Long Service Awards

Long Service Awards

As an established chorus, we are always delighted to present our members with our long service badges.

Recently we have had quite a cohort of ladies who have been with us ranging from 5 up to 15 years.

Congratulations ladies, we appreciate your commitment and enthusiasm for the Chorus.

First ever chorus retreat!

First ever chorus retreat!

So on a beautiful weekend in April, Fascinating Rhythm wound our way to a very sunny Swindon for our first ever retreat! In a nutshell – The sun shone. The food (and cake) was excellent and plentiful. The wedding was beautiful. The pool and spa were restful, and the fire alarm evacuation was at 4 am! Seriously though we had the best time with our most awesome coach Sally Mclean who never fails to inspire us to get better at our craft and enjoy the journey along the way, we worked hard on coaching each section under glass, and we were given an insight of our individual voices too on Friday evening. On Saturday we were asked by the couple, who had just got married at the hotel, to sing for them. Of course, we loved performing “Can’t take my eyes off of you” and “Happy Together” for them and their guests (which included their dog in a tuxedo!) We did have some downtime to enjoy the facilities, but then all got together following our evening meal to ‘party’ which included some exciting games that literally had some members laughing until they cried! Amongst the games were some performances from our ladies which were very good, and we all enjoyed. We actually celebrated with three of our ladies (Kathryn, Alison & Di) who all had birthdays during or very close to the weekend and this meant even more cake! The Chorus is most certainly in favour of repeating this regularly, and wish we had done it sooner. Big thanks to everyone involved and a special mention to Mrs Jo Thorn who, as usual, continues to get the very best from us all.
Junior FR Success!

Junior FR Success!

 Thornbury Eisteddfod 2018

This year, we were determined to get things 100% right – so lots of plans were put into place to make our journey to the competition the best it could be.

Solos – six Junior FR girls decided to take part in the Thornbury solo competition this year.

Music was sourced and chosen and tweaked to match every girls’ vocal range. Teaching tracks were made, and private lessons began. The girls also spent time with Kitty on presentation and Ali on vocal excellence and Charmaine (our piano accompanist), to get as fully prepared as possible.

The girls were also given some performance opportunities and came along to Fascinating Rhythm on Thursday 8th March to perform in front of Fascinating Rhythm and on the 9th March to all the parents from Junior FR.

The competition began at 9.00 am on Sunday 11th March (Mother’s day).

Lily Howse sang “Let’s go fly a kite”, Anna White sang “Somewhere out there”, and Edie Wong sang “Tomorrow”. All in the under 11s stage and screen section.

It was a Junior FR hat trick! Anna scored a massive 89 marks and won the trophy. Lily came second with 88 marks, and Edie came third with 87 – distinctions for all.

Hannah Sharp had a challenging section singing “On My Own” against nine other competitors in the 14s and under stage and screen section. She came a very respectable 3rd and gave a very moving performance.

Ella Carrick had a fantastic day. She sang “I’m not that girl” from Wicked in the 18s and under section. Competing against six others, she gave a very emotional performance and took the 1st place trophy.

Our last singer of the morning was Jessica Page – singing about “a windmill in old Amsterdam” in the 11s and under folk song section. She gave a brilliant performance and was given 88 marks (another distinction) and came 2nd.

It was a fabulous morning; the adjudicator was brilliant and has given us lots of advice. I am hoping to book her to come and do a workshop with the girls in the future.

To top it all, Lily has since been asked to represent the junior sections and perform at the Eisteddfod concert on the 23rd March. What an honour, and of course we said yes.

Choruses – We decided to split Junior FR this year, as our numbers are growing and we have nine very competent secondary school girls, who we thought needed more of a challenge.

Song choice has always been key to these competitions – finding songs that are challenging, but that can be sung well.

The Juniors (directed by Wendy Howse) and supported by Nic Page, Claire Bevan and Melanie Edwards sang “The midnight Tango” from Roald Dahl’s Cinderella musical and “The Little Sandman”, a poem set to music by Brahms.

