About Mersey Harmony

Liverpool Ladies Barbershop Singers

How We Got Started

The original members of Liverpool Ladies’ and Men’s barbershop choruses came from the Bentley Operatic Society and the Liverpool Male Voice Choir.

Bob Kay was a music teacher from Dovedale School. Inspired after seeing a documentary about barbershop quartet singing in America, he attended a Barbershop Convention in Newcastle and formed a men’s barbershop chorus. In 1975, he persuaded Rhiannon Owens-Hall, LRAM, to found the Liverpool Ladies Barbershop Singers. Later that same year, Rhiannon and other chorus members attended the (men’s) British Association of Barbershop Singers (BABS) convention. Soon after, she became a founder member of the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS).

The Liverpool chorus thrived and went on to win three National Championship gold medals, even performing at the London Palladium.

At the turn of the century, the name “Mersey Harmony” was adopted to reflect members from the whole of Merseyside.

A Chorus Of Laughter And Friendship

Mersey Harmony is, as it always was, a group of vibrant, multi-generational women who enjoy singing a cappella (in the barbershop style).

Every Monday night, members travel from far and wide to leave the world behind them and sing together.

As a chorus, we firmly believe every voice has a story to share, and each voice adds depth and beauty to the songs we sing.

Not to brag, but we have a fabulous repertoire! Of course, that doesn’t stop us from learning, and perfecting, new songs. New songs are always fun to learn, although some are more challenging than others!

While being able to read music can be helpful, it is not necessary. We have audio tracks for every song and part. In fact, members gain exclusive access to this material in the members section of this site.

Over the last few years, Mersey Harmony has seen a decline in membership as some of our long-term members were no longer able attend rehearsals. We have gone from a large chorus with a great depth and balance of sound, to a condensed and passionate group who still love to sing.

We have always welcomed new members, but barbershop has become a very niche skill over the years so recruitment has been a bit of a struggle. That being said, we are not women who are easily defeated. 😉 

In fact, this is a direct call to you… come and see for yourself what we are all about. In fact, bring a friend or two! If you love to sing, you are very welcome. It’s your time.

A Little Potted History in Pictures

As Mersey Harmony looks to the future, it is always fun to take a peek at some of the things we have done over the years. From performing on the big stage, to singing in outdoor festivals (in the cold and rain) and everything in between: weddings, charity events, and other functions.

We have been featured in newspapers, on radio, and on TV, competed in national contests, travelled, socialised, celebrated, and commiserated. There has been a lot of learning, a lot of fun, and a lot of memories.

Featured on T.V.

In 2016, Mersey Harmony were lucky enough to be featured in a full length programme on Bay TV (now Liverpool TV).

It was a lot of fun to be part of this.

2018 Prostate Cancer UK Event

In 2018, Prostate Cancer UK held a charity concert at St George’s Hall.  Mersey Harmony very much enjoyed singing in such a wonderful setting. We even got a standing ovation!

British Transplant Games

In 2016, the British Transplant Games came to Liverpool and we were lucky enough to sing at the award/closing ceremony at the Echo arena

40th Anniversary Gala

Mersey Harmony celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2016, with a gala dinner at the Isla Gladstone Conservatory.  It was attended by members, past and present, and their families, including quite a few founder members.

Make Music Day

One of our favourite events to participate in is Make Music Day. Musicians and singers from across the region get together to make music – even if it is freezing! 

Pudsey Bear joined us!

Mersey Harmony loves to be part of charity events, and the Children in Need ones are always a little special. We particularly enjoy singing with Pudsey!

Frequently Asked Questions

Got some questions? Check here to see if we can help you right away.

Do I have to be able to read music?

No, not at all! Being able to read music can be helpful, but it isn't necessary. We have sheet music available but also provide audio teach tracks for people who prefer to learn by listening.

What if I’ve never sung in front of other people before?

