Viva Acappella - a vibrant female harmony group

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Keeping you up to date with Viva news

Viva become European Women's Bronze Medal Chorus

Saturday 28 October 2017

 

Wow wow wow what a weekend it has been.  Viva got the invitation to compete, as representatives of Sweet Adelines International Region 31, at the European Barbershop Convention back in July.  With just a few months to prepare we knew we had to bring our 'A' game to stand any chance of placing anywhere.  We had an absolute ball on stage and everyone of us came off feeling elated and excited!  We had smashed it on stage.  We had no idea what to expect from the competition, having never competed in this competition before but we knew it was going to be tough.  We sat in anticipation as the results were announced and could not believe it when Viva Acappella were announced as the women's bronze medal chorus.  Not only that, but when the scores came in, it turned out that we had scored the highest overall in the singing category!!!!

 

Viva makes their debut concert in central London

30 September 2017

 

We had such an amazing evening last night at our debut central London concert, held at Regent Hall on Oxford Street.  We had the privilege of sharing the stage with some fabulous award-winning guests, including the current UK men's gold medallists Portobello Road and the international mixed barbershop quartet World Champions, Double Date, who flew over from the US especially to perform at our show.  The evening proved to be a great success, and we got to perform our Las Vegas finals 'Disney' package, complete with a real Fairy Godmother and Cruella De Vil!

 

 

Success with our Recruitment

August 2017

 

We've had great success with this year's recruitment drive.  Having had plenty of interest from all age groups, we now have 5 shiny brand new Viva's who have passed auditions and joined us......exciting times ahead!!!

 

WE ARE RECRUITING!

March 2017

 

We are looking for new members to join our fun and lively group.  Whether you are looking for a new challenge, looking for a new choir or fancy taking up a new hobby, we want to hear from you!

 

Come along to one of our Thursday evening rehearsals to find out more about us, we are sure you will love us!!

Coaching with Lynda Keever

9th February 2017

 

We had a fabulous evening with Master Director and International Coach, Lynda Keever, who put us through our paces on our new ballad.  Amazingly we managed to get through the whole song in just 2 hours, yet it felt like we accomplished so much!

Viva Acappella Live! Concert at Crofton Baptish Church

21st January 2017

 

We had a fabulous start to the year, kicked off with an amazing concert at the Crofton Baptist Church.  The concert was sold out and the audience were brilliant.  It gave us a chance to perform our Disney themed finals package that we had prepared for Las Vegas which went down very well.  Lots of laughs at our He's a Tramp!

Sweet Adelines International Semi-Finals - MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas

20th October 2016

 

Wow wow wow, what an experience!!  This was our second appearance on the international stage representing the UK & the Netherlands and what an experince it was.  We had the best time on stage.  Eighteen months of hard work resulted in our 7mins on stage and we had a blast.  We had prepared so much at getting over the hurdles we came across on the international stage in Hawaii and we could not have been in any better shape.  The audience were amazing and we had the best reaction to our jacket flash in the up-tempo which made the Sweet Adelines International recap video the following day.  We came off stage incrediably proud of our performance. We are delighted to have ranked 20th in the World out of 400 choruses.

Flash mob aboard Virgin Airline flight, en-route to Las Vegas

15th October 2016

 

Well...it had to be done.  It wasn't quite a flash mob as we were introduced by the Captain but we certainly suprised the passengers and crew onboard.  We chose Rule the World by Take That, which unexpectedly had sentimental meaning to one of the cabin crew who filmed us and posted on social media for #babylossawarenessweek

Veterans Concert, Bexley

08 September 2016

 

The Veterans of Bexley have always been huge supporters of Viva and for a second year we were able to present or international package before we head off to the Sweet Adelines International semi-finals in Las Vegas in October.  The Veterans very generously donated the proceeds of the concet tickets to our fundraising fund.

Tubbenden School Concert, Orpington

17 June 2016

 

We had the privilege of being invited to sing at the Tubbenden School alongside the Tubbenden School Choir, which is a group of youngsters aged between 7-11yrs old.  We surprised guests and parents alike by singing 'Amazing Grace' together.  The choir had amazing voices....some Viva's in the making!! 

 

It was a fabulous evening supported by the very beautiful and talented Electra electric string duo who gave an energetic and uplifting performance.

 

 

Sweet Adelines International Region 31 Convention - The Sage, Newcastle

06-08 May 2016

 

What a fabulous weekend!!  We had such a brilliant weekend in Newcastle at our regional competition.  Even though we were not competing but just performing for Evaluation only, it was still such an amazing event.  Everyone of us came off stage completley elated, knowing that we could not have performed any better than we just had.  Our new outfits got such a great reaction from the audience with so many people commenting on how great they looked.  The best thing has to be our jacket flash in the up tempo which generated a loud gasp from the audience and we had standing ovations from members of the audeince after both songs.  Roll on Las Vegas we just can not wait to be representing our region!

Viva Las Vegas Show with Cambridge Chord Company

23 April 2016

 

We were delighted to have been invited to sing on the Cambridge Chord Company show in Cambridge.  The audience was packed with barbershop lovers.  It gave us the opportunity to show off our brand new outfits, our new competition package and choregraphy for the Sweet Adelines Regional Competition in May.  The audience were amazing and it was a real pleasure to to perform alongside the fabulous Cambridge Chord Company with 'And So To Sleep Again'

Viva Front Row

Weekend Rehearsals

03 April 2016

 

We were hard at it again with another weekend of rehearsals.  Front row cracked the new choreography while the riser chiefs nailed their moves! Bring it on Vegas......

