From Oast to Coast

Barbershop singing in Kent

The East Kent Chorus is the performing name of the Ashford Barbershop Harmony Club.  We sing unaccompanied four-part harmony in the barbershop style. Following a a ‘Learn To Sing’ course in 2009, the club started in January 2010. We have grown in size and in October 2013 another six members joined following another ‘Learn to Sing’.

The group performs as a classic Barbershop Quartet, an Octet (two of each part - see below) and the full chorus. Our repertoire consists of popular songs from the Edwardian era though to the present day and includes songs from shows, ballads, number one hits, Christmas songs and carols.

The group meets on a Thursday evening in Ashford, Kent.  If you are interested in becoming a member or booking the group to sing at an event please contact us.

How Barbershop works

Barbershop vocal harmony is a style of unaccompanied vocal music characterized by four-part chords for every melody note. Each of the four parts has its own role: generally, the lead sings the melody, the tenor harmonizes above the melody, the bass sings the lowest harmonizing notes, and the baritone completes the chord, usually below the lead. The melody is not usually sung by the tenor or bass, except for an infrequent note or two to avoid awkward voice leading, in tags or codas, or when some appropriate embellishment can be created. According to the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), "Barbershop music features songs with understandable lyrics and easily singable melodies.”

The voice parts in barbershop singing do not correspond closely to the correspondingly named voice parts in classical music. Barbershop singing is performed both by men's and women's groups; the elements of the barbershop style and the names of the voice parts are the same for both.

East Kent Chorus

”The convivial company of men of good character”

What do we do?

We meet in order to enjoy each other’s company and have fun. We strive to improve our singing, learn songs and understand the business of performing music. We seek to entertain others, promote barbershop singing in Kent and provide a high standard of performance.  We don’t have any political or religious affiliation, we don’t make a profit.  We are members of BABS (British Association of Barbershop Singers) and we compete at the National Convention and other competitions.  We are the 2015 winners of the unaccompanied choir category in the Hastings Music Festival.

East Kent Chorus Win Battle of Hastings

Singers from the East Kent Chorus won two prizes at the Hastings International Music Festival 2018.

The big prize of the night (both in terms of prestige and the size of the trophy), the adult choir class, was highly competitive with 7 choirs entering the competition. East Kent Chorus, under the musical  directorship of Lindley Gram, sang first and wowed the judges with a version of Uncle Kraker’s ‘Follow Me,’ following this with their interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah.’ The adjudicator’s notes  praised the chorus’ “fervent and committed” performance as a “real celebration of singing.” The chairman of the chorus, Hythe resident and teacher at Brockhill Park Performing Arts Academy, Paul Moran stated “This win is the culmination of a lot of hard work by the chorus. Many of the guys on stage on Friday had not sung in public before they joined the chorus, it is gratifying to see their progress and talent rewarded.”

Five members of the chorus combined with partners and friends to win the A Cappela class as an octet called Wayward Harmonies. This recently formed group have been honing their craft at open mic sessions across the county and were delighted to win the class on the their debut appearance in the competition. The group delighted the judges and audience with their balanced harmony singing of ‘Wonderful World’ and Take Me Home Country Roads.’