How we came to be
Updated: Mar 3, 2019
There’s something about a great harmony that’s always touched me, given me goosebumps and made all my worries and stresses disappear. Back in 2002/3ish when I was getting my music fix as a solo vocalist and guitarist, I discovered Barbershop through a work colleague.
This wonderful artform, with it’s beautiful four part harmonies, has enabled me to sing with some amazing, award winning choruses and quartets, and has taken me half way around the world and back. It wouldn't be a stretch to say I lived and breathed Barbershop!
In 2009 I was approached by a brand new chorus in my native Cornwall, to be their Musical Director. The chance to direct, be surrounded by harmonies, and move back home? A no brainer!
The next five years were a wonderful experience, and I learned a lot. I was lucky enough to have a really supportive committee, and some fabulous, dedicated singers to work with. I am proud that I was able to lead a group of (mostly) inexperienced ladies from nervous and unsure of themselves, to confident and accomplished singers during my time with them.
In 2013, the chorus came to a crossroads. Having not long had my son, and with less and less time to commit (who knew parenting would be so full on, and that directing with a baby in tow wouldn't be easy?!), I decided that it was a good time for me to step down as MD. Since then, I’ve stayed in touch with many of them, and have been delighted to watch their Barbershop journeys continue, with some moving on to sing with an established competitive chorus, and some even forming their own performing quartets who are enjoying much success. The original chorus is still going strong too. All of the ladies, those who stayed and those who moved on, continue to love Barbershop, and it’s a joy to watch them continue to grow.
So, after having three years off, I really started to miss it. I say three years off… not really. I carried on with my solo music, taught and supported my teen step daughter (a really talented guitarist herself, with the most beautifully unique voice), and continued to provide personalised coaching to Barbershop quartets. So no, not three years off at all now I come to think about it!
Anyway, I digress…
Back over the winter of 2016/17, I was having a chat to my partner in crime, Mel (who is also a lapsed Barbershopper), about how much I missed those rich, beautiful harmonies. So did she.
“What shall we do?” we asked
“Start a vocal group!” we replied (we don’t often talk to each other in unison, but hey, we were excited).
“But what sort of vocal group do we want?”
“A ladies one, but not Barbershop. As beautiful as Barbershop is, we want the freedom to sing harmonies from all sorts of different genres”
And so, North Coast Harmony was born.