Latest News

  • ‘Learn to Sing’ with The Barberettes
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 29 Apr 2024

    We know that joining a new choir can be scary. That’s why, for the last two weeks in April, The Barberettes invited women from all walks of life to join us for free and give singing a go. We were incredibly pleased that more than a dozen women chose to come along with varying levels of experience singing with other people. It didn’t matter whether or not they could read music; we would make sure they knew what notes to sing!

    Our Musical Director Emma introduced the choir, the different singing parts, and led the whole chorus, new and old, with a selection of our warm-ups. New ladies were invited to sing with whichever part they felt most comfortable with. In the second week, most took the opportunity to sing with Emma privately to see which part suited them best.

    Of course, the main event of the two weeks was learning a new song. Lady Gaga’s 'Born This Way' was new to the whole chorus to make it as accessible as possible for those who had joined us. It came together well and at the end of the second week a few family members came along to see us all sing it together. 

    But don’t just take my word for it. One of those who joined us had a few words to say about the experience: “Walking into an established group can be very daunting but the invitation was to experience two Wednesday rehearsals with the Barberettes.  I love singing and it sounded very inviting, so I went along. Emma welcomed us, she was friendly, crazy and funny, so I thought I’m going to like these guys ... we were straight into everyone learning a new Lady Gaga song, 'Born This Way', so it was very interesting to see how we were split into our voice groups and started to learn with the help of our section leader and supported by all the existing members who stood around the new people so we could hear and keep in tune.  Singing a cappella is very different but equally very rewarding and 4-part harmony produces such wonderful sounds from just the voice.  I have to say part of the reason I am hoping to carry on with the Barbs is what an incredibly friendly group of people, you don’t experience that with going into an established group very often. I feel that I should learn by their warmth and friendliness and pass that on in life where I can. Thank you everyone for two wonderful Wednesday evenings and I loved hearing you sing.”

    To all those who joined us for ‘Learn to Sing’, we extend our heartfelt thanks. Of course, you don’t need to wait for one of these events to join us. Whether you're a seasoned vocalist or a first-time singer, there's a place for you in our choir. So, if you've ever dreamed of unleashing your inner diva or simply want to connect with others through the power of song, we invite you to join us.

  • Raising money in aid of Parkinson’s UK
  •  Date Posted: Sat, 10 Feb 2024
    Raising money in aid of Parkinson’s UK

    Our first singout of 2024 took place last Saturday 3rd February when we were invited to sing with the Reading Male Voices at their concert to help raise much needed funds for Parkingson’s UK.

    We really enjoyed singing to a sell out audience of 180 and entertained them with some of our most frequently sung out numbers and included a new addition Somewhere Only We Know. We also managed to help raise an amazing £1,982 in aid of the wonderful charity.

    “Your singing was wonderful - and dancing at the same time! Wow… very professional, but also very entertaining, with something for everyone.” Andrew Last, Chair, Parkinson’s UK Reading Branch

    Our next event will be a two week Learn to Sing course on Wednesdays 17th and 24th April. 

    If you would like to come and see what we are all about why not come along to one of our rehearsals at St Nicolas Church, Sutcliffe Avenue, Earley, Reading, RG6 7JN, from 7.30pm onwards. 

  • Raising funds for Royal Berks Charity
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 11 Dec 2023
    Raising funds for Royal Berks Charity

    By Gemma Redson, Baritone

    Since joining The Barberettes back in July, we have been busy sharing our music at various singouts. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been part of five singouts since I joined, three of which took place in the past week alone as part of the busy Christmas schedule. The highlight of it all was undoubtedly our recent performance at The Minster in Reading, where we took part in a charity concert supporting the Royal Berkshire Charity alongside other talented choirs and performers. The church was packed with an amazing turnout of six hundred attendees - it was a true celebration of music and giving back to the community.

    There's something extra special about singing in a concert and I was lucky enough that my husband was able to attend - his favorite tune was "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas," which had an special surprise appearance by the talented Blossom. The atmosphere was amazing as we sang "The 12 Days of Christmas," where I had the unique role of being one of the two turtle doves. It was a new experience for me, serenading an audience with gentle coos, and certainly not something I've done before.

    My personal favourite was "Somewhere Only We Know" which always feels very emotional, and "Mary, Did You Know" which I had not heard of prior to joining The Barberettes. The mix of these slower songs alongside the more upbeat "We Need a Little Christmas" and "Feliz Navidad", which seems to certainly be an audience favourite, is one of the reasons I love being a part of this amazing group of singers.

    It's also great that we are able to make a positive impact in the community with the concert helping to raise over £4,000. Last week, our performances at Reading Station were dedicated to supporting the same Charity and we were able to help raise an incredible £1,000.

    I'm looking forward to many more concerts, and singouts to come. In fact, there's only a week until the next one at Broad Street Mall on Saturday 16th December so why not come along and share in some Christmas magic!

  • Royal Berks NHS Charity Singout - Reading Station
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 8 Dec 2023
    Royal Berks NHS Charity Singout - Reading Station

    By Anne Parry, Bass

    On the sixth of December, an evening chilly enough to feel just right for Christmas songs, the Barberettes gathered to perform at Reading station for a good cause. The odds were stacked against us – a train strike made us wonder whether we would have an audience at all. Heavy traffic delayed the risers (the platform that we stand on) and also the most important person in the chorus, our MD, Emma….But just before our allotted time, we were in place, and even had time to join in with a couple of songs with the chorus that was performing before us.

    Our turn came, and supported by the very enthusiastic bucket shakers we delivered our seasonal repertoire of known and lesser known songs. Feliz Navidad was the one that put smiles on the most faces, and the one that people sang along to.