 

Erin Howden Coaching evening

31 March 2016

 

It was another full on session with the fabulous Erin Howden who taught us how to vomit joy!  Lots of new techniques to work on for our competition package.

 

 

Eggcellent Fundraising in Petts Wood

26 March 2015

 

On Saturday 26 March twenty members of Viva Acappella, plus friends and family, descended on the tranquil streets of Kent to run the first ever Great Petts Wood Easter Egg Hunt. Despite the heavens threatening to open at any moment the rain held off and families from Petts Wood and further afield came along dressed in fancy dress and donning their Easter baskets. Each child had to follow a series of clues around the village to get to a different business and collect their Easter goodies. From lollies to flags, stickers to chocolate eggs...the treats were generously donated by all the businesses involved.

 

The children were met by the Easter Bunny and Alice in Wonderland, they then got their face painted and headed off to explore the local area. From funeral parlours to supermarkets, cafe's and opticians, the range of businesses involved highlighted just what a lovely place Petts Wood is and how important it is to support the local community.

 

Thank you to all the families who took part. We are glad you enjoyed the day. See you next year!

Another totally inspiring weekend with the fabulous vocal coach, Doug Harrington

08-09 February 2016

 

We had another totally jam packed weekend with Doug.  Saturday was spent working on our new up-tune for the Internationals.  No massive changes but it's the tiny detail that make all the difference!  Sunday was spent brushing up on our ballard followed by the afternoon spent on an exciting brand new song. 

 

Facebook post from Doug Harrington, International vocal coach

06 February 2016

 

"Starting a weekend workshop today with one of the best choruses in the UK, Viva Accapella. Looking forward to creating high level music with these fantastic singers!"

The Way to A!

14 January 2016

 

Brainstorming evening with the chorus on ways and means of getting that A grade!  We were all asked to think of 2 ways in which we would make personal changes and improvements on our road to Internationals and a further two more changes we should make as a chorus.

Gift Wrapped & Ready Christmas Concert

05 December 2015

 

We had an amazing evening at our Christmas concert Gift Wrapped & Ready which took place at St John's Church in Welling.  We had amazing guest acts including Hot Note, DeciBelles, Junction 4 and classical duo Robin & Mark.  Our thanks goes out to all our amazing friends, family and supporters who came to see the show.

NEW MEMBERS - We are looking for you!

 

Love to sing? Keen to try something new? Looking for a challenge? Why not come along to a Thursday evening rehearsal to find out more!

Farningham Village Hall Fundraising Event

13 November 2015

 

We sung at the Farningham Village Hall Fundraising event which was held by the Farningham Village Hall committee in aid of raising money for the group.  We had a lovely audience who insisted that we sung one more song at the end of our set......so we sung our brand new up tempo!

Coaching with International performance coach Sandy Marron

15 November 2015

 

Well, we certainly got put torugh our paces this evening with the amazing Sandy Marron.  Working on our performance levels....energy, energy and more energy and when in doubt add a little more.  Great session but we are all exhausted!

 

Did someone say cotton wool balls?!?

Our MD featured on Radio Suffolk

06 November 2015

 

Take a listen on this link. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p035n5x3#play

 

Viva Acappella in Concert

05 September 2015

 

We had a great evening at our concert at St John's Church in Meopham.  It was great to be invited back to sing. Once again the audience were amazing and incrediably supportive.  We love singing for them!

Gaynor's 60th Birthday celebrations

20 September 2015

 

We had a great day celebrating our MD, Gaynor' 60th birthday.  The weather was fabulous and couldn't help celebrate the day with performances from Portobello Road, ViPs, Viva Acappella, Hot Note and the amazing Swedish men's quartet Lemon Sweezy who flew in especially!  What a treat!

Edward Hilsum's GENIE Magic Show

22 July 2015

 

For those who truly believe in magic this was a wonderful evening of mystery and magical moments.  Fresh from the 'Champions of Magic' UK Tour the very talented Edward Hilsum gave us an excusive preview of his new show GENIE before taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.  We had a packed family audience who marvelled at the amazing tricks which included his beautiful white doves.  A fabulous show loved by all the family!

Old Bexley Music Festival

24 June 2015

 

We were delighted to have been asked to sing at the Old Bexley Music Festival this summer.  We kicked off the festival with the first performance at St John Fisher RC Church.  We had a wonderful audience who were incrediably generous with their donations for the evening.  Thank you to everyone who came and supported us!

Viva Recruitment Workshop

13 June 2015

 

We ran our first every Viva recruitment workshop day which was a huge success.  We had 7 ladies join us for the day and who were amazing.  They stepped up to the challenge despite the fact that only two of the ladies had sung with other choruses before.  We had fun working with the ladies on all aspects of singing, choreo and performance and we learnt a new song......all in a days work!  Very rewarding.

 

 

Viva takes over Cineworld Bexleyheath for showing of Pitch Perfect 2

28 May 2015

 

We had a great evening on Thursday with an exclusive friends and family showing of Pitch Perfect 2.  We hired out the 88 seater screen at Cineworld Bexleyheath and had a great time watching the new film in true Viva style.  We also managed to fit in a bit of singing beforehand!

Speechless!

