Latest News

  • We need your help with our fundraising efforts
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 19 May 2024
    We need your help with our fundraising efforts
    This year marks the 20th anniversary of our registered charity, Spinnaker Chorus!

    For years we’ve been passionate about promoting the benefits of singing for wellbeing, as well as music being a force to unite communities. Most of you probably know us from the exciting work we do within the local community supporting various charities and events, singing workshops with schools, colleges and universities, all topped off with providing entertainment for various hospitality events!

    As part of our upcoming celebrations, we are planning to raise funds through a 'singathon' around Portsmouth on 15th June!

    We are looking for sponsorship from local businesses in the Havant area, in the form of modest monetary donations or the donation of products we could offer in a raffle to help raise funds. In turn, we would be able to offer your company visibility on our social marketing platforms and mention in local newspapers when we contact them for events.

    Or perhaps you would prefer to choose a song from our repertoire which we will dedicate to your nominee and sing on the day, a video of which will be made available for you to share on your personal or business page and associated social media platforms.

    For more information and details please email Nicolette Nason:

  • A Sensational return to Jubilation-LABBS Convention 22
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 7 Nov 2022
    A Sensational return to Jubilation-LABBS Convention 22
    Oh what a joy to be back at LABBS Convention after a 3 year hiatus! The thrill of packing a suitcase filled with sparkling costume and jewellery, stage make up and a roadtrip to Bournemouth provoking such excitement.
    A super hotel filled not only with Spinnakerettes but a wedding party AND the Tottenham Hotspur Football Team, no less! Suddenly bumping into famous footballers as lift doors opened was quite a novelty and singing for them as they loaded on to coaches Saturday for their match with Bournemouth was great fun.
    The BIC was alive and bustling with barbershoppers reacquainting and the atmosphere electric. The auditorium and stage stirring butterflies in tummies sending pulses racing in anticipation of performing competitively again. The cheers walking out on stage, the lights reflecting on beaming faces, the feelings of pride and gratitude, the sense of family and togetherness overwhelming. Into performance mode we presented our much loved contest set with great enthusiasm putting into action our much rehearsed plan and then in flash our stage time was over but what a blast! We had 11 members singing with us for the first time, 5 of which were also convention first timers. The icing on the cake achieving joint 5th place in a competition with an amazing line up of fantastically talented choruses.
    Thank you LABBS for a most wonderful convention which was truly a jubilation, can’t wait to see you in Harrogate’23.
  • Spinnaker has a NEW logo!
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 10 Oct 2022
    Spinnaker has a NEW logo!

    Unveiling our new Spinnaker Logo!
    It has been a while since we reviewed our logo and felt it was time to refresh it with a design more suited to current times. Spinnakerette and D&I Representative Nicolette who is also a hugely talented designer was set the challenge of designing a new logo for us.
    She said ‘The Board wished to reflect our unique Spinnaker culture and the pride we share in our chorus with a logo that would be more inclusive and appeal to diverse audiences in alignment with LABBS increased focus on D&I. There was also the desire to make musical reference to our hobby as well as to our regional pride with Portsmouth as our city and its maritime heritage.
    In the logo we have a pink stylized Spinnaker Tower which also forms an intrinsic part of the treble clef. It is a ‘billowing sail’ treble clef with a hint of wave and things nautical and the horizontal tower beams merge into the musical stave to the right hand side. The Spinnaker font has been updated and is now more contemporary in feel and the Portsmouth cityscape shows city landmarks such as the Lipstick Tower, Football Stadium and the Guildhall, the steps of which have played a notable role in our post lockdown ‘come-back’. We hope that the logo resonates with you all at some personal level as we enter a new chorus chapter in our new chorus home and moving towards Convention’22 exciting times!

    We are thrilled with our new logo and look forward to displaying it with pride for years to come, well done Nicolette, you are a star!

  • Spinnaker raise over £800 for Air Ambulance Service
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 12 Sep 2022
    Spinnaker raise over £800 for Air Ambulance Service
    Every year we nominate a charity to support with our fundraising and this year we chose the Hants & IOW Air Ambulance service HIOWAA. Despite restricted opportunities due to the pandemic we were determined to raise as much as we could to help this life-saving charity. We hosted a barbershop ‘Unconventional Convention’ last October on behalf of the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers and invited member choruses from our local region to come and showcase some songs with us. We sold refreshments and had a raffle during the event which was well supported. Through the year we’ve had a Bring & Buy Sale, cake sales, sold items on EBay and received generous donations from performances locally.
    We were delighted to present Judith Stephens from HIOWAA with a cheque for £815.00 at a recent rehearsal. The presentation was made by Spinnakerette Hazel Smith, who was instrumental in our decision to support the air ambulance. She explained that “HIOWAA is so very special to me since it hugely contributed to saving my son’s life when he had to be flown to St George’s hospital in Tooting following a car accident for urgent heart surgery. It was a very scary time but he survived to tell the tale and as you may imagine, I’m indebted to HIOWAA
    We’re delighted to be continuing to support HIOWAA for a second year to help this invaluable emergency service which totally relies on donations to provide the £15,000 per day to enable the service to bring immediate critical care to patients when they need it most.
    For further information about HIOWAA visit
  • Cheering on the Queen’s Commonwealth Games Baton Relay
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 10 Jul 2022
    Cheering on the Queen’s Commonwealth Games Baton Relay
    On Wednesday 6th July we took our rehearsal outdoors as we once again visited Guildhall Square in Portsmouth. We were delighted to be there to cheer on George Turner who was baton bearer for this part of the Commonwealth Games Baton Relay. We sang for him and News photographers before they all continued their journey towards Southsea Common. What an exciting evening.
  • Spinnaker success at BMCF’22
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 10 Jul 2022
    Spinnaker success at BMCF’22
    On Saturday 2nd July 35 members of Spinnaker Chorus travelled to the beautiful St.Andrews Church in Bournemouth to compete in our first competition since 2019. Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival reopened it’s doors to Choral classes this year following the withdrawal of restrictions caused by the pandemic. The festival was well attended and we had a full day of singing competing in five classes.
    We were delighted to win two of these, firstly, Single Voice Choir singing the beautiful ballad Come in From The Rain followed by the Bruce Springsteen classic Dancing in The Dark for which we received the Spinnaker Chorus Cup (donated by us to the festival). Secondly, winning the Sacred Song Class singing You Raise Me Up and our signature tune Something Inside So Strong receiving the David Marris Trophy. We also received 2nd place in the Barbershop Chorus Class and 3rd place in both the A Cappella and Music From The Shows classes.
    It was a delightful day meeting old and new friends from the other marvellous choirs. We thoroughly enjoyed performing for the supportive audience and are extremely grateful to the BMCF organisers who have shown such determination to ensure the festival continues, enabling choirs, dancers, singers and musicians to showcase their art. Long May it continue.
  • Jubilant Spinnakerettes
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 10 Jul 2022
    Jubilant Spinnakerettes

    We celebrated our wonderful Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a red, white and blue themed rehearsal on Wednesday 1st June. Spinnakerettes showed our true colours as we went all out to embrace the celebrations and we enjoyed very yummy cake and refreshments in the break too.

  • Lovely Lead’s Wedding Celebration
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 2 May 2022
    Lovely Lead’s Wedding Celebration

    Sunday 1st May brought the gorgeous wedding celebration of our lovely Lead Spinnakerette, Bethany and husband George at the Skylark Golf & Country Club near Fareham.
    We affectionately remember the night George proposed to Bethany at a Spinnaker rehearsal. He entered our rehearsal venue and to everyone’s delight, surprised Bethany with his wonderful proposal and a beautiful engagement ring.
    It was particularly touching to also be part of their wedding celebration. Bethany, her Mum Jo and Sister Megaan (all Spinnakerettes) plus George’s Mum, Kay  (former Spinnakerette) all joined us as we sang 3 songs to the guests…One Day Like This, Dancing In The Dark and Can You Feel The Love Tonight.

    We wish Mr & Mrs Sumpner a blessed marriage and a future filled with love and happiness…congratulations ?

  • Barbershop harmony workshop
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 2 May 2022
    Barbershop harmony workshop
    Our fab MD John Palmer and some Spinnakerettes recently visited Bosmere Junior School in Havant to give the children an introduction to the wonders of Barbershop and a cappella harmony singing. The children were amazing and so excited to join in with the vocal exercises JP gave them, demonstrating how we build up the layers of harmony using only our voices and not musical instruments. Everyone enjoyed the event and we even had some of the Year 5’s saying they wished they were old enough to join our Chorus. Our children are the future of our art and we sincerely hope to see more youngsters joining our Chorus for many years to come.
  • LABBS 25 Year Membership Award-Nicky Best
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 29 Apr 2022
    LABBS 25 Year Membership Award-Nicky Best

    At retreat we surprised our fabulous Deputy Tenor Section Leader Nicky Best with her LABBS 25 year pin and certificate, a personalised card signed by the chorus and a scrumptious cake, obviously!
    Music started early in Nicky’s life. Her musician father was a drummer and as a young child she would go with him to venues to set up his kit.  She loved the atmosphere of the stage (and still does).  Music moved her family from Scotland to the South of England and Nicky started singing Barbershop in 1997.  From 2004 she was also a member of the Southdowns Musical Society for eight years.  Spinnaker is the fourth Barbershop chorus that Nicky’s sung with over 25 years.
    Nicky said I’m not sure where the last 25 years have gone. The passion for singing has never left me, I am just so happy that every week I get to sing with not only an amazing Tenor section but my fabulous chorus, with the best MD John Palmer, at the helm. Thank you so much.

    We wish you many more wonderful years of ringing chords, tinkling tenor notes and harmony, congratulations ?

  • Spinnaker Retreat Returns
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 29 Apr 2022
    Spinnaker Retreat Returns
    After a couple of years of Covid restrictions spoiling our event plans April’22 saw the return of the Spinnaker Retreat at Langstone Resort Hotel in Hayling Island. Two full days of fabulous barbershop coaching by the exceptionally talented Stuart Sides, who travelled from his home in the Netherlands by motorbike to visit Spinnakerland once again. We last saw him in 2019 when he worked his magic and helped us achieve our 2nd LABBS Bronze medal placing at Convention’19.
    In addition to all of the hard work we fitted in a fun evening of entertainment on the Saturday when Spinnakerettes took part in our very own Spinnaker’s Got Talent show.
    We had 13 acts performing including, soloists, duo’s, a guitarist, a clarinetist, quartets, and small skit groups. What a huge amount of talent of chorus has and we’ll done to all who took part, you are all superstars.
  • Baritone Section Leader, Liz’s Wedding Celebration
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 29 Apr 2022
    Baritone Section Leader, Liz’s Wedding Celebration
    In April’22 Spinnakerettes we’re whisked away to Chilworth near Southampton to sing at the wedding celebration of our amazing Bari Section Leader Liz and her husband Tom.
    The sun shone brightly for their special day which had previously been postponed due to Covid restrictions. Our attendance was kept secret from the wedding guests until we walked in to perform. Liz joined us to sing One Fine Day, Can You Feel The Love Tonight, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You and Shine. 
    We loved being part of this wonderful occasion and wish Mr & Mrs Taylor a lifetime of happiness together.

  • An Unconventional Convention in Spinnakerland
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 14 Nov 2021
    An Unconventional Convention in Spinnakerland

    Saturday 30th October in Portsmouth brought together LABBS members for a day of joyful music making in Spinnakerland. The LABBS SE Hub was an industrious hive of activity from start to finish expertly headed by our Vice Chair, Colleen Potter. Our UC’21 Team worked wonders prepping the welcome area, performance hall, refreshment areas filled with croissants and brioche, with scrumptious homemade cakes in reserve for break times, raffle tables weighted with truly spectacular prizes to raise funds for our charity Hants and IOW Air Ambulance. The weather wasn’t kind but Team Car Park braved the rain greeting arrivals with a welcoming smile. Team Tech were sizzling all day, videoing all of the showcases for the LABBS Live Stream. Huge thanks to Team COVID Health and Safety plus 1st Aiders who focussed on keeping us all safe.