    The good cause that I mentioned was the Royal Berkshire hospital, and the choirs that performed raised an amazing £1000. As always we had a fun evening singing and entertaining passers by, and look forward to more opportunities in 2024.

  • Winnersh Christmas Lights - 2nd December
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 7 Dec 2023
    Winnersh Christmas Lights - 2nd December

    Our Christmas season began on Saturday 2nd December when the Barberettes were delighted to be sing at the Christmas Lights Switch On event held by Winnersh Parish Council at Winnersh Community Centre. The event, which was the first the council had held since 2019, also had choirs from the local primary schools as well as a gift market consisting of local craftspeople and sellers and plenty of refreshments including mulled wine which helped keep the cold weather at bay and a raffle for Wokingham Foodbank.
  • Barbs welcome two new members
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 25 Aug 2023

    Over the summer holidays the Barbs gained two new members in, Claire Morgan who is now one of our lovely Basses and Gemma Redson who has joined our very talented Baritones.

    Speaking about her introduction to the Barbs as well as the audition process Claire Morgan said: "I heard about the Barbarettes through a friend (Sue, Baritone) who was already a member. Her love for going is what interested me to try it out!"

    "The audition process wasn’t as scary as imagined, and I really enjoyed singing within a small group. Having a fellow bass member in the audition to support me, helped to ease my nerves and gave me confidence as I had support if I was to have a mind blank! I really enjoy singing with the Barbs, the music is so varied and up beat. Love the dance moves and everyone has been so welcoming and such great fun."

    Gemma Redson also spoke about how easy she found the whole audition process. "I’ve taken part in various music activities my whole life, and love singing. I stumbled onto the website of the Barberettes. Their rehearsals were local, and at a time that I was free."

    "The website seemed professional and the photos certainly showed people having fun. I spotted that they had recently performed in Woodley and thought I would reach out. I went along to a rehearsal and was enthusiastically welcomed."

    "The first rehearsal was a lot of fun, and there were certainly more dance moves than I was expecting! Everyone was so chatty and I was made to feel more than welcome. I was given a track to learn for an audition and given more information about officially joining. In my previous choir, we always had the music with us for concerts, so while I was, and still am, a bit nervous about learning everything by heart, I was challenged to not use music for my audition and surprised myself by how much I could remember. The audition was in a small room with just a few other members and wasn’t as scary as I thought it could be! I was delighted to be told I had passed and the support from everyone else when this was announced to the group was amazing."

    "Since then, I’ve got access to the members area of the website where there’s every resource I could ask for, been added to a Baritone whatsapp group, and learnt as much as a I can. There’s never been any pressure to learn quicker than I can, and everyone has been so helpful and friendly. I’m even now starting to learn some of the dance moves. I’ve certainly never been in a choir quite like the Barberettes but not only is it fun, but the quality of singing and the performances is incredible and I can’t wait to join my first sing-out."

    Whilst Claire and Gemma may be new members they have both been amazing additions to their sections. 

    The Barberettes are always looking for new members so if Claire and Gemma's experiences have interested you and you think you might like to come and give us a go, or just come and see what we get up to on a Wednesday evening, then why not come along at 7:30pm. To let us know of your visit, or for more information about what we do, contact Jo Poulter on 07917 205605 or email

  • Long Service Awards
  •  Date Posted: Tue, 11 Jul 2023
    Long Service Awards

    Over the last two weeks the Barbs held our Long Service Awards where we recognised those ladies who had been with us both since our inception in 1976, through the tough lockdown years and are still here singing their hearts out and entertaining audiences.

    5 Years Awards

    Barbara Hutchens, Hazel Giacomet, Liz Spriggs, Marcia Milsom, Sarah Slinn, Theresa Matthews and Gerry Samuelsson-Brown


    10 Years Awards

    Jo Poulter, Joanna Smith, Anne Parry, Claire Connell, Linda Barlow, Linda Baugh and Naomi Richardson


    15 Years Awards

    Julia Robson and Urja Patel


    20 Years Awards

    Emma Lelliot, Natasha Milo and Cathy Churchhouse


    40 Years Awards

    Loraine Woodward and Lynn Vincent

    We look forward to celebrating many more milestones with our lovely ladies.

    The Barberettes are always looking for new members so if you would love to give us a go or just come and see what we get up to on a Wednesday evening why not come along at 7:30pm and chat to members in the break. You never know - you might end up celebrating a milestone with us and have fun at the same time. To let us know of your visit, or for more information about what we do, contact Jo Poulter on 07917 205605 or email


  • Armed Forces Day
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 29 Jun 2023
    Armed Forces Day

    Last Saturday saw us performing at Forbury Gardens in Reading in aid of Armed Forces Day. We regaled the audience with 'Its Raining Men' which was one of our songs for the Let's Sing competition and which we were proud to win for the third time. We also sang some of our favourites including 'Aquarius' and 'You Can't Stop The Beat' whilst also introducing our military number 'The Andrew Sisters Medley' and our newest song 'Good Vibration'. 

    Looking forward to our next singout at Woodley on 15th July so why not come along and say hello!

  • Woodley Carnival launches 2023 singouts
  •  Date Posted: Sat, 17 Jun 2023
    Woodley Carnival launches 2023 singouts

    By Charis Witkowski, Lead

    What a glorious, albeit scorching day, for a singout! On Saturday 10th June we had the pleasure of taking to the stage to open the 2023 Woodley Carnival. We opened with a fun and lively 'You Can’t Stop The Beat’ and it’s fair to say that the audience’s attention was captured. We followed this with a range of songs, including some with audience participation. The audience were fantastic and all seemed to thoroughly enjoy joining in to “I Wanna Be (500 Miles)”.

