Retaining top spot aim of chorus

SING: Virginia Humphrey-Taylor performing with the Christchurch City Chorus.

A top a cappella American coach is helping some of the city’s best barbershop singers win a national competition for the 11th time.

Lea Beverley will be working with the Christchurch City Chorus over the next month to help it win the Sweet Adelines New Zealand regional contest in May at Wellington.

Already the chorus is one of Australasia’s highest achieving women’s a cappella choruses having won the national competition 10 times in a row.

Beverley arrived in the city last weekend and is touring the country to teach other a cappella singers.

“I love New Zealand . . . the people are amazing, the country is beautiful and the singers throughout the country are so devoted to getting better,” Beverley said.

She said she will be mostly working on helping the chorus to sing “with a lot of emotion.”

“I work on the technical elements like singing the vowels properly . . . consonants and singing all the words together,” she said.

As part of its preparations for the competition, the chorus will present concert A Cappella Champions On Show at St Margaret’s College later this month ­ to preview its competition package.

The show will be hosted by Beverley.

The chorus performed the show to finish fifth in the 2016 Sweet Adelines International Chorus Competition in Las Vegas.

“We want to be first one day but we are slowly creeping up,” musical director Virginia Humphrey-Taylor said.

She said the chorus got Beverley to help train the new people joining.

“New people are always joining the group . . . we want to make sure everybody is trained. We always have new music we have to sing at a high level,” she said.

The chorus is hoping to win in Wellington so it can take part in the international competition in New Orleans next year.

Humphrey-Taylor said the chorus will be taking on more “show music” this year performing songs including Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight and Vera Lynn’s A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square.

Beverley first came to New Zealand to teach in 2009 and has since judged the regional competition three times.

She is classically trained as a pianist, but joined Sweet Adelines 22 years ago.

Three of the choruses she runs have won nine regional competitions and placed in the top 10 in the international competition six times. The Christchurch City Chorus will perform A Cappella Champions On Show at the Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College on April 21.

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