    We were honoured to have LABBS Gold Medal Chorus Amersham Acappella join us, also members of Cascades, Thameside Harmony, The Pitchpipers, CAL and the lovely Jacqui Edwards LABBS Liaison Officer.

    Our fab event MC Mike Cook, got proceedings underway introducing excellent Warm Up Teams from both Spinnaker and Amersham who whipped us into a frenzy of physical and vocal readiness.

    Then it was all systems go for 7 hours of wonderful singing, harmony, fun, laughter, friendship and CAKE. Our special guests Chromatix Quartet (BABS Gold Medalists) and The Minims (Surrey Fringe 2019 Junior Quartet Champs) delighted us with their performances during the day. Spinnaker and Amersham’s stunning showcases were inspirational and the mass polecat singing stirred the emotions with wonderful ringing chords filling the room. Our photo booth, with chorus star photographer, Ron Hobden, proved to be extremely popular.

    Late afternoon our venue was transformed for a glittering Afterglow, with subdued lighting, sparkling table cloths, a bar and a programme of entertainment from small groups and scratch quartets.

    Thank you to EVERYONE who made the event such a success it was a perfect day spent with great friends doing what we all love, we are most definitely family!

    (Tracy Daniel PRO Spinnaker)

  • Remembering Gladys 1930-2021
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 11 Oct 2021
    Remembering Gladys 1930-2021
    Gladys Pyle – The Queen of Spinnaker 1930-2021
    Spinnaker Chorus are saddened by the recent loss of Gladys Pyle a founder member and our greatest supporter. Gladys was an original member of Purbrook Harmony Chorus that formed in 1970 and became the first Sweet Adelines Chorus in the UK. She took to barbershop singing with great enthusiasm and loved to perform and entertain. Her debut performance was in 1973 at the Guildhall, Portsmouth. Gladys attended the first British Barbershop Association convention in Brighton in 1975 when Purbrook Harmony won joint first prize. She went on to perform and compete around the UK and in the USA. In 2004 Spinnaker Chorus was formed and Gladys was a founding member. She continued to sing and compete into her 80s before becoming an Honorary member and Chair of the Spinnaker Tea Company. Gladys was a free spirit who loved to party and was generous to a fault. Her jam making skills were legendary and she always brought laughter and fun to any Chorus get-together. Gladys rarely missed a Spinnaker rehearsal and joined the Chorus on sing-outs and on trips to convention bringing home made Spinnaker banners, her enormous smile, and her amazing energy with her. Gladys loved to dress up and to wear tiaras and soon became known as the Queen of Spinnaker. She was a true one-off and will be much missed as a great friend with a heart of gold, wicked sense of humour and a personality that lit up every occasion.
    Jill Cook-Spinnaker Chair
  • Spinnaker raise £1000 for local charity, Off The Record
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 19 Jul 2021
    Spinnaker raise £1000 for local charity, Off The Record

    Over the past Spinnaker year we have been fundraising for an extremely worthy local charity. Off The Record (SE Hants) based in Leigh Park, Havant strives to help young people in South East Hampshire needing support managing emotional wellbeing issues, most commonly anxiety, family & relationships, anger, low self-esteem, low mood, and more. Unsurprisingly, they are experiencing a marked increase in referrals with the onset of the Covid pandemic and associated restrictions which in turn has placed added demand on their staff and resources.

    Spinnaker has certainly faced fundraising challenges having had to suspend in person rehearsals and events during this time. However, with great determination and enthusiasm to help our nominated charity we held a number of fun, online Zoom socials, including Bingo, quizzes, auctions, raffles and together with personal donations from members we have raised the staggering total amount of £1000.

    OTR was nominated by Chorus member, Liz Waddon who said “I just chose them because I think that teens always look like they are coping but they aren’t really. I knew there would be a wave of teens that would need emotional support after the lockdowns and when returning to school. There’s kind of a gap in looking out for teens and young adults compared to children or the elderly

    We were delighted to visit the OTR offices in Havant to present our rather ‘large cheque’ to Kate Glasby (CEO) and Sarah Smith (Finance Manager), both pictured here with Elspeth Smith (Spinnaker’s Membership Sec). We would like to wish OTR continued success providing this much needed service for our local young people and we are so pleased to have been able to support their charity in 20/21.

    For more information about OTR please visit the following website

  • The Great Spinnaker Sewing Bee
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 19 Feb 2021
    The Great Spinnaker Sewing Bee

    Prior to lockdown number 3 we, like other choruses, had successfully managed a few face to face rehearsals by following Covid secure procedures to ensure the safety of our Spinnakerettes.

    One of the requirements was to wear masks and as we all know singing with such an encumbrance is not a particularly enjoyable experience. However our fabulous Bass, Wendy Ranft, the ever resourceful crafting whizz, sourced a pattern for specific, structured singing masks allowing more freedom of airflow and facial movement. Armed with fabric, thread, metal nose strips, plastic cable ties, adjustable elastic ear straps and full instructions made into packs, she distributed these to a small group of sewing volunteers from Chorus. Wendy and team, Jo, Jill, Kathryn, Elspeth and Kate proceeded to make 60 Spinnaker pink masks for members to purchase contributing to Chorus fundraising.


    There was much excitement at the next rehearsal when we all appeared in our new facial attire.

    In addition to the masks Wendy made each Spinnakerette a beautiful pink rose brooch to wear with our navy blue walk out jackets, as a Christmas gift. What a thoughtful little gem she is!


    News of our little sewing bee soon reached our good friends at Solent City Chorus who asked if we would kindly make 25 masks in a suitably masculine shade for the guys. Wendy’s team didn’t disappoint and within a flurry of stitches Solent City all now have their rather fetching navy blue singing masks too.

    Here’s a photo of the dashing Mike Cook from SCC wearing his mask in all it’s glory and let’s hope it won’t be too long before in person rehearsals can resume.

    Take care everyone.

    (Tracy Daniel- PRO Spinnaker Chorus)

  • Children with Cancer U.K. fundraising news
  •  Date Posted: Tue, 18 Aug 2020
    Children with Cancer U.K. fundraising news

    2020 is certainly proving to be a very difficult and worrying year for everyone. The arrival of Covid19 has turned our lives as we know them upside down, throwing us into a way of life which we never expected to become the norm.

    With a blanket suspension of all face to face singing rehearsals and activities the pandemic has forced us to reluctantly cancel shows and fundraising events, which has caused us great disappointment. The Zoom experience, although very welcome to fill the void just isn’t quite the same is it?

    Now more than ever charities desperately need our fundraising efforts to boost their income to enable them to continue providing the great services they do, often without Government financial support. Many self funded charities are really struggling and are in danger of folding, which is of great concern.

    At Spinnaker Chorus we change our chosen charity with each financial year and have just come to the end of our fundraising year supporting Children with Cancer UK. Our procedure for choosing a charity involves our members suggesting nominations which are put into a hat. Our fundraising team then draw four nominations randomly. These four charities are then researched and members are briefed on each and asked to vote for their preferred choice. The charity with the most votes becomes the one we will fundraise for, for the next financial year.

    CWCKUK was nominated initially by Spinnakerette Diana Carver from our lovely Lead section. Di said…..
    Cancer is a scary thing for adults let alone children , my reason for choosing the charity is so that hopefully the donation will go towards making the children feel less anxious and frightened. Sadly over a third of funding is now under threat because of Covid19 so every donation helps the children ‘ring the bell ?’ at the successful end of treatment.

    Despite having events cancelled since March’20 Spinnaker are pleased to present CWCUK with a healthy donation of £604.56. This reflects a percentage of our total fundraising activity achieved and was raised from raffles, bingo nights, Bonus Ball lottery, CD sales, singing events, Christmas bookings, public donation collections. Our small group Decadence even sang on the Isle of Wight car ferry and collected a generous amount from appreciative passengers.

  • Bersted Choirfest 2020
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 16 Mar 2020
    Bersted Choirfest 2020

    We had a fabulous day on Saturday 14th March in Bognor at the Bersted Arts music festival Choirfest. This is a weekend event with musically diverse choirs performing both days. On Saturday three choirs were there, Bersted Community Choir, Little Lyrics and Spinnaker. We had so much fun during rehearsals which began with a mass vocal warm up lead by Spinnakerette, Liz Waddon, who soon got us all giggling singing rounds about sharks and then dogs!

    In the evening we all performed two sets of four songs to a wonderfully receptive audience who had purchased tickets for the show. Our sets included many of our best loved repertoire pieces, Something inside so strong, Anthem, Come in from the rain, to name just three.

    We really enjoyed listening to the other two choirs who each had their own style. Bersted Community Choir is a mix of male and female singers from the local community and Little Lyrics, a small group of youngsters who formed whilst at primary school and have continued to sing together since.

    It was a pleasure to be part of this delightful singing event especially at this moment in time when everything is a little crazy in the world, thank goodness music and singing are still able to bring so much happiness.

    Thank you for having us Bersted and congratulations to your team for a brilliant event ???

  • Spinnakerettes in Port Solent sing out
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 16 Mar 2020
    Spinnakerettes in Port Solent sing out
    A small but perfectly formed group of Spinnakerettes recently braved the chilly weather at Port Solent’s Odeon cinema. They sang for an hour outside and handed out advertising leaflets to ladies who had or were visiting the cinema to see Military Wives. The film is about service wives who formed a choir for friendship and support whilst their partners/husbands were away serving our country.
    Singing in a choir is so physically and mentally rewarding, liberating and immensely beneficial to health.
    ?If you are interested in possibly joining a choir why not give us a try?
    email for more information ?

  • It’s a spectacular second Bronze medal at LABBS’19
  •  Date Posted: Sat, 2 Nov 2019
    It’s a spectacular second Bronze medal at LABBS’19

    Double delight as Spinnaker have an amazing time at LABBS 2019 Convention in Llandudno.

    Following an eight hour, 300 mile journey, two Diamond Travel coaches safely delivered 67 Spinnaker Chorus members to Llandudno for the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers Convention 2019. En route Spinnakerettes had the pleasure of singing Defying Gravity and One Fine Day for Pudsey Bear at Keele Services as part of their Children in Need appeal event.
    We stayed at the Risboro HotelLlandudno where we were virtually the only residents for the weekend which was fabulous. Staff were so friendly and welcoming and nothing was too much trouble.

    On Friday we presented our donations for the Aberconwy Refuge Appeal. Spinnakerettes, Karen Hewson, Jo Odell, Jo Elrington and Lin Bowen had been busily packing, wrapping and labelling shoe boxes, with Spinnakerette’s generously donated items, prior to departure day. We hope each box brings some happiness to it’s recipient this Christmas.

    Our brilliant quartet, Sapphire (Jenni Slee, Karen Harland, Liz King & Colleen Potter) competed in the Quartet semi-final as well as our lovely Bari Debs Thompson, who competed for the first time as new member of GinSing quartet (W.London). Spinnakerettes supported and cheered them on from the auditorium during a fabulous competition. What superb performances, we are so proud of them and huge congratulations to Gold Medalists Sound Central Quartet, Silver Medallists Venus Effect and Bronze Medallists Nightfall.

    Saturday was all systems go as Team Spinnaker were up bright and early prepping for our turn on the competition stage. With hair coiffed, make up perfected and breakfast eaten all by 9.45am we started gentle physical & vocal warm up with Juliette & Cathy in the hotel ballroom! John Palmer our Musical Director then took over rehearsal, expertly keeping us focussed during a final sing through of our songs. A short coach journey followed and we arrived at Venue Cymru and changed into our sparkly new shimmering tunics, black trousers and black bolero costumes.