09 May 2015

 

Bags will be going back a bit heavier later on. So proud of us all, our score was just mind blowing. Wild card hopes are high!

Wow what a weekend! Part 2

11 May 2015

 

Saturday morning had a real buzz in the air at our morning rehearsals. Everyone seemed very calm and we were confident.  Our 7 mins on stage flew by but we had an amazing time, everyone came off stage absolutely buzzing with energy and excitement at how well it had all gone.  There was nothing more we could do but wait for the results………..  The tension in the air was electric as the results were read out. We won the award for the ‘Most Improved Chorus’ by 47 points which gave us an inkling things were going well. Further scores and placing’s were read out and the excitement began to build as we started to realise we had done pretty well.  And finally it was announced Viva Acappella had won the Gold medal in the Mid-size chorus category…..not only that we took the Silver medal overall missing out on the Gold medal by just 1 point, which was pretty good going seeing as the winning chorus had over 30 more members on stage than us.   And it continued, we took the award for the music category and finally Hot Note with their quartet gold medal received the award for 'Most Improved Quartet’.  I think you can safely say we had done a good job.  We are incredibly proud.  And on top of all this we have won our place to sing at the Internationals being held in Las Vegas next year and Hot Note will be singing at the International Convention in Las Vegas in October 2015.

Wow what a weekend!

11 May 2015

 

Words can not describe what an amazing weekend us Viva girls have had.  It all started on Friday when we had four, yes four, quartets enter the Quartet competition.  For us in the audience the nerves just could not take such excitement as we watched each of our fabulous quartets cross the stage, giving the best performances ever!  The tension was so high as we all sat grasping each others hands for the results….and what an achievement 13th place to Junction 4, 8th place to DeciBelles, 5th place medal was awarded to ViceVersa and we couldn’t believe it…….the Gold medal went to Hot Note.  We are all so proud of our amazing quartets.

Viva Acappella featured on BBC Radio Kent today

06 April 2015

 

Following our performance at the Top Choir Kent Gala Concert last weekend,BBC Radio Kent aired some of our songs today in a special programme dedicated to the evening.  Listen again at BBC Radio Kent http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02n4zzp#auto

Top Choir of Kent Gala Concert

28 March 2015

 

What a great afternoon/evening we had at the Top Choir of Kent Gala Concert, Shirley Hall, Canterbury.  We had a great afternoon enjoying rehearsals with our friends The Kentones followed by a fabulous evening of performances from some amazing Kent based choirs including the P&O Ferries Choir.  The evening’s finale was a group sing with the audience to Help! by the Beatles celebrating 50 years of the track.  The evening was recorded by BBC Radio Kent which will be aired on a special show on Easter Monday at 6pm

Superb Facebook post from our inspiring coach Doug Harrington

19 January 2015

 

"What a fantastic weekend with one of the best female vocal ensembles in the United Kingdom…Viva Acappella! I cannot say enough about their clean singing and musicality…absolutely world-class! Gaynor Schofield and company, you are truly inspiring!"

London A Cappella Festival

31 January 2015

 

We had brilliant fun at the London A Cappella Festival at King's Place.  We took part in a foyer performance and had fun with a sing off with another choir No Strings Attached and one of our Viva's, Lindsey, had Happy Birhday sung to her by Gospel Essence...beautiful.  It was a great opportunity to talk to people from other choirs from all over the UK.

Another inspiring Retreat Weekend with Doug Harrington

17 & 18 January 2015

 

We always look forward to our coaching weekends with Doug and yet again this weekend did not disappoint.  Working hard on our competition songs, Doug has once again worked his magic to re-energise our songs.  So excited to be performing our new and improved pieces in Nottingham in May.

Sing Song Merrily on High Christmas Concert

06 December 2014

 

Wow what a night we had!  Our annual concert took place at the beautiful St John’s Church in Welling on 6th December, where over 200 of our friends and family joined us for an entertaining evening.  We packed the night full of our favourite repertoire songs plus some festive favourites and alongside our friends Park Street Quartet and the magical Edward Hilsum, Magician.  We are so lucky to have such supportive friends and family!

Bluewater Festive Gift & Food Fair

29 November 2014

 

Viva Acappella were delighted to be asked to sing at the Bluewater Festive Gift & Food Fair to create a bit of festive atmosphere.  We sung on the stage area located in the entrance to the show which attracted a lot of interest from visitors and exhibitors at the show.

Hot Note crowned British Champions!

31 October 2014

 

What do you get when you cross a beauty therapist, a clinical hypnotherapist, a Learning and Development Consultant and an alloy wheel refurbishment manager? A quartet called Hot Note……  mmm …..I wonder which is which?

 

We started our journey in July 2013 when there was a flurry of phone calls about whether a quartet from Berkshire, Suffolk and Kent would be able to make a go of it. It was certainly challenging to organise rehearsals across 3 counties and 2 choruses, but once we had settled on a location in Kent at Chris’s mum’s house (baritone) where she made a Victoria sponge at every rehearsal, Colette (bass) decided she was ‘happy with her selection’!

We then had the challenge of how 3 basses and a tenor would work – that’s 4 singers isn’t it? – ah just not with the right parts. Fortunately 2 of the quartet were bi-sectional so slotted nicely into lead and baritone – just a question of what song the key should be in. Once we had decided that everything should be in Ab we were off and running. Well the voices went together alright, but would we like each other? You know just how important that is. It was certainly useful being able to have someone on hand to do your nails, sort out your tyres, listen to all your problems and design a training and coaching plan. What’s not to like?

