Singing in Quartet requires all of the best qualities of Barbershop singing and then some, so here are a few examples of Quartets associated with The VIPs.
Tony Gooding, Andy Flack, Gareth Roberts and Jonathan Williamson, all founder members of The VIPS, have been singing as Acafella for about 7 years. They are based in Ipswich and sing a wide variety of well known songs in the Barbershop style.
If you are interested in finding out more about them, have a look at their website:-
Brian Schofield, who was a founder member of The VIPs, and provided Gaynor with tremendous support during their formation, has been singing Barbershop at medal winning level for more years than most of us can remember.
Brian now sings with Portobello Road, an acapella Quartet from the south of England. Specialising in the Barbershop style, they also sing many other genres of music. They took second place in the National Barbershop Quartet Championship at Harrogate in May 2014, repeating the acheivement twice with silver medals at the 2015 convention in Llandudno and again at BABS‘ return visit to Harrogate in 2016.
Undaunted, they outperformed the opposition in the prelims held in Manchester in November 2016, taking first place and laying down a clear challenge for the Finals at the BABS Convention in Bournemouth in May. True to form, they topped the listing after the semi-finals on the Friday, and blew away the opposition with a beautiful performance of their two new songs in the Sunday Finals, proving worthy winners of their Gold Medals at last!.
All four numbers are available on their Facebook page. So, for a real taste of Quartetting at its best, follow them here.
This is the Quartet brought together by our founding MD, Gaynor Schofield, in the same year that The VIPs were formed. Their success is a credit to their hard work and enthusiasm as well as their undeniable talent. Their story is recounted below.
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 keys the songs should be in. Once we had decided that everything should be in A♭ 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!
Hot Note then went on to win the double gold by winning the Region 31 Quartet Contest in May 2015 and will be representing The UK and The Netherlands at the International competition in Las Vegas in October 2015. What a roller-coaster of a year!
Our friends in Hot Note bowed out of the competition scene in March 2016 with a performance in “The Show of Stars” at the BinG Convention in Munich. Many thanks for allowing The VIPs to share the stage with you at several of our fledgling concerts. You will be greatly missed.
If you would like to know more about Hot Note, contact Gaynor at