    At 1.15pm we took our places on the stage with nervous anticipation as stewards closed the doors, contestant no.10 (out 28 competing choruses) was announced, the lights illuminated and it was time to showcase our much rehearsed set. Firstly our beautiful ballad What kind of fool am I, followed by a superb parody of the classic Let’s Do It, lyrics written for us by our very own genius John Palmer. The audience were fantastic, thankfully they laughed in all the right places and with a gratefully received standing ovation post performance we walked off stage delighted to hear the rousing applause. That in itself was reward enough but to be announced as LABBS 2019 Bronze Medallists with an improvement of 31 points on our score last year was phenomenal. Our cheers and screams of delight filled the auditorium and many a bubbly filled glass was held high in celebration at dinner that evening. Congratulations to the amazing Amersham A Cappella (Amersham) and The White Rosettes (Leeds) on their gold and silver placing, we are totally in awe of their amazing talent.

    We also had five ‘newbies’ competing on stage with us in their first convention as Spinnakerettes. They were fabulous and you would never have known they were new members, they did a wonderful job.

    Convention 2020 takes place closer to home, in Bournemouth and planning is already well under way with hotel booking, costume and searching for new songs to showcase. We can’t wait!

  • LABBS Young Barbershopper of the Year’19-Bethany
  •  Date Posted: Sat, 2 Nov 2019
    LABBS Young Barbershopper of the Year’19-Bethany

    Katy Phillips Bursary Award-Young Barbershopper of the Year 2019

    Bethany Restarick -Spinnaker Chorus.
    Bethany was nominated by Spinnaker for this award due to her dedication to barbershop singing, her prodigious musical talents and her future potential as a barbershop singer and coach to others.
    Since joining Spinnaker Chorus in 2015 Bethany has fully embraced barbershop singing and has become a dedicated member of the Lead section, of Decadence (a ten strong ensemble) and of the Chorus as a whole. She has the voice of an angel, learns songs quickly and diligently and acts as an evaluator of other Leads as they submit recordings of new songs which the chorus may be learning. She has had a 100% attendance record every year since joining the Chorus and never misses a sing-out or a coaching session.
    She passed her audition to be on the front row and has grown in confidence to become a real performer in front of an audience.
    Bethany is a key member of the small group Decadence and has extended her singing repertoire and singing technique by learning new songs, by being coached, by performing at local music festivals and at sing-outs. Her love of singing barbershop is such that she has also joined a quartet and so now sings in three different groups.
    In September 2017 the Chorus were surprised to see Bethany’s boyfriend George (whose mother sings with Spinnaker) arrive unannounced at a regular rehearsal. He proceeded to get down on bended knee and proposed to her in front of the Chorus. We are all looking forward to singing at their wedding in May 2020.
    The bursary will make a huge difference to Bethany, allowing her to further her barbershop education. We believe that investing in Bethany’s personal development at this stage in her young career would pay dividends to her, to Spinnaker Chorus and longer term to the benefit of others.
    We are overjoyed that our nomination was considered and approved by the LABBS panel and the impressive trophy was presented to Bethany at the LABBS 2019 convention in Llandudno.
    Bethany was totally shocked to receive this award and afterwards said
    Wow what an amazing weekend!!! Singing in Spinnaker is truly a magical experience! I have loved every part of it, have laughed and cried (good tears) and spent it with the most amazing women in the world!! Barbershop singing (with the lovely Spinnaker Chorus) has supported me in so many ways, when I first started I was so self conscious and shy and now feel like I am confident and ready to take on pretty much anything every day. I have gained the most amazing extended family and love you all.. So this weekend we came away with bronze medals upholding our title (YAYYYY!), I also had one of the biggest surprises in my life when I was announced LABBS Young Barbershopper of the year. Thank you to those who nominated me and to those who felt I am worthy of this award, I felt so honoured (and a little petrified) to walk up on to that stage and collect the Katy Phillips award. Well what more can I say, Thank you all for such an amazing weekend performing and celebrating with my Spinnaker family and the people of LABBS. See you all next year x

  • Fundraising and community events Spinnaker style
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 20 Sep 2019
    Fundraising and community events Spinnaker style

    Wightlink fundraiser Sunday 8/9/19
    By Kay Sumpner (Spinnaker Membership Sec. & Bass)

    It was a beautiful Autumnal Sunday morning when Decadence – a sub-group of Spinnaker Chorus – turned up at the ferry terminal in Portsmouth to sing their hearts out for the Children with Cancer UK, aboard the Isle of Wight Ferry St Clare. Children with Cancer UK is Spinnaker’s Charity of the Year for 2019 and as September is Childhood Cancer awareness month, the timing was perfect.

    Warming up in the waiting room (quietly) before boarding started the donations rolling in, and so they continued, as the girls went over to the Island and then back and then over again and finally back, singing such favourites as Paper Moon, Bohemian Rhapsody (which drew much applause) and Make Your Own Kind of Music.

    Over £260 was received in donations on board and a further £77 from online donations. The girls, led by Karen Harland, are very grateful to Wightlink for allowing them to perform, to their helpers Angela Jerome and Barbie Corstorphine (both Spinnaker members) and also to Jim Kelleher who made everything run smoothly. The girls enjoyed it so much, they are already planning another trip, hopefully at Christmas.

    Singing with friends at the Memory Café
    By Jo Odell- Spinnaker Chorus Bass and Front Row member

    As a singing member of Spinnaker Chorus for the last 11 years I have been looking for ways to contribute more to our community and so when I watched the Dementia choir on the BBC as a registered nurse myself, I had some ideas of how the chorus could involve more people to help them to sing. Through local contacts I found a memory café that runs locally and is supported by a project called “Living well with dementia in the community”

    On Wednesday 11th September, 14 chorus members joined me at the café and we helped both people living with dementia and their carers to learn and sing some simple warm up songs and even managed to get people to sing in two rounds. We had some great feedback and everyone seemed to be having fun singing along. We finished our time in the café, by performing “Lets get together again”. We hope to run a singing workshop at the café on a quarterly basis and then see where we progress to.

  • Special LABBS VIP visits rehearsal
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 1 Aug 2019
    Special LABBS VIP visits rehearsal
    At Wednesday’s rehearsal on 31st July’19 we welcomed Gail Grainger (LABBS Membership Director) and her Husband Charles to our Blendworth venue. A great evening was had by all with warms from Spinnakerettes Nicky and Jane, followed by lots of fabulous singing directed by Assistant Director Cathy, in addition to Julia, Liz and Lizzie. Gail also joined us on the risers as she is accustomed to doing so being as a member of the amazing The White Rosettes Chorus.

  • Fantastic coaching weekend with Stuart Sides
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 26 Jul 2019
    Fantastic coaching weekend with Stuart Sides
    On 13th and 14th of July Spinnakerettes were coached by the amazing Stuart Sides. Stuart is a singing teacher and vocal, performance and presentation coach. He is a chorus director and quartet singer with numerous national and international medals and championships.
    Stuart has had a varied vocal life since he first started singing in church choirs when he was 6. In 1978 (when he was 9) he started in barbershop but he has since then also sung in mixed voice a cappella groups and classical choirs but most notably he has sung in four UK National Champion barbershop quartets in 1993, 1994, 2004 & 2005 (bass, baritone, lead and baritone) going on to represent his country in the International Championships each time and since moving to Holland has sung in 3 Dutch Champion Quartets in 2008 (Xperience, baritone), 2011 (Trademark, baritone) and 2015 (Maelstrom, tenor). This last quartet puts Stuart in a very small group of people who have won quartet gold medals in all four parts!
    His directing career began in 1984 (at 15 years old) with a barbershop chorus. Again he achieved major success in 1998 taking Capital Connection to victory becoming the UK LABBS National Ladies Barbershop Chorus Champions and then once again in 2006 directing Signature to become the smallest chorus (just 24 singers) to win the National Ladies championship. In the Netherlands, Stuart took iSing to national chorus silver and bronze medals and in 2013 directed Sound Waves to National Gold AND European Silver Medals as well as other International invitation Gold medals in Ireland 2013 and Spain 2014.
    In April 2015 Stuart started a new women’s chorus, No Borders Show Chorus, with the unique characteristic that it’s open across multiple countries and is currently nearly 70 strong with members from The Netherlands and Germany. Stuart is a regular coach for singers, quartets and choruses across Europe and regularly educates at Harmony Colleges and Director’s Colleges in the Netherlands and Germany.

  • Spinnaker host an evening of ‘A cappella’ celebration
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 23 Jun 2019
    Spinnaker host an evening of ‘A cappella’ celebration

    On Wednesday 12th June Spinnaker Chorus played host for an evening of a cappella celebration at our rehearsal hall in Blendworth, Horndean.

    We were joined by members of Arun A Cappella (Bognor Regis) and Cascade- Southdown Ladies Harmony Chorus (Catherington ). The purpose of the get together was to present awards to various chorus members who have achieved long service membership of our Barbershop organisation, The Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers. Representing LABBS and presenting the award certificates to Vivienne from both Arun A Cappella and SpinnakerJoyce and June from Arun A Cappella and Jane from Cascade was Jacqui Edwards, Local Liaison Officer. These fabulous ladies have shown such dedication to barbershop singing by clocking up 25 and 30 years of membership.

    The programme for the evening was arranged by our Musical Directors John Palmer (Spinnaker), Joyce Stroud (Arun A Cappella) and Jackie Rapley (Cascade) and consisted of vocal and physical warm ups, performances from each chorus, and mass singing from all 3 choruses combined. Blendworth was alive with truly fabulous a cappella harmonies all evening through.

    After a break for tea, coffee and the obligatory delicious cake we held a raffle to kick start our fundraising for our chosen charity for 2019/20 Children with cancer UK. Then we were treated to superb performances from small groups Spinnaker’s Decadence, Opus quartet and mixed quartet, Acamania featuring our Musical Director JP, followed by Catra and Tektonix quartets from Arun A Cappella. Small group singing is really beneficial for personal development vocally and provides valuable performance and confidence building experience

    Singing in a cappella, 4 part harmony is such a joy. The amazing sounds and ringing chords produced by unaccompanied voices is spine tingling and so beautiful, there were many a goose bump felt that night. Singing of any kind in any genre is so good for our emotional health, boosting the feel good factor. We all certainly enjoyed our evening together, catching up with old friends and making many new ones too and hope it’s not too long before we can do it again.

  • Spinnaker bring Barbershop to Chichester University
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 14 Feb 2019
    Spinnaker bring Barbershop to Chichester University

    Rehearsal night on Wednesday 6th February was a different one for Spinnaker Chorus as we took our a cappella, 4 part, Barbershop harmonies to Chichester University. The purpose of our visit was to provide a Barbershop workshop for students studying various music degree courses there. This initiative was the brainchild of Spinnaker Chairman, Jill Cook who is a University Governor and Susan Legg, Head of Music at Chichester.

    The music course students were invited along to see the magic of Barbershop in action as Spinnaker passionately sang numerous songs from our varied repertoire for their entertainment. They were encouraged to participate in both physical and vocal warm up exercise sessions with chorus members before our Musical Director, John Palmer explained the finer points and characteristics of the Barbershop genre. Students joined with the bass, baritone, lead or tenor sections depending on vocal range and John taught a short warm up song called Higher and Higher.

    Following a short break, it was the turn of the students to entertain the SpinnakerettesChi Tones, a newly formed a Cappella group of six hugely talented guys, sang My Evaline and Life could be a dream. These rookies received a standing ovation for their fabulous performance. JP then gave a coaching masterclass, working with the group to enhance different areas of their vocals to develop their unity and performance further. Their sound was so polished and we are excited to watch their development as they grow in confidence.
    So impressed were we that JP has invited Chi Tones to guest with us in a future concert.