 

As members of Sweet Adelines International, a world-wide women’s’ barbershop association, Hot Note were delighted to win the bronze medal at the regional contest in May 2013 – just 10 months after getting together, but we had also made the decision to join the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS) which brought with it another round of competitions. We were very apprehensive about how we would fare at the preliminary round in June 2014, so were surprised and delighted to win, albeit by a very small margin! We knew that there were improvements we could make so it was time to call in the cavalry. Thanks to singing coach, Mike Taylor for treating us gently but working us hard in a short space of time as we prepared for the semi-finals.

 

So a shocked and astonished Hot Note did it – we lifted the big prize – National Champion Quartet 2014!

 

We all had very personal reasons for wanting to do quite well this year, but our lovely baritone Chris had been waiting 35 years, since her very first barbershop quartet Beaux Belles at the age of 15, to win her first quartet medal. So it can be done. We are now looking ahead to representing Ladies British Barbershop at all sorts of events over the next 12 months.

Coaching with performance guru Erin Howden from North Metro Chorus

12 September 2014

 

We had an amazing evening with Erin Howden.  We worked on our up tempo song ‘Oh Look at me Now’.  Although we were happy with our choreo package, Erin was able to work some magic to create a slick and polished performance from us all.  It brought a real sparkle and new energy to the whole song.

Chris Davies, Winner with Staysure Insurance

05 August 2014

 

Our fabulous Viva, Chris Davies won first prize in a recent Staysure Insurance competition to win a Kindle.  All she did was tell them all about our trip to Hawaii when we sang for the UK & the Netherlands at the Sweet Adelines International Convention in November 2013.

Take look at their newsletter sent out to over 100k customers featuring Chris’ story.

http://www.staysure.co.uk/lifestyle/newsletter-articles/july-2014/a-cappella-adventure

In Concert with the ViPs Mens Chorus, Ipswich

12 April 2014

 

Viva Acappella had a very busy Saturday with a wedding singout in the morning followed by appearing as guests at the first ever ViPs Concert at All Saints Church in Ipswich.  The ViPs opened the concert wowing the Suffolk audience with their first ever taste of barbershop singing. Viva Acappella performed two sets throughout the evening covering their diverse range of repertoire which was followed by men’s barbershop quartet, Portobello Road, plus classical artist Lindsay Tomei and soloist Chris Davies.  The evening was outstanding with an amazing audience which ended with a standing ovation.  Audience members included the Mayor and his wife, the Vicar and his wife and comedian, actor and writer for Yours Magazine, Roy Hudd and his wife Debbie.  The Mayor commented “I had never really heard barbershop singing before so didn’t know what to expect. It was absolutely fantastic and so pleased we were able to come”.  Roy Hudd commented "“What a wonderful, wonderful evening of entertainment…….the ViPs have improved enormously since we (Roy and Debbie Hudd) saw them last and the girls (Viva Acappella) – well….. they were amazing. Well done to everyone”

Hengrave Hall Wedding

12 April 2014

 

Viva Acappella were honoured to be asked to sing at the very grand Hengrave Hall for Lee & Tracey’s wedding.  The chorus sang in the small church located on the grounds of Hengrave Hall in Bury St Edmunds, one of the oldest churches in the UK dating back to Anglo Saxon times, as the guests arrived for the ceremony, and again during the signing of the register.  After the ceremony the guests mingled around the grand Hall with glasses of champagne whilst Viva Acappella sang to entertain.

No makeup selfie in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness

21 March 2014

 

We supported the latest Facebook craze tonight at rehearsals, in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness by taking a ‘no makeup’ selfie of the chorus and posting on Facebook & Twitter.  The chorus donated to the Breast Cancer charity and we nominated all the Sweet Adelines Region 31 chorus to do the same - do you Dare to Bare!

Recruitment Success

25 January 2014

 

Our new year recruitment drive is proving to be a success!  We’ve met twice since the beginning of the year and each evening has brought new faces through the door on rehearsal night.  We are delighted to be welcoming new members from all over the south east and with some amazing voices. Exciting times ahead for Viva as we grow stronger!

Marie Curie Cancer Care Fundraising at Glades Shopping Centre, Bromley

08 December 2013

 

Viva Acappella enjoyed a festive morning at the Glades Shopping Centre singing for the Christmas shoppers to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. The chorus sang for a few hours and brought shoppers to a standstill with Jingle Bell Rock, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and Silent Night to name just a few. Jingle Bell Rock was a firm favourite as well as the modern Amazing Medley which appealed to the younger shoppers. In just a few hours we managed to raise £706!!! Amanda the South East Representative for Marie Curie was there also supporting and was ‘reduced to tears’ -in a good way!

We are recruiting! Join Viva Acappella

25 November 2013

 

Do you enjoy singing? Can you sing and dance? Do you love to perform?

If the answer is yes and you are free on a Thursday night, why not come along to our rehearsals in Bexley.  We would love to see you.

Viva Acappella ranked 22nd in the World!

07 November 2013

 

We did it! We performed on the International stage in Honolulu, Hawaii in front of the best of Sweet Adelines International.  What a thrill and an amazing experience.  We ranked 22nd out of 32 choruses performing in the International semi finals.  Not bad for a small chorus in 4 years…..

