Telfordaires, Barbershop and the not-so-Newbie…

Type of post: Choir news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Garry Kirlew
Status: Current
Date Posted: Mon, 7 Mar 2022


(I have been a member since 2020, so I am, you could say, a newbie!)

So, two years (or so) may appear a while but since I’ve become a member we’ve been under the long shadow of Covid 19: social distancing, singing in masks (still doing so!), singing with ventilation (for me this meant the greatest challenge: singing in the cold, despite wearing several layers and being somewhat cuddly!), and of course, online rehearsals!

Try singing together in harmony on Zoom with even the slightest delay - it’s just not possible! However, like everyone else these past couple of years, we adapted, finding new and creative ways to learn songs. Turn-taking and singing along while on mute worked surprisingly well, and I was amazed that I could learn new songs this way! We even managed to create harmonised pieces by editing individual voice recordings together, culminating in a collaboration with local female harmony group ‘Severn Harmony’ to produce a surprisingly good rendition of The Parting Glass!

And now, as we are back to live singing, those days seem a long way behind us. We a are back on the ‘risers’ and it’s finally warmer during rehearsals (yes!) as we shut the doors, but we are still having to think about safety and reducing risk by monitoring C02 levels and wearing masks still. However, fewer restrictions have meant that long-dormant musical plans can now begin to bud and flourish; a hint to spring. For me, they are buds of excitement: Bud One has seen my involvement in acquiring new shirts for the Telfordaires and developing the wardrobe; Bud Two has brought with it new additions to our repertoire, including Luther Vandross’s Dance with my Father. For me this is a special, emotional contemporary song articulating loss and fatherhood. The melody is engaging, especially in the barbershop style. It’s likely to be a surprise to our audiences. In a word, it’s fab!

More and yet more buds are still to come as we ready some exciting songs for more sing outs locally, and for a Barbershop Convention in Harrogate (where we are competing on April 30th). Two beautiful yet contrasting songs I’m excited to perform are When I Fall in Love and Keb Mo’s Old Me Better. The former is a song of great emotion and harmony and the latter can only be described as a subtle contrast to the former (you’ve got to hear it!). I love Keb Mo: an American great of blues music!

We are currently practising these songs with a vengeance so that they will be diamonds for convention, and future sing outs. The work is demonstrating some key elements for me: how beautiful and dynamic Barbershop is, and how much hard work is put in to arrive at the point of being ready (we are not there yet!). The work on melody and musical performance is stretching us: we practise the songs at home, then rehearse and refine the songs when we are together. As our MD (Musical DIRECTOR) Liz says (at times!) to encourage us, “If you want to feel good about yourselves, now is the time.” So, we’re getting there…
And there are yet more exciting buds still to.... bud (Queen’s Don't Stop Me Now, to name one!). Oh yes, things are looking good with the Telfordaires!
Garry (Lead section minion)