Paul's Story

Type of post: Newsletter
Posted By: David Harris
Status: Current
Date Posted: Sat, 1 Aug 2020
Hello Avid readers,
At last it is time for the next newsletter! In fact we have a bumper edition this month with not one but two newsletters!
First up we have our singing treasurer, Mr Paul Williams. As you know Paul is a keen quarteter and in a couple of weeks we will hear from his fellow Bianco member Bob. You may wonder why they are called Bianco, and no it is not alcohol related.

Paul's Story
My barbershop journey began one evening reading the local paper and seeing a small article that there was going to be a Barbershop Convention at Warwick University on Sunday.  Not knowing what a convention was or even really what barbershop was I made my mind up to go and see, as I thought there might be some singing.  It transpired it was their AGM and I heard no singing.  However a kind gentleman took me over to where Coventry were gathered, having just been accepted into BABS and Cherry Hartshorn (whom I recognised) invited me to their next rehearsal.  That must have been September 1994 and I was became a chorus member in July 1995, (yes and I’m due my 25 year pin this year).  

The chorus grew with Cherry who was an inspirational MD, she started the ladies chorus “The Belles” and even ran a mixed voice group on a Sunday evening which I really enjoyed.  The Sound of Three Spires or just Three Spires now has given me great pleasure as Barbershop is one of the most sociable organisations and along with the harmonies we make, ensures the evening rehearsals are always enjoyable.  A few MD’s have come and gone in my time, some better than others but all gave it their all for the Club.  I have held the post of Club Chairman (twice) and currently Treasurer a job that I also held in the Association as Finance Director for 12 years, a great honour and despite the workload, one that I really enjoyed.
I also started singing SATB with my wife at Finham Choral Society and about 10 years ago I left them to sing with Warwick University Chorus, travelling on tour with them to Belgium, Germany, Slovenia and what should have been Croatia this year till the Pandemic came along.  I enjoy the different style but prefer Barbershop.  Recently Bob, Ben and I joined Hallmark of Harmony in Sheffield originally to sing with them in America after they won the UK championship in 2014.  That was a great experience and we have enjoyed the opportunity of great coaching and singing in a large group of 80+ but only having to meet 4 times a year means you must be well prepared.  We travelled to Holland to sing in their convention and intend to sing in the European competition in Sweden in 2021 (providing we are back to normal by then).
Very soon after joining the Club I began singing in a quartet with Bob Hodgkiss.  The quartet was called Broadway as that was where Michael Brough lived and where we rehearsed, around his piano.  Michael was the founder of the chorus some ten years previous and although profoundly deaf sang baritone in the chorus and in the quartet he formed.  Since then we have managed to change the baritone twice more with Terry Round and currently Colin Rote.  Tenors a few more times with names few will remember.  Bernard Ennis was first, then Steve (Wizzo the magician), Steve Norman and currently Ben Kimberley.  We did compete a number of times at BABS, and got to the finals once in Harrogate, winning the Sheng Pitch Pipe Trophy for the highest place quartet in their first time in the finals with a creditable 14th place.  So I have been singing with Bob over 20 years, the quartet is now called Bianco (originally B&Co) until someone miss-pronounced it as Bianco which stuck).
Barbershop is not everyone’s cup of tea but for those involved there can be no better hobby.