    The misconception that Barbershop is an old fashioned genre is so outdated. Spinnaker Chorus had an excellent time at Chichester demonstrating that our hobby is anything but old fashioned. Chi Tones are definitely proving that the younger generation are perfectly suited to be Barbershoppers. Our music brings happiness and joy to all ages and it was a treat to watch the delighted students as they listened and absorbed what we do. These youngsters are the performers of the future and how marvellous that Spinnaker has been a part of their journey. We look forward to developing a relationship with Chichester University and the possibility of more workshops and events there.


  • What the Dickens Christmas show reviews
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 14 Feb 2019
    What the Dickens Christmas show reviews

    Saturday 8th December 2018 saw Spinnaker performing in our Christmas show What the Dickens at the beautiful St.Mary’s Church in Portsmouth. The story was written by our talented Chairman, Jill Cook which had a clever Spinnaker twist on the classic story by Portsmouth’s, Charles Dickens…A Christmas Carol.

    We were delighted to have special guests Charles Collingwood and Judy Bennett from BBC Radio’s The Archers appearing as Scrooge and The Ghosts of Christmas. We delighted our vast audience with stunning a cappella harmonies which sounded fabulous in the acoustic rich venue.

    Spinnakerette and Membership Secretary, Kay Sumpner, produced and managed the show. A hugely talented lady indeed with vast experience of stage production in amateur dramatics groups. We invited the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Lee Mason  who enjoyed our show tremendously., posting rather lovely feedback on his Facebook page.

    Reporters from both The News and Horndean Post attended and we received amazing reviews in their publications following the show.

  • Spinnaker win LABBS’18 Bronze Medal
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 2 Nov 2018
    Spinnaker win LABBS’18 Bronze Medal
    The Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers 2018 (LABBS) Convention took place in Harrogate on 26th-28th October. Twenty five choruses from across the U.K. took to the Convention Centre stage on Saturday. Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Chorus, contestant number 11, performed at 13:39 singing a fabulous two song set. Firstly, a lively, fun up-tempo tune, I Love Being Here With You, written by Peggy Lee and William Schluger, ( Aaron Dale) followed by a passionate, emotional rendition of What Kind Of Fool Am I, written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse ( David Harrington) .
    Our time on stage flew incredibly fast and we were buzzing after our performance. Then following an anxious wait for the panel of nine professional Barbershop judges to make their final decision, Spinnaker Chorus were delighted to be announced as the LABBS 2018 Bronze Medal Winners especially as this was our competing debut with LABBS.
    We went to convention as first timers with no expectations but just wanting to give our best possible performance, and show our support to the many other choruses attending. The competition standard, both visually and vocally was extremely high which made our bronze medal placing such a pleasing and surprising achievement. Our success was extra special because we had eight new Spinnaker members singing with us at this event.
    We had a wonderfully positive experience, it was such an enjoyable weekend. The atmosphere was great, relaxed but electric at the same time and everyone was so welcoming and supportive. We are extremely proud to be bronze medallists and we look forward to an exciting future as we start on our musical journey with the LABBS organisation.

  • Spinnaker sing for the BBC
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 21 Oct 2018
    Spinnaker sing for the BBC

    Spinnaker recently took part in the BBC’s Platform to Perform event which involved choirs from across the U.K. performing on railway platforms to highlight the benefits of singing and musical activities for health. We entertained commuters and passers by at Portsmouth Harbour Station and had a wonderful time spreading a cappella joy.

    We got a mention in the local newspaper too ?

  • Spinnaker welcome new Performance Coach
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 9 Sep 2018
    Spinnaker welcome new Performance Coach
    We are thrilled to announce that the brilliant Katrina Nutland has joined the Spinnaker team as our resident Performance CoachKat, who studied at Roehampton University gaining a BA Hons in Dance Studies, as well as a QTS from Chichester University, brings a wealth of talent and experience to our chorus. She has performed on stage in Disney Land Paris, The New Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, for BBC Children In Need and as part of StopGap Dance Company in The SeafarersKat was previously Dance Captain for Portchester Players as well as a Season One dancer for Distraction Dance Company.
    Kat is currently Head of Dance at Castle View Academy and also runs her own dance company Dare 2 Dance where she teaches students from age 2 to adult.
    We’re so excited to welcome Kat and to be working on new routines together.

  • Coaching Day with Cindy Hansen
  •  Date Posted: Wed, 20 Jun 2018
    Coaching Day with Cindy Hansen
    If the excitement of being voted Choir of the Year at Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival on 16th June wasnt enough Spinnakerettes showed huge dedication by attending a full day of coaching, the very next day, with the amazing talent that is, International Visual Performance Coach, Cindy Hansen. On a tour of various choruses and quartets in the UK we were extremely fortunate to secure coaching time with this amazing lady. From the moment Cindy walked in to our rehearsal venue and watched us perform our first song she just ‘got us‘. We were mesmerised by her ingenuity and excited by her interpretation and suggestions for our songs. She delved right into the soul of Spinnaker and made us look at ourselves in a totally different and original way, a way which gives us freedom to experiment and belief in who we are and what we stand for. We will now build on the skills Cindy gave us as we prepare for our first LABBS convention and will bring these to the stage in Harrogate in October, whilst doing our best to make her and ourselves proud.
  • Spinnaker win BMCF Choir of the Year 2018
  •  Date Posted: Wed, 20 Jun 2018
    Spinnaker win BMCF Choir of the Year 2018

    On Saturday 16th June Spinnaker competed at the prestigious Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival at the Pavillion Theatre. The festival has become extremely popular over the years attracting choruses, quartets and small groups from across the U.K. to the Adult Choirs Day competition. There is always a welcoming atmosphere associated with this event with all competitors supporting each others performances.

    We thoroughly enjoy taking part in this joyous event every year which enables us to showcase songs from our wonderful repertoire and enter numerous classes including Barbershop, Single voice choir, Choral-singing a cappella, Choral-light opera and Sacred/Gospel. This year we entered five classes, singing two songs in each. The competition standard was extremely high and adjudicator Angela Rowley certainly had a difficult task judging and deciding winners.

    Spinnaker Chorus was awarded the Roger Mills Trophy for first place with ‘Outstanding’ in the ‘Barbershop’ class singing What kind of fool am I and The Moment I saw your eyes. We received very pleasing comments, Pinging and Ringing Chords, Polished performance, Energised, The whole box of tricks, Barbershop at it’s best amongst many others.

    In other classes we achieved a second and three third places with songs including True Colours, Ain’t no mountain high enough, One day like this, Defying Gravity, Anthem and Something Inside so strong. Our fantastic foursome, Sapphire Quartet, (Colleen Potter, Karen Harland, Liz King and Jenni Slee) also performed a stunning set in the Barbershop/Ensemble class, taking second place, we are so proud of them.

    As Spinnaker won a class at the festival we were automatically entered into the final class of the day, Choir of the year. We sang one song from our winning class, What kind of fool am I and one other not previously sung that day, It’s Raining Men, a performance for which we received a standing ovation. At the end of this class there were some anxious moments awaiting Angela’s decision but finally we were thrilled and jumping for joy when she announced Spinnaker as BMCF Choir of the year 2018 and presented our MD, John Palmer with the Margaret Miller Trophy.

  • Spinnaker Wins 7 Trophies!
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 12 Mar 2018
    Spinnaker Wins 7 Trophies!

    Portsmouth Music Festival, it’s a Spinnaker SEVEN!

    Well to say we’ve had a wonderful weekend is an understatement! On Mother’s Day, Spinnaker Chorus (Portsmouth) competed at Portsmouth Music Festival at Oakland’s School in Waterlooville. We competed in five classes and were delighted to receive 1st place trophies in each of them.

    Songs from the shows– singing Defying Gravity (Wicked) & Athem (Chess)
    Opportunity Knocks-singing Ain’t no mountain & One day like this
    Barbershop Female Chorus-singing The moment I saw your eyes & What kind of fool am I
    Own Choice– singing Red, Red Rose & Something inside so strong
    Single Sex Choir-singing Its raining men & Come in from the rain.

    In the final class, Group of the day, we were invited to sing a song from one of our previous winning classes plus an additional one which we’d not competed with. Our choices were The Moment I saw your eyes from the Barbershop Chorus class and Can’t take my eyes off of you. We were delighted to also take the top prize here, the Florence Cassidy Memorial Trophy.

    We were so excited to also be awarded the Pitchpiper Scroll, trophy which was the Adjudicator’s (Elizabeth Stafford on this occasion) award to the group which made the greatest impression on her from the Barbershop classes (both choruses & quartets).

    In all, seven trophies for Spinnaker Chorus to cherish for the next year, so lots of extra polishing of silverware in addition to our sequins!

    This isn’t the end of the Spinnaker success announcements for this weekend though. We have two fabulous quartets who have also competed and been hugely successful.

    Tutti Frutti Quartet (Liz Waddon, Emma Payne, Helen Childs Caroline Chetwood) won the Sterling MacKinley Cup with honours at Portsmouth Music Festival, singing Ain’t Misbehaving & When I fall in love.

    At the Isle of Wight Music, Dance & Drama Festival on Friday 9th March, newly formed One Eyed Jacks (Liz Hill, Kay Sumpner, Jill King & Mary Quinn) competed with their debut performance and were delighted to be awarded joint first place with outstanding, winning the Quartet Cup, singing Anthem & Can’t take my eyes off you.

    So a delightful few days of singing, performing, competing and trophy collecting makes all the rehearsing, hard work and preparation completely worth while. Spinnaker are a wonderfully talented and dedicated group of women with a passion for a cappella, harmony singing. Under the expert direction of the amazing John Palmer, who tirelessly puts us through our paces every Wednesday at rehearsals, we are going from strength to strength.

  • Spinnaker’s debut CD ‘In the Pink’ on sale now
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 22 Feb 2018
    Spinnaker’s debut CD ‘In the Pink’ on sale now

    Fabulous news…the long awaited Spinnaker debut CD is now available to buy. Our CD features 15 of our most favourite repertoire songs and a bonus track in addition. At a wonderful price of just £10 (+ p&p) you could have the pleasure of listening to our beautiful four part harmonies in the comfort of your own home, or car even. Our CD would also make a fabulous gift for a loved ones birthday or Anniversary or in fact it would be perfect for any occasion.

    So to buy your copy now just email

  • Spinnaker joins LABBS
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 19 Feb 2018
    Spinnaker joins LABBS

    With great excitement Spinnaker announce that we have joined the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers or LABBS as it is more affectionately known.

    LABBS, established in 1976, is one of only three Barbershop singing organisations in the U.K. and the only purely British one for female singers. With over 2000 members in 50 clubs across the U.K LABBS continues to grow and supports it’s membership, educating in the wonderful genre of Barbershop harmony singing.

    As a competing chorus we’re looking forward to the LABBS Convention, which takes place in Harrogate in October. We will perform on stage with many other fabulous LABBS choruses, some we know and others we’ve not yet had the pleasure to meet.

    So a new year brings a new start for Spinnaker Chorus and fun, exciting times ahead.

  • Spinnaker perform at Winchester Christmas lights switch on
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 17 Nov 2017
    Spinnaker perform at Winchester Christmas lights switch on

    On Thursday 16th November Heart Fm hosted the Christmas Lights Switch on event in the Broadway outside of the fabulous Guildhall in Winchester. Spinnaker Chorus were delighted to be invited to join in the festive cheer as thousands filled the street to watch numerous local acts perform on stage,  including choirs, theatre groups and dancers.

