The Barbs zooming it together!

The Barbs giving their best sultry look and Monroe pouts

By Urja Patel, Lead

After ending 2019 with a string of wonderful Xmas singouts 2020 started out the same as all the years before – with our Xmas dinner in January at the lovely Bull Inn in Arborfield where we also serenaded the locals to a few of our repertoire songs. The following week we had our yearly AGM where our lovely MD outlined her plans for our year ahead – more dancing, more singing and most importantly more socialising hahaha. Little did we know what lay in store for us!

Quiz Master Emma (MD) with her lovely assistant (and daughter) Natasha putting us through our musical paces in the quiz

January turned into February and we were put through our paces by Emma (our MD), Loraine (our choreographer) both supported very ably by our four amazing Section Leaders (Marcia – Bass ; Helen – Baritone ; Claire – Lead ; Liz – Tenor) and a new addition to our repertoire in the form of a new ABBA Medley. There was also a well deserved social event in the diary for the end of February in the form of our very entertaining Fish & Chips night which always contained a quiz put together by Emma which we just new would be based on some form of music.

Some of the Band members with their prizes after winning the quiz

This year we were joined by members of the Waltham St Lawrence Silver Band – a wonderful group we have had the pleasure of singing with over the last few years and hope to do so again soon! Needless to say cake was plentiful, drinks were provided by the venue and much appreciated, we were in stitches over some of the quiz questions and some spontaneous dancing was performed and all in all the Fish & Chips went down a treat! Well done to all those who won raffle prizes as well as members of the Band who won the quiz.

February soon turned into March and there was talk of moves being taught for the newly learnt ABBA medley but no sooner did Emma utter those words and the world – or at least our singing world – came to a complete stop! Enter COVID 19! Wednesday 11th March will always be to me the last Wednesday where life was normal. I had my lovely ladies! I had my singing! I had my me-time! Like so many I had no idea what life was going to entail and how the weeks would progress and more importantly when I would see my Barbs again. Planned singouts – including the wedding of our lovely Lead Natasha – were now being cancelled or postponed which to us was something we – or at least I – had not anticipated and which really brought home just how serious this virus was and how uncertain our days were going to get!

March turned into April and like millions of people life as we knew it ceased and we went into lockdown with schools being closed, parents working from home and in some cases parents worrying about being put on furlough and how they were going to pay bills. We had the occasional long distance chats and plenty of phone conversations but I personally felt lost without my singing – it just wasn’t the same singing in the kitchen or the car or singing and dancing around with my daughters to cheer them up when they were missing their school friends so much but also struggling with the homeschooling and all that that entailed! Singing just wasn’t the same.

Some members of the Basses being joined on a Zoom session with our lovely Tenors – such smiley happy faces
Even some of the Baris managed to Zoom!









The highlight of my weeks was knowing that soon I would have the pleasure of seeing some of the lovely Barbs through video chats – thank god for Zoom! Zoom allowed sections to get together and have a chit chat and even if planned well hold quiz nights which all went down a treat. The best was yet to come!

This week – after what seems like years instead of just 9 weeks – we managed to get a whopping 27 lovely amazing and funny members of the Barbs all together on Zoom – and Emma even managed to get us warmed up – there were plenty of buzzing bees around hahaha – and even got us dancing to ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat!’ – sorry no pics as was too busy trying to remember the moves!

Emma putting us through our paces with a well deserved stretch – and then proceeding to kill us off with some deep breathing whilst bending over sat on chairs – oh how I miss our physical warm ups hahahaha

We still have no idea when we will next meet in person and Emma and Loraine can get their various ‘whips out’ and get us all back in shape so that we can go back to what we do best – singing, dancing, socialising, entertaining and most importantly having fun – but as long as we have Zoom we will carry on chatting and singing – where possible – and most importantly rekindle our friendships.

Keep staying safe!