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported Viva Acappella over the last 18 months, friends, family and supporters.  Without you all we would never have achieved this.

Viva Acappella entertain the Mayor of Bromley

10 Septermber 2013

 

On Wednesday evening we were delighted to entertain the Mayor of Bromley, Councillor Ernest Noad and the Orpington First Committee at Orpington Village Hall with a lively programme of contemporary songs sung in four-part acappella.  Dressed in pink, purple and black, which, coincidentally, are Orpington’s colours, their set included a pop medley of Bruno Mars’ ‘Amazing’, Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’, and The Black Eyed Peas’ ‘I Gotta Feeling’, and 'Rule the World’ by Take That. 

 

Following the event on Wednesday evening the organisers tweeted ‘@OrpBusForum Excellent awards (Orpington’s Finest) last night, and the vocal group were super. Viva @VivaAcappella!

 

Mary

Viva Acappella supporting Coming Home Charity in conjunction with Help for Heroes

09 September 2013

 

We had the amazing opportunity to rub shoulders with a few celebrities as we performed a surprise flash mob for the guests attending the Coming Home Charity Cricket Match at the Honourable Artillery Company, Armoury House in London.  With some of the chorus dressed as guests sitting at the round tables and other dressed as waitresses in the white shirts, black trousers and maroon aprons and ties we launched in to the Amazing Medley as the Master of Ceremonies reminded all guests about the online auction and gave our cue with the line ‘any questions?’.  There were a few celebrities to be found in the audience including ex-Rugby player Josh Lewsey, a few ex-cricket stars as well as Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud and the Weasley Twins from the Harry Potter films, one of which gave us a standing ovation!  We were proud to have been able to support such a worthy cause and in an amazing venue.

Viva Acappella Grand Summer Poshnic Ball

25 August 2013

 

A big song and dance!
Who would have known that 2pm - 2.07pm on 20th May 2012 would have been such an expensive few minutes. That time on stage in Birmingham when we won the Sweet Adelines Region 31 competition started 16 months of furious fundraising to get us to Hawaii to compete in the international competition in November 2013. On Sunday 25 August all our efforts came to a spectacular end with our Grand Summer Poshnic Ball. We sold all 250 tickets…wow! Our fundraising team went in to overdrive and as soon as you walked in to the room you could see the results. Branded balloons, sparkles, cheesy music and photos of us in our Hawaii gear displayed around the room, it got everyone in the party mood. Every single one of our 35 members were present and had glad rags on ready to party in style. The food, bought to the tables in picnic baskets, was delicious, the music toe tapping, and the company wonderful. Once dessert was served the we got up on stage to sing a couple of numbers and to thank everyone for coming before we were entertained by the fabulous (???) and then Edward Hilsum who wowed us with his magic. He got our newest member, Kat, up on stage which was a great initiation for her in to the madness that is Viva Acappella.

 

No one could quite believe it when our auction of a weeks cruise made us an instant £1400, how many Hawaiian cocktails can you buy with that? On a high, the dancing began with entertainment from 2Bro, a funk and jazz band, and from the first note the dance floor was full.

In total the evening made a profit of £6,700. It was the perfect end to our fundraising journey and the start of our trip to Hawaii. Every penny over the last 16 months has counted and we hope we will do Region 31 justice in November. And to all those who have supported us along the way, as they say in Hawaii. Mahalo (Thank you). 

 

Helen T

Golden Wedding Anniversary

14 July 2013

 

In July 2013 Viva Acappella were asked if a small group of singers would be willing to sing at a very special event…. and so the FOLIES (Fabulous Octet LadIES) were born.  With Ros and Ceejai as Bass, Jackie S as Tenor, Mary and Grace as our Baritones and Fi, Jenny and myself as Lead, we were all set to sing for Leonard and Gudrun Luckett, at their Golden Wedding Anniversary. We were honoured to be asked to sing on Sunday the 14th July 2013 in front of the happy couple and 30 of their friends and family.  The event took place at the beautiful High Rocks Pub in Tunbridge Wells, where we sang a 20 minute set consisting of 6 of our favourite Viva Acappella repertoire songs.  

 

On arrival at the venue, we decided to rehearse in the grounds of the pub – it was a scorching hot day after all.  Finding what we thought was a quiet corner, we ran through the set. Feeling in fine form, we decided to add an extra special song to the list - Ceejai singing her fantastic solo in our version of ‘Feeling Good’ by Anthony Newley. Little did we know that a small pair of prying eyes was watching from the grounds behind us. Perhaps we had just inspired one of a new generation of Barbershoppers?

 

Following on from our open aired rehearsal, we filed into the dining room where the guests had just enjoyed a delicious buffet style lunch, and entertained them with our set.  Ros did a fantastic job of introducing us and our songs, and the whole group watched with intent. In fact, Leonard had a permanent smile on his face throughout all the songs, and I think I even caught him bobbing along to our rendition of ‘Lazy Day’.

 

The day was a great success, thoroughly enjoyed by all. It was great to hear from Leonard that we had made the day extra special for them….. Well, all we can say is that we hope to see you at your Diamond Anniversary!

 

Amy

University Challenge

08 July 2013

 

Move over Gareth Malone…..

Last Monday Helen, Christine and I met Jackie in the sunshine at the beautiful Elephant and Castle tower block that is known as the LCC - London College of Communications).

