Musical director job a dream come true

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Spinnaker Chorus, Portsmouth have some exciting news – John Palmer (formerly of The Royal Harmonics chorus, Windsor) is to take over as musical director of this ladies’ barbershop chorus in February.

Current MD, Jenny Savory is standing down after five years directing Spinnaker, during which time the chorus has had multiple medal winning success in regional competitions and music festivals.

Spinnaker Chorus, a ladies’ a cappella barbershop chorus formed over 10 years ago with a membership of just 25. Over the last decade this popular group has increased in number to 85 with ladies ranging in age from 14 to 85 years.

In 2015, 16 members of the chorus took part in Gareth Malone’s The Naked Choir as he searched for the best a cappella choir.

John Palmer affectionately known as JP, started his musical journey as a five- year-old OCD piano player.

He played a bit of church organ, a lot of jazz, a fair bit of blues and accompanied dance lessons and examinations as well as playing in some ‘very pleasant’ pubs and clubs in his home county of Essex. He also taught guitar on residential courses for Essex education department.

In 1993 he found Saffron Sound Barbershop Harmony Club in