They sing even when they’re not winning – although they usually are.
Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club’s competition choir, Hallmark of Harmony, have improved on last year’s bronze medal by finishing second in the National Barbershop Championship in Bournemouth.
The improvement marks slight but significant progress for the choir, who practise hard for two and a half hours every Tuesday night at Holt House Infants School, Bannerdale Road, Sheffield, under the guidance of music director Andy Allen.
But expectation is high. Since forming in 1978 – when just eight members practiced at Gleadless Common – the Hallmark of Harmony chorus has gone on to win the National Barbershop Convention an incredible six times.
Although the last of those wins was back in 2000, when their renditions of ‘Happy Days And Lonely Nights’ and ‘Looking Good But Feeling Bad’ thrilled the judges in Brighton, the chorus is now edging ever closer to regaining their crown.
That’s not all. They chorus has also represented the British Association of Barbershop Singers three times at the international barbershop contests in America, becoming the first ever British contestants in the process and they’ve also recorded an album at the Abbey Road studios in London.
“We were very pleased with our second place,” said Chairman Bob Devine.
“We were beaten by the Cottontown Chorus, from Bolton, and in fairness they were very good. But people who saw both performances said ours was more thrilling and entertaining, which is the kind of performance we love to give.”
Before the Championship the chorus, which has around 70 members, spent a weekend at a retreat in Castleton, Derbyshire, honing their performance and building team spirit.
“Our club has always had a very strong local ethos and draws many of its very talented members from the local communities.”
“When I joined five or six years ago a lot of members had left and we were struggling a little bit.
“But we’ve brought in new people and now we’re improving all the time and getting back to where we were.”
Later this year, the chorus will mark their 35th anniversary with a special concert in which members from years gone by will return for a celebratory performance.
“It promises to be a special night,” added Bob.