 

And the reason…Jackie’s work were holding a staff development day with a mixture of wellbeing, technical and academic sessions. So amongst others there were sign language classes, reflexology, massage lessons etc and Jackie had her arm twisted to give a workshop on a capella singing. There was an overall theme of celebrating the college’s 50th birthday as well, so Jackie came up with the idea of teaching a group to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in 4 part harmony.

 

We weren’t sure how many would turn up, but by 1.30pm we had 16 willing participants from all departments of the College which was fantastic. There was a whole mix of experience with some of them having sung in choirs for years and others to an audience of zero in the bath.  Jackie started off by introducing the four of us, telling them what we do and a little bit of background of close harmony singing.  She then started by explaining how to stand correctly and the importance of posture, followed by some easy vocal exercises just going up and down the scale. She mixed it up by doing the exercise that goes 121, 12321, 1234321… which got their brains in gear as well.  You could see there were some nervous faces when we explained they were going to learn a song in four parts, especially when we began singing and I started doing the tenor instead of the lead by mistake.

But they were all game and really up for the challenge.  As there was a mix of men and women and many hadn’t sung before in their life but we tried our best to split them into the right parts.  After a bit of switching around in the end all the men sang bass, we had two tenors, six leads and the rest baritones.  And so we went our separate ways and began a part practice.  I took the leads.  There was one girl who couldn’t hold a note but after 15 minutes of practice she was listening and working really hard to keep in tune with the rest.  The whole group offered encouragement and it was real team work.  They understood about holding the penultimate note so that the other parts could move and using the techniques Jackie had explained they worked really hard on breath control.  Once we were all back in the same room (post a game of Penguin Round for Tea to be a bit silly) we kept in our little huddles but sang altogether and I think to everyone’s amazement it sounded brilliant.

 

Gradually we moved closer together until we formed a chorus with Jackie out front.  Those who had sung before stood next to someone of another part whilst those less confident were surrounded by their own part. Helen, Christine and I all sneakily conducted our little group from within the chorus and you could tell how excited everyone was to hear how good it was sounding.  Jackie did some fine tuning, getting them to link the first two phrases in one breath, turning the diphthongs, smoothing out the sound rather than bouncing on the note etc.

Then came the big question…would they sing it to a live audience??? YES!!!!!!!

 

So were trundled downstairs to the foyer of the building and to an audience of about 40 we sang Happy Birthday to the LCC.  There were shakey legs and wine glasses being clung on to for dear life but the roar after we finished was brilliant.  So good that they insisted on an encore. The Head of College said a few words at that point and Jackie necked her glass of wine.

 

Afterwards at least two of them came up to say they want to come and listen to us one evening and we had so many compliments, it really bought the company together and I think quite a few friends were made in the process.  Isn’t it amazing what singing can do!

But the real star of the show was Jackie.  She was brilliant, had them all laughing and no one was a shrinking violet because she put them all at ease.  What a credit to the chorus.

 

So, if anyone else has a company they work for or know of who are looking for a great team building activity then perhaps suggest Viva Acappella can help them out for a donation to our fund?

Viva Acappella Records Radio Jingle

03 January 2013
 

When we were asked to record a jingle for a radio station we were very excited.  Edward Hilsum, Magician and member of The Magic Circle had been asked to co-host a special radio show with friend Harry De Cruz on Wizard Radio. To make it their own they wanted to produce a simple but tailored jingle.  After a few practice runs we recorded 'Ed and Harry on Wizard Radio’ in four part harmony and it was played throughout their radio show on Saturday 5th January to be repeated on Saturday 12th January between 3-5pm.  Listen to our little jingle on our Media Page.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel – Reader Offers Christmas Lunch

06 December 2012

 

We were all very excited to be invited to sing at a very grand hotel in London for the Reader Offers/Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Christmas Lunch.  The hotel was the newly refurbished St Pancras Renaissance Hotel located at the St Pancras International Station.  We were allocated a huge room for us to change and warm up with endless tea and coffee on tap from one of those complicated coffee machines, the type you are not too sure how to work!

Once the guests had started to arrive for the drinks reception we grouped ourselves together and filed in to the grand room full of 200 guests and positioned ourselves next to the large Christmas tree.  Perfect Christmas pose! We were booked to create background atmosphere music so we didn’t expect people to stop their conversations and watch us sing, however we got a round of applause after every song from some of the guests who were clearly enjoying the festive harmonies.

 

We sang two sets and by the time we returned to the room for the second set, the guests had taken their seats at the large round tables ready for their sumptuous five course lunch.  The noise of the various conversations around the room was pretty loud but we were assured that all the guests even at the back of the room could hear us.  As we finished our final song ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ our host took to the microphone to welcome their guests and to thank us for our performance.  We retired to our room for a well earned lunch and more tea and coffee!

 

It was a really enjoyable event and even though there were only eighteen of us we felt we created a great sound, even above the noise of the chit chat.  Later we were complimented by the Commercial Manager of Reader Offers, Anthony Daniels and the Sales Director of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Lol Nichols.  We were also later learned that Commodore Warwick, the last captain of the QEII and first captain of the Queen Mary 2, and his wife were in attendance and also enjoyed our performance very much.

 

“The St.Pancras Hotel was the ideal setting for our Annual Christmas lunch but without the style, passion and performance from the ladies at Viva our event would not have had the effect we were hoping to get. The response from our guests who they were entertaining has been wonderful and we look forward to a repeat performance next year!” - Anthony Daniels

The stars aligned for Viva Acappella's Christmas Show

01 December 2012

 

Viva Acappella were a storming success in their latest show, Follow The Stars.

