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So – How Was it for You? Convention First-timers thoughts …

I didn’t really know what to expect from Convention, except I had watched a few choruses on You Tube. For me, overwhelmingly, it was the sense of bonding I got with other members of

Our five lovely new members at their first convention

Our five lovely new members at their first convention

FR! I loved the spontaneous singing we did at dinner the first evening and then again in the restaurant with another chorus on the Saturday – really “singing for our supper”! It was nice to look around and see non-singers enjoying the singing too. As for the competition itself, I found it really exciting and it was good to hear different Choruses. It helped me understand a bit more about why good choruses sound good. I was on a high from start to finish and feeling lasted a good long time during following week too as we had done so well! Feel proud to be part of FR.

Convention – how can I describe it? Amazing, bonding, professional, exhilarating, full of warmth and friendship, relaxing and refreshing.  When I got on the coach to Harrogate I had no idea what to expect. The FR family sprang into action and I felt fully supported throughout. The coach ride gave the opportunity to learn more about the people we stand on the risers with each week. The militant schedule for our package meant we were all focused and feeling prepared for getting on the stage. I loved the way we could all just come and go in different groups, listen to other choruses and just share in one common interest.
By far, the best moment, was waiting on the stairs to go in and perform our package holding hands and feeling the energy from the whole of FR, so overwhelming and calming at the same time. A weekend I will never forget and roll on Convention 2017.

My first convention was a really thrilling experience. The adrenaline pushed us all to be even better than we had been before and I was so proud to be a part of a really great sound. My favourite moment was when we were all warmed up, dressed and ready waiting in the stairwell about to go onstage. We held hands in silence just repeating in our head “We’ve got this”. The moment was truly electric and made me feel like I was a part of such a special chorus. We’re all in this together!

Through feedback from longer-standing FR members I had tried to create an image in my mind of the LABBS Convention.  Well, the reality included far more shimmer, glitter and glamour than I could have imagined!  I loved the warm air of friendliness, encouragement and support throughout the weekend amongst delegates both within the conference centre and when seeing each other out and about in Harrogate. There was a real buzz throughout the weekend and it was great to see so many other groups and quartets performing, allowing me to observe and learn from each and every one of them.  As for FR – it was an uplifting experience to be part of such a focused, committed, enthusiastic and hard-working group; our fabulous performance was the icing on the cake, the measure of success for me being the massive smile on Jo D’s face!


Junior FR at the Big Sing

big-sing-1st-dec-16-pic-6Junior FR took part in The Big Sing on 1st December at St Peters Church in Frampton Cotterell.  This community charity event raises funds for Christian Aid with many school choirs and local children’s choirs involved.  Wearing their FR T-shirts and with something Christmassy in their hair, JFR performed a 3-part arrangement of ‘Amazing Grace/Pachabel’s Canon’, then the juniors sang a really fun and vibrant version of ‘Must Be Santa’ by

Bob big-sing-1st-dec-16-pic-9Dylan, followed by the seniors with ‘Winter Wonderland’ in 4 parts and supported by the FR helpers.  MD Wendy Howse received the following from one of the organisers:
‘I just wanted to say a big thank you to JFR for coming along to this year’s Big Sing, the children sang beautifully & are a real credit to you. I’m pleased to say that £510.71 was raised for Christian Aid, to which will be added £94 in Gift Aid.  Thanks again & best wishes’ Alison.


RDA Young Rider news

Very pleased to say that young rider Peter who did so well in the RDA regional competition (coming in the top 3 of two events) was placed 5th in his section of the Nationals at Hartpury College in July.  Everyone at Patchwork Riding for the Disabled is very proud of his achievement.

Fashionable Fun

Approximately 160 ladies joined us for our annual Fascinating Fashion Show at the Armstrong Hall, Thornbury on Wednesday 15th June and, with many excellent top end high street bargains to be had, we all enjoyed a very therapeutic fun evening of good company and shopping.  The quality and choice of clothing this year was outstanding and meant most ladies went home with something new.
A number of FR  bought the same white top (with black spots, which suited everyone) and mischievously decided to wear them to rehearsal the following evening;  MD Jo Dean definitely went home with spots before her eyes!  The tops did look very smart though – we may have to change our walking out gear and buy another 60.

If you missed out on the fun, put this date in your diary – Wednesday 14th June 2017 – Armstrong Hall – 7 for 7:30 and join us next year for a bargain.  We look forward to seeing you there.



FR Sing in M & S Underwear!

Well, actually it was in the Per Una section of the M & S flagship store at the Cribbs Causeway Mall in Bristol, but makes a better headline.  Sunday, 10th May saw us arriving in our magenta gear to be individually checked in by really great M & S staff who couldn’t have been more helpful and welcoming.  We were taken upstairs and through a veritable maze of corridors to one of their staff rooms for a quick tidy/warm up, then one of us with a very good sense of direction got us all safely back to the Per Una section where an area had been cleared for us.  We did two sessions either side of lunch, handed out flyers for our upcoming 25th Anniversary Show on 27th June, and raised a fair bit of money for M & S’s charity this year – Prostate Cancer.  Such is our discipline now that we kept our eyes firmly on MD Jo Dean, whilst surrounded by some very tempting quality sale rails.