Choir of the Year Finalists!

We did it! The White Rosettes are through to the final of the National Choir of the Year 2016. How very exciting! And what a day it was …

Most of the Rosettes travelled to Birmingham by coach, setting off at early o’clock morning to get to the Symphony Hall in good time. As ever, they were very well fed and entertained by our glamorous “Catering to the Elite” team, led by Janet and ‘trainee’ Bea, and ably assisted by Sally and Jackie. Much needed tea and home-made scones were available, along with sausage rolls and a variety of other delicious snacks …the mood was a little quiet but a-buzz with nervous and excited energy.

Then as always in these things there was a great deal of sit and wait as we prepared for the competition. The stage time was wonderful though as I hadn’t realised quite how stunning the sound in the Symphony Hall would be. It was a true pleasure to sing in venue with such magnificent acoustics.


Gathering for stage time

We worked out way through The System; stage time, warm up room, dressing room, lunch, preen, sit and wait. At Choir of the Year the choirs usually all sit in the auditorium to listen when they’re not on stage and so we were lucky enough to see the children’s category. They were all very talented and it was really awesome to see kids getting involved in choirs at such a young age. I hope that they continue to shine brightly on stage as they get older. Who knows maybe some of them will be the great barbershoppers of the future?

We were second to last on stage and so had quite a long wait. We left the auditorium during the interval and logistics dictated that it would be easier if we, as a large choir, made our way onto stage from the back. A shame, in some ways, as it meant we missed out on seeing the two choirs scheduled ahead of us, and it would have been great to see everyone else putting on their best show.

Suddenly it was our turn … and then before I knew it – it was over! As ever, our ballad, You’ll Never Know was an emotional ride and I always love the power and excitement of Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho – and if I do say so, I thought we did really rather well! We got some wonderful feedback straight away from the judges and there was a flutter of excitement that we might just have done enough to get through. Alas, when the finalists were announced that little flutter was extinguished. Apparently there was only a half a mark between first and second place as well! Having had a wonderful day and being proud if disappointed that we hadn’t won our category we headed home to anxiously await the rest of the competition ending and the announcement of all of the finalists.

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Needless to say there was quite the flurry of emails, texts and Facebook messages amongst us Rosettes when we unexpectedly were announced as a wild card entry into the final! And so off to Cardiff we go on the 3rd December.

Our heartfelt congratulations go to all the category finalists: Musical Originals Training Choir, Rainbow Connection Singers, Cor Y Cwm and Voices of Hope and also our fellow wildcards John’s Boys.

I am so proud that from 160 choirs across the nation the White Rosettes have made it to the final 6 and will now get to represent LABBS and all of British barbershop in the Choir of the Year final. Wish us luck everybody! I hope we really do you proud.

In harmony,

Charlie B, Lead (October 2016)

Sounding the Century with Leeds Male Voice Choir!

We were very excited to be invited along to celebrate Leeds Male Voice Choir’s 100 year birthday at their concert, “Sounding the Century” at Leeds Town Hall on Saturday 24th September.

LMVC, Rothwell Temperance Band and the White Rosettes celebrated in style by performing in the truly beautiful surroundings of the town hall, with a captive audience of 700 people. There was even a special guest appearance from BBC Look North’s Harry Gration, although he nearly threw his music off stage!  Must have been the nerves.

We had a great performance singing our favourite repertoire pieces as well as our newest song in preparation for LABBS at the end of October … It cannot come soon enough.

And we have the next round of Choir of the Year and our Beacon of Harmony evening between now and then as well. It’s a truly busy month for us Rosettes.

On behalf of all the Rosettes I’d like to wish all the LABBS choruses and quartets the best of luck in their final preparations for convention. I’m sure you are all working very hard to polish your competition sets, and no doubt you’ll be fabulous. Keep focused, keep improving and keep enjoying that amazing barbershop sound you make.

We’ll let you know how we got on at Choir of the Year!

Until next time

Charlie B, Lead (Sept 2016)


We perform at SING 2016

Charlie B shares her experience of singing in the “Sunday Best Show” at The British Association of Barbershop Singers (BABS) national convention in Harrogate

The late May bank holiday couldn’t come quickly enough for the White Rosettes! As LABBS 2015 Chorus Champions, we had been invited to perform in the “Sunday Best Show” at the British Association of Barbershop Singers (BABS) convention in Harrogate and it was set to be a real highlight for us this year. It’s always good to perform for a barbershop crowd and we received the warmest of welcomes from BABS both on and off stage.

As one of the ‘Learn to Sing 2015’ additions to the chorus this was my first time at BABS and I wasn’t disappointed. First, I finally learnt what on earth the rest of the Rosettes meant when they said we’d have to go up the ‘roundy-round’ at the convention centre to get anywhere. A small mystery solved is not a bad start to a Sunday. For those of you who haven’t ever visited the Harrogate International Centre the roundy-round is a spiral ramp that serves instead of stairs. It’s fairly huge and aptly named.

A number of White Rosettes went along for the full BABS experience, taking in as much barbershop as one weekend can squeeze in, cheering on our MD Sally as she directed Spirit of Harmony to 6th place and seeing the new men’s champs, Cottontown Chorus, earning their gold.

Many of us, including me, arrived early on the Sunday to make use of our full day pass and enjoy watching the quartet finals – Well done Finest Hour! Then – being new to conventions –  I didn’t realise that things tend to end up running late, and I ate the quickest burger of my life before running back to my B&B to put on my stage make up, pack my stage frock and make it back in time for warm up. Note to self for LABBS – Add an essential component to my copy of our carefully planned convention timetable… Time for tea!

It was such a treat to be a part of Sunday night’s show. I know I was very excited to bring to the BABS stage the new choreography for our rendition of Skyfall, as created for us by BABS’ very own Tim Briggs – and with him in the audience no less. I hope we did you proud Tim.

Then of course, in true barbershop fashion, we sang late into the merry wee hours at the afterglow. I got to meet a whole bunch of lovely new people and learnt my fair share of new tags, including a cracking eight part mixed voice rendition of Scarborough Fair which came together quite beautifully despite learning it as the clock was already creeping towards 2am.

As a final note, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you so much to all the BABS’ members and guests who looked after us or cheered us on for the weekend, we had such a great time!