Flintshire singers bitten by barbershop bug

Reporter:

Matt Jones

FORGET the time-worn image of four men with moustaches and hats.

Barbershop singing has entered the age of the iPod and North Wales enthusiasts are taking full advantage.

Mold choir Clwyd Clippers has reported an influx of new recruits from across the region as barbershop singing enjoys a renaissance.

The choir believes its website, which enables people to practise their harmonies at home, is one of the best in the country for singers.

Alan Robinson, 57, of Buckley, joined the group four years ago with three friends after seeing the 30-strong Clippers in concert.

He said: “It is really great to see these new members with such an enthusiasm for the distinctive four-part harmony sound of barbershop without having any previous experience. I think they’ve got the barbershop bug.

“Barbershop is popular because it is such a good sound. Also when you get television choir competitions, a barbershop choir usually pops up.

“There is quite a resurgence. It is huge in America but it is growing worldwide.”

The Clippers’ repertoire runs from barbershop classics to pop hits by acts including The Beatles and the Beach Boys.

Alan, who sings baritone, said: “We do things like Bridge Over Troubled Water, Under the Boardwalk and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life; that is a crowd favourite.

“We also do songs like Down Our Way, Coney Island Baby and As Time Goes By.

“We can’t do anything too modern because we can’t just sing the songs: they have to be arranged in four-part harmonies. It takes somebody to do that.”

A recent six-week course run by the club attracted almost 80 hopefuls. Many decided to audition with a select few being invited to join.

The successful candidates were presented with the club’s cherished blue polo shirt, badge and certificate in recognition of their achievement.

Clippers chairman Richard Heaton said: “We are on target to integrate 15 new members this year, all addressing our target of 75 members within the Clippers.”

See full story in the Leader

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