The “sparkling Christmas spectacular” held in Orpington featured 2 sets from the award winning chorus. The night was kicked off by MC Dave Bayliss before Viva Acappella took the stage. They wowed the crowd with their glam dresses and popular songs from the likes of Bruno Mars and Queen.

In their second set they entertained with some classic Christmas songs such as ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’, ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and ‘Silent Night’. The song that was an instant hit with the audience was their rendition of ‘Carol of The Bells’. The famous song has been featured in films and even recently on the Christmas advert for ITV.

 

Other featured performers on the night were male barbershop chorus The Kentones, medal winning quartets The Late Show and iQ, Soprano Lindsay Thompson, and young singer/songwriter Hannah Bruce.

 

David Southgate, Chairman of The Kentones was enthralled by the audience’s enthusiasm and said “We certainly enjoyed sharing some of Viva’s limelight. Thank you, Viva, for the privilege”.

 

VIVA have been blown away by the support and comments they have received since the show and are looking forward to the big event next year, their Summer Ball in 2013.

The Kentones help bring Hawaii a little closer

01 December 2012

 

And so the excitement began, and simply snowballed from there; full scale preparations on rehearsal evenings, three line whip for everyone to attend, brush up our best bib and tucker so we look our best on the night, everyone keyed up to give 100%.  This was preparation only matched by the lead up to Convention.

 

 

And then the day arrives, with St Olave’s School proving a splendid venue.  We get changed in a side room and move to another one, well away from the main hall, so we can have an unrestricted warm up.  The minutes tick by and we are finally called to make our way down to the auditorium.  We creep like mice (well most of us!) so as not to disturb the proceedings, for Viva Acappella are already thrilling the audience with their first set.  My, these girls are good!  And they move so effortlessly!  No wonder their applause was thunderous and prolonged.

That’s it, we’re on.  The coloured lights are dazzling.   We march in and relish the welcome we are afforded.  This is a charming and responsive audience and their enthusiasm fires us up to give of our best.  The hall goes quiet, the pitch note sounds, and, entry by entry, we fill the vast volume of the hall with our repeated question – ‘Who Will Buy?’, each part building the chord until the place is ringing with full-on Barbershop harmony.  Yes!  Yes!  This is it!  This is what it’s all about!

 

We work through our set: upbeat numbers like ‘South Rampart Street Parade’ and ‘Lies Medley’ interspersed with beautiful, and even heartbreaking, ballads like ‘Lover Come Back’ and ‘The Way You Look Tonight’.  These songs touch me; I can’t perform them without being near to tears.  Such raw emotion is let loose and it is difficult to come down afterwards.  I am grateful that there is always a poignant silence from the audience for a few brief seconds when the story has been told and the song is completed.

Our time has gone all too quickly and we are on our way with the ever popular ‘Amarillo’.  Now there is a real audience pleaser - and this well versed audience actually knew exactly when to clap!  The clapping continued; the audience was giving us an ovation.  They had enjoyed our performance and we had certainly enjoyed sharing some of Viva’s limelight.  Thank you, Viva, for the privilege.  Our best wishes for Hawaii.

David Southgate, Chairman of The Kentones

Coaching with Rod Butcher

11 November 2012
 

The day started with a new accessory to our Viva wardrobe with the introduction of our new branded pink hoodies.  The hoodies will be a welcome addition to our short sleeved t-shirts especially now that the winter months are drawing in.  The splash of pink on the risers looked great – very vibrant! They will also be useful when travelling to convention next year and internationals next November.

Rod Butcher joined us for the day to work on one of our new convention songs.  There was plenty of jokes and banter as we made our way through the song phrase by phrase.  Rod gave us lots of ideas to shape the song and got us thinking about the actual meaning of the phrases and interpretation.  We certainly worked hard and everyone was tired by the time we had finished for the day.  We made fantastic progress for our first intensive coaching day.  Thanks Rod.

An Evening of Mediumship - our latest fundraiser

08 November 2012

 

Last Thursday saw our latest fundraiser and it wasn’t your usual barbershop evening. This was something a little different…an evening of mediumship with local medium Christina Green.

 

The doors opened, tea and home baked cakes were purchased and the packed out audience settled down to have their inner secrets revealed. Christina picked out members of the audience from her spot on the stage and told them things about their past, present and future. Her instructions to the audience were simple “say either yes or no, do you understand?”. She told particular members of the audience about loved ones who had passed and the messages they had for them.

 

Not everyone was a believer before attending the evening. There were many skeptics in the audience, including many of our Viva ladies! She surprised many with her detail “I went as a skeptic but some of the stuff seemed very specific and certainly got me thinking. I would definitely go again!”

 

All in all it was a highly successful evening and definitely an entertaining one with Christina's wit. The cakes literally sold like hot cakes and we have made a fair few pennies for our Hawaii trip. No rest for the wicked though as this weekend sees our show in Essex. Please see our Events page for more details and we hope to see you there!

Bluewater Wedding Fair

22 September 2012

 

This was a first for Viva Acappella, but we were determined to make our mark at the recent Bluewater Wedding Fair and I do believe we did!!