    As I am relatively new to the chorus, this was the first of our singouts that my husband and children have attended.  My husband remarked that he was “very impressed with the standard of singing and how obviously well-rehearsed we were with the synchronicity of our moves to the songs. It was a great performance!”.  After many months of me repeatedly singing “It’s Raining Men” at home, the highlight for my 5-year-old was hearing this song being performed at the carnival. He was so delighted by our rendition that he is now singing this song on repeat at home … complete with actions!

    As a chorus we all thoroughly enjoyed entertaining the audience as they basked in the sunshine and it was a fantastic feeling to be so well received by them all. A fabulous afternoon … we only wish we could have sung more!!

    Looking forward to entertaining at Forbury Gardens at 12.30 on Saturday 24th June to celebrate Armed Forces Day where we will sing our latest number and also reintroduce an old favourite. Why not come along and say hello.

    If there are any ladies who would like to come and have a listen to the Barberettes and see what we get up to on a Wednesday evening then why not join us - and even have a go - on a rehearsal night at St Nicolas Church, Earley from 7.30pm. We would love to see you there.
    For more information or to hear more about what we do or even hire us to sing at an event please get in touch with Jo Poulter on 07917 205605 or email her at

  • Fun at Harmony College
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 1 May 2023
    Fun at Harmony College

    Eleven representatives of The Barberettes travelled to Nottingham University on Friday 28th April to take part in the LABBS Harmony College 2023. It was a fun packed weekend attending education session's, quartet coaching & chorus singing. We came back tired but we all agreed it was a fantastic weekend well worth attending!

  • Another successful Fizz and Sing Social
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 21 Apr 2023
    Another successful Fizz and Sing Social

    On Wednesday 19th April The Barberettes held their Fizz and Sing social event which invited interested ladies to come and see what we get up to every Wednesday evening as well as hear us sing some of our repertoire, join us in learning a new song and then enjoy a glass of bubbly - alcoholic and non.

    On this occasion we were joined by 7 lovely ladies who participated in one of our physical warm ups which included doing The Gay Gordon - named after a famous Scottish army regiment (Gordon Highlanders), and is a very popular couples ceilidh dance.

    Emma, our MD, then introduced the ladies to our four sections - Baritone, Bass, Lead and Tenor - and the pitches that they sing at. To show the for parts in action the chorus then sang one of their favourite Christmas songs ‘The Boar’s Head’ before doing some basic chord work with the visiting ladies joining the chorus on the risers.

    To get the memory gears working the chorus introduced the ladies to the ‘12345’ song - the concentration level was very high! - before singing what we call ‘The Amen Song’ in various rounds. 

    Once Emma had exhausted the ladies with our various warm ups both the chorus and visitors got down to some serious work and started learning our new song ‘Good Vibrations’ by The Beach Boys. We initially started learning it altogether to see how far we could get before splitting into four parts to rehearse for a while which actually helped as sections were able to work on various areas they were struggling with. When the four sections eventually came back together things went more smoothly and we made some good progress. 

    After that, while the visiting ladies enjoyed their well earned fizzy refreshments the chorus sang a few of our current songs and totally mucked up the new moves to ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’ much to their amusement! Shame we didn’t get this part on video ?

    All in all it turned out to be a good evening although 4 of the ladies seemed to want to stick to the tenor section so it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks.

    If you would like to give us a go you don’t have to wait for our next social event. All you need to do is come along to any of our Wednesday evening rehearsals at St Nicolas Church, Earley from 7.30pm till 10pm. For more information or to hear more about what we do or even hire us to sing at an event please get in touch with Jo Poulter on 07917 205605 or email her at

  • Mum-Daughter duos
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 13 Apr 2023
    Mum-Daughter duos

    The Barberettes are very lucky to have two mums-daughters sets within our Chorus - Marcia and her daughter Laura and Karen and her daughter Charis. Here Laura and Charis reflect back on their time with the Barberettes and the joys of not only coming to rehearsals and singing together but also winning the Let’s Sing competition on Friday 24th March.

    Marcia and Laura - Joined June 2014 and 2018 respectively
    Mum (Marcia) joined The Barberettes in 2014 and subsequently spent the next 4 years trying to persuade me to come along and join in. Living an hour away at the time, it wasn’t logistically possible; however, after moving back home in 2018, it wasn’t long before I was in that rehearsal hall having a good old sing song on a Wednesday night.

    It became a pleasure to meet with the lovely ladies in the group every week and everyone was so welcoming. We have always been a very close family, so being able to fulfil one of my favourite hobbies with my mum and spending time with her every week has become one of my favourite things to do.

    Over the four and a half years that we’ve been in the group together, we’ve been lucky enough to perform at a number of events including summer fetes, concerts and competitions, with the latest being the Let’s Sing competition at The Hexagon in Reading.

    Although our voices couldn’t be further apart in range with mum singing in the bass section and me in the tenors, our renditions of All of Me by John Legend and Raining Men by The Weather Girls unexpectedly managed to lead us to victory, lifting to the 2023 Community Choir trophy.

    Mum is ever hopeful that she will continue to recruit other generations of the family into the chorus - with two granddaughter already, she might be onto a winner!! We look forward to continuing the fun and laughter we both share with the Barberettes every week and spending that quality time together.

