Ladies’ barbershop chorus puts Norwich on map

It's not just the Canaries flying the flag for Norwich at the highest level - the city's ladies' barbershop chorus is also now in the top flight.

Norwich Harmony Ladies' Barbershop Chorus did the city proud at the national competition last month by moving up to the first division and winning a trophy for its efforts.

Barbershop is enjoying something of a renaissance in the UK and there are now 50 ladies' choruses in LABBS Ladies' Association of British Barbershop Singers. Norwich Harmony is now up there with some of the country's best and is ranked 13th in the UK.

The chorus was set up 32 years ago but one of the singers, Clare Phillips, who lives near Magdalen Street in Norwich, said it was only now starting to hit the big time.

She said: 'It is such an achievement for all the girls.

'We've spent all year working hard, rehearsing and attending workshops preparing for the competition. We are all so proud that we brought the trophy home.'

She said being a member of the chorus was great fun.

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She added: 'It's relaxing to go out once a week and hang out with the girls. We don't take ourselves too seriously and it's like an extended family. We have now got 40 members aged from 16 to 75. We sing modern songs as well as older songs such as 'Gimme Gimme a man after midnight' and have just learnt 'Moon River'.'

Alison Thompson, chorus director, said: 'As a ladies' chorus we didn't expect to come home with a man – but Peter - as the trophy is affectionately known - will be spending a week with each of us over the year. He's currently on holiday in Devon with one chorus member.'

The chorus is often asked to sing at charity and fundraising events around Norwich and further afield.

This month it performed at two concerts raising money for the Poppy Appeal and the run-up to the festive season is destined to be hectic with an array of Christmas concerts, carol services and fundraisers.

Norwich Harmony will be performing a free Christmas selection in the Atrium at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Thursday, December 8 at 6pm and also, for free, in front of the Forum, from 12pm on Saturday, December 17.

The chorus meets on Thursdays at St Peter's Church, Newmarket Road in Cringleford, from 7.30pm.

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How is your group putting Norwich on the map? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email