SOMETHING ABOUT MARY.
There is something about Mary so they call the film. For me, there is something about Barbershop and A Cappella that I love.
My childhood is filled with happy memories of singing in the junior school choir from age 7 and playing the recorder. Music always made me happy.
When I hit secondary school age 11, I added flute and then age 15 with the aid of funded music lessons in GCSE I started playing the oboe to get an additional instrument under my belt. Lunchtimes and after school were an endless cycle of music clubs from choirs, orchestras, wind band, jazz and the heavy metal band! Performing was always my passion, along with “directing” the junior choir for a spell in my sixth form days and attempting to “arrange music”. During this time, I gained lots of hands on practical experience.
I completed most of my A Level in Music (alas a boy took my teenage attention) and I failed to complete the final months of study. My project was a vocal only arrangement of Phantom Of The Opera (that was never sang except with myself into a tape recorder in only two parts), but it seemed a good idea to sing the instrumental parts. I didn’t know about A Cappella except for vague memories of a band called the Flying Pickets.
During my sixth form years, I joined as a young adult cast member of Avon County (Bristol) Gang Show and took part in five shows so continued to perform. A glorious time on a Crest Of A Wave.
Then adult life took over and the years rolled on. Children arrived. I hadn’t performed for many years.
I Needed A Hobby...
From the moment I walked into the new Black Sheep Harmony Ladies Barbershop chorus that was forming near where I live in May 2012, my life changed. Prompted to join “a choir” after being inspired by Gareth Malone on television (and being rather nervous after years of child rearing), I took the plunge.
A Barbershop Way Of Life…
Black Sheep was the start of the rest of my life. I found out that I wasn’t too bad a singer, loved the sound, made loads of new friends and my first attendance at BABS convention converted me to a hardcore barbershop enthusiast.
I am currently Assistant Director and Baritone section leader in Black Sheep chorus, sing in High Tea Ladies Quartet (Bari), BS4 Mixed Quartet (Lead & Tenor) and am currently exploring another competition quartet line up (as female lead). My previous quartets have included BrizzleChix (Bari), along with a fairly regular stand in slot for The Songsmiths (Lead and Bari). I have been in BABS Extreme Quartets in 2013, 2014 singing “male” tenor, Extreme Quartets singing male lead and in May 2015 I sang in the first European Harmony Brigade singing “male” lead. I am helping organise the first UK Harmony Brigade in Feb 2016. I am a club at large member of LABBS, Sweet Adelines and an Associate Member of BABS.
I also sing a reasonable female bass, but haven't have sang that part in quartet- yet!!
My first experience of multi tracking was in response to a Barbershop Me Facebook competition in 2013. Since then it has been my little hobby creating multi tracks and arranging (often by ear) as I enjoy hearing piece of music coming alive. My You Tube tracks are unedited vocals which is the way I like them.
However now I have the experience and equipment to produce wonderful accurate learning tracks for quartets, choruses and A Cappella groups. They are kept fairly natural sounding with plenty of room to add your own interpretation as I believe that should be the performers choice, but pitch corrected for note learning and with limited vibrato.
Enjoy. There is Something About This Singing.
Mary Williams September 2015.