    Karen and Charis - Joined July 2022
    Wow! What an evening! Winning the Let’s Sing 2023 competition at the Hexagon was such an incredible experience, and an added bonus for me was having the joy of sharing this experience with my mum (Karen) on stage, right beside me! Sharing the joy alongside each other made it just that extra bit special!

    When I joined the Barberettes, back in July 2022, I suggested to my mum that she came along as well, knowing how much she loves singing too. Everyone made us feel so welcome and it was such a pleasure to sing with such a talented bunch of ladies that it was an easy decision for us to join the chorus. Since then, we have both loved every minute of being a part of the chorus together.

    We always look forward to our Wednesday evenings together, doing something we both enjoy so much. We have always been a musical family, so it was inevitable we would both end up joining a choir or such like! It’s great being in the chorus together as mum and daughter as we always have someone to practise singing with when we are together, away from the chorus!

    Singing is an ideal hobby to be able to do together as mum and daughter, with age being no barrier, and it’s great that there is such a wide range of ages within the chorus. We always have such fun singing along with the rest of the lovely ladies in the Barberettes and we have got to know so many friendly ladies along the way.

    We look forward to many more years of singing together with the Barberettes and hope that there will be many more opportunities for us to perform together in competitions and singouts, to share with each other again that feeling of pride and joy.

  • From Raggle-Taggle to Razzle Dazzle!
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 7 Apr 2023
    From Raggle-Taggle to Razzle Dazzle!

    By Leonie McDonald, Baritone 

    Who is this woman in the mirror? This stranger in a scarlet, sparkly top with the vampy red lips and high heeled boots?

    If you had told me two years ago that I would perform on the stage at the Hexagon, singing (singing!) for the Mayor of Reading, no less, I would have laughed in disbelief. Probably recommended that you have a little lie down. Preferably in a secure setting.

    Yet on a drizzly, grey Friday night in March, that’s exactly where I was, harmonising with my fabulous choir, The Barberettes.

    To understand the enormity of this transformation, here’s what you need to know. I scruff about in old clothes, living in jeans and trainers. I haven’t worn make up in over twenty years. I definitely don’t wear red. And singing? Not since my school days.

    But, emerging from the Pandemic bruised and bereft, I thought I might join a choir. I wanted that sense of connection. A space to meet new people, grow friendships and be a part of something creative. An alternative rhythm to the usual pattern of my everyday life.

    A friend introduced me to the Barberettes and I decided to give it a go. I was very nervous at first, my voice tentative, my breathing ropey. But there is something about singing that comes from deep in the soul. It feels like a gift to have music in my life and songs in my head. Singing has bolstered my confidence. I stand straighter. I am also more inclined to nudge myself towards things that I am unsure of, new experiences. Which brings me to a rainy Friday night in Reading on the stage at the Hexagon.

    The Barberettes were competing in the grand final of the Mayor of Reading’s annual amateur choir competition, Let’s Sing 2023. My first competition. Emma, our leader, had prepared us so well that I didn’t feel nervous. Our first song was John Legend’s soulful ballad, ‘All of Me’. It’s such a beautiful song and singing it collectively was a wonderful experience.

    When the choirs were whittled down to the final four, we were delighted to be selected to sing again. Our second song was distinctively different, the Weather Girls’ rousing, high energy party song, ‘It’s Raining Men’, complete with dance moves! Our cheeky choreographer, Loraine, was hoping we might get a few ‘tributes’ thrown, but I don’t think even she could quite believe it when one of the judges, the delectable Danyl Johnson, landed on stage! What a result! What a night!

    Singing is a superpower! It gets your endorphins flying and makes you feel great. If you’d like to give it a go, The Barberettes have a ‘Fizz and Sing’ social evening coming up. 7.45pm – 10pm on Wednesday, 19th April at St. Nicholas Church Hall in Earley. We’d love to see you!

  • Competing for the first time
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 2 Apr 2023
    Competing for the first time

    On Friday 24th March eight members of our chorus sang at their first ever competition with us. Following our third win at Reading’s Let’s Sing six of our new ladies have given their impressions of the night and the fun that they had.

    If you would like to give the Barberettes a go and see what we have to offer then why not come along to our Fizz and Sing event on Wednesday 19th April where you can enjoy a glass of bubbly and be entertained with some of our current repertoire (we may even have a new song to learn by then!).

    Carol Burbridge - Lead: Rehearsals for the Let's Sing 2023 competition began in early January.  The Barberettes practised the two chosen songs (with various tweaks to dynamics and delivery from Emma and Lorraine's enhanced choreography) relentlessly until  we ate, slept and dreamt All of Me and It's Raining Men! Come March 24th and the final pre show rehearsal: it would seem that a good deal of our polishing up was wasted as the acoustics at the venue were entirely different from those at our home space.   Last minute adjustments to the positions on stage meant we were barely able to sing through both songs before being out of time.  Many of us were now questioning our ability to give our best as our communal voices didn't blend as well as they should.  When the time came for our performance,  Emma gave us one last instruction backstage before walking on: 'sing really quietly.' We did so and agreed it sounded much better. After each entry had performed, there was an interval for the judges' deliberation.  Having seen the competition, which included a mixed A-Capella group, we began to doubt our chances of singing our second song. This would have been so disappointing due to all the hard work everyone had put in. We really wanted to show our versatility: All of Me is a soft romantic number whereas It's Raining Men! is somewhat raucous.  As the finalists were announced, we held our breath for what seemed like eternity until 'the Barberettes' were announced.  Relief was expressed in our girlish whoops. Emma began the number by involving the audience in the 'raining' (clicking fingers and clapping thighs).  Inhibitions and nerves were left far behind as we, a 'load of tarts,' brought the house down  - and the male judge onto the stage! - with our rendition of It's Raining Men!  That was enough to make it all worthwhile.  The icing on the cake came when The Barberettes were announced winners of Let's Sing 2023. Anyone would think we were a bunch of teenagers as the adrenaline flowed and we filled the auditorium with our loud cheers.  For my part, I was buzzing all weekend. I feel lucky to belong to this wonderful chorus and am truly grateful to Emma et al.  Bring on the next competition.

