Needham Market: Singing group, The ViPs, come second in national awards competition

The ViPs a capella chorus from Needham Market have come second in a national singing competition.

The ViPs a capella chorus from Needham Market have come second in a national singing competition. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

They have been singing for less than a year but already this men’s chorus is picking up accolades.

The Needham Market-based group, The ViPs, came second in the small chorus category in a competition run by the British Association of Barbershop Singers.

They competed against 45 others from across the UK, coming 11th in the best chorus overall award.

Gaynor Schofield, who set the group up with husband Brian and is also the chorus director, said: “Who would have thought that a little chorus who started up last summer could take the UK barbershop world by surprise?

“We did an amazing job. I stopped counting the number of people who came up to us to congratulate us on our performance.”


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The competition was held in the 1,000-seater Harrogate Royal Hall.

Jonathan Williamson, a bass with The ViPs, said: “To stand on that stage was utterly exhilarating. We were blown away by the fact that we were the second-placed small chorus and more so to finish 11th overall at our first convention. A totally memorable experience.”

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Many of the group who were new to barbershop, a style of a cappella close harmony singing which was brought to Britain from the USA in the 1950s, came along to a six-week long beginners’ course last summer.

Following the course’s success, which attracted 40 men on the opening night, the group finished with a performance of the songs learnt in front of family and friends.

The ViPs rehearse most Tuesdays at 8pm in Christchurch Hall, Needham Market and they are keen to encourage new members.

Anyone who like more information should go to www.vipchorus.co.uk or email enquiries@vipchorus.co.uk.

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