The girls really benefited from the same performance opportunities as the soloists on the lead up to the competition.

They seemed fearless as they took to the stage (in St. Mary’s Church – Thornbury) and delivered their package perfectly. They even managed to sing in 3 part harmony, unaccompanied and stay in pitch. They competed against five other schools in the 11s and Under competition; Crossways; Tockington Manor; Christ the King; Frampton and Manorbrook.

Whilst all the other performances were lovely, no-one delivered like Junior FR, and we took 1st place and a trophy.

On top of that, we had so many lovely compliments from other schools and Eistedfodd staff, which was the icing on the cake.

Junior FR had never won this competition and each year they just miss out, and we are delighted that our perseverance has paid off and Junior FR finally get the win they deserve (after five years of competing).

The seniors from Junior FR were entered into a new competition this year. 18s and U (small choirs) – against Tockington Manor and The Castle School Chamber Choir. Our girls sang “The Winter Carol” and “Sing”. Directed by Kitty Davies and supported by Chloe Roberts, Ali Jack and Joan Josey.

The girls gave a solid performance – the adjudicator was highly impressed when one of the songs went into five parts. – especially as there were only nine girls in the chorus

The Castle school choir also gave a solid performance, and the adjudicator found it very difficult to decide who should come first. We were just beaten by one point (but still scoring 87 – distinction) and so were awarded 2nd place.

We are so immensely proud of both choruses and incredibly grateful to Wendy Howse (MD) and the whole Junior FR team.

We are also so very fortunate that Valerie Shelton gave up her time to accompany the girls again this year and once again played the piano beautifully for us.


This weekend (17th March) see’s the soloists (plus Alice Grubb), compete in the Bristol Eisteddfod.

28th April we will be taking to the stage as we have been invited to sing in The Frampton Male Voice Choir’s concert – in aid of Cancer Research.

May Day will see us on the side of a lorry (stage), as we entertain the crowd.

And we hope to be involved in The Thornbury Carnival – we are just waiting to hear.

Wendy Howse has said “It’s such an honour being the Musical Director. Obviously, winning trophies is nice, but seeing the journey that these girls go on from when they first walk into our rehearsal room, to now, is so rewarding. Being part of Junior FR has made quite a big difference to so many girls in terms of confidence and self-esteem, that every second spent on rehearsals, admin, learning songs etc. is so worth it.”


Workshop 2018 certainly shines!

Workshop 2018 certainly shines!

2018 Workshop was the best yet!

On Saturday 24th February, we were excited to welcome 50 delegates to this year’s workshop.

We were able to showcase a few of our songs, then the delegates were firstly given a vocal warm-up, they were then split into their voice part for the day. Fascinating Rhythm members then sang the song to them that they were going to learn from page to stage, and they were delighted to hear ‘Shine’ by Take That, which actually is a 5 part harmony song.

Hard work by every single delegate, and we were absolutely amazed that they took on board section work and came together before lunch for a first sing through, which was incredible.

During lunch (and much eating of cake) we were able to chat with our visitors and tell them about our hobby.

Every delegate was invited to gives us some feedback at the end, and below are a few of their comments:

“Such a fun, rewarding day. A lot to learn but a huge sense of achievement at the end of the session. I just love singing”

“Confidence to ‘go for it’! To sing with a large, great chorus” “Fun, friendship, harmony, teamwork (and cake)!” “To do something for me, it was fun, and I enjoyed it.”

“I found it an incredibly emotional experience to go from being terrified of making a mistake to actually enjoying singing.. and on the front row even! I can’t believe how much we learned in one day, and I’m going away with a huge sense of achievement. THANK YOU!”

“Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, so much support from all the Fascinating Rhythm ladies. Lots of laughs and a great Musical Director.”

We were really pleased to hear that a few of our visitors intend to come to a regular rehearsal to see us again with interest in joining us, and we look forward to welcoming you all.

Fascinating Rhythm had a fabulous day with you all, thank you for joining us, you all certainly did ‘Shine’, and we hope to see you again next year if not sooner!

