Stage 36 sees the Beacon travel from a joint celebration between Blackpool Soundwaves and Mersey Harmony in Blackpool to a joint celebration between Blackpool Soundwaves and Red Rosettes in Preston and then onto a joint celebration between Red Rosettes and Cheshire Chord Company in Leyland.
Here’s what Leanne Blaney, Red Rosettes, had to say about their time with the Beacon of Harmony:
Receiving the Beacon from Blackpool Soundwaves
Sunday 25th of September saw the Beacon change hands from Blackpool Soundwaves to The Red Rosettes of Preston. Coming together at the Harris Museum, right in the heart of Preston, both choruses had the opportunity to entertain both each other and the general public – lucky enough to enjoy learning about the rich history of Lancashire with a snapshot of all that the two choruses of Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers had to offer.
What the museum lacked in acoustics, the chorus members made up for in performance and many audience members commented on the levels of enjoyment evident on the faces of each performer. To perform in such a beautiful, imposing space was a thrill and a privilege; a fitting venue for a historic event.
After performing a selection of songs to each other, the choruses came together in a rendition of two of the polecats: Heart of My Heart and Lets sing Again. The first demonstrated the sheer beauty that a short simple ballad can create, and the second was the perfect way to express how barbershop brings us together in rehearsals, competitions, friendship and celebration.
The honour of signing the Beacon of Harmony fell to the youngest member of the Red Rosettes, Evie Phillips; and the member with the most experience, Mary Sheryn (who the chorus will be wildly cheering on when she receives her long service award at convention this year – one of four members to be recognised).
What better way to round off the event than with tea and cake – a special 40th Anniversary cake to honour the achievement of LABBS. With the excitement and tension of Convention just around the corner, it was such a delight to meet up in the spirit of friendship and harmony in order to share our enthusiasm and joy of such a wonderful hobby.
Passing the Beacon to Cheshire Chords
The Red Rosettes proudly delivered the Beacon to The Cheshire Chord Company on the 28th of September, at our regular rehearsal venue of Leyland Methodist Primary School. A few members of Cheshire Chords had done all they could to avoid the teatime traffic, arriving for the evening get-together in good time, at 3pm! But that simply meant they had plenty of time to enjoy the sights that Leyland and the surrounding area had to offer.
With the arrival of Councillor Linda Woollard ( The Mayor of South Ribble) and her husband, the evening began. The Red Rosettes kicked off proceedings with three songs from our repertoire, led by our MD Emma McMannus.
While singing ‘The Way We Were’ there were glances among the audience, and we soon found out that Cheshire Chords had planned to sing the gorgeous ballad to! The sentiment of looking back fondly on memories of long ago seemed so suited to the occasion. The sixteen members of Cheshire Chords, led by MD Jo Braham, delighted their receptive audience with songs ranging from Elbow’s ‘One Day Like This’ to a Fleetwood Mac crowd-pleaser.
We finished the performance section of the evening with both choruses mixed together, initially performing ‘Hey Soul Sister’ – complete with moves that Cheshire Chords picked up within seconds of learning!
Finally, Jo Braham went through the anniversary tag with each section, before recording the full version. Out of ‘the laughter, the friendship, the glamour and the bling’ (as well as ‘the harmonies we sing’) it certainly felt like laughter permeated each stage of the evening.