    After a vocal warm up session within the Guildhall 40 Spinnakerettes gathered eagerly backstage as Kev ‘Big Issue’, dressed as a Christmas Tree, flicked the switch to illuminate the beautiful Christmas lights. Then it was showtime, we walked out on stage to see a sea of joyful faces looking on in anticipation. We opened our set with ‘White Christmas’ as artificial snow was blown around bringing a quite delightful winter feel to the evening. We sang a mix of carols including the ever popular ‘Carol of the Bells’ and a couple of our favourite rep songs which are always great crowd pleasers, ‘Something inside so strong’ and ‘Aint no mountain high enough’ for which we received great applause.

    It was an absolute pleasure to be involved in this event which has really kick started our enthusiasm for the rest of our bookings for Christmas 2017.

  • We’re recording a CD
  •  Date Posted: Sat, 14 Oct 2017
    We’re recording a CD

    Spinnaker Chorus are excited to be recording our very first CD with the fabulous mobile recording company 4 Part Music ( We started on Sunday 8th October when we successfully managed to record nine of our favorite songs and we will continue on Sunday 22nd October when we will record the remaining numbers to add to the track listing.

    Our CD is available to pre-order now at £10 per copy (+p&p) and with Christmas fast approaching it’s an ideal time to reserve your copies for presents for your nearest and dearest or just for yourself.
    So dont miss out, treat yourself … email to reserve yours now.

  • A Triplet at BMCF
  •  Date Posted: Sat, 24 Jun 2017
    A Triplet at BMCF

    On Saturday 17th June’17, 47 members of Spinnaker Chorus travelled to Dorset to compete in Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival. By car and coach we joined the queue of what seemed like thousands of people heading to the beach on a gloriously hot sunny day.

    The sheer volume of traffic caused delays for our Coachettes so en route the girls frantically changed into costumes. Hilarious activity ensued with clothing flying and foundation garments on view to queuing vehicle occupants, whilst spontaneously singing warm up songs to save some time on arrival. Thankfully we did arrive with a little time to spare, filing in to the venue in a totally professional manner and joining the rest of our Chorus who were calmly gathered in our rehearsal area.

    After a quick stack check and run through, dressed in our colourful shrugs, glittering jewellery and black tunics, we were ushered to the stage for the first of our five classes of the day, Show Class with Movement. Our songs in this category were Raining Men and The Moment I Saw Your Eyes. Following a hugely energetic performance we were overjoyed to be placed first.

    Immediately following this we performed in the Songs from the Shows class singing Anthem from Chess and Wicked’s Defying Gravity. We love singing these two powerful pieces and hearts were pounding as we left the stage and here we achieved third place.

    After a short lunchtime break and costume change to our black tunics and diamanté collars, cuffs and ties it was time for Choral and Sacred (including Gospel and Spiritual) we were absolutely thrilled to win first place especially as in previous years this trophy has eluded us. Our rousing performance of Something inside so strong and You raise me up obviously made an impact on adjudicator Gaynor Keeble, whose positive critique was a pleasure to hear.

    Single Voice Choir (Male or female) was next and in this we dedicated our songs to our wonderful friend and Spinnakerette Gillian Thomas, who suddenly passed away in January this year. Our emotive interpretation of Come in from the rain and Ain’t no mountain high enough was well received by the audience and earned us joint 1st place with the Manx Voices Ladies Choir. We were honoured to donate a beautiful cup for this category this year we called it The Spinnaker Trophy and appropriately Cathy Ball (Spinnaker’s Assistant MD) presented it to the Manx choir.

    Our penultimate class was Barbershop where we performed the gorgeous ballad I never meant to fall in love followed by Put your arms around me honey and were awarded second place.

    In Choir of the year we sang two songs from our selection already performed during the day and although we didn’t win we were delighted that the title went to Signature ladies Chorus after their beautiful spine tingling performance.

    So an extremely enjoyable, fun but busy day finished with three 1st place trophies, one 2nd and one 3rd place for Spinnaker, all of which were awarded distinction level. As always this was an extremely well organised event and we were so proud to represent Sweet Adeline’s International Region 31 in such a high quality contest.

    Tracy Daniel
    Spinnaker Chorus


  • Women of Note Award
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 1 Jun 2017
    Women of Note Award

    Once again this year Sweet Adeline’s International, Region 31, awarded the ’Woman of Note’ award for services to barbershop. Each chapter in the region was invited to nominate a member for the award and we were unanimous in our choice of Gill Thomas a special Spinnakerette who sadly passed away earlier this year at the tender age of just 60. Spinnaker are pleased to announce that we have received this award in her memory.

    Gill had a passion for every aspect of barbershop singing and fellowship since starting her hobby in 2007. With her sunny personality she gave generously of her time, encouraging newcomers, lighting up the risers with her warm and constant smile. Gill joined several Quartets and small ensembles and thrived on the fun and singing experience gained from these.

    One of her most memorable qualities was her outrageous sense of humour and her love of comedy skits, which she regularly participated in at our annual coaching retreats. Parts she played include that of a nun, a Morris dancer, a pirate and even a washing machine of all things in the most recent Eastenders inspired effort.

    Gill was born in 1956 in Wales and was enormously proud of her roots. She had a varied career including policewoman, WREN and a practicing nurse at St.Richards Hospital in Chichester. Nursing was another of her passions as it combined her interest in medicine with her desire to help and support people.

    When Gill suddenly fell ill on Christmas Day 2016 and tragically passed away on 1st January 2017 we lost a very special and unique lady. She leaves two brothers and two sons, Josh and Ben.

    Gill will always be in our hearts and we will never forget her as a lady with a huge heart and compassion for all, a gift for entertaining audiences and Chorus members alike with her wonderful singing and fabulous sense of humour.

    Rest peacefully you gorgeous sparkling sequin in Heaven xxxx

  • Life’s a Pitch Quartet Win
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 1 Jun 2017
    Life’s a Pitch Quartet Win
    In the Sweet Adeline’s Quartet of Nations Region 31 Convention competition which took place on Friday 12th May, Life’s A Pitch took gold to become SAI Region 31 Quartet Champions 2017. Jenny Savory (former Spinnaker Musical Director). Karen Riley (former Spinnaker tenor section leader) and long serving Spinnakerettes, Beckie Puncher and June Samson have only been together as a Quartet for a year but are all very experienced singers who have competed previously with other quartet line ups. Karen and Beckie achieved great success together as Tenor and Baritione in gold medal winning ‘Echo’ in previous years. Spinnaker Chorus members in the audience to support Life’s a Pitch, erupted with cheers when they were announced as Quartet Champions. The blend of voices between the ladies is truly wonderful and it’s such a delight to hear them sing. They will now go on to represent SAI Quartet of Nations Region 31 at International convention in Las Vegas in October this year.
  • Sweet Adeline’s Region 31 Convention success 2017
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 1 Jun 2017
    Sweet Adeline’s Region 31 Convention success 2017

    The weekend of 12th-14th May was a very exciting one for Spinnaker Chorus. 74 of our members took to the stage at The Sage in Gateshead to compete in the annual Sweet Adeline’s Quartet of Nations, Region 31 convention. Wearing a visually delightful mix of shrugs with black tunics and leggings the ladies filled the stage with a rainbow of colour arranged in fabulous stripes. The songs performed this year were firstly the beautiful ballad ‘I never meant to fall in love’ by Joe Liles and a fun up tempo tune ‘Put your arms around me honey’, by Aaron Dale. Spinnaker have been rehearsing for convention for many months including coaching sessions with Erin Howden, of North Metro Chorus, Canada as well as Nicky Salt, formerly of the highly successful gold medal winning quartet Finesse. This year’s competition was of an extremely high standard and Spinnaker were pleased to achieve a 5th place medal to add to their collection.

    As a touching tribute to the memory of a special Spinnakerette, Gill Thomas, who passed away suddenly earlier this year, Spinnakerettes wore a diamanté heart attached to their bracelets whilst performing. Gill was a much loved popular member of Spinnaker and a valued bass section singer and wearing the heart meant Gill’s presence was with us on stage.

    Our next competition will be Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival on Saturday 17th June where we are competing in 5 classes.

  • Murder on The Strip
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 27 Feb 2017
    Murder on The Strip

    On Saturday 25th February, Spinnaker Chorus members and other guests were transported somewhere in Las Vegas for a murder mystery fundraiser. Napier Hall in Horndean was transformed into a Spinnakeresque version of a Vegas casino as the setting for a ‘Murder on The Strip‘ written by our talented President, Jill Cook.

    The evening was arranged to help us advance further towards our fundraising target of £7000 for this year. Tickets were sold at £15 per person which included a delicious 3 course meal prepared and cooked by our fabulous fundraising Spinnakerettes Elspeth Smith, Wendy Ranft and Nicki Kelleher.

    Menu consisted of soup or pate for starters, a main of either pulled pork with barbecue sauce or vegetable chilli both with jacket potatoes, salad and coleslaw, followed by a number of sweet dessert treats, then coffee, tea and After Eight mints.

    Between courses our talented cast members performed intriguing and rather hilarious scenes as the plot thickened providing various clues to the identity of the murderer of ‘Spin City Chorus’ MD Glyn Smarmy, who collapsed and died after blowing a poisoned pitchpipe.

    We had a Poker Chip raffle where numbered chips were purchased for £2.50 each. There were three cash prizes of £10 (3rd) £15 (2nd) and £25 (1st). Our first prize winner kindly donated his prize back to Spinnaker funds which was an extremely generous gesture.

    Numerous suspects were interviewed until finally super sleuth, Columbio Holmes, solved the mystery by discovering ditsy Wendy Clinger as the murderess. Wendy being in love with Glyn actually intended the poisoned pitchpipe to be used by Petula Pitchpiper who she thought was a love interest of his. Little did Wendy know that it was actually Sabrina Slinkyhips, the Choreographer, who Glyn was having an affair with. Jealousy was obviously Wendy’s motive as she wanted Glyn for herself however sadly her plan misfired as he chose the contaminated pitchpipe from the two on the table.

    The murder mystery was produced by Spinnakerette Kay Sumpner, who also produced our 2016 Christmas Show at St.Mary’s Church in Fratton, Portsmouth.

    This type of fundraising event was a first for Spinnaker and was a fantastic evening of fun, hilarious entertainment and of course scrumptious food. We will definitely host similar future events as the feedback we received from our guests was extremely positive. Huge thanks to all who supported our evening.

  • Spinnaker Coaching Retreat’17
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 13 Feb 2017
    Spinnaker Coaching Retreat’17

    The weekend of 11th and 12th February found Spinnakerettes at their annual coaching retreat. This year we stayed at the superb Langstone Hotel in Hayling Island. We had the amazing privilege of having not one but two fabulous Coaches, Erin Howden, Assistant MD and Choreographer with North Metro Chorus, Toronto and multi medal winning Nicky Salt, formerly bass with Finesse Quartet and also Assistant MD at Phoenix Chorus. Nicky continues her barbershop coaching and is a LABBS judge.

    Spinnakerettes worked hard during the two day retreat absorbing, with great excitement, all the coaching suggestions given by these two special ladies.  The aim of retreat is to build on our performance and vocal skills as well as giving us down time to bond even more as a team by socialising together in a relaxed environment. Currently we are working towards the highlight of our Barbershop year, competing at the Quartet of Nations, Sweet Adeline’s International, Region 31 Convention in May, in Gateshead, Newcastle.
    We are extremely eager to improve upon our 3rd place medal of 2016 as it is our ambition to compete at the SAI international convention in America. So it’s time to practise, practise, practise and polish our notes and dance moves, build on everything we learnt at retreat from Erin and Nicky and enhance our competition set with Spinnaker magic.

  • A Christmas Story
  •  Date Posted: Wed, 14 Dec 2016
    A Christmas Story

    On Saturday 3rd December Spinnaker Chorus performed at St.Mary’s Church in Fratton, Portsmouth. The occasion was our fabulous Christmas Show called ‘A Christmas Story’ which was produced by our very own Spinnakerette Kay Sumpner.

