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2022 - Oh What A Year!

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

Written by Kyra

Anne, a beloved Belle

There was a sad start to the year with the news of Anne Thompson's death. She was a significant part of the chorus for many years with a beautiful bass voice. Many members attended her funeral and her family kindly donated money from the collection to the chorus as it had given her so much pleasure to sing with us over the years. During Christmas 2021 some Belles gathered at her window for some carol singing which I understand she enjoyed very much.

Back in the rehearsal room we were still masked up and socially distanced. We slowly started to have more time mask free to prepare for our first concert at Joseph Rowntree in March. The Barlow boot camps helped get our voices (and stamina) back on track and allowed for a few more snacks and chatter along the way. A return to the Sunday retreats we knew and loved!

The Joseph Rowntree Concert came and disaster struck. Our amazing MD had COVID. We were gutted. But Helen, (our Assistant MD) stepped right on up and directed us gloriously and we were broadcast to Catrina at home via the magic of hospital radio. I'm sure she cried a little bit! It proved what we already knew - that as a chorus we were resilient and could take anything thrown at us.

Abbey Belles on stage at Joseph Rowntree

We built on this momentum with our trip to Cleethorpes in June:

Abbey Belles conga at Cleethorpes
Abbey Belles winning at Cleethorpes Music Festival 2022

We were mainly just happy to get out and have a good day but we only went and won the barbershop chorus class! And the judge was so complimentary! Getting to experience other live barbershop singing was fabulous and Spirit of Harmony and Main Street Sound contributed too to the friendly atmosphere. To cap it all off we had fish and chips, raucous singing on the bus home and even a little late night karaoke for some members!

Jabberwocky won Most Improved at LABBS Prelims 2022

Not long after, Jabberwocky won 'Most Improved' at Prelims and also met the great Emma Shanks - Music judge. She agreed to come do some coaching with us as a chorus and it was empowering. Those three sessions built on our fundamentals we had been practicing at the boot camps and some amazing sounds started to be produced and just in time…

Abbey Belles receiving coaching from LABBS Judge, Emma Shanks

The culmination of many months of planning and organising, our concert at Selby Abbey to fundraise for Ukraine was an outstanding success. A mixture of music from the beautiful Yeseniia, The Bounty Hunter Trio and us. £5,660.51 was raised in total due to the many different fundraising methods including ticket sales, raffle, cakes, collection buckets, busking in the lead up and the Kyiv to Selby challenge (#K2SChallenge)! During this the Abbey Belles (and friends) pledged to cover the mileage a Ukrainian family would need to do in order to seek refuge here in Selby (1,685 miles). We smashed that as well with over 3,800 miles covered in total!

Abbey Belles performing at their concert in Selby Abbey with Yeseniia

As the year drew to a close we started to get the risers out again. No easy task as most of us had forgotten how they worked!

We ended up with 5 Christmas singouts and then a bonus busking session in Selby Tesco arranged at the last minute. The Christmas singouts were all amazing and Catrina got the chance to really practice her Christmas cracker jokes!


Some Thank Yous...

A massive thanks to Carol who has been working tirelessly as Vice Chair this year. There was suddenly a lot more to coordinate than there had been for quite some time! We are grateful she has agreed to continue this year.

Della has made a return to the business committee this year (after a brief break) as Secretary and her knowledge and experience has been well received. Thank you for everything.

Anne T had the headache of an extra account this year for the Ukraine fundraising and far more accounting to do. Thanks for keeping the books balanced!

Thanks to Ann M who keeps so much going - LABBS fees and memberships, bags2school and all the lovely blue tops and yellow jewelry this year!

And special mention to Candy who although is not on the Business Committee had her vision of the Ukrainian Fundraising Concert and ran with it. It would not have been the scale it was without her vision!

Last and biggest thanks go to Catrina our MD. Thank you for persisting with us all and giving us so much of your time and energy. Your positivity and love of barbershop is infectious (in a good way!)

Let's see what 2023 brings us!

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