Grand Central Chorus at the SABS En Armonia Convention

Grand Central Chorus at the SABS En Armonia Convention
Type of post: Chorus news item
Posted By: Paul Searson
Status: Current
Date Posted: Tue, 10 Apr 2018
Grand Central Chorus had a very enjoyable and successful visit to the 10th “En Armonia” Spanish Association of Barbershop Singers (SABS) Convention which was held in Benalmadena, near Malaga on 6th – 8th April, with 48 members making the trip to Spain, together with wives, partners and families.

Grand Central Chorus were well represented in the International Quartet Contest on Friday 6th April with two scratch quartets Platform 4 (Ralph Keenan, Peter White, Rob Parnham and Peter Sayer) acting as mic warmers, and Special Selection (Mark Soave, Mick Barnacle, Eddie Williams and Peter Tatham) as mic coolers.  Both quartets did great jobs and their performances were really appreciated by the enthusiastic audience.

Fifteen quartets – mens, ladies and mixed – took part in the main contest, with a number of chorus members taking part: Hector Jaumandreu sang with mixed quartet Nuevos Horizontes; Kevan Liebling and Mark Soave were part of the mixed quartet Spanish Whine; Crown Derby (with GCC members Paul Searson and Dick Knight and their wives, Karen and Delyth) finished in 8th place with their highest ever score of 69.7, and Central Locking (Bill Lumley, Bryan Smith, Mike Flint and Nelson Blackley) finished in 11th place with a score of 61.8.

There were 11 choruses in the International Contest on Saturday 7 April, and we faced tough competition from, amongst others, the amazing Amersham A Cappella (2016 LABBS champions and silver medallists at the 2017 European Barbershop Championships) and Sheffield Harmony, directed by Tim Briggs, who is also MD of Hallmark of Harmony. Also taking part were mixed chorus EQ Rendezvous, including GCC members Richard Curtis, Hector Jaumandreu, Ralph Keenan, Kevan Liebling, Paul Searson and Mark Soave, and directed by our own Dick Knight. 

Following an exciting and varied contest the gold medal deservedly went to Amersham A Cappella, with a score of 82.3. Grand Central Chorus claimed the silver medal with a score of 77.0, with bronze going to Sheffield Harmony with a score of 75.5. 

Zac and Alan with our trophy and medals

We then had the privilege of appearing on the Saturday evening show (which was excellently compered by Hector!) and so another opportunity to perform our two contest songs, plus a first ever performance of one of our BABS Convention songs, to a packed auditorium! As in both the contests, we really appreciated all the support from the very enthusiastic audience. Finally, we ended the day by entertaining those at the “afterglow” with another few songs from our repertoire.

Click here to visit our "Past Performances" page and see a gallery of photos of the participating quartets and chorus, together with a video of our silver medal-winning performance.

One of our bass singers, Paul Owen, had to leave immediately after the contest – to catch a flight from Malaga back the Heathrow in time to watch his beloved Lincoln City play their first ever cup final at Wembley the next day! As a lifelong supporter and steward for the “Imps”, understandably Paul just had to be there and even better, Lincoln City beat Shrewsbury Town 1-0 in front of over 40,000 fans to win the Checkatrade trophy! So a weekend he really won’t forget.

Thanks to all those who worked so hard over the past few months sorting out registration, accommodation, airport transfers and polo shirts etc. all of which helped make this visit so well organised and successful; in particular Peter Tatham, Alan Goldsmith, George McKie and Mike McWhinney, not forgetting our MD, Zac Booles, whose energy and music leadership is so inspiring.

Huge thanks also to SABS President, Lyn Baines and Vice President, Barbara Burks and the entire SABS organising team for delivering yet another successful and enjoyable Convention. Having first been to the SABS Convention as the guest chorus in 2011, it is just so impressive to see how this “En Armonia” event has grown and developed over these past few years.

The Chorus are now focussed on our “Together in Harmony” Show with Lace City Chorus at the end of April, in Nottingham, followed by the 2018 BABS Convention in Harrogate at the end of May, where we look forward to performing our new contest set and to meeting friends old and new. If the weather there is anything like that which we enjoyed in Spain we’ll all be very happy!

Nelson Blackley -  PRO Grand Central Chorus