    St.Marys Church was stunningly beautiful and the most perfect venue for our event.    Our Christmas story was narrated by Charles Collingwood who plays Brian Aldridge in BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Archers’ . As a thank you to Charles we we made him an Honorary Spinnakerette and friend of Spinnaker Chorus and presented him with his very own certificate to this effect.

    We had a brilliant audience who, were extremely supportive and appreciative and thoroughly enjoyed participating in carols at various points in the show. Spinnaker Chorus ladies once again performed with great enthusiasm and professionalism with gorgeous voices filling the church all evening.

    Complimentary mulled wine and mince pies were served in the interval and these were welcomed by our audience as it was a tad chilly that night.

    We had guest appearances by the fabulously talented pianist Amanda Fox and members from Portsmouth and New Forest brass bands, headed by Dickie Horn who accompanied some of our carols.

    This certainly was a glorious evening of sparkling Christmas entertainment and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. A truly wonderful start to the festive season.

    YouTube Video URL:
  • Spinnakerettes Flash-mob Chichester
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 28 Nov 2016
    Spinnakerettes Flash-mob Chichester

    On Saturday 19 November shoppers and visitors to Chichester were surprised by the flash-mob singing of Spinnaker Chorus. At the signal of a pitchpipe being blown a group of around 40 Spinnakerettes gathered from nowhere and broke into four part a cappella singing at the Market Cross and in East Street before dispersing back into the crowds. Chichester resident and President of Spinnaker Chorus Jill Cook said, “this was our first attempt at flash-mob singing, and it was a great experience. We had to synchronise our watches and try to blend into the background before quickly grouping together and singing. It tested our ability to focus and to perform under different circumstances, it was wonderful watching people’s reactions. Our renditions of “Ain’t no mountain high enough” and “One Fine Day” were favourites with the crowd.”

    Music Director John Palmer led the Chorus and praised their efforts. “It was designed as a bit of fun”, he said, “as the girls have been practising really hard recently for our fabulous Christmas show on 3 December, which is taking place at St Marys Church in Portsmouth. It is also a great exercise in performance technique and synchronisation. I was very proud of how well they managed, despite the distractions of the wonderful shops and cafes in Chichester, plus at times the cold and rain!”

    For tickets to the forthcoming Spinnaker Show ‘A Christmas Story’, with special guest narrator, Charles Collingwood from BBC Radio’s The Archers, on Saturday 3rd December, email

  • Spinnaker dectets and quartet steal the show at Gosport Music Festival
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 7 Nov 2016
    Spinnaker dectets and quartet steal the show at Gosport Music Festival

    On Saturday 5th November two sparkling Dectet groups and a Quartet from Spinnaker Chorus brought fireworks to competition at Gosport Music Festival.

    Dectets Decadence and A Box of Frogs competed in the Barbershop 8-18 voices category. Decadence performed two songs Carolina in the Morning and Candle on the Water and came 1st place with a fabulous 86 points. A Box of Frogs sang a medley of I’m into something good with Happy together, (arranged by Aaron Dale) followed by When I fall in love. This wonderful performance earned them 3rd place with a score of 84 points. These two Dectets were formed especially for this festival and were made up of Spinnaker Chorus members, some of who have never previously performed outside of Chorus, so a fabulous achievement on this their debut.

    Later in the day came the Barbershop 8 voices or less class. Our wonderful quartet, Life’s a Pitch! Who are June Samson (bass), Karen Riley (tenor), Beckie Puncher (lead) and Jenny Savory (Baritone) sang a medley of Bill Bailey and Angry followed by Once Upon A Time.

    These ladies are experienced quartet singers having previously competed in different quartets at Sweet Adeline’s International Region 31 conventions. Their gorgeous voices and superb blending are a treat to listen to, mixed with their confident performances they are a pleasure to watch and rightly deserved their 1st place win with 87 points.

    All the groups received huge applause from their groupies providing support in the audience. The Adjudicator for the day was Jane Wilkinson who provided very welcome informative and helpful critique on their performances.

    Spinnaker Chorus is an amazing group of talented ladies and it is exciting and encouraging to see our members wanting to develop their singing experience, skills and confidence, forming dectets, octets and quartets.

    Well done to all who competed

  • Fundraising Spinnaker Style
  •  Date Posted: Sat, 10 Sep 2016
    Fundraising Spinnaker Style

    We have always enjoyed fun events as Spinnakerettes and especially those which involve boosting our chorus funds. This has normally been the responsibility of the admin board to organise which, in addition to their individual board posts, has been quite demanding. So this year we introduced a new role of Fundraiser to take over planning for fundraising events. Elspeth and Wendy have taken up the challenge to head our official fundraising team. They are doing a fabulous job and so far having organised two extremely entertaining events, a right Royal Garden Party and a fabulous Fashion Show.

    Spinnaker Garden Party

    After weeks of planning with the fundraising team, printing tickets and sewing yards of bunting, Sunday 31st July, dawned bright. Nikki and Liz produced hundreds of scones and cup cakes and the obligatory cucumber sandwiches were piled on Leona’s cake stands, last seeing service at her wedding. Proper posh tea services on loan from Gillian meant there were to be no paper cups for this Spinnakerette extravaganza.

    Our own Queen of the risers, Gladys, opened the proceedings with a rendition of “I like a nice cup of tea“, dressed as her Majesty.

    Chris D and Sandra gamely flogged raffle tickets while the urns boiled and made a healthy addition to the coffers. When no more tea and cakes could be forced down, Bethany and JP entertained us with flute and guitar.

    After the winner of the best Royal hat competition was awarded to the lovely Karen and her prize, a bottle of champagne donated by our President Jill, presented, our guests started to wend their way home.
    It wasn’t just how much fun it had been, but how much everyone had worked together. Even some who hadn’t been able to come to the party had rallied around and done their bit, whether by baking, donating prizes, equipment or buying tickets that they knew they couldn’t use. If this is what fundraising and event planning for Spinnaker Chorus is like, maybe it’s not so bad.

    What’s next then girls? Oh yes a fabulous Fashion Show!

    Fashion Show 2nd September ’16

    Strutting our stuff on stage is something the Spinnakerettes don’t find very hard to do at all so the idea of combining this with some wonderful clothes was very exciting. Elspeth and Wendy contacted ‘Travelling Trends’ a mobile fashion company who came along with their wonderful clothing and provided an extremely enjoyable evening of retail therapy for over one hundred of our guests. The ladies were given a glass of wine with their entrance ticket and once again we organised a raffle and refreshments through the evening.

    SpinnakerettesJulia, Liz, Bethany and Tracy were models alongside two of the Travelling Trends ladies. They had great fun modelling the wonderful garments selected for them to wear on the catwalk to the appreciation of the audience who were most encouraging with their applause.
    After the catwalk, guests were invited to look through the vast amounts of garments available to purchase, which they proceeded to do with great enthusiasm.

    The evening was a fabulous success and once again the Spinnaker teamwork was very apparent.

    The two events held over the summer have raised over £1600 for Spinnaker Chorus and we are overjoyed that our fundraising efforts so far have put us well on the way to our £7000 target for the year. As you can imagine a chorus of 80 ladies demands good financial stability to be able to exist. We really do appreciate the support we receive from our amazing friends, families and fans which will enable Spinnaker Chorus to continue providing much loved entertainment opportunities in the future.

    Thank you one and all xxx



  • Spinnaker’s triple success at BMCF
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 27 Jun 2016
    Spinnaker’s triple success at BMCF

    On a beautiful sunny Saturday 18th June’16 Spinnaker Chorus, Portsmouth took part in the Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival at the Pavilion Theatre. We have been preparing for this competition since early May, after coming third place at the annual Sweet Adeline’s International, Region 31, ladies barbershop convention in Newcastle.

    At last year’s festival we entered in two classes, ‘Songs from the shows’ and ‘Barbershop choir’ and came first and second place respectively. This year, under the direction of our new MD John Palmer we were more adventurous, entering four classes with Jenny Savory as guest director for two of our songs also.

    Our first class was ‘Show Choir with Movement’ in which we performed two very lively numbers ‘The Moment I Saw Your Eyes’ and ‘It’s Raining Men’. We were dressed in black trousers, black swing tops and colourful shrugs adorned with sparkling, shoulder embellishments. We won this class and received The Seer Cup.


  • Spinnaker Chorus win 3rd place at SAI convention
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 16 May 2016
    Spinnaker Chorus win 3rd place at SAI convention

    On Saturday 7th May Spinnaker Chorus, Portsmouth took part in the annual Sweet Adeline’s International Region 31 convention at The Sage in Newcastle. Taking to the stage at 12.03pm, 72 Spinnakerettes performed 2 songs, firstly a gorgeous ballad, ‘I never meant to fall in love’ and secondly a fun and lively uptune ‘The moment I saw your eyes’ both of which were written and arranged by Joe Liles. With our new Musical Director, John Palmer leading us we could be heard screaming with delight and excitement when announced as 3rd place champions with our best ever score of 620 points, an improvement of two places on our 2015, 5th position. Sixteen Choruses competed this year and the overall winner was Forth Valley Chorus followed in second place by Lace City Chorus.

    The lead up to this year’s convention has brought it’s challenges as our previous MD Jenny Savory had to stand down in January so the hunt was then on to find her successor. In February we welcomed John Palmer (formerly of the Royal Harmonics) as our new MD and we all had some adjusting to do whilst still preparing for the looming competition in May. Well we have all risen to the challenge, John has fitted in wonderfully to his new role and the Spinnakerettes are learning so much from his wealth of barbershop experience and knowledge.

    In March we had a change of President as Jill Cook took over duties from Maggi McEwan who stood down after 9 years on the Spinnaker Board. Also our lovely Choreographer, Joanne Comben is on maternity leave so Theresa Cooper, one of our talented front row ladies, is standing in and has worked tirelessly to get our moves to a high standard in time for convention.

    So despite the challenges we’ve faced over the recent months Spinnaker Chorus have not been deterred we are in fact going from strength to strength. We are one big supportive family, a great team with the determination to succeed in the hobby we love so dearly. Winning 3rd place in Newcastle is the icing on the cake for us, it has given us all huge confidence and we are immensely proud of our achievement.

    We have no time for relaxing now though as our next competition will be Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival on 18th June. We are entering in five classes and we have at least one quartet in the small ensemble class also. Last year Spinnaker came first place in the ‘Show songs’ class and second in the ‘Barbershop’ class.

    Wish us luck!

  • Nicky Salt Coaching Day
  •  Date Posted: Wed, 13 Apr 2016
    Nicky Salt Coaching Day

    We certainly have had some fantastic coaching sessions on the lead up to this year’s Sweet Adeline’s International Convention.

    Adding to our list of awesome coaches is the wonderful Nicky Salt who is the amazing bass with the multi medal winning barbershop quartert, Finesse. Nicky is a great friend of Spinnaker Chorus and it was a pleasure to have her visit us twice this year for coaching. She has a wealth of barbershop knowledge and experience, is a LABBS singing judge/coach and is a former member of Pheonix Chorus where she was section leader and Assistant Director. Nicky always finds a special way to achieve the best from us during her coaching, she has a wicked sense of humour and endless energy and fun.

    We also love Nicky for her passion for cake (just like we Spinnakerettes), so she was presented with her very own sponge at our rehearsal as a welcome back.

    Our sessions with Nicky were so helpful as she watched our competition set, tweaking here and there and getting us to allow our inner divas out. We even managed to move Nicky to tears with our emotional performance of our beautiful new ballad.