    Charlotte Hay - Lead: Entered my first competition with trepidation, but felt that all the rehearsing for the songs we were going to perform, provided a great confidence boost. The first song passed in a haze, you have no sense of what you sound like as an ensemble but fully concentrate on our MD conducting and tuning in with the people you can hear. I was not convinced that we would shortlisted to the final to perform our second song. So that was a lovely surprise. Following up with an upbeat song was great fun and felt energised by the collective movements of choir. It felt like a well oiled machine and fun too. I am delighted to be part of the winning choir in spite of being up against some formidable voices!

    Helen Didcock - Tenor: Really enjoyable evening listening to some fabulous choirs.  Wonderful atmosphere and camaraderie. Great getting to showcase what we've been working on and hear the sound mixed up with lots of energy.

    Phillipa Crosby - Baritone: It's a little over a year since I joined the friendly Barberettes so Let's Sing 2023 was my first competition. Arriving feeling nervous, this was soon dispelled by the more experienced  ladies and I decided it was best to think of it as just these lovely ladies and I doing our Thing. And we did. Seeing the other choirs was a joy and an education. Each and every one with a singular story and style making for stiff competition. Judging must have been so difficult.  It was particularly nice to see the young ABCs upholding the Barbershop style, well done girls! It's a shame we didn't see their final song as we were being held outside while they were singing. It would be fascinating to know what the judges thought although, of course, we never will. Personally, I think the stark contrast of our two songs must have been a contributing factor.  And it was great fun to get such fantastic feedback straight from the audience (and a judge!), thanks to our brilliant MD and choreographer, we all came together in a glorious coalition. And then we won! What a fabulous group to be part of.

    Sara Whittacker - Lead: I joined the Barberettes last year and haven't looked back!  From the start there was a warm friendly welcome and I felt a 'kinship' with the rest of the chorus . I was thrilled to have passed the audition a few weeks later and enthusiastically started learning my parts. I thoroughly enjoyed our 'singouts' over the following months ,especially our Christmas concert. Last week I competed with the Barberettes at the 'let's sing' choir competition at the Reading Hexagon. We rehearsed hard but it paid off and we won! . I feel so proud to be part of such a professional and enthusiastic chorus and look forward to many musical years ahead. Thank you! 

    Sue Morten - Baritone: I joined the Barberettes a year and a half ago so this was my first time taking part in a competition with them. On arriving at the theatre the ladies were excited at being there and the theatre was buzzing. As a first timer, I wasn’t sure what to expect but we were shown to our seats at the front left side of the auditorium. Listening to the other choirs sing before us was a good experience to see how we would compare. When we were led onto the stage with the audience clapping it felt great to be up there under the spotlight and I hoped our voices would sparkle as lovely as the glitter on our red tops, which they did as we were put through to the second round. Performing the actions for our second song “It’s Raining Men” felt very natural and they seemed to go down well with the audience as they were clapping along with us which was very nice. When we were chosen as the winners we were all astounded as there were some very good choirs in the competition but we also knew we have a very good MD to lead us. It feels fantastic to belong to such an awesome and dedicated choir.

  • Barberettes win at Let’s sing competition 2023
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 26 Mar 2023
    Barberettes win at Let’s sing competition 2023

    Friday 24th March saw the Barberettes win the Community Choir Category of the Reading Let’s Sing competition for the third time. 

    The annual amateur choir competition which raises money for the Mayor of Reading's charities returned for 2023 - and saw 14 local choirs (7 in the Junior Choir Category and 7 in the Community Choir Category) competing in the grand final which took place on Friday 24th March at The Hexagon in Reading. The charities that were selected this year by the Mayor of Reading were Parenting Special Children, Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (ACRE), and The Sue Ryder, Duchess of Kent Hospice.

    The evening was hosted by ITV Meridian’s Mel Bloor and the judges were led by Reading Mayor Cllr Rachel Eden and included Danyl Johnson (X Factor).

    The Junior Choir Category consisted of Abbey Junior School's Chamber Choir, The Bulmershe Ensemble, St Michael's School Choir, The ABCs (The Abbey Barbershop Collection), Calcot School Choir, English Martyrs School Choir, and Highdown School Choir. The Barberettes were joined in the Community Choir Category by Cantata Conviva, Vocalese, Weller Voices, Time To Sing Choir, Readiophonics, and the Wargrave Community Choir.

    After a wonderful first round that saw all 14 choirs sing their first number - we sang our newest song ‘All Of Me’ - the audience were entertained by Damien A Passmore whilst the judges went off to decide which 8 choirs were going through to the second round and get a chance to sing their second song.

    We were totally over the moon when we were called to join those singing in the second round as the calibre of all the adult choirs was really high (as always) and knowing that we would be able to entertain the audience with ‘It’s Raining Men’. Being one of our favourites numbers it was jazzed up with some new choreography which - surprisingly - ended with Danyl Johnson running on stage and throwing himself at our feet (not quite but close!) which did make a few of our chorus members giggle as we left the stage. 

