Fascinating Rhythm is proud to be a member of LABBS – the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers. In 1976 LABBS was established and now has over 2000 members in approximately 50 Choruses and quartets.
What is LABBS?
LABBS is one of three barbershop-singing organisations in the United Kingdom, and the only purely-British organisation for female barbershop singers.
Our members love to sing, and we take every opportunity to share our love of barbershop and our passion for harmony, wherever we can.
Women of all ages make up these small and large choruses but at their heart is the shared love of singing, friendship and being part of a modern and dynamic association.
Our LABBS youth chorus, The Ivy League, also draws young members from around the country.
For more information, visit the LABBs website
What is Barbershop?
Barbershop harmony is four-part, unaccompanied close-harmony singing. The lead usually sings the melody. The tenor harmonises above the lead, the bass harmonises below, and the baritone sings notes in between to make chords that give barbershop its characteristic ‘full’ sound.
Probably the most distinctive feature of barbershop harmony is the phenomenon known as ‘expanded sound.’ created when the harmonics reinforce each other to produce audible overtones or undertones. Barbershoppers call this “ringing a chord” and is pretty much guaranteed to give both the singers and the audience goosebumps!
Performance is also a key element in Barbershop singing. Barbershoppers are known to sing from the heart, using both musical and visual methods to convey the message of a song and engage with the audience.
LABBS holds an annual convention in late autumn. It is an exciting weekend, packed with competitions for both choruses and quartets and shows with talented performances from the best of barbershop across the UK and barbershop organisations around the world.
Representatives from the organisation also compete with success at a European level and travel to showcase our best talent in Europe and the USA. LABBS choruses and quartets are frequently involved in competitions and shows around the UK and representation from their top choruses are commonplace at the finals of BBC3′s Choir of the Year and the International Eisteddfod.
Fascinating Rhythm Achievements at the Convention
The LABBS convention this year was in Llandudno, and we were thrilled to improve our score again this year. Competing at this level and gaining on last year’s marks makes the graft all worth it. No-one ever said it was going to be easy!
As tradition dictates, we took two more bespoke arrangements by the fabulous Dr Liz Garnett to the stage, and we were delighted to receive so many compliments on the beauty of them, especially City of Stars from La La Land.
Singing by the seaside is always a pleasure, and it’s safe to say that even if it was a tad blowy and the local gulls participated in some hotel room raiding for sandwiches, Llandudno was lovely.
A top ten chorus again this year with a 7th place and an improved score of 75.7%
Bring on Bournemouth 2020!
The majority of our members travelled to the LABBS Convention in Harrogate by coach early on Friday morning, and we enjoyed supporting the quartet competition on arrival, with special mention to go to ‘Avalon’ who performed so well in the semi-finals and made it through to the finals.
Karen, who sings baritone with Fascinating Rhythm, also sings baritone in Avalon, so we were particularly keen to support them.
The draw put us first up to sing in the competition on Saturday, which meant a very early start for us to get warmed up and prepared for our 11 am performance on stage. This early start did mean that a lot of us had retired early to bed, even before the announcement of the quartet competition results. Many, however, did watch the live stream from our beds and it was worth it to hear that Avalon won GOLD, we were so proud and excited for them – Congratulations Avalon!
Saturday came and went in a flash. Those six minutes on stage go so fast, but we were delighted that so many were able to support us in the audience. Again we brought two new bespoke arrangements to stage, thank you to Dr Liz Garnett for another fantastic job with two songs that we all loved performing. We left the stage with a great feeling and so many lovely comments from the public who had seen us. We are so pleased to be still ranked 5th in the country – it really is a testament to our hard work to stay there amongst the other best choruses in the land.
Then we move on to our afterglow party (what happens at the convention, stays at the convention!). Suffice to say we had some hilarious party pieces and always witness hidden talent amongst our members.
We really did have a blast!
A top ten chorus again this year with a 5th place and an improved score of 75.3%
Singing late in the afternoon gave us time to focus and be together all day which was a bonus of course as we just love spending time with each other. The only sad part of the day was that we were not able to watch many other choruses perform.
Congratulations to The White Rosettes, Cheshire Chord Company & Crystal Chords on their medal-winning performances in the Chorus competition and to Sound House, Barberlicious and Avalon for the quartet competition.
The standard was high in all the competitions this year so well done to everyone!
A top ten chorus again this year with a 5th place and a score of 75.7%
We are thrilled with our improved score again this year at the LABBS Convention by a whole two points and hold on to our 5th place.
We still a way to go before scoring high enough to get into the top three but we’re more consistent now and improving year on year. Two points may not seem like much, but considering there was only 0.6 between us and the 4th placed chorus and 0.4 for the one biting our ankles, you can see just how tight the competition is.
The judging takes place in three categories: Music (the arrangement), Presentation & Singing; looking at the scores, we were 4th in Presentation, so we did well getting the interpretation of the songs across.