    Thank you so much for your fabulous coaching Nicky and for the continued support you give our Chorus, see you again soon xxxx

  • Erin Howden coaching days
  •  Date Posted: Wed, 6 Apr 2016
    Erin Howden coaching days

    Coaching sessions with Erin Howden from North Metro Chorus.
    On Wednesday 30th March’16, Spinnaker Chorus we welcomed the wonderful Erin Howden to coach us for the evening. Erin is Associate Director and Choreographer for North Metro Chorus, Toronto and has been a member for 27 years.

    As we are on the lead up to our annual Sweet Adeline’s International Region 31 convention on the 6th, 7th 8th May’16 this was an exciting time to be coached by Erin whose passion for barbershop is reflected in her expertise in choreography, expression and performance.

    Having invited Erin to our regular rehearsal evening we only had limited time so we made sure we utilised every minute with her. We certainly had our very own hurricane in the hall that night, whipping up a frenzy of excitement, confidence and passion for the songs we will be performing at convention. The vision Erin has is so inspirational she is an extremely talented lady.

    We enjoyed the evening so much and sadly it ended all too soon. However our MD John Palmer arranged a second evening with Erin for us on 1st April so that we could further develop her suggestions and practise the choreography under her guidance. Wow what a fantastic time we had, we have learnt so much from this fabulously talented lady. She has given us so many tips to work on and she totally understood what makes Spinnaker Chorus tick.

    Thank you Erin Howden for you’re sparkle and glitter, the Spinnakerettes are ready to shine!

  • Dancing with Choirs Sun. 7th Feb’16
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 8 Feb 2016
    Dancing with Choirs Sun. 7th Feb’16

    On Sunday 7th February 2016 we performed in Wessex Heartbeat’s wonderful show Dancing with Choirs at the Portsmouth Guildhall. This was the second time we had appeared in a charity show for Wessex Heartbeat, a fantastic charity whose driving ambition is to help achieve the very best care for people with heart conditions treated in the Wessex Cardiac Centre, Southampton. The more than £13 million they’ve raised since the Charity was set up in 1992 has put in place crucial extra improvements in the Wessex Cardiac Centre, that wouldn’t otherwise have happened. These include major projects to create Heartbeat House, the children’s Ocean Ward and the Heartbeat Education Centre, as well as regular funding of leading-edge equipment, clinical education and research.

    The lovely actress, Sarah Parish was compare for the evening. Sarah and her husband Jim Murray run The Murray Parish Trust, a charity who supports the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Southampton General Hospital.

    Spinnaker Chorus were one of six choirs to perform on the night. It was a special and emotional evening for our lovely MD Jenny Savory, as this was the last performance she would direct. Jenny is standing down after 5 years to return to being a singing Spinnakerette. We sang six songs in total and were joined on stage by various dance groups who added their interpretations to our singing. We debuted our latest song ‘Skyfall‘, and were accompanied by the amazing Parkewood School of Dance, who added their magic and excitement to this James Bond theme tune.

    Special guests for the evening were Paddy and Nico of Britain’s Got Talent fame. At their audition for the BGT show judge Amanda Holden used her Golden Buzzer which sent the pair straight to the semi final. Paddy currently holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest acrobatic Salsa dancer.

    With a full stage of performers and rousing rendition of Celebrate Good Times as a finale the evening ended. Exhausted and exhilarated from a wonderful experience we took our tired selves home to our very welcoming beds.


  • Diane Porsch and Pam Calveric Coaching Retreat Weekend 2016
  •  Date Posted: Tue, 19 Jan 2016
    Diane Porsch and Pam Calveric Coaching Retreat Weekend 2016

    Once a year Spinnaker members get together for a coaching weekend. The retreat is an opportunity for the chorus to work hard on the songs we will perform at the annual Sweet Adelines Convention in May.

    On the weekend of 16th/17th January we travelled to Guildford where we were thrilled to be joined by two outstanding chorus coaches. Diane Porsch and Pam Calveric are the Musical Director and Assistant Director and choreographer respectively of Buffalo Gateway Show Chorus. They are leading members of the international coaching faculty from the USA.

    The venue for retreat this year was Guildford College. Having chosen one of the coldest weekends of the winter so far we were horrified to find the college boiler had broken down as we arrived. With enthusiasm unhampered we kept our coats, hats, gloves and scarves on then our exciting coaching session started with a full on physical warm up to get the blood pumping.

    Diane and Pam totally compliment each other with their coaching techniques. They explained everything so well and their performance enhancing suggestions were so imaginatively genius and easy to implement.

    These two wonderful ladies worked so hard with us during the two days, continually positive and encouraging. We have done fascinating things with pencils, discovered more effective breathing techniques, hydraulics, platforms and a host of other tips.

    On Saturday evening we stayed at The Holiday Inn, Guildford. It certainly was a pleasure to have a warm, heated hotel to go to after such a chilly rehearsal day. The Spinnaker tradition is to entertain each other after dinner on Saturday night with singing, skits and a lot of dressing up! Hilarious entertainment followed by a lovely nights sleep.

    Sunday we were all up early for breakfast and back to the college for day two coaching, revisiting our previous days progress, tips and also voice testing and restacking the chorus. Wow what a transformation so exciting.

    Lovely Pam got to work sharpening our choreography, what a little firecracker she is and extremely talented. Simple little touches give huge impact, amazing!

    All too soon the weekend was over and we had to say goodbye to our two newest, wonderful friends. We have so much to thank Diane and Pam for, we all had a fabulous time and we hope to see them again very soon.

  • Spinnaker Chorus welcomes new Musical Director
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 15 Jan 2016
    Spinnaker Chorus welcomes new Musical Director

    We have some very exciting news, Mr John Palmer (formerly of The Royal Harmonics chorus, Windsor) is to take over as our Musical Director in February.

    Current MD, Jenny Savory is standing down after 5 years directing Spinnaker, during which time the chorus has had multiple medal winning success in regional competitions and TV appearances as members took part in Gareth Malone’s ‘The Naked Choir’.

    John Palmer affectionately known as JP, started his musical journey as a 5 year old OCD piano player. He played a bit of church organ, a lot of jazz, a fair bit of blues and accompanied dance lessons and examinations as well as playing in some ‘very pleasant’ pubs and clubs in his home county of Essex. He also taught guitar on residential courses for Essex Education Department … but was actually teaching himself at the same time as the students.

    In 1993 he found Barbershop in the form of Saffron Sound Barbershop Harmony Club in Saffron Walden, Essex and was instantly hooked on a cappella. JP’s an honorary Life member of the Cambridge Chord Company where he was part of the ground breaking team that went on to 4 consecutive British Barbershop titles. JP also sang Baritone with the BABS Champion Quartets Cambridge Blues in 1997 and The Works in 2005. Since then he sang lead with The Serious Chord Squad from Windsor taking their (unique?) brand of humour to the finals stage on 2 occasions.

    Windsor has played a large part in JPs musical life over the last 8 years, joining as MD in 2008 and competing annually since then, never leaving the top 5 in the country and gaining a bronze and 2 silver medals along the way.

    Before Windsor John was MD of the LABBS Chorus in Havant for 6 years including one meteoric first contest cycle when the chorus went from 29th to 7th in the country in 6 months between Convention and Prelims and on to win most improved chorus … surprise!

    JP has also been a BABS Music Judge since 1998 taking on the roles of Category Director of Music Category and then later Chairman of the Guild of Judges. He has recently started his second tenure as Music Category Director. He also adjudicates Choral Festivals and other music festivals on a regular basis. Serving as performance coach on the Faculty of BABS Harmony College for 18 years and having run too many ‘learn to sing’ courses to mention JP has gained a fairly wide experience in education but as every day is a school day he also likes to get experience of as many other coaches as possible and has travelled to the US to Harmony University and Directors College.

    When our new MD was asked how he felt about his appointment JP said: “I must be absolutely bananas. It is actually a dream come true and brilliantly close to my home but to follow in the fabulous Jenny Savory’s footsteps is a challenge not to be taken lightly. Suffice to say I have fastened my seat belt and advise them to do the same.”

    We are all excited about the future with JP, it’s going to be fabulous!

  • A year in the life of Spinnaker Chorus
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 1 Jan 2016
    A year in the life of Spinnaker Chorus

    As we say goodbye to 2015 and hello to the New Year we’ve been recalling all the wonderful things Spinnaker Chorus has been involved in over the past twelve months. Wow, what an awesome year it has been including wonderful  sessions with truly inspirational coaches, fun and madness at our annual retreat (as well as hard work!), taking 5th place and breaking through the 600 point barrier at SAI Convention in May, coming 1st and 2nd in two categories at BCMF and 3rd place at NWCF in LLandudno, then the excitement of appearing on TV in Gareth Malone’s Naked Choir.

    We have also welcomed some fabulous new ladies to our Spinnaker family who will enhance our chorus greatly and we hope they will enjoy their experiences being a part of our fabulous choir.

    We are sadly seeing our amazing Jenny Savory stand down as our MD after nearly 5 years. Jenny has been such a fantastic leader, working so hard to get us to where we are today. Her personality is so infectious and her love of barbershop so evident in everything she does. She has been endlessly inspirational, encouraging and motivational, making our rehearsals and performances such fun and immensely enjoyable. Thankfully though Jenny is staying with us as a singing Spinnakerette and we are currently all fighting to have her in our sections!

    So 2016 will bring us a new Musical Director and new experiences, hard work and challenges but a huge amount of joy and laughter because that is what we are all about. Spinnaker Chorus are onward and upward keep watching for further updates.

    Here is a brilliant video of memories from 2015 which Jenny put together, we hope you enjoy it. HAPPY NEW YEAR xxxx


    YouTube Video URL:
  • Spinnakerettes sing carols at BBC Radio Solent
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 20 Dec 2015
    Spinnakerettes sing carols at BBC Radio Solent

    On Saturday 19th December 20 Spinnakerettes went to the studios at BBC Radio Solent in  Southampton. Sasha Twining one of the radio stations DJ’s had invited us to sing Christmas carols during her morning show.

    We assembled in the foyer at 8.30am and started to warm up vocally and also had a few stretches and breathing exercises.

    At 9am we moved into the outer studio for a sound check and rehearsal. We all felt excited to be there and full of enthusiasm and Christmas spirit.

    Just after 9.30am Sasha introduced us to her listeners and then it was time to sing our first carol, Silent Night, followed by one of our favourites Carol of the Bells. After this Jenny MD, Tracy (Tenor), Julie (Lead), Davina (Bass) and Juliette (Bari) were invited into Sasha’s studio for a chat live on air. We talked about our reasons for joining Spinnaker Chorus, what being a Spinnakerette means to us and a little about our experiences since appearing on Gareth Malone’s The Naked Choir’

    Next we sang the wonderful Dona Nobis with Tenors singing The First Noel above… beautiful! Our final song was Christmas Chopsticks based on the poem Twas the Night before Christmas. Sam, Julia, Sandy and Barbie read out a verse of the poem each, adding their individual magic to bring the words alive.

    We thoroughly enjoyed our early morning sing out and afterwards we all piled into the studio for a couple of photos with lovely Sasha.

    Thank you BBC Radio Solent for inviting us to sing we loved every minute and hopefully it won’t be long before we can go back again.

  • Spinnaker Christmas
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 20 Dec 2015
    Spinnaker Christmas

    On Wednesday 16th December Spinnakerettes celebrated Christmas in style with a festive rehearsal. We had a Christmas jumper competition where the ladies paraded in front of our judges wearing their fabulous Christmas knits and with some very original designs. The winner was Elspeth Smith sporting a very baubley, tinselled item of festive topiary.

    Obviously we had a festive buffet and a fantastic hamper raffle (kindly provided by our lovely Spinnakerette Molly Bly)

    A fabulous evening of festive fun mixed with a good old sing song of a mixture of carols and favourite rep songs.


