The Bar-Tones

The singers started with limited resources in 2014 - very little sheet music, no full-time accompanist, a useful but ageing electronic piano and reliance on a few CD accompaniments. A mixed age group of very enthusiastic people who had come for the purpose of singing were of very varied ability (some could read music others could not). However, it was never an intention to have auditions and the tag line was and remains "Singing for Fun!". We met for a few Thursday evenings and then had some weeks off during the school summer holidays - time to prepare for the proper start in mid-September. Would they all come back? We need not have worried as numbers continued to grow! The group was creating its own enthusiasm and an opportunity for people to sing without any pressure - no matter what level of ability an individual offered.

From the start, a geographical restriction on membership of The Bar-Tones was introduced and singers still have to reside in Barton under Needwood or one of the neighbouring villages: Dunstall, Tatenhill, Walton on Trent, Wychnor or Yoxall. By far the majority live in Barton. Singers are offered a free taster session on their first visit. Some sheet music is given to members, but on occasion a small fee of £3.00 per item is charged.

The Bar-Tones continued to develop and we were very fortunate to find an accompanist when Pam Pryce joined in October 2014. Pam was a great enthusiast, always great fun and rarely missed a Thursday but had the support of Joan Thompson who played if she was unavailable. It was, perhaps, amazing that by Christmas 2014 we were in a position to produce a show Christmas Miscellany which also included some visiting musicians. It was the first time some singers had ever performed in public to a seated audience! Others had not sung in public for more than 50 years!

By 2016, the old electronic piano was cutting out on occasions so a successful application was made to The Barton and Dunstall Key Trust for £3,000 to purchase a new Yamaha Clavinova and this has proved most beneficial with its many voices and facilities.

However, tragedy struck in January 2017 when Pam suffered a fatal accident at home from which she never recovered. It was a very sad time for the singers,  but we were very grateful to Joan Thompson who agreed to become our regular accompanist. We were continually adding new music and our repertoire was growing at a fast rate.

The Bar Tones

By 2018 The Bar-Tones was developing into a larger group of singers with a broader range of music under its belt, singing three and four-part arrangements in addition to occasional unisons songs. Also some members of the chorus have sung solos or duets and others have created smaller groups to sing different items. It was a great opportunity which has developed enthusiasm and courage. We have so far produced four Christmas Shows and two Summer Shows.  The 2018 Summer Concert in July included a great variety of music from a Tudor madrigal and 'classic' pop items to songs from Broadway Shows and a challenging modern religious piece.

"I always wanted to sing, and now I can", the joy expressed by one member of The Bar-Tones.  The talented trio of Stephen, Anne and Joan enable all the aspiring voices of Barton to live their dream by turning Thursday evenings into a time of song, laughter and friendship.