World Championship for mixed barbershop quartets in Munich.
Our Tenor Section Leader Ali and her partner Pete, plus ex-FR member Donna and her partner Keefe teamed up a couple of years ago to become JIGSAW mixed quartet, winning 2 consecutive silver medals against some stiff opposition at our national yearly convention.
Having decided to take part in BinG! Jigsaw felt they needed to get more stage time and actually sing to a live audience rather than just singing to the picture on the wall at home, so a plan was put in place to visit all their local choruses. Five chorus directors were contacted to seek approval to ‘Barber-bomb’ their rehearsal night. Permission granted, the quartet made all five venues one Thursday and entertained their (captive!) audiences with the two songs they were competing with. The whole evening was a great success and Jigsaw would like to thank all the choruses – Black Sheep Harmony, Bristol Fashion, Avon Harmony, Great Western Chorus and Fascinating Rhythm for their fantastic warm support.
The quartet arrived in Munich on the following Thursday evening but as the competition wasn’t until Sunday made the most of their free time sightseeing around Munich, relaxing in the sun, enjoying the ambiance of the beer garden and watching the world go by!
Jigsaw’s goal for the competition this year was to improve their placing and to come in the top five – which they achieved – and were over the moon to come fifth in the world, especially as the competition set a very high standard.
Stop Press! Jigsaw were nominated for the 2016 A Cappella Recording Awards in the best barbershop song category with their song ‘The Way You Look Tonight’. Update April 2016 – very pleased to announce they came 2nd. Awesome!
Thursday 10th March saw Junior FR competing again in the U14 Choirs class in St.Mary’s Church, Thornbury. After a fantastic warm up session at the Turnberries Community Centre led by MD Wendy Howse and assisted by Sarah Winter, we gathered in the rather chilly church atrium before being allowed into the only slightly less chilly church!
Heidi introduced the choir for our first song, ‘Midnight Tango’, which was part of our recent successful production of Roald Dahl’s Cinderella. It involves two verse melodies, each with interactions from the other part and then a two-part harmony chorus, arranged by JFR helper Kitty Davies. The final verse then mixes the two melodies together as a finale. The girls managed all of this with some fantastically evocative Latin moves which were executed with great style and syncronisation, providing a most entertaining and energetic performance. A big thank you goes to Jo Luddington for her wonderful piano accompaniment. The adjudicator comments were “Such neat actions. Good sound and musically shaped. Good balance and communication. Very promising work”.
Our second piece, introduced by Meg, was a four-part harmony arrangement of ‘The Teddy Bears Picnic’, arranged especially for us and paid for by a very generous benefactor. It was a challenge, and one which we only had a short time to learn after Cinderella. The girls were up for the challenge, coping really well with the level of difficulty and bringing out the humour in the lyrics (“Have a banana!” and “yummy yummy yummy!”). Again the adjudicator appreciated how ambitious the piece was, especially with our age range being 5-14! The girls did lose the tuning a little but with a cappella pieces of this nature it is often very difficult not to.
JFR scored a fantastic 85 but were just pipped to first place by Tockington who scored 86. This choir of older children sang with a lovely blended sound and great dynamics (but JFR were definitely more entertaining!).
The adjudicator finished with a plea to all parents who appreciate the value of music and art in their children’s lives. There is a move by Government to enforce the English Baccalaureate in secondary schools meaning that 7 GCSE subjects will be compulsory (none of them being of the Arts), leaving the children little choice of these particular subjects which they enjoy or encourages their creativity so they may achieve their highest potential. There is a petition on the Festival website (http://www.baccforthefuture.com/) to counter this move and appeal to the Government to either continue to allow choice in schools, or to reformulate the EBacc to give more flexibility. We would encourage you to take a look and sign up if you agree.
What a weekend! We scored 68.1 and came 7th in the UK, winning the Novice competition at LABBS Prelims on 20th June. We have been together as a quartet for 9 months so it’s very early in our journey; we are very proud and feel blessed to have achieved this as well as being great friends. Our score would have seen us in 4th position last year, so it’s good to see the quartet standard constantly improving each year. We would like to thank our coaches Linda Corcoran, Peter Kennedy and Craig Kehoe as well as Fascinating Rhythm’s lovely MD Jo Dean. We have lots still to learn and many things to work on after our evaluation day on the Sunday. Look out for us in October – we are drawn 13th (our lucky number) when we hope to surprise you with our exciting new set of songs.
Jane, Caz, Gill and Lara
FR’s Tenor Section Leader, Ali Jack, has been adding to her considerable collection of medals when her mixed quartet Jigsaw won Silver at the Spanish Convention earlier this month (April). Ali sings with her partner Peter Nugent who arranges many of our songs and makes excellent teach tracks for us. Nooj also recorded and produced our first CD ‘Listen to the Music’. Donna (ex FR member) and her partner Keef make up the rest of the quartet. Jigsaw also guested on a gig Fascinating Rhythm had for the Thornbury Welsh Society on 11th April and were a very classy addition to the programme.
Junior FR’s hard work under the direction of MD Wendy Howse and help from her dedicated team paid off on Tuesday, 10th March 2015 when they competed in the U14 class, singing a 3-part a cappella arrangement of ‘Who’s the Best’, followed by ‘Edelweiss’ accompanied by Jo Luddington on the piano. They won their class with an improved score of 87% and were awarded a Distinction. With parental permission gained for the schools the girls attend, they arrived at Turnberries Community Centre in good time for warm up and rehearsals at 11:15am before getting on stage at 1:30pm. Gasps of delight when the winners were announced, and a good celebration had at their next Friday rehearsal! The Adjudicator’s comments:
Who’s the best
“What a lovely opening! It had character, style and a very free feeling. Very well rehearsed and part divisions secure too … … lots of good character shown.”
“Again, a good secure quality was shown. Tone was pleasingly strong and it had a real performance to it. A good ending! Well sung and very much enjoyed.”
87 marks = Distinction (An excellent performance technically and artistically).
Junior Fascinating Rhythm are excellent representatives of our vocal craft and ‘Senior’ FR are very, very proud of them.