Our new dresses looked good under the stage lights too, very sparkly. We had both of our songs specially arranged for us again this year by Liz Garnett: ‘Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby’ and ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’. We are the first chorus to bring two completely new arrangements to two consecutive conventions. We hope this sets the trend – there are so many great songs out there just waiting to be arranged and sung in the barbershop style.
During 2016, LABBS (Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers) is celebrating 40 years of glorious harmony and, as with every Convention, all the clubs learn a song to so that we can raise the roof together.
As this is a special year, the challenge was no other than Bohemian Rhapsody. If you would like to hear what it sounds like sung by 2,000 women, led by multiple gold medallists The White Rosettes chorus and their MD Sally McLean—visit www.labbs.org.uk (scroll middle column just above White Rosettes).
At this point, we’d again like to say a huge Thank You to all Friends of FR and to our families for the support you give us throughout the year; we had over 200 guests at our dress rehearsal, and it makes such a difference to have you there.
5th place and a score of 76.3%
We had the most fantastic time at our Annual LABBS Convention in Bournemouth over the Halloween weekend.
We are so, so pleased to have jumped two places up the rankings with improved scores (they may be tiny, but they count) with consistency across all three judging categories. All choruses have to work harder and harder each year to cling on – there are currently eight choruses scoring between 70.1 and our 74.1, so we know we’ve got our work cut out for next year. The dazzling scores of our top chorus, the fabulous White Rosettes at 83.4, gives some idea of just how good they are and the gap we’re trying to bridge. And biting their ankles with 82.2 is Amersham A Cappella – so nobody will be resting on their laurels.
With this being, our 20th Anniversary year has been full-on – first with our very successful show in June which really stretched us; we learned so much from it (apart from 6 new songs in as many months!), and then working with such commitment to achieve a decent convention result. We are truly indebted to our excellent and fabulous Coach, Sally McLean, who encourages us to believe in ourselves yet still maintain a sense of humour.
We’re now looking forward to a joint Christmas Show with the Great Western Chorus – 2015 Gold Medal Champions.
It was a cracking way to finish off 2015.
5th place and a score of 74.1%
Harrogate does feel like Convention home for some reason. This year saw us take 54 singers on stage to present our annual convention package.
We treated the audience and judges to the Tramp Medley with full choreography before moving on to a beautiful ballad called You Don’t Know Me which we carried over from last year as we love it so much.
The time on stage goes too quickly as does the entire weekend, but what a way to spend it!
7th place and an improved score of 72.3%
A weekend by the sea with likeminded people, what’s not to love! We were thrilled to be ranked 5th place this year with 47 on stage. We had great fun blasting out Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You which seems to go so beautifully with the love song You Don’t Know Me – such a powerful package that served us so well.
5th place and an improved score of 72.1%
An unusual location for a LABBS Convention but a location none the less; with over 2000 female barbershoppers in one place, anywhere can be transformed into a harmony fest!
We had an absolute blast performing South Rampart Street Parade. All the colour, all the sound, all the glitz and glamour; we even managed a costume change mid song! We coupled this with Once Upon A Time, made famous my Frank Sinatra and earned ourselves a very respectable 7th place.
7th place and an improved score of 71.7%
So close to being in the ’70s! With a score of 69.9, we continue to rise through ranks, homing our craft and skills as we go. This year we took 42 singers on stage and entertained the crowds with a very energetic Steppin’Out Medley and soothed the soul with Once Upon A Time. We are just loving this journey we are on.
7th place and an improved score of 69.9%
Our second year under the direction of Jo Dean and another place climbed. Our rendition of How Deep is the Ocean coupled with the very challenging Flying Sinatra Medley gained us 11th place with a score of 64.7 with just 35 singers on stage. Onward and Upwards.
11th place and an improved score of 64.7%
Under the new musical directorship of Jo Dean, we are happy beyond measure to be placed 12th place this year. Taking us from 22nd to 12th in just one year, wow, just wow! We have worked incredible hard, forming this new working relationship and taking on board new techniques and outlooks. We tackled the beautiful ballad How Deep Is The Ocean and with our dancing shoes firmly in position, graced the stage with the Steppin’Out Medley. What a blast.
12th place and an improved score of 64.5%
2oth place and a points score of 664 points achieving a grade of 55.3%
We had 18 singers on stage.
Song one “Stars fell on Alabama”
Song two “On the sunny side of the street”
2001 – 2007: We were delighted to win the Novice Chorus Award in 2001 and came 20th. Harrogate in 2003 saw us placed 24th. 2004 again in Harrogate we were pleased to improve our ranking to 17th. We visited Cardiff in 2005 and came 14th. 2006 back to Harrogate and we were 11th. We travelled to Bournemouth in 2007 and were placed 22nd.