    When introducing us to the audience Mel highlighted that our chorus included a few mums and daughters which we are really proud to have and hope to have many more in the future. It was also a chance for 9 members of our chorus to experience a singing competition for the first time and they were not only amazing at taking everything in their stride but also did us all proud.

    The Barberettes previously won the Community Category of Let’s Sing competition in 2016 and 2017 and made it through to the second round in 2018 (was won by Readiophonics) and 2019 (was won by Reading Community Gospel Choir).

    All in all it was a wonderful evening of entertainment for the audience and a chance for community choirs to come together under one roof and showcase all the natural talent in Reading and surrounding areas.

    Research shows that any form of music has a positive impact on body, mind and soul and with such a diverse range there is something out there for everyone. So, if there are any ladies who would like to come and have a listen to the Barberettes and see what we get up to on a Wednesday evening then why not join us - and even have a go - on a rehearsal night at St Nicolas Church, Earley from 7.30pm. We would love to see you there.

    We are also hosting plenty of social events and workshops such as our ‘Fizz and Sing’ social on Wednesday 19th April so why not come along and have a listen to some songs from our repertoire and join us in some cake and a glass of bubbly or fizz. 

    For more information about what we do contact Jo Poulter on 07917 205605 or email

  • Xmas Concert at St Nicolas Church
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 12 Dec 2022
    Xmas Concert at St Nicolas Church
    Over the years, The Barberettes have performed with different groups over Christmas; however, this year we decided to hold a Christmas concert of our own.

    At 7:30pm on Saturday 10th December - contending with the England vs France World Cup Game - at St Nicolas Church in Earley, we started our performance off with a rendition of The Boars Head. Our oldest song in the repertoire, dating back to the 15th Century, warmed the audience up nicely to continue to entertain with a number of well known, and some less well known, Christmas songs to begin the countdown to Christmas.

    Some of the songs included Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer - where our very own Reindeer Hazel (Bass) made an appearance - Gaudete, White Christmas and Carol of the Bells.

    Our concert was advertised as featuring special guests ‘the audience’, and wow, did they perform well. Participating in songs such as the 12 days of Christmas and The Holly & The Ivy, we sang together and had a brilliant time…. and even some laughs along the way!

    We also had three 'Readings' by members of our chorus. The first was one of the oldest and most popular 19th century Christmas poem 'Twas the night before Christmas' read by Gerry (Tenor). This was followed by two readings about the woes of Christmas shopping read by Carol (Lead) and Barbara (Bass). Our lovely quartet 'Fourmidable' also sang their Christmas number 'Rockin Robin' which was well received by our audience.

    Although the football score was disappointing, it’s safe to say that we sang to raise our spirits and a brilliant time was had by all.

    Our short but entertaining Christmas season ends with us entertaining Waitrose shoppers in Wokingham from 7-8pm on Wendesday 21st December so why not come along and join us for some festive cheer.

    Merry Christmas to all,
  • Charity Singout for RBH
  •  Date Posted: Fri, 9 Dec 2022
    Charity Singout for RBH

    In conjunction with baby loss awareness week (9th -15th October) Royal Berkshire Hospitals Charity launched their Christmas Appeal to help raise vital funds to support the refurbishment of the bereavement suites located on the hospital's maternity wards. The charity set a target of £40,000 which will help ensure that families who experience the death of their baby during pregnancy, labour or birth have access to a private and tranquil space to grieve.

    In order to help raise these vital funds the charity arranged numerous events at Wokingham Winter Carnival, Woodley Extravanaganza as well as hosting some choirs at Reading Station from 5th to 8th December. The Barberettes were proud to showcase our Christmas songs on Wendesday 7th December evening outside Starbucks whilst commuters were making their way home.

    Despite the cold and dressed in coats, scarves and gloves as well as Christmas Hats and Tinsel for our MD Emma, the Barberettes sang some of their most popular numbers including 'Jingle Bells', 'White Christmas', "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer' along with some not-so-Christmassy (but fun nevertheless) songs 'It's Raining Men', 'All Of Me' and 'The Wellerman'.

    'Blossom' - our honorary Hippopotamus - also demanded she make an appearance so we just had to regal the commuters with 'I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas'. The chorus was then given a break when our quartet 'Fourmidable' sang one of their newer numbers 'Rockin Robin' which went down really well and had the ladies dancing on the risers.

    If you would like to come and join us in some festive singing then come along to our 'Sparkle' concert this Saturday 10th December at St Nicolas Church. Tickets are still available so why not come along and join us in a night of singing and merriment!
  • Celebrating Christmas with Bracknell's TClub
  •  Date Posted: Wed, 7 Dec 2022
    Celebrating Christmas with Bracknell's TClub

    The run up to Christmas is always a busy time of the year for everyone. This week has been especially so for the ladies in The Barberettes. Following on from Saturday's singout at Wokingham Town Hall in aid of the Mayor's Charity of the Year Kaleidoscopic UK we were delighted to be asked to entertain Bracknell's newly formed TClub at Brich Hill Community Hall on Tuesday 6th December.

    Whilst the audience might have been less that the number of ladies on the risers they definitley started getting into the Christmas spirit when they joined the ladies in singing some of our Christmas favourites 'Jingle Bells' and ''White Christmas'. As the ladies were few in numbers the audience also helped in their rendition of  '12 Days of Christmas'. If there had been a competition between Saturday's rendition and this one I think this one won 1st place no questions asked! Special mention has to go to our lovely audience members who were designated as 'Partridges in a Pear Tree (1st Day)' and 'Geeses Laying (6th Day)' to name just a few.

