Dec 132013
 

Granite City Chorus With City Brass Nov13Aberdeen’s Granite City Chorus is hosting a  Love to Sing day on 19th January which is free – yes FREE! – to all men. With thanks to Peter Coutts.

Within our local community we have a wide variety of musical and artistic groups, many of which are benefitting from renewed public interest in choral singing largely influenced by Gareth Malone’s TV series The Choir.

Aberdeen’s own Granite City Chorus is one group of enthusiastic men which would love to share their singing experiences with others and encourage more men to take advantage of the positive benefits which stem from being a member of an active choral group.

Apart from the social benefits, singing is officially good for your health!

Many clinical studies have reported a variety of health benefits including better posture, higher energy levels and enhanced feelings of relaxation, mood, and confidence.

Psychological benefits are also evident when people sing together because of the increased sense of community, belonging and shared purpose.

Oh, and the chorus members are also often told they look better!

The chorus currently has around forty five members, with a wide variation in age and musical ability, who all love to sing and are addicted to ringing chords in four part unaccompanied harmony.

The chorus performs at local events and festivals throughout the year appearing at many local venues and corporate functions and also travels to compete in various competitions having performed as far away as Dublin and Bournemouth.

The chorus is holding a free, one day, Love to Sing event at the Doubletree Hotel, Beach Boulevard on Sunday 19th Jan 2014.

Granite City Chorus at Dobbies Nov 13

This is aimed at encouraging both new and existing singers to come along and experience a day of music and voice coaching in an informal and friendly environment.

No prior singing experience is necessary for this fun, unique and enjoyable day out, which could just turn out to be your new addiction!

So anyone who is interest is warmly invited to go along on the day and find or rediscover your singing voice.

There’s absolutely no commitment – just enjoying the day is fine.

Details and registration available at the Choruses website at www.granitecitychorus.co.uk   or telephoning 07909 108633 or by email to granitecitychorus@hotmail.co.uk

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Jun 142013
 

The Granite City Chorus are holding a concert at the Phoenix Centre, Newton Dee, Bieldside, on Saturday 22nd June.  Brian Welch writes.

The Granite City Chorus has been in existence since 1990, from an initial idea by Bob Stevens, our current Honorary President, a name is synonymous with its home city, although it began life as the Royal Mailers which reflected its Post Office origins.

And, just to confuse things further, its ‘Sunday name’ is The Aberdeen Barbershop Harmony Club.

Having come first in the Light Entertainment and Barbershop Chorus sections of  the Aberdeen and North East Festival this month, the group can legitimately claim to be ‘the best male barbershop chorus in the North of Scotland’ and currently boasts a membership of just under fifty.

The singing style of the chorus is the four-part, unaccompanied, close harmony of tenor, lead (melody), baritone and bass voices combining to create the unique Barbershop Sound and, as a variety of song types can be arranged in the Barbershop style, its present repertoire covers a range of songs from traditional barbershop to Scottish and vintage pop standards.

The Club is one of over 50 which are members of the British Association of Barbershop Singers (BABS) and is affiliated to the parent society, the Barbershop Harmony Society of America and to the UK choral organisation Making Music, previously known as the National Federation of Music Societies.

As the group is both a Social and Competitive chorus, the members sing for fun and the entertainment of others, but they also like to compete in annual barbershop conventions against many other choruses from around the UK and Europe.

The Chorus is also available for in the City and Shire corporate events, club functions, private parties and it regularly performs for local residential homes and sheltered accommodation and has a range and depth of material that can be adapted to deliver that 4th dimension to any event

Anyone who wishes to join the Chorus – which practises every Tuesday night from 7 – 10 p.m. in the Woodside Church Hall, off King Street – wants to engage it for a function, or is just interested in getting further information about it, is invited to contact the Chorus Manager via the Contacts Page at www.granitecitychorus.co.uk

About the Barbershop Style

The notion of men singing together as a group is thought to have originated in the coffee shops of 17th century England.  But it was much later, towards the end of the 19th century that actual barbershop singing, where an individual would sing the melody which others would harmonise around as men waited to get their hair cut singing, was started in America.

This form continued, even in competition, until the 1930′s when written music in parts was introduced, although informal harmonising, otherwise known as ‘woodshedding’ is still practised today and has its own association.