It doesn’t matter to us whether you’re a seasoned singer or whether you’ve never sung outside your bathroom! Singing in a chorus with other people is a great opportunity to explore your love of music, whilst having the comfort of being in a group setting.

How often do you perform?

It depends. We tend to have a performance, or what we would call ‘a sing-out’, at least every few months. And around Christmas time we normally do lots more. We love sing-outs, but there’s no pressure to be in your first one until you feel ready.

What are the payment options?

You can pay monthly by standing order or, if you prefer, you can pay a lump sum annually. We are happy to talk about what works for you when you come and visit. 

Do I have to audition?

No, no audition is required. You just come along and sing with us and see how it goes. And after a few weeks, our lovely MD will suggest which voice part you might be most comfortable in to suit your range.

I’m a bit nervous about coming to a session – do you have any advice?

Being nervous is completely understandable when trying something new. We’re a very supportive group and would love you to come and join us. Plus, we will happily have someone ready to meet and greet you at your first session.

How much is membership and what are my fees used for??

Membership of Mersey Harmony costs £23 per month (this includes membership of LABBS).

The fees are used to cover our expenses, such as rehearsal venue rent, MD time, promotions and advertising, and other bits and pieces that crop up.

The LABBS membership fee covers public liability insurance, education events and grants, access to National competitions, a quarterly magazine, and more

For more information on our prices click this box.

Who are LABBS?

The Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers was founded in 1976 (Mersey Harmony was a founding member). Since then, LABBS has grown to around 60 member choruses (approximately 2,300 members).

Through regional education days, national quartet weekends and many other events, LABBS aims to provide regular education for members to grow and develop in the craft of barbershop and harmony. For more information, click this box!

MEET OUR COMMITTEE

“Hi! I joined Mersey Harmony in 2006.  I fell in love with the harmony and still need my weekly fix.  During a very difficult time in my personal life, my Mersey Harmony friends were like a comfort blanket and still are.  I was Public Relations Officer for 3 years and have just begun my 2nd year as Chair.”  

Angela Stevenson

Chair

I was introduced to Mersey Harmony over 30 years ago. My husband sang with the Liverpool Men’s Barbershop Chorus and, after going to many events where the two choruses performed, I was encouraged to join the ladies. I have loved every minute of it and made longlasting friendships by taking up this amazing hobby.

Lyn Sherratt

Secretary

“I’ve sung in various community choirs over the past ten years. In early 2019, after moving to the Wirral with my partner, I joined Mersey Harmony.

I’d never sung barbershop before but quickly took to the tenor part.

I was delighted to join the Executive Committee as Vice-Chair in February 2020.”

Charlotte (Charlie) Sansome

Vice Chair

“I have been a member of Mersey Harmony for eleven years. When I first joined Mersey Harmony and heard the beautiful four-part harmonies, I knew Barbershop singing was for me. I sing the Tenor line, which harmonises above the melody. It is a great
hobby; you not only enjoy singing but make good friendships too.”

Janet Johnson

Membership Secretary

Hi I’m Monica and have been with Mersey Harmony for 10 years. First time at rehearsal I was hooked!! Sounded great and we still do.

A friendly atmosphere and such fun to learn songs in four part Harmony!”
Monica Wallace

Fundraiser

I am the current Public Relations Officer (PRO), having been a member for some 14 years. My role is to help plan and organise our involvement for a variety of events. So, if you would like us to sing for your fundraiser, club, wedding, birthday, or any other special occasion, please get in touch. 

We look forward to singing for you !”
Colette MacFarlane

Public Relations Officer

 “I got hooked on the barbershop sound, sparkle and sorority in Canada in 1979 as a young mum!

After many travels, and different ‘a cappella’ choruses, I joined MH in 2008 to sing lead – usually on the back row, despite being vertically challenged! Hobby or way of life, I ask myself? Love it!

Heather Lovelady

Treasurer

Luke has won numerous barbershop awards and enjoys making sure we sound our absolute best.

Luke Freeney

Musical Director