaches the Telfordaires "How to Human"
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  •  Date Posted: Fri, 10 Jul 2020

     

    Stef is a barbershop singer and coach who runs the Coaching Certification program for Barbershop in Germany – BinG!.   Most recently she sang baritone in an international quartet, “Identity Crisis”, competing at the Spanish Association of Barbershop Singer in 2019.  Prior to that she directed “A Cappella Ladies”, a women’s barbershop chorus with whom she competed at the BinG! Barbershop Music Festival in 2018. 

    Stefanie's focus as a coach is on performance and music. For this she brings experience from theatre and jazz dance to barbershop. 


    So we were delighted when she accepted Liz’s invitation to run two online rehearsals for the Telfordaires from her home in southern Germany. Her theme was vocal expressiveness: how to get your meaning over in song.


    One of her key messages was the importance of para-verbal markers in our singing.  By treating the delivery and emphasis of the words with the same care as we treat the notes and melody, we can add authenticity and impact to our performance.

    Andy Woollster, Tenor section lead, said: “It made me aware of how to get the message across in song by using facial expressions, mannerisms and vocal tone. This will enhance my overall performance of a song”   
    While we focus on words, they only account
    for a fraction of what we communicate
    when we sing.


     
  • HARMONY COLLEGE 2020
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  •  Date Posted: Sat, 27 Jun 2020

    An announcement from BABS. 

    It is with great sadness BABS is cancelling Harmony College 2020.
     
    As we have always said the health and well-being of our members is at the forefront of our decision making. We moved the August dates to November however, according to current guidelines, and having studied all the scientific advice, welcoming 300 people to gather in an environment where we cannot 100% guarantee your safety is a risk we are unwilling to take in the face of the current pandemic. We believe that this decision is in the best interests of our attendees and faculty and we are formally cancelling any in-person event in November.
     
    We are planning Harmony College Online, for the 27th to 29th Novemberand more information will be released soon.
     
    For many of us, Harmony College is something we attend year after year. We are in the habit of smiling at people we pass every day on site, singing with new friends at all hours, and enjoying the beer in the bar. We look forward to doing this with you at Harmony College 2021.            

     

  • The Convention Experience: a personal recollection
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  •  Date Posted: Sun, 7 Jun 2020

    By Tim Ashton
    Lead Section
    Telfordaires Barbershop Chorus


    The Telfordaires missed out on the annual convention this year as the Harrogate venue was commandeered as a Nightingale Hospital. So we asked long-standing  Telfordaire Tim Ashton to recall his first experience of Convention –  in 2008 in Cheltenham

    “The Friday allowed for a little relaxation, a couple of beers and general humour. Not too much beer though, I don’t sing Bass!  My colleagues would not have noticed at this point that I was getting somewhat nervous, whilst also being very excited about the day ahead. They would have seen the usual guy with a mix of silliness and general tomfoolery. But underneath, the emotions were a jangle. I found myself running through the songs in my head, checking I knew them and that I wasn’t going to let anyone down. For two years, I had been building up to this. I’m sure the seasoned campaigners were now in a comfort zone, me, I was in new territory.

    Saturday morning arrived and an early rehearsal. My god! What are these warm up exercises?  Are they trying to kill me?  Let’s just sing the songs….oh, hang on, I feel looser and lively.  I don’t do lively in the mornings.  Is my throat feeling sore?  I’m not going to be able to sing!  No, a drink of water has cleared it.

    At this point my nerves are beginning to fray.  I am not worried about the audience, but our song is so special and I don’t want to let the Chorus down by messing it up. A couple of people have asked me how I am feeling. I lie and put up the shell that says “fine no problem, what’s all the fuss about?”.

    As we are ready early, and run through the first song. Other choruses also changing stop and listen, I could tell they were impressed. Now I’m feeling good. Seeing the positive reaction of my peers has given me a confidence boost, I know this is a good package and we can sing it. I can sing it!

    We move through to the warm up room, a couple of more rehearsals and a practice getting on and off stage.  I’m ready!  Let me at them!  Now the warmth and camaraderie that typifies our chorus shows again, as one member comes to me, realising it’s my first time, and takes me through what going on stage is likely to feel like. Top man!  We move to the holding area and I focus on the story of the song we are about to sing. A great place for my mind to escape to, keeping away any anxiety.  I just want to sing.
    The Telfordaires at the Cheltenham Convention 2008

    On to the stage, the marks are still being collected from the previous chorus.  Couldn’t they do that before we came out!  I want to get on and sing!  They’re ready for us, there’s the pitch…sing! Where have all those nerves gone? It feels so natural; it’s supposed to be tough at Convention. This feels like a place I belong. Or is this a function of all the preparation? Is this why we take such pains running through every detail?

    Off stage now, five minutes have passed in a flicker of an eye. I just want to do it again. I know we’ve done well, The MD’s face says so. Lots of mutual congratulations, damn I feel good! I’m sure if we could sell this Barbershop as a white powder we’d make a fortune on the streets. This buzz must be illegal.”

    Tim's hard work paid off, as in 2008, the Telfordaires, under the direction of MD Dale Kynaston, were placed 6th in the Small Chorus Trophy. And Tim is now a stalwart of the Lead Section.  

     
    YouTube Video URL:
  • Barbershop comedy? Sometimes it is!
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  •  Date Posted: Sat, 6 Jun 2020




        By Ian Clark 
        Saturday 30th May 2020


       


    So you thought Barbershop was ‘serious’ stuff? Well it turns out it's true, and comedy songs are no exception!


    We had an extremely informative virtual session with Dale Kynaston (many of you will know him as a former MD of the Telfordaires and BABS Bigwig).  He took us through a comprehensive look at what goes into creating a good comedy song. Who knew there was such a variety of styles, from Parody, slapstick to witty observations on life?!  One of the main themes was how to take the audience on a journey using movement, visual impact, superb  harmonies and above all ‘believability’. To quote Dale, "If the singers don't believe in the story, then neither will the audience“.




















    So a small team will be focusing on looking at comedy as part of the Telfordaires repertoire and, having seen previous outings including the infamous Convention 2012, the gauntlet has been laid down.

    Dale's passion, experience and knowledge was both inspiring and contagious. I think all of us who participated felt some trepidation but above all excitement at the thought of working on some songs that would create amusement and, hopefully, raucous laughter for future audiences.

    So this is a kind of ‘watch this space’ note.  It’s the start of a journey and a bit like our current situation, can’t be sure how it will end.  However, I can guarantee, from my few months as part of the Telfordaires, IT WILL BE GOOD.

    So stay safe and connected with the people and things you love.


     
  • Shift to Remote Rehearsing
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  •  Date Posted: Tue, 17 Mar 2020
    As of Wednesday 18 March 2020, the Telfordaires are moving club night online. Even before the announcement on 16 March that the country was to move to social distancing in response to the covid-19 outbreak, we were drawing up plans to find ways to stay connected while also keeping each other safe.

    We are still meeting every Wednesday 7.30 - 9.30 pm, but rehearsals are now virtual, rather than in person. This means that if you were planning to come and visit, don't come along to the Old Hall School, as we won't be there! But we can invite you to log in and indeed join in to at least some of our evening's activities - drop us an email and we'll tell you how.

    Our MD Liz has written a blog post about how we're going about this, and the thinking behind it:  http://helpingyouharmonise.com/remote

    Stay safe, but also keep singing!
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