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Coaching with Liz Garnett

We were delighted to have Liz Garnett back once more on Saturday 1st June to coach us on our new Convention package, and impart her usual wisdom on so many different aspects of barbershop harmony singing (“Lean into the Phnerts!”). It was a fun day for all, and of course also a lot of hard work, but we always benefit from Liz’s coaching.

Performance at Upton Church

We were able to rehearse at the church on the Thursday before our concert on 18th May, which handily gave us time to put the risers up, to get used to our slightly reduced stack, and to hear the accoustic in the church (which was lovely). It also gave us the chance to shiver… it was cold in there!

On Saturday 18th, however, it was a lot warmer, and some of the precautions we’d taken to keep warm were not necessary. However, we had a lovely concert. The church was quite full with an appreciative audience. We sang a good selection of our current songs, and included ‘We Are Family’ with a bit of a dance down the aisle at the end, to get the audience clapping. In addition to the chorus numbers we had oboe playing from Christine and clarinet from Ruth, Follow the Dots sang, Victoria sang and played the ukelele, and we had a performance from Mosaic (the new mixed chorus) of their two convention songs. With, of course, the excellent MC skills of Sioux, whose dad it was who had asked us to perform there.

Harmony College, Nottingham, April 2019

More than half of our chorus members attended the LABBS Harmony College in Nottingham at the end of April! Most were participating in the Chorus Stream, learning the new polecat song, Make Your Own Kind of Music, and also Auld Lang Syne. Follow the Dots went on the Quartet stream, and there were three members doing the Personal Development stream.

It’s such a great learning experience, whatever stream you’re in, and those who went are looking forward to sharing what they have learned with the rest of chorus.

Fabulous at 40!

We wanted to open our Ruby Year with a performance, and arranged to put on a ‘Fabulous at 40’ concert in St Stephen’s Church in the centre of Norwich, on Saturday 12th January at 5pm. After an anxious time wondering if we’d have an audience, we ended up with a wonderfully filled church.

The full chorus sang the opening and closing slots for each half, and then had the chance to listen as some of our members displayed other talents. Mavis read a Pam Ayres poem, Follow the Dots gave us three songs, and Victoria and Alice played their ukeleles. For the middle section of the second half, we had more from Follow the Dots, a poem from Frances, and Ruth played the clarinet with a pre-recorded backing track. A nice bit of variety to give our concert some extra colour.

One of 2019’s new songs for us was debuted in the second half—We Are Family, perhaps sung with more spirit than accuracy, but we hadn’t been working on it for long!

Janet and her team worked very hard in the kitchen during the interval, and the sales of tea, biscuits etc made over £100 for the church funds.

St Stephen’s was a lovely church in which to sing, and the early start time gave us the chance to go out to dinner afterwards, or just enjoy a leisurely evening at home. A very good start to our Ruby Year!

Christmas Celebration, 2018

We went back to Cringleford for our Christmas Party this year, and as usual, self-catering meant that there was a great abundance of delicious food to share!  The hall looked splendidly Christmassy and the tables very festive.

We were welcomed with a ‘pairing game’ masterminded by Judy, who labelled our backs with one half of a famous partnership: we had to guess our own name and then find our partner.  This set things merrily in train!

After an excellent meal, members of the chorus entertained one another, with such highlights as Mavis’ poetry reading, the Follow The Dots Christmas In Three and a Half Minutes, and Pam presenting a poem while dressed in an inflatable turkey costume.  Not to be forgotten!

Even with the washing up and tidying to be done, it was a lovely evening, and as everybody pitched in as best they could, the necessary work was made light.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

The Hamlet Centre, 19th December 2018

A healthy group of 12-14 of us were able to make it to the Hamlet Centre in Ella Road (the centre for young adults). It was a very noisy occasion! Some of the audience members came to introduce themselves to us, and they sang along, and during the lively numbers, danced with some of us! In addition to our regular Christmas songs, we also sang We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Jingle Bells, which they had been taught to sign as they sang.  Afterwards, mince pies and treacle tarts!

The Forum, 16th December 2018

We were invited to sing in a charity fund-raiser at The Forum, and made our way there in our splendid new red jackets and scarves, taking a few moments before we got going to have photos done on the handy staircase.

There was a gratifying crowd to hear us!  We stood in front of the splendid Christmas tree singing our Christmas repertoire with a few non-seasonal favourites thrown in. At one point—Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree—an elderly couple danced!

We were very pleased to know that we’d helped to collect over £260 for the charity.

The BUILD Concert, 8th December 2018

The was the concert set up to raise money for our chosen charity, BUILD, at the United Reformed Church in Princes Street, Norwich.

There was a great flurry of organisation, with risers being taken to the church, raffle tickets sold and hampers put together, and mince pies and mulled wine set to warm in the kitchen.

The house was nicely full by the time we began the evening, and the audience had the chance to enjoy dancing from Street Mogs and gymnastics from the youngsters of Circus Chermond, as well as Fine City Chorus, and mixed quartet Fine Mix and our own quartet Follow The Dots.  The new mixed chorus, Mosaic, also made its debut during the evening.

Everything went splendidly to plan, and the evening raised more than £750 for BUILD, which was extremely satisfying.

Singout at St Francis’ Church, Heartsease, 1st December 2018

The sound in the church is so warm and rewarding, it’s always a pleasure to sing there. We had a full house, and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening.

We started off with a Zing! and went on to our second convention number, When I Fall In Love, both of which went very well. The audience seemed to enjoy our choreo in Sha-Boom and (especially) I Will Survive.  Follow the Dots made their public debut under their new name, and sang very well.

Our chorus made out like bandits in the raffle, bringing home the Hamper and a great procession of lesser prizes!

This singout gives us our first chance to sing carols to an audience, and in a lovely atmosphere. Mavis lightened it delightfully with her rendition of a Pam Ayres poem set at the zoo, and Follow the Dots presented Christmas in three and a half minutes (with a succession of sparkly props), awarding a small prize to the audience member who guessed they had included twenty-two songs. We nearly hiccoughed in our final number, going into the wrong verse, but all eyes were on Alison so we were neatly steered back on course.

A very enjoyable concert, and the new curate described it as ‘breathtaking’, which was lovely.

Convention 2018 – a success!

We headed up to Harrogate on Friday 26th for this year’s LABBS Convention. The coach was filled with singing, as was the service station where we stopped for coffee on the way. And we all looked very smart in our new red jackets and scarves!

One of our members was participating in the quartet semi-finals, and we arrived in good time to see the DeciBelles sing. They reached the finals, and came eighth overall. The evening quartet finals were very enjoyable, as was the show featuring The Locksmiths, SoundHouse and GQ.

Saturday was the chorus competition, and we were drawn quite late this year, so didn’t get to see many of the other choruses. We were warming up from 12.30pm and on stage mid-afternoon, which left us time to see the last two or three competitors and the mike-coolers, the Youth Chorus (who were adorable) and the White Rosettes, last year’s champions (who were splendid).

We scored 70.3%! Our best score yet, achieving an ambition set a while ago to break the 70 barrier. And we moved up to eleventh place. So there was much rejoicing at our chorus dinner on Saturday night, and we sang very merrily in the hotel bar afterwards.

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