How Low Can YOU Go?!

How Low Can YOU Go?!
Type of post: Chorus news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Emma Tofi
Status: Current
Date Posted: Tue, 2 Apr 2024

Can you hit those rich low notes?!

Emma, our Assistant Musical Director, poses with the trophy More Harmony won at Wadebridge Festival of Speech & Music
It's been a busy few months for us here at More Harmony HQ!  After our Love To Sing course came to a triumphant conclusion, we were straight into competitive mode!  We entered Wadebridge Festival of Speech & Music in the "Small Ladies Choir" category and were delighted to once again win a trophy and receive a distinction!  Our AMD Emma was, as you can see, thrilled to pose with said trophy during a celebratory trip to the pub, afterwards...

Sadly, due to several members being unavailable to perform the following night, we were unable to enter the festival's barbershop category, but the judges allowed us to perform our barbershop set on Thursday night following our "Small Ladies Choir" performance and we received absolutely glowing comments!  We're so proud of our singers, not to mention our exceptionally hardworking MD.  More Harmony are a team and when we pull together, we've shown that we can achieve amazing things!

Next up for us was an important recruitment drive.  Our small chorus is fabulous, but we know that with just a few more voices in the mix, we'll be unstoppable!  We began advertising for new singers and were thrilled by the response - we've had some wonderful women through our doors over the last few weeks, all of whom have stuck around and already feel like part of the family!  But there's one section we still need to find new members for...

How Low Can you go?

In barbershop singing, the bass section is crucial.  Those rich, low voices underpin everyone else and often have the driving rhythm behind the songs we sing.  Indeed, they're so important that to achieve a good balance of sound, you want to have at least as many basses as you have leads (the part that usually sings the tune), but ideally more.  It's not at all uncommon to find that the bass section is the largest section in a barbershop chorus.  Unfortunately, we currently have just two basses and whilst they're both fabulous, they could do with some back up!

Liz from More Harmony's bass sectionLiz, our bass section leader (pictured), has many years of barbershop experience behind her and is as enthusiastic and supportive a teacher as you could wish to find!  She and Nat - who not only sings bass but is Co-Chair of the chorus - do a fantastic job together and are keen to welcome new members to their little gang!  So, why should you sing bass with us?

1. It's Usually Easy To Learn

Whereas the leads have got a mountain of lyrics to learn and the tenors/baritones have parts that tend to be slightly more of a challenge, the bass part is often simple to pick up.  If you've not sung in a group before and you're feeling a bit daunted about learning lots of new songs, the bass section might be a good fit for you.

2. If you've sung alto, you can handle bass!

If you've done any singing before, then you might have heard the terms "alto" or "soprano."  The sopranos sing the higher notes, whereas altos are lower.  Often, we find women who've sung in choirs before will tell us that they can't hit those soprano notes anymore and are keen to move to an alto or contralto range instead.  If that's the case, welcome to the bass section!


3. Do you sing along with male singers on the radio?

We know that the term "bass" can be a little off-putting.  You might imagine that we're asking you to sing such gravelly low notes that you'd be giving George Ezra a run for his money!  But in actual fact, if you find yourself singing along to songs by Elton John or Billy Joel, then there's a good chance you've got the ability to sing bass!  And whilst the bass part is the lowest part we sing, we often sing it an octave above the notes written on the score, so we tell music readers not to panic when they first see the sheet music (and no, you don't have to be able to read music - we learn all of our songs from teach tracks!).


4. Have you been told you can't sing or that you sing too low?

For a start, we don't believe that at all.  With the right support and the correct methods in place, pretty much anyone can sing.  But you wouldn't believe how often someone will tell us "oh I'm tone deaf, I can't sing a note," only for us to realise pretty quickly that they're a natural-born bass!  Women in particular are often expected to sing high and if they can't, they're all too often written off!  Trying to force your voice to hit notes beyond your comfortable range is not going to yield positive results, so why not embrace those lower notes and come and sing in our bass section?!

Whatever your vocal range, you're welcome at more harmony!

Whilst we are on a pretty major bass hunt right now, we are of course still open to singers of all ranges.  There's a warm welcome and a cuppa waiting for you, if you'd like to get involved!

More Harmony are on our Easter break, but we'll be returning to regular rehearsals at Wadebridge Ambulance Hall from Thursday 18th April at 7:15pm (doors open at 7pm).  We'd love to see you there!