A Cappella Returns To Calpe

What is a cappella?
Although a cappella is technically defined as singing without instrumental accompaniment, some groups use their voices to emulate instruments; others are more traditional and focus on harmonising. A cappella styles range from gospel music, to contemporary, to barbershop quartets and choruses.

There are thousands of people across the globe enjoying the unique art form of barbershop singing, which started in the early 1900’s when men were queuing to get their hair cut at the local barbershop and harmonised together while they waited; hence the name.

If you’re looking for entertainment with a difference in April, then look no further than SABS, the Spanish Association of Barbershop Singers. SABS is part of a worldwide network of barbershop associations and is affiliated to the Barbershop Harmony Society in America, where it all began.

Barbershop enthusiasts from Spain, Europe, New Zealand and the USA will be in Calpe at the SABS Convention and, although the convention itself is only open to delegates, SABS has organised a special show, ‘A Cappella Fusion’, for the public to enjoy. It will take place at 8pm on Thursday 4th April at the Hotel AR Diamante Beach in Calpe. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see two of the most talented a cappella groups from Germany and the USA. Show tickets are available at just 5€ from Margaret & Elena’s Card & Bookshop, Galerias Mar Azul, 9 Av. Gabriel Miro, Calpe, or email tickets@sabs.es or call 696 514 613

SABS has secured two champion a cappella groups and, fused with a touch of flamenco, the show is guaranteed to wow audiences. Supported by Compañía de Flamenco JM, 20/20 Quartet (USA) and Heavy Medal Chorus (Germany) will strut their stuff and amaze you with their vocal talent.

20/20 Quartet comprises four very talented members of the Association of International Champions of the Barbershop Harmony Society in America: Royce Ferguson (Tenor), Jack Pinto (Baritone), Jeff Oxley (Bass) and Joe Connelly (Lead).

Directed by Norbert Hammes, the Heavy Medal Chorus hails from Germany and is made up of quartet gold medal winners (men’s, women’s and mixed quartets) from Barbershop in Germany (BinG). Founded in 2011, the chorus has appeared throughout Germany and has recently represented BinG at the BHS International Convention in Nashville.

Compañía de Flamenco JM is headed up by Jay Markwick, a world class Flamenco dancer. At 13, Jay Markwick danced at the ‘World Flamenco Festival’ in Seville and has performed throughout the Iberian Peninsula, picking up accolades and awards on the way. He even appeared on television’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ in the UK and won the TV talent competition ‘Spain’s Next Star’. His talent was further recognized through his being publicly nominated and winning his category in the annual ‘Pride of Spain’ awards. Jay has continued to develop his talent and has recently worked and trained together with such famous Spanish flamenco stars as Farruquito, Oruco, Farruco, Barullo, Oscar de los Reyes, Pablo Egea and Lola Sornichero.

“SABS is holding its convention in Calpe for the third time this year and we are delighted to have two such talented groups as our star guests.” commented SABS President, Lyn Baines. “We have been made so welcome by the Mayor of Calpe, César Sánchez Pérez and Town Councillor, Carole Saunders that we want to share this wonderful talent with the people of Calpe.”

With so many of Calpe’s hotel rooms booked by delegates arriving from Spain, Europe and the USA, residents will no doubt find them bursting into song in the local bars, cafés, hotels, or even in the street. This is all part of what happens when barbershoppers get together for their conventions and Calpe is in for a real treat.

Spangles Celebrate International Women’s Day

It was a full house at Spangles’ concert at the Los Alcázares Town Hall on March 9th. Organised to celebrate International Women’s Day, the ladies of this medal-winning chorus did not disappoint.

“We are very grateful to the Town Hall for inviting us to celebrate International Women’s Day in the best way we know how” said MD, Wendy Grant. “Spangles is made up of some great women and we were delighted to sing for the people of the town”.

Formed in December 2004 with just five women, Spangles is in its 15th year and has grown to over 40 members who love a cappella singing. They are also founder members of the Spanish Association of Barbershop Singers (SABS) (See above article).

“We’ve worked hard on our contest package and we hope to do well in Calpe,” remarked Wendy “but Spangles isn’t just about winning medals. We all have a love of a cappella singing and we’ve become a family, caring for and looking out for each other, through good and bad times”.

Spangles also supports local charities and has recently donated 150€ to Cruz Azul Murcia, which they helped to raise at the C Breeze Cocktail Bar in Playa Flamenca.

“We very recently sang again at the bar to help raise 600€ to help a terminally ill lady be more comfortable in her last days” commented Chorus Manager, Lyn Baines.

Spangles rehearses at Centro Municipal Las Claras, Calle Helena, Los Narejos, Los Alcázares every Thursday from 10.15am-1.15pm and visitors are always welcome. Why not go along and see what it’s all about?

To find out how to join or to book Spangles for an event, please call Lyn on 693 017 617 or visit www.spangleschorus.com

Photographer: Polly Rimmer