About Mersey HarmonyLiverpool 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 established 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.
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 to Mersey Harmony is £23 per month (this include membership into LABBS).
The fees are used to cover our expenses, such as rent, M.D. time, promotions and advertsing, and other bits and pieces that crop up.
The LABBS membership fee covers music licensing and access to National competitions, scholarships, 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!