John Beesley's blog

It was more than just monkey-business. Incorporating ape-like sounds and gestures into a barbershop contest song was a real departure for the chorus, but we were determind to do it convincingly and sing the song well. After all, this was our biggest event of the year, the annual contest organised by the British Association of Barbershop Singers. The song in question was a David Wright arrangement of  Disney's Jungle Book classic, "I wanna be like you" While our musical director Pippa Goodall drilled us on the notes, Tom Fitch, one of our tenors, stepped forward to provide us with a humorous visual interpretation of the action in the song.

One of the highlights of the Capital Chorus year involves being invited to sing for runners and spectators at the London Marathon. It's happened for the past three years  and whatever the weather it's always a day of excitement and surprises.  Our preparations always begin with an early roadside warm-up at 9.15. This year we were placed in Docklands, beside the 18 mile marker, and our audience consisted of race-stewards and paramedics.  It must have been odd for them to see 20 or more blue-shirted enthusiasts pop up on the pavement singing silly rounds and doing penguin jumps. But at least we were able to ease some of the pre-race tension and before long our warm-up had an appreciative audience of people decked out in official day-glo orange or yellow tabards.

Rarely have we appeared on such an unusual bill. The scene, the stairs of the reading room at the Wellcome Collection beside the busy Euston Road:  The decor, medical models, skeletons, extensive tall bookshelves and a prototype x-ray machine. The occasion was a Friday night event called "Macho?" which was billed as an exploration of the complex science of masculinity. Along with the many serious gender-related topics under discussion there was a lot of fun. We followed hard-on-the-heels of a very competitive nappy-changing contest (worry not - dummies were used and no real babies were harmed). Elsewhere in the building a group of Drag-Kings were hosting a "Bromance Caberet" .

Capital Chorus has just returned, tired but enthused from a weekend of intensive coaching at a hotel in deepest Buckinghamshire. It was part of our preparation for the annual British Association of Barbershop Singers convention in May. The weekend was certainly hard work, with two full days of expert tuition from one of the Barbershop World's most experienced directors and singers. Zac Booles is a gold-medalist with perhaps the UK's best-known quartet, The Great British Barbershop Boys, and he also directs Grand Central Chorus, one of the country's leading Barbershop ensembles.

We love this comedy song, originally sung by the a cappella group Straight No Chaser, so as it's already December the whole chorus gatecrashed Santa's workshop and got busy. Under the direction of our chief elves Pippa (musical mayhem) and Greg (camera craft and technical wizardry) we recorded a VIDEO performance to wish all our friends, supporters and fellow barbershoppers a very Merry Christmas, and a 2017 filled with harmony, health and happiness. We hope it makes you smile.



Calling London’s secret singers. You know who you are – you love to sing in the shower. In the car you can’t help but join in with your favourite songs on the radio. Maybe you once enjoyed singing in a choir but then life got in the way. If this sounds like you then why not take your gift for song to the next level.

In January 2017 Capital Chorus will be hosting the latest in our series of popular “Learn to sing in harmony” courses. Since we began them more than 100 men have discovered their voices, along with the camaraderie, fun, confidence and sense of achievement which is so much a part of barbershop harmony. Interested? Watch our short video for more details.

You may not have realised, but every year September 19th marks International Talk Like A Pirate Day. To barbershop landlubbers like us this is too good an opportunity to miss, so to mark this special day we've recorded a very jolly pirate tag.  Enjoy. 

You see it every day on the news - uncertain future, political turmoil, and the members of Capital Chorus are feeling it as much as everyone else. Like most groups of friends we had some lively discussions during the EU referendum, but we're fortunate to share a love of music and harmony, and it's helped us to keep in mind that, as the late MP Jo Cox said, there really is far more to unite us than divide us. 

Capital Chorus is delighted to have achieved its highest ever score in the annual competition for UK choruses held by the British Association of Barbershop Singers.  Our two contest numbers Jeepers/Eyes medley and That's All were together awarded a score of 64.6 percent. Our scores for all three judging categories, singing, music and performance, were well above the competition average. 35 choruses took part and our improved marks moved us up three places from 18th to 15th in the national rankings.