  • Spinnaker Chorus compete at the North Wales Choral Festival, Llandudno
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 16 Nov 2015
    Spinnaker Chorus compete at the North Wales Choral Festival, Llandudno

    On Saturday 7th November 2015 Spinnaker Chorus travelled to Llandudno to participate in the Willmott Dixon North Wales Choral Festival. We entered the ‘Barbershop’ category in the festival organised by Conwy County Borough Council which took place on Sunday 8th November at the Venue Cymru. The festival is very popular attracting competitors from across the UK.

    We were pleased to reach our destination after our long coach journey and checked into our seafront hotels. After our enjoyable evening meal we watched a fabulous firework display which took place at the end of the pier. What a treat and a wonderful evenings entertainment after which we were all ready for our beds.

    Up bright and early on the Sunday our preparations began straight after breakfast. Hair, make up, false lashes and costumes on we gathered together for a vocal warm up. Before we knew it we were on the coach to the superb Venue Cymru where we had a 45 minute rehearsal of our competition songs and choreography.

    At 12 o’clock we filed into the event hall and took our seats as the contest began. As we were performing last we were able to watch and enjoy all of the choruses in our category, wow, what a high standard! We thoroughly enjoyed being entertained by so many talented choirs.

    It was now time for Spinnaker Chorus to take to the stage so with costumes glittering, faces beaming, twinkling eyes and huge smiles we filled the risers and started our set. With adrenaline flowing we sang our hearts out, energetic choreography and beautiful voices ringing. Three songs later our performance ended and buzzing with excitement we filed back to our seats to await the adjudicators decisions.

    Twenty minutes later results were in, Spinnaker Chorus were awarded 3rd place with 73 points…what an achievement and a proud moment for us all as we cheered, watching Jenny, our MD, on stage collecting our trophy.

    A wonderful, memorable weekend.

  • Spinnaker Chorus welcomes VIP guests
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 12 Nov 2015
    Spinnaker Chorus welcomes VIP guests

    On Wednesday 11th November we were very pleased to welcome two special visitors to our rehearsal evening. These guests were the TV actress, Sarah Parish and Ken Wilde, Commercial Manager of Wessex Heartbeat charity.

    On Sunday 7th February 2016 Spinnaker Chorus are appearing in Wessex Heartbeat’s spectacular, Dancing with Choirs, at the Guildhall, Portsmouth. We have already started our rehearsals for this wonderful show which we are so excited to be part of for the second year running.

    The lovely Sarah is hosting the show and Ken brought her along to our rehearsal so that we could all meet her. What a lovely, fun lady she is and we thoroughly enjoyed singing some of our songs to her.

    Tickets for Dancing with Choirs are £16 and are available from the Guildhall box office, telephone 0844 8472362 or online at

  • Spinnaker Chorus coaching day with David Sangster 24/10/15
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 25 Oct 2015
    Spinnaker Chorus coaching day with David Sangster 24/10/15

    On Saturday 24th October Spinnaker Chorus had the pleasure of welcoming the fabulous David Sangster, Musical Director of Forth Valley Chorus, to our rehearsal, as our guest coach.

    We really look forward to David’s visits, he adds so much fun, excitement, enthusiasm and a whole lot of hilarity to our coaching sessions. It was a fantastic day, enjoyed by all. We learnt so much and by the end of the rehearsal we felt exhausted but at the same time excited at how our future performances will be enhanced by the tips and suggestions David gave us.

  • Spinnaker Chorus Open Rehearsal Evening
  •  Date Posted: Sat, 10 Oct 2015
    Spinnaker Chorus Open Rehearsal Evening

    Spinnaker Chorus held a fabulous open rehearsal evening on Wednesday 7th October. We were thrilled to have approximately 30 ladies visit us to find out more about our wonderful chorus and barbershop ‘a cappella’ singing.

    We started off the evening encouraging these lovely ladies to join us in a physical warm up wth Jo, our amazing choreographer, followed by breathing exercises with Karen, Tenor section leader and vocal warm up and Cathy, Assistant MD. We then sang a couple of songs and later in the evening we split into sections and taught the new ladies the start of a fun song ‘The Muppet Show’. Having had a practice run through we all returned to the risers and sang together.

    Once again the Spinnakerettes provided the most wonderful homemade cakes and biscuits for our tea and coffee break. Our thanks go to Janet and Gladys for their services as tea ladies for the evening.

  • Ignite workshop with Lynda Keever
  •  Date Posted: Tue, 29 Sep 2015
    Ignite workshop with Lynda Keever

    On Saturday 26th September Spinnaker Chorus attended the Sweet Adeline’s International Ignite workshop (South East) in Redhill, Surrey. Our fabulous faculty coach was the amazing Lynda Keever who has a wealth of singing experience, being a member of SAI Champion Quartet, Four Bettys and the multi gold medal winning Melodeers. Lynda gave us lots of extremely useful tips on developing our ‘Vocal Toolbox’ by building stamina and learning how to recognise and release the tensions which cause vocal strain. It was a fun filled event thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

    Here is a report from the day by our President Maggi McEwan.

    Ladies (about 120 of them) from the south east choruses assembled in the ‘home’ venue of Vocal Dimension Chorus for a fascinating and uplifting education day with the delightful Lynda Keever. Not only were we blessed to have Lynda on that gloriously sunny day, we were further blessed to have Vocal Dimension looking after us. They knew the venue so had all the answers on domestic and electronic issues ( a very grateful event facilitator here !) and as if that weren’t enough, they supplied hot drinks and a wonderful array of cakes all day. I cannot thank VDC enough. You were kindness itself ! Thank you too to Surrey Harmony for supplying a bling bazaar!

    Now to Lynda. Her theme for the day was ‘exploring and examining your voice to make it the best it can be’ and her sub headings were:

    Easing the mind and body into the singing zone
    Learning and singing a new song with vocal freedom
    Singing in tune with ease
    Choosing your instrument
    Performing with grace, ease and passion

    We watched out for possible pitfalls – tension, tricky rhythms, accidentals, descending melody lines, bell chords, triplets etc and watched each other critically for any difficulties. We discussed and practised stretching, and vocal and breathing warm ups as an aid to avoiding tension, and then tried putting these things into practice with vocal exercises. We analysed the different types of resonance and pretended to be different instruments in an orchestra or indeed animals in a zoo. Much hilarity here ! We broke into pair work then to listen out for each other’s resonance or lack of same.

    Then we listened to some famous singers performing to see what techniques they use, then talked about how affirmations could help us. This led on to a discussion about visualisations and how imagining ourselves as top flight performers could actually contribute to this goal.

    As an experienced and high achieving barbershopper, Lynda filled us with her enthusiasm, as well as giving us further insight into this wonderful craft and passion of ours. I think we all had a highly memorable and profitable day. I know that Lynda enjoyed it too!

    Thank you ladies for your enthusiasm and attention. Apologies to those who kept getting the sun in their eyes, in spite of my best efforts with the curtains!

    Maggi McEwan

  • Spinnaker’s Jenny and Tracy interview on BBC Radio Solent "Drive Time"
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 28 Sep 2015
    Spinnaker’s Jenny and Tracy interview on BBC Radio Solent "Drive Time"
    On 22nd September Jenny MD and Tracy (PR) from Spinnaker met the lovely Louisa Hannan at BBC Radio Solent and were interviewed about our involvement with Gareth Malone’s “The Naked Choir” series. The first episode of which aired that evening. A great interview girls and listen out for Spinnaker Chorus singing on BBC Radio Solent nearer to Christmas.
  • Spinnaker Chorus appear in Gareth Malone’s “The Naked Choir”
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 28 Sep 2015
    Spinnaker Chorus appear in Gareth Malone’s “The Naked Choir”
    Sixteen lovely members of Spinnaker Chorus have taken part in Gareth Malone’s new series “The Naked Choir” BBC 2 Tuesdays 9pm. The series follows Gareth’s quest to find the best “a cappella” choir in the country.
  • Spinnaker Chorus to sing at Portsmouth Guildhall in aid of Wessex Heartbeat
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 20 Sep 2015
  • Bournemouth Music Festival 2015
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 20 Sep 2015
    Bournemouth Music Festival 2015

    On Saturday 13th June we took part in The Bournemouth Choral Music Festival at the Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth. We entered in two categories this year; firstly ‘Songs from the Shows’ in which we sang ‘Defying Gravity‘ from ‘Wicked’ and secondly ‘It’s Raining Men‘ featured in Broadway’s ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’. For this category we wore black tunics and trousers with lots of sparkling jewellery. We were delighted to come first and received a wonderful trophy.

    The second category we entered was for ‘Barbershop’. Once again we sang two songs, ‘How Deep is the Ocean‘ and ‘The Moment I Saw Your Eyes‘ and we were awarded joint second place.

    Our costumes for this category were black tunic and trousers with the addition of our brightly coloured, shimmering boleros, adorned with sparkling, jewelled epaulettes. These were designed by our fabulous wardrobe lady, Gillian Wood and all the jewels were hand sewn by herself and a number of nimble fingered helpers from the chorus.

    This year we also had two quartets, made up of members of our chorus, competing in the ‘Small Ensemble’ category. ‘Eclipse’ and ‘Waves’ were awarded joint 4th place, a wonderful result considering this was a debut performance for the newly formed ‘Waves’.

  • An evening coaching with Doug Harrington
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 1 Jun 2015
    An evening coaching with Doug Harrington

    The venue, St. Agathas Church, different to what we are used to but Doug remains the same. Two years since he last coached the chorus erased in just ten minutes flat! When you’re familiar with the teachings of a regular coach it’s easy to forget how talented they are – but Doug never disappoints and always manages to add things that make you wonder, “Why didn’t we think of that?”

    Thanks, Doug!

  • Erin Howden coaches Spinnaker
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 1 Jun 2015
    Erin Howden coaches Spinnaker

    Reading Erin Howden’s profile on Toronto’s North Metro Chorus website made us feel excited and slightly intimidated. She’d done everything and sounded superhuman. Background in jazz choreography and an honours degree in business, with her own performance coaching company – gulp! We really had nothing to worry about; she’s lovely, with a genuine smile.

    It was a warm summer’s evening and we soon got warmed up and ready. We could feel a warmth radiating from Erin as well and she seemed excited to be working with us, which was really cool. We wondered what we would be doing, looking forward to going the extra singing mile. By mid-rehearsal we were concentrating on quality of sound, performing the sound, emoting from our stomachs, figure skating the shapes in the song and loving it. By the end of the evening we were all smiling warmly – what a fantastic evening!

  • Joint rehearsal 2014
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 1 Jun 2015
    Joint rehearsal 2014

    On a balmy summer’s evening in July 2014, Spinnaker were delighted to welcome other local choruses to a joint singing event at Barton Hall. “It’s become something of a tradition,” says Chairman Maggi Mcewan, “and everyone looks forward to meeting up with old friends, listening to other choruses and performing in front of an enthusiastic audience.”

    To get us started Jo Bradwell-Comben, our choreographer, led a lively physical warm-up that had some of the men’s choruses in stitches. Then we all stood together on the risers to form a chorus of over 120 singers for a performance of ‘Cheers’. “It was amazing to be part of such a big vocal sound,” says Kate Middleton, “and to harmonise male and female voices.” There were some fantastic chorus and quartet performances, including a sexy serenade to Jenny our MD by the men’s chorus The Royal Harmonics. It was such a fun evening, we didn’t want it to end.

  • Restacked!
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 21 Sep 2014

    Well – here we are, for the moment at least!

    Last 17th September 2014, we were restacked on the risers. Result: the new, improved, Spinnaker Chorus, all in our new places to improve the sound, visuals and overall impact.

  • 100% attendance
  •  Date Posted: Wed, 17 Sep 2014
    100% attendance
    Yey – our ladies love being part of something so good, they can’t wait to get to rehearsal each week! These lovely ladies achieved 100% attendance for the quarter June – August. Well done ladies!
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