Amongst the beautifully decorated cake stands, pristinely laid tables, sumptuous chocolates and elegant wedding dresses our glitzy black dresses could be spotted weaving their way through the crowds of eager brides and grooms, as the Viva Divas made their entrance in to the exhibition hall on route to the Entertainment Stage. 

 

We had a knack of stopping people in their tracks as twenty two women dressed the same paraded past.  We had four performances throughout the day to show off what we could offer the bride and grooms on their big day.  We certainly made an impact and the most popular song on the day was the ‘Amazing Medley’ which seemed to attract a crowd.  We did our best to demonstrate a variety of songs with ‘Lean on Me’, ‘Come Fly With Me’, ‘Weekend in New England’ and ‘Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing’.  We even had an impromptu song and dance with Sinatra as he sung ‘New York, New York’.  Some of the Divas did a spot on our stand to hand out our flyers and encourage the brides and grooms to think differently about their wedding entertainment, whether it be performing a special cherished song at their ceremony or mingling with their guests and performing a flash mob in the pews!!  Jackie Smith even used it as an opportunity to ask every man who walked past to marry her! Think she was a bit late really……but nobody wanted to tell her that!

Our first flash mob

30 June 2012

 

Well, what a morning!  We arrived at the location where the couple’s house was being built, some already kitted out with hi-vis jackets, hard hats, tool bags, tape measures, clipboards, plans! It was hilarious! We met Debbie at the office , and then walked round to where we were going to be singing - not quite what we were thinking - the house was a shell, covered in scaffolding!!  They had fenced off a tiny little area for us to sing in. So we all thought how are we meant to be inconspicuous in a tiny little area like this!? But where there’s will there’s a way so we had a couple of run-throughs, and it our little clumps decided what we were going to be talking about when they arrived. Grace was having “Operation Flashmob, Progress Report” texts with Mr M and we eventually got news that they’d arrived! Cue everyone to their places, and conversations started about sloping rooves, dorma windows etc. The couple appeared and walked over to the house. Mr M, quite loudly said “Let’s have a photo”, this was our queue! The pitch was blown quietly and 4 of us started the intro and from there our group slowly grew and grew.

 

At first, Becky had a look of disbelief on her face, then as she quickly realised it was for her she proceeded to cry, which didn’t help a few of us!  Trying to hold back the tears we battled through the ‘Amazing Medley’, and managed to get to the end in one piece, and at the same time!  Mr M said a few words, got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes: WOOO!! We clapped and cheered, popped the cork on a bottle of bubbly, posed for photos, and sang 'Happy Birthday’ to Becky.

 

The couple invited us to join them in a pub afterwards for a celebratory drink, as they were having Birthday celebrations for Becky with friends and family. 11 of us went and we gave them a mini performance with 'Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing’ and the 'Amazing Medley’ again.

We can all honestly say that the flash mob was the most exciting, and fun performance we have ever done. And what is even more exciting is that we have secured the deal to sing at their wedding!!!

 

Check out the video on our Listen page

It really isn’t Impossible!

12 May 2012

 

Wow…all of Viva Acappella’s dreams came true last weekend…and more!!

 

With the dress rehearsal done, bags packed, and fake tan applied we all headed to Birmingham for the moment we had been working towards for the best part of the last year – the 2012 Sweet Adelines’ Region 31 Convention.

 

The path to convention hadn’t exactly been smooth sailing…only 2 weeks before one of basses Claire broke her ankle – some say it was because she sang the wrong note! Luckily we brought in a stool, and after a reshuffle of the stack Claire was still able to perform. Then the day before the big performance disaster struck again when another member of the chorus, Fi, badly sprained her ankle which left her sitting in A&E in Birmingham. As Fi was part of the front row choreography, the front row gathered in the hotel corridor at midnight for an emergency rehearsal. Thankfully after another reshuffle, and Karen stepping in, the choreo was ready to go, and Fi was still able to hobble on stage on crutches.

Last minute rehearsals on the Saturday morning left us with Gaynor’s last words – ‘Stick to the Plan’ and ‘Remember you are Brilliant!’ (said in a welsh accent) and that’s precisely what we did.  We came off stage pleased with our performance and hearing the gasps from the audience at the end of our ballad, ‘You Don’t Know Me’, gave us promising signs.

 

After all the choruses had competed we waited with anticipation for the results. We could not have been more ecstatic when we secured the ‘Most Improved Chorus’ award with an increase of 110 points from the previous year, followed swiftly by the ‘Small Chorus Gold medal’. After our celebrations we settled back in to our seats to hear the rest of the results. Never in a million years would we have ever thought that what happened next was possible! As the announcement was made that Viva Acappella had secured 1st place Champion Chorus of Region 31 above all the large choruses we were in complete disbelief and the hall was filled with our screams and tears. We had just won a place to sing at the International Sweet Adelines’ Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii next November!!!

 

What is pure brilliance to the story is that in 2011 at the same competition, we performed a reworked comical version of the Impossible Medley with Gaynor’s rewritten words about how it was impossible for a small chorus to become ‘Queens of Region 31’. We really have achieved the impossible!!!

Now where’s that bikini!?

 

Congratulations must go to all the choruses and quartets who won medals throughout the weekend, in particular our fabulous quartet- ‘The Late Show’ who placed 5th, and Surrey Harmony who came 2nd, winning the silver medal (4 of our members are also in Surrey Harmony, so what an achievement to win both gold & silver all in one weekend!)

 

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