    'Blossom' our lovely Hippopotamus was 'fought over' whilst she made her way along the risers for 'I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas' whilst the ladies learnt a little tidbit about 'Rudolph' actually being a doe rather than a stag (the things you learn at a singout!!!) before Rudolph was joined by the other reindeers for our rendition of 'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer'.

    'It's Raining Men' made it on to our MD Emma Lelliot's 'Singout List' in honour of the Judo Club members who were working very hard in the room adjacent to where we were singing. Other songs that made this list included 'Do You Hear' and 'We Need A Little Christmas' before the TClub held their raffle and invited the thristy ladies for a lovely cuppa and some nibbles.

    You can still 'catch' us singing this evening at Reading Station in aid of Royal Berkshire Hospital from 6.30pm till 8pm where we will be hopefully helping to raise some money for the refurbishment of the bereavement suites on the maternity ward. On Saturday 10th December when we host a concert at St Nicolas Church - tickets are still available so why not come along and join us in a night of singing and merriment!
  • Let the Christmas Celebrations begin!!!
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 4 Dec 2022
    Let the Christmas Celebrations begin!!!
    Christmas finally started for the Barberettes on Saturday 3rd December with our first singout of the season at Wokingham Town Hall in support of The Mayor and her Charity of the Year Kaleidoscopic. 

    The Barberettes entertained the audience with some of their Christmas favourites - 'Jingle Bells' 'White Christmas' to name a few - as well as introduced them to our newest recruit 'Blossom the Hippopotamus' who made her way around the chorus whilst they sang 'I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas' and even managed to get a little cuddle from our youngest audience member.

    The audience even got in on the action by joining the chorus in singing '12 Days of Christmas' and were fantastic when it came to doing a few of the actions too.

    There are three more chances to come and join us in bringing some well needed Christmas cheer. 

    This Tuesday (6th) we will be singing at Birch Hill Community Centre for the T Club. On Wednesday (7th) we will be one of the many groups singing at Reading Station as part of the Royal Berks Charity Christmas Campaign 2022 and helping to raise funds which will go to support the refurbishment of the bereavement suites on the maternity ward. Our Christmas singouts will then be completed on Saturday 10th when we will be bringing 'A touch of sparkle' at St Nicolas Church, Earley where we will singing a wide range of both festive and sing-a-long songs - there might also be a bit of hilarity and silliness mixed in for good measure.

    Christmas is officially here!!!
  • What a wonderful surprise at my 70th!
  •  Date Posted: Sat, 12 Nov 2022
    What a wonderful surprise at my 70th!

    On Saturday 12th November my lovely husband John and I were having a joint celebration for our 70th birthdays at The Mansion House, Wokefield Park, Mortimer. After dinner I was asked to lead our 50 guests into the adjoining room when I discovered the surprise of my life. There on the risers which we use for our weekly singing were 20 of my lovely Baberette friends all looking radiant in their pink outfits.

    The ladies performed several numbers - some joined by my slightly inebriated self and one somewhat hindered by my greatly inebriated husband! - to the delight of everyone.

    As a nod to John and I completing the South West Coast Path, the ladies even sang 'I Will Walk (500 miles)' which during our practice sessions was added as a 'Christmas singout' number - they were very good at not letting on to me about this surprise!

    Our newest song 'All Of Me' finally made it's debut and went down really well. Our guests were also treated to crowd pleasers 'It's Raining Men!', 'Man, I Feel Like A Woman', 'We Go Together' and the ladies made very good nuns when singing 'I Will Follow Him' from Sister Act.

    'Fourmidable' - a quartet consisting of MD Emma Lelliot as Lead, Jo (Tenor), Julia (Baritone) and Marcia (Bass) ' entertained us with their version of 'Boots Are Made For Walking' giving the other ladies a well earned rest.

    A very well kept secret.

    Thank you lovely ladies.

  • ‘Fizz and Sing’ Night
  •  Date Posted: Wed, 6 Jul 2022
    ‘Fizz and Sing’ Night
    Wednesday 6th July saw the Barbs entertaining some new faces for our 'Fizz and Sing' evening.

    Our guests were treated to a glass (or two!) of Prosecco (and Schloer) and mingled with our chorus members before being welcomed by our MD Emma who explained how the evening would progress. They listened to a few of our favourite and popular songs before joining us in a few warm ups which included the Waterfall and a few rounds of Mr Miller to help warm up our voices and get our ears listening to each other. Emma explained how four part harmony works before inviting the ladies to select the parts they felt fitted with their vocal range and did an amazing job joining the chorus in learning our new song 'California Dreamin'. The evening ended with more bubbles. 
  • Entertaining church goers at local Summer Fete
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 3 Jul 2022
    Entertaining church goers at local Summer Fete
    Saturday 2nd July saw a small contingent from the Barbs entertain visitors at a Summer Fete held at St Michael & St Mary Magdalene Church in Easthampstead. The repertoire included some of our favourite songs and was well received by those attending.

    If you would like to come and see us performing why not come along to Music by the River in Henley on Saturday 3rd September. More information to come.

    Also why not come along to our next social 'Fizz and Sing' event this Wednesday at St Nicolas Church in Earley where you can have a listen to some of our repertoire, learn a new song with us and even enjoy a glass of bubbly. For more information please contact Jo on 07917 205605 or by email
  • League of Friends Summer Fete
  •  Date Posted: Sat, 18 Jun 2022
    Amazing if chilly (compared to yesterday!) singout at League of Friends Summer Fete in Tilehurst. Despite the threat of rain and microphones falling over we managed to entertain the audience with our rep and even sang ‘Skyfall’ as an encore. Now to get some new songs under our belt. If you would like to come and see what we get up to on a Wednesday evening then why not come along to our 'Fizz and Sing' social and join us in learning a new song and even a glass of Prosecco. Contact Jo Poulter on 07917 205605 or email her at for more information. 
  • What an amazing night ‘At the Movies’
  •  Date Posted: Sat, 21 May 2022
    What an amazing night ‘At the Movies’

    Fantastic singout at ‘A Night At The Movies’ as guests of Waltham St Lawrence Silver Band who entertained us with show tunes from Jaws, Harry Potter, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and many many more.