About The Granite City Chorus’s concert on 22nd June.

There will be four acts on the evening, including the Aberdeen debut of iQ, the 2012 gold medal quartet, it is iQ’s debut in Aberdeen which is not to be missed.

Tickets for the concert, which is being held at the Phoenix Centre, Newton Dee, Bieldside, at 7.30 p.m. on Saturday 22nd June, are available from the Aberdeen Box Office.

The Granite City Chorus is directed by Colin Reid.

Further information can be obtained  at:

Web site:                   www.granitecitychorus.co.uk
Mobile phone:         07909 108 633
Email Address         granitecitychorus@hotmail.co.uk
Facebook :               Granite City Chorus
Twitter:                      @granitecitychor

Feb 172012
 

Last Saturday, 58 members of The Aberdeen Chorus of Sweet Adelines headed south to Edinburgh to take part in their second audition for this year’s version of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. With thanks to Linda Allan.

Having had very positive feedback from some of the programme’s producers in the first audition in the autumn,  the ladies were ready to brave the “fearsome 4” judges as well as a live audience in the magnificent Festival Hall.

The Chorus added some more polish to the ballad “At Last” and donned their “Black and Sparkle”  ( some of the visitors to the Kinross Service Station car park will never be the same again!).

The day passed in the Festival Hall with photo and video shoots, interviews, warm ups, run-throughs, wee glimpses into the Hall at some of the other acts, lots of chat, and endless trips to the facilities to check apparel and make-up – all of this punctuated regularly by the most awful foghorn sound of the dreaded buzzer bursting through from the stage.

As the day wore on and the programme schedule slipped further and further behind, it became quite clear that this Chorus was not going to see the Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen again till well into the “wee sma’ oors” – about 3:30am for some of the ladies!!  Never mind – more time to eat another snack, have another photo shoot on the staircase – and watch some performing dogs being interviewed and getting their costumes put on for their act.

There was time too to serenade the (very enthusiastic) public at audience change-over times with some Chorus songs.  It has to be said that the BGT crew members and Festival Hall staff were extremely pleasant, helpful, positive and encouraging, despite what must have been an extremely stressful day for them too.

A visit from the very pleasant and charming Ant and Dec added to the excitement

Then – at last – the intrepid songsters were escorted down endless flights of stairs, along miles of corridors, past mounds of cables and whole forests of cameras and microphones till arriving behind the curtain of the big stage where acts, comments from the judges and the scary buzzer could clearly be heard.

There they stood in excitement for – ages – along with a flea circus, 4 lycra-clad Scottish pipers in rather dubious pink, blue, and green all-in-one skin tight costumes, a very nervous singer experimenting rather gingerly with a microphone, and some curiously clad individuals with strange accents and weird instruments.

A visit from the very pleasant and charming Ant and Dec added to the excitement, as in between various stages of their duties, they ran the gauntlet of the rows of waiting ladies “high-fiving” as they went!  There was also to be more chat and filming with the duo just before going on stage, and later on some of the ladies of the chorus were able to pose with them for photos and autographs at the stage door.

So then – at last (again)- the culmination of the day – an entry on stage to a packed auditorium and the ‘fearsome 4’. There was some further filming, with some questions from the judges to the Director of the Chorus Gwen Topp and the Chorus President Debbie Pern, and then the ballad “At Last”.All judges acknowledged the technical expertise of the Chorus, and the polish and quality of the singing

So how did it go?  The Chorus sang extremely well. One judge liked the Chorus, 2 judges liked the song “At Last”. One judge commented on the lovely involved faces.  All judges acknowledged the technical expertise of the Chorus, and the polish and quality of the singing. In the end two voted for the Chorus to go through, and two voted against.

  As with everything the Chorus undertakes there are valuable opportunities for learning.

Because the judge who had the casting vote in a tie-breaking situation had voted against the Chorus and had in fact used the buzzer, the Chorus will not be going through to the next stage. The genre of music, in which the Chorus excels, was unfortunately simply not to their liking. They simply did not get it!