Winston’s Wish Cheque Presentation

We were delighted that on Thursday 15th February we were able to present a cheque of £572.31 to Winston’s Wish, our charity of the year for 2017.

Sophie Birch, Regional Fundraising & Events Officer, from the charity, was able to visit the chorus and she listened to our rehearsal. After the presentation Sophie was able to tell us what our donation would be able to help them with, and as the national helpline costs £500 per day it will be put to great use as nearly 5000 called the helpline last year. It is manned by trained clinical practitioners and is free and confidential.

Sophie also added “I would like to extend a sincere thank you to all members of Fascinating Rhythm for this wonderful donation. We really appreciate you choosing to support our charity, this kind demonstration of support makes a big difference to the families we are supporting. With your help we can ensure that grief doesn’t destroy a child’s future”

Cheque presentation for Winston’s Wish

Our own Fascinating Wedding!

So we are delighted to introduce to you, Mr & Mrs Thorn

The wedding was perfect, the love and happiness was so strong in the room that you could feel it. Jo looked stunning and Steve wore a permanent grin along with the dapper suit!

They were surrounded by special people who were all overjoyed to share the celebrations with them.

The traditional ‘first dance’ of a wedding was actually replaced with a lovely jazz duo of ‘Night and Day’ of Ella Fitzgerald fame which had the bride and groom gazing into each others eyes while they sang to each other for our entertainment. The 3 tier wedding cake was covered in musical score and notes…… and was delicious.

It would not of been complete had the chorus not had a song or two which Jo really enjoyed; “I cant believe I’ve directed in my dress!” was said at the end of “Can’t take my eyes off of you” and “Happy Together” – two very apt songs for the day of course.

We wish them every happiness for the future.

Our ‘hen’ Jo!

So very soon, our MD Jo, is getting married! The ladies decided that we should spoil her a little before the big day and we treated her to delicious cakes and bubbly at the first rehearsal in the new year. We presented her with flowers and gifts and of course we had to dress her appropriately as it was her ‘hen-do!’ which she had to wear for the rest of the evening. It was a fun evening to start the year!









The Christmas Memory Tree

On Saturday 2nd December we welcomed almost 200 people over 2 performances of ‘The Christmas Memory Tree’ which featured our very own Junior FR, it was a heart-warming story of family time at Christmas, full of love, sparkle and happiness. Fascinating Rhythm were sprinkled in amongst scenes to add a musical feel to the production.

St Mary’s Church in Yate looked rather festive and beautiful. We were able to provide our guests with mince pies during the interval and with our raffle we raised a good amount of almost £300 for our charity ‘Winston’s Wish’ to help with funding for their helpline and providing face to face for grieving families.

Thank you everyone, we hope you enjoyed our Christmas Memory Tree story

Here are a few pictures of the performance …. it does show what fun we had!



The Queen Mclean!

We were delighted to have another weekend coaching session with the inspirational and enthusiastic (and very funny) Sally McLean during September.

Another 2 day session where Fascinating Rhythm were well and truly put through our emotional ringers as well as technically enhancing our Convention package. We so enjoy our visits from Sally and look forward to them almost as soon as she has left the building…. despite being exhausted. Our MD, Jo, also grows with advice given to her and her treatment of the chorus (although the big stick did not come out during this visit!)

We very much look forward to seeing and hearing Sally’s chorus (The White Rosettes) amongst all other competitors at Convention in Bournemouth at the end of October. It is sure to be a great European Convention this year!

Sally 2

Sally 1 Sept 17



Surprise new Coach

One Thursday evening in August we were able to secure a session from a new coach – Doug Harrington!

He helped us with our convention songs and we really enjoyed this first coaching session with him. It is surprising how, as women, we reacted to a man!! We obviously have a female MD and we realise that our coaches are usually women too so it really was a refreshing and exciting change for us as a chorus. The evening went at lightening speed of course!

It was a fun and energetic evening and we do hope that we will be able to have Doug come to see us again in the future – thank you Doug

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