Grand Central Chorus win the IABS International Chorus Competition 2016!
45 Grand Central members, together with many wives and partners, travelled to Cork over the weekend of 7/9 October for the 27Th Annual Convention of the Irish Association of Barbershop Singers (IABS)
On Friday, we took part in an Open Entertainment competition – this included quartets, small groups and choruses. We performed the Wizard of Oz Medley from our 2015 BABS bronze medal-winning package. However, this time we had a guest (John Ward) taking the role of Dorothy originally played by our MD Zac Booles, and we all enjoyed entertaining yet another audience with that song.
After a varied selection of performances, Hillfoot Harmony, a Sweet Adelines chorus from Scotland, deservedly won the competition for an extremely entertaining “Robin Hood” parody which the audience really enjoyed.
In the main IABS International Chorus Competition the following day, we were drawn to sing first, competing with choruses from Scotland, Spain, Ireland and the UK, including Spirit of Harmony, one of the top BABS Choruses.
We performed our 2016 BABS silver medal-winning competition set (If I Only Had A Brain and Over the Rainbow/Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) all of which had been arranged especially for us by our brilliant “in-house” arranging team of Zac Booles, Richard Curtis and Mark Burnip. The standing ovation we received from the audience at a packed Cork Town Hall will be remembered by us all for a long time.
When the results were announced we were declared as the 2016 IABS International Chorus Competition winners, with Spirit of Harmony in second place – so a very good day for the BABS representatives. This was reinforced by the excellent silver medal won by the young BABS Quartet “4 on Demand” (including our Baritone Nick Bryant) in the International Quartet Competition, with “The Grand Dads” coming 6th.
We then performed on the Saturday evening Winners Concert Gala and without the pressure of competition and a judges’ panel, reprised both our winning songs and closed with our first ever performance in a big show of “Tomorrow” from Annie (yet another wonderful Booles, Curtis and Burnip arrangement).
The special Guest Quartet for this IABS Convention were our own Finest Hour – the current BABS Quartet Champions – who did a superb job all weekend, singing so many times and always delivering world-class quality performances. Eddie, James, Nick and Phil once more made us all very proud that they are part of Grand Central Chorus!
Overall, an extremely successful and enjoyable trip for Grand Central Chorus and all those who participated. The success is down to everyone, but in particular Kevan Liebling, our Asst. MD who led the chorus so well over the weekend in the absence of Zac Booles; Richard Curtis, our Vocal Coach and Peter Tatham, Performance Coach were also instrumental in ensuring the chorus delivered the best possible sound and performance on stage, not forgetting Barry Clinton, whose Tai Chi warmup exercises were great fun and relaxed everyone!
The weekend wouldn’t have happened without all the “behind the scenes” work of our Treasurer, George McKie, who coped so well with the challenges of fluctuating £/euro exchange rates, and finally Peter Tatham, who worked tirelessly to ensure our travel and accommodation, as well as the detailed timings for the three days, were planned in detail, clearly communicated and delivered.