    As always it was a pleasure being part of their show and what an amazing way to celebrate returning to the stage after two years away. Hopefully this is the start of many more collaborations with an amazing band that are the amazing Waltham St Lawrence Silver Band.

    Well done to 4midable who entertained the audience with ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’ and the tune from ‘Mission Impossible’ and Altern8te who sang ‘Moon River’.

    Also congrats to four ladies who recently joined us and sang at their very first singout #Joysofentertaining #Returningtothestage

  • All Set For A Night At The Movies
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 19 May 2022
    Amazing evening singing through our repertoire for Saturday’s ‘A Night at the Movies’ with Waltham St Lawrence Silver Band. The event will not only feature our amazing group of 26 ladies but also have an octet and a quartet too. #SilverBand #JoysofSinging #ShowTunes
  • Xmas in March
  •  Date Posted: Wed, 2 Mar 2022

    After two tough years we finally managed to get together for a social and have a belated Xmas dinner in March - we even had the crackers out - and in true Barbs style even managed to have a bit of a sing!

  • Celebrating Christmas
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 12 Dec 2021

    After what felt like an eternity we finally managed to sing in public and ring in Christmas at Bracknell's Lexicon shopping centre. We ended up having to compete with a singing Christmas tree but even that was not enough to dent our spirits. We regaled shoppers with our Christmas repertoire and even managed to put in a few moves and raise some money for the Lexicon's charity.

    Unfortunately this was our one and only public event for 2021 but we are hoping that 2022 will give us more opportunities to entertain audiences and do what we love best - SING!
  • Welcoming our new members
  •  Date Posted: Wed, 8 Dec 2021

    The Covid pandemic proved to be a very trying time for the Barberettes. For a group that loved to get together to not only socialise together but also sing having to resort to Zoom wasn't an easy task and unfortunately by the time we finally were able to be back together again physically saw our numbers dimish as the routine of our Wednesday get-togethers became something of the past for some of our members.

    We where really pleased with our new home at the lovely St Nicolas Church in Earley and decided to hold a 3-week Learn to Sing course in September where we invited ladies to come and join us and see what we got up to on a Wednesday evening in the hopes that we would get some new members. We were really excited to welcome 15 visitors over these weeks and having shown them just what to expect 5 ladies become fully-fledged members on Wednesday 8th December and even managed to amaze us all by learning 11 songs that formed our Christmas repertoire for 2021 and joined us at our public singing event at Bracknell's Lexicon on Sunday 12th December.

  • Celebrating Wendy's 45 years
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 7 Nov 2021

    On Sunday 7th November the Barberettes were honoured to have one our founding members Wendy come back to celebrate receiving her 45th LABBS certificate at an intimate tea party. Being able to host a social event was one of the highlights of 2021 for the Barbs following our last social in May 2020 before we had to close due to the Covid pandemic. Hopefully 2022 will give us plenty of reasons to celebrate our friendships and connections with others.
  • Finally back to face to face singing – albeit with a mask!
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 14 Jun 2021

    No one could have foreseen how much life was going to change from March 2020 and the impact Covid would have on all our lives from wearing masks, queueing at supermarkets, working from home instead of going into the office daily, cancelled holidays and not being able to see family and friends for many months. One of the hardest restrictions I found was not being able to sing each week with the Barberettes in person.


    Week 1 – Barbs together again since a brief get together in October 2020

    So imagine my excitement when the government announced we could meet together in a group of 30 outside. So arrangements were made to meet in a local park on our usual rehearsal night, unfortunately the weather in May had different ideas so we had to postpone that evening and resume back to meeting on zoom.

    For our first week back together the weather was much kinder, well at least it was dry but still cold so there we were gathered together, socially distanced sitting on our own chairs with coats on in the middle of a local park. All I can say is that the youngsters on the skate park must have wondered who were these ‘strange’ ladies who put masks on their faces and then started to sing. We were all very tentative on how this was going to work when we had not seen each other in person in some instances for over a year.  It was great to see chorus members had suddenly grown their legs back after just seeing their heads for the last 12 months on zoom !!

    Week 2

    The 2nd week felt much better not only as the weather was much warmer but you could feel friendships were beginning to resume where they had left off in March 2020 and the banter was beginning to return. We sat away from the skate park this week.

    Week 3 – more people and a new venue to call home

    3rd week – as a chorus we had been looking for a new home to rehearse on a permanent basis so thanks to members of the committee we could now rehearse in the gardens of a local church. To be honest this was such a relief as we had now the use of a toilet. The previous 2 weeks sitting in a local park with no toilets did give some us training in bladder control !!  Again we brought our own chairs, sat socially apart and with singing masks at the ready you could feel we all felt so much more relaxed than singing in the park.

    Week 4 – ladies back to chit chatting and singing together

    4th week – back at the local church which is now going to be our new permanent home with the sun shining – the Barberettes were back with a renewed positivity as we begin to rebuild after the lockdown experience.

    5th week – we are expecting some new ladies to come along and join us.

    So here’s to the weeks, months ahead as we increase our stamina and vocals and become stronger as a chorus.

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