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 at BMCF

After lunch came the ‘Choral Sacred Song’, not a genre of music which you would typically associate with a barbershop choir however, we entered with ‘You Raise Me Up’ followed by ‘I Will Follow Him’. There were a number of fabulous choirs in this class who sang some hauntingly beautiful pieces and the well deserved winners were The New Forest Chamber Choir.

Next came the ‘Female Voice Choir’ class, a new category introduced this year. With a quick costume change we donned our ‘black and bling’ to perform ‘Come In from the Rain’ and ‘Defying Gravity’ one of our favourites from the show ‘Wicked’. With ten choirs competing we were overjoyed when we were announced as the first time winners of this new award.

On to the ‘Barbershop Chorus’ class, nine choirs competing for the Roger Mills Trophy. Our two songs here were ‘I Never Meant to Fall in Love’ and then a newer song to us, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You’. After all entrants had performed their sets, once again to our delight, Spinnaker was announced as first place winner.

At this point the spotlight changed to the Barbershop Quartet/Ensemble competition. Waves quartet, made up of four members of Spinnaker Chorus, competed in this group which comprised of thirteen quartets and one octet, Waves, who are Tracy Daniel, Liz Waddon, Kate Middleton and Hazel Smith, sang ‘If I Were the Only Girl’ and the fun, upbeat ‘Feeling Groovy’. After a nervous wait whilst all competitors critique was read out the girls were thrilled to find out they were awarded joint third place!

To finish a perfect day in sunny Bournemouth Spinnaker Chorus sang in the final class, ‘Bournemouth Choir of the Year’. The winners of the previous classes throughout the day were invited to compete for a chance to receive the ‘Margaret Miller Trophy’ and £50 prize money. We didn’t win this one but we were delighted that the trophy went to the superb ‘Impromptu’ from Surrey. Spinnaker had a fabulous day in Bournemouth and we’re looking forward to returning next year.