How does the Chorus feel?  As with everything the Chorus undertakes there are valuable opportunities for learning.  The experience gained from the preparation for the event, the process of being involved in performing at such a big event and dealing with uncertain procedures and ever-changing timelines is very valuable for any performer, and plays an important part in developing performing skills.  Listen, learn, and move on!

What now??  The Chorus will continue to work for the next important events in its calendar, including visits from international coaches and preparation for the annual competition in May in Birmingham.

Tribute must be paid to GwenTopp, Chorus Director and Debbie, Chorus President, for their work both in preparation for the event and also for their magnificent handling of interview questions at the various sections of the day.

Both succeeded in giving heart-felt, eloquent responses which went a long way to promoting not only the Aberdeen Chorus and The World Wide Organisation of Sweet Adelines, but also the value of singing in a group as great fun, a wonderful hobby, a promoter of well-being and a source of support and friendship to those who take part. This message has the potential of reaching many thousands of people, should the clips be televised.

Dec 212011
 

By Bob Smith.


Christmas Eve in the 1940s
A myn o’t as tho’ twis last nicht
The livin room fire wis aye bleezin
An aathing wis bonnie an bricht

Paper chines hung fae the ceilin
An slap bang in the cinter a bell
Ti a wee loon in short troosers
Aathing  jist lookit richt swell

A Christmas tree wi didna hae
Oor roomies they war ower sma
Bit wi plunty o ither decorations
Aa nivver gied iss a thocht ava

A’d scriven ma letter ti Suntie
An sint it awa up the lum
An if he micht lave fit a wintit
Losh he wid fair be ma chum

On Christmas Eve on the wireless
Carol singin ma mither thocht braw
Good King Wenceslas he look’t oot
Aa he saw roon aboot wis sna

Ma lang sock a wid lave hingin up
It wis peened ti the muntelpiece
An ower aside the fireplace grate
Fer Suntie a’d lave a fine piece

Awa ti yer bed ma mither wid say
Suntie disna cum tull yer sleepin
Nae argument noo fae you a’ll hear
Or maybe yer present he’ll be keepin

 

Fae ma bedroom winda a peered oot
Ti see Suntie’s reindeer in the sky
Bit nae maitter foo lang a lookit
They nivver wid cum wanner’n by

On Christmas morn a hash’t ben
Ti see if ma letter hid bin heeded
A aye wis maist affa feart ye see
Maybe Suntie he cwidna read it

Afore ma verra een there wis
A widden boat ye pulled on wheels
Made a fun oot in later eers
By een o oor local chiels

Stappit in the lang sock ye’d fin
An orange an a fyow chocs
A  drawin book fer ti colour in
Wi crayons in a braw box

Christmas it wis a time fer bairns
Growen ups they preferred Hogmanay
Bit wi the kids o yesteryear they bade
Aroon the fire on a caul Christmas Day

Noo fowk  awa back in the forties
Didna hae  the siller ti splash oot
Bit bairns they war mair contintit
Than eens nooadays a’ve nae doot

.
.
.
© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2011

Dec 152011
 

With Christmas fast approaching and people hitting the city in droves this weekend – why not pop into our lovely city gardens in between the present hunting for a truly festive event.  Iain Richardson writes re. this Saturday’s Winter Festival at Union Terrace Gardens to celebrate prize art work by city children.

The winners of an art competition for children will receive their prizes at a Winter Festival in the centre of Aberdeen this Saturday, 17th December.

Christmas-themed artwork by Aberdeen school children will be on display at the event in Union Terrace Gardens on Saturday 17th December 2011, between 1pm and 3.30pm.

The Winter Festival will feature the Bon Accord Silver Band, carol singing, Yousedancin ceilidh band, Santa, Cairngorm reindeer, and free festive food and drink.

Dorothy Bothwell, retired Head Teacher and member of the Common Good Aberdeen group, who organised the event, said:

“We’re just thrilled at the response to the competition. The children’s art is stunning and we’ll be displaying as many of the 300 or so entries as we possibly can on Saturday, as well as handing out prizes to the winning children”.

The prizes for the winning Art Competition entries in each of three age groups will be presented to children at approximately 1.30pm on Saturday 17th December, at the Arches in Union Terrace Gardens.

Nearly 300 entries were received from primary schools and individual children in and around Aberdeen.

