Shrewsbury School

Introducing Shrewsbury's newest 'a cappella' group, the Burney Singers

Wednesday 19 November 2014

By Ed Carroll (Ch UVI).

At the beginning of this term, Rob Shone and I were both talking about how we were very interested in setting up an a cappella group, and we each had very similar ideas as to how we were going to organise it all. Within two days, we had three more members, and so had formed Shrewsbury School’s newest a cappella quintet.

We chose to include people from across the School, spanning four houses and three years, with a keen interest in singing and also a very good ear for music. Within our group I sing bass, creating the foundation for each piece and also organise rehearsals. Above me is Ben Higgins (S V), our baritone who has an excellent ear for improvisation (which he makes sure we know!). Our next member is the aforementioned Rob Shone (Ch LVI), a tenor who alongside me organises much of our rehearsals and arrangements. Our alto, as well as our lead arranger, is Charis Virgo (G UVI) and finally our soprano is Loren Kell (EDH LVI), who is capable of singing anything that is thrown at her!

We run our group ourselves, meeting for rehearsals when we are all free and have a break from work and School-driven stress to sing together. We rehearse on average about twice a week, learning new pieces almost every time we sing – be it arrangements we find online that we like the look of, or ones that we have put together ourselves. Rehearsals tend to be of a very light-hearted nature as despite wanting to sing as well as we can, we also are in the group to have fun, and so because of this we tend to pick up new material quite quickly. We have also had a chance to sing in front of a professional vocal group that visited the School, ‘Juice’. They gave us some pointers as we were starting out, which we have taken on board to the best of our abilities. The dynamic in the group is excellent and I am truly happy to be able to be a part of it all.

So far this term we have performed twice. Our debut was a concert in a local parish church. Thankfully we were very well received and thus had our invitation from the Director of Music to sing in a concert a few weeks later. It is always very fulfilling to have all of the hard work put in behind the scenes paying off, especially with the pressures of normal School life!

Currently we are building up to two more events, one this term and one at the beginning of next. The first is the School Christmas Concert for Hope and Homes for Children on 6th December, for which Charis has written us an excellent little carol medley which we can’t wait to start learning! The second is a performance at Cambridge University next term, which is a very exciting opportunity the Salopian Club has given us and one that we are looking forward to very much!

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