John Beesley's blog

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 followd 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.

It's a busy time for the chorus at the moment - among our most recent performances was one for listeners to BBC Radio London 94.9. These days the average radio studio is far too small to accommodate the entire chorus, but our quartet "Slipstream" were able to squeeze in beside Saturday breakfast show hosts JoAnne Good and Simon Lederman to talk about our activities and provide a couple of songs. You can listen to our intrepid radio stars Paul Gordon (bass), Simon Laight (tenor). Patrick Key (lead) and Aidan Brand (baritone), along with our musical director Pippa Goodall here   

Sunday April 24th was a long and exciting day for Capital Chorus. We'd been invited by the organisers of the Virgin Money London Marathon to provide songs to spur on the thousands of runners who, each year, rise to the herculean challenge of pounding the punishing 26 mile course to raise millions of pounds for good causes. We were stationed beside the eighteen mile marker and it was a huge privilege to be able to cheer on the top paralympian athletes, the elite runners, the enthusiasts and those good-humoured souls plodding round the course in fancy dress.