For further information, contact:

Dorothy Bothwell:      01224 583451
mrsb_cafe52@hotmail.com

Iain Richardson:        07833 453961
iainrichardson@ieee.org

 

 

Sep 302011
 

With Thanks to Linda Allan.

The lilting strains of “Harmonise the World” with its powerful musical message for today’s world, can be heard at the close of every gathering of the body of women singers called Sweet Adelines International.
Audience members in Deeside will be treated to an example of this international spirit this autumn, when the Jazz Group Conference-of-Swing from Dresden and Aberdeen Chorus of Sweet Adelines team up for two evenings of lively Jazz vocals and superb close harmony.

This all came about when Riki Gohrbrandt one of the German Jazz Group, found an outlet for her musical talent by singing with the Aberdeen Chorus in her spare time while working for a year as a Foreign Languages Assistant in Aberdeen. 

She enjoyed the experience so much, and had become such firm friends with the singers, that she was determined to keep up her links with the Chorus and encourage her fellow singers in the Jazz Group to consider a trip to Scotland culminating in a joint concert with her musical friends from last year.

Several months and many reams of emails later, this plan has come to fruition.  

The Aberdeen Chorus – fresh from their success at the Edinburgh Fringe and their Show in the Music Hall Aberdeen – is soon to play host to the group of 25 talented singers from Dresden, and provide accommodation with lots of sightseeing opportunities, culminating in two concerts in the Banchory area.

On Monday 3 October at 7:30pm the two groups will make music together in Peterculter Church.  Both groups are particularly excited not only about the chance to hear each other, but also the chance to perform together as one and demonstrate to audiences what is so near to all singers’ hearts in the lyrics of Why we sing with its echoes of “Harmonise the World”.

On Tuesday 4 October at 7:30pm, Riki will sing with her group Conference-of-Swing at the Woodend Barn Banchory. 4 Quartets from the Aberdeen Chorus, Vocal Zone, Shindig, Chimaera and Singularity are also excited about sharing the stage then and this promises to be an entertaining and very harmonious event.

Tickets £8(£6) for the Peterculter Event from Peterculter Church, Riah Hair Design, Bridge St. Banchory, Kathy Davis 01330 823967, and at the door.

Tickets £10 (£8) (£5) for the Wooded Barn Event from The Woodend Barn Box Office 01330 825431, from the Website www.woodendbarn.co.uk, and at the door

 

Sep 082011
 

Aberdeen Chorus of Sweet Adelines, one of the most successful medal-winning Barbershop choruses in the UK, returned from Edinburgh recently  – their third successive year there – hailing their show at the Fringe a triumph. Marketing and Publicity Officer Linda Allan tells us more.

Despite their many adventures on the way there, including thunder storms, mini flash floods on the motorway, a rescue by the A.A., cancelled trains and problems with the staging, all the intrepid lady pirates made it to the venue to the obvious delight of the enthusiastic audience, who gave a standing ovation claiming the show Adventure On The High Cs was “the best one yet”

Now Aberdonians will also get a chance to see these intrepid women display their pirattitude as Adventure On The High Cs will form part of their show in the Music Hall on Friday 16 September at 7:30pm.

Audiences will be treated to a very varied performance, with glimpses of Abba, flashing cutlasses, Gilbert and Sullivan, humorous ditties, and traditional Scottish airs, including a very special arrangement of The Northern Lights.

Sharing the stage this year will be the local successful trio of Fifth Dimension with their special blend of magic and humour which is sure to engage and astound the audience.  Spectators will also be treated to enthralling performances by dancers from the very successful Sharon Gill School of Dance.

Tickets £12 (£10) are available from
Aberdeen Box Office on 01224 641122
www.boxofficeaberdeen.com

Free singing lessons

In addition to their Music Hall show the chorus is offering a free 4-week singing course to women. These lessons will take place on Mon 24 Oct, Mon 7 Nov, Mon 21 Nov, and Mon 28 Nov 2011 at 7:30pm in the Britannia Hotel, Bucksburn.

Participants will receive tuition on breathing and posture, vocal production and performing skills in a warm and friendly atmosphere. All course materials – music and learning CDs will be provided – there is no need to be able to read music – but you need to enjoy singing!

For more information contact us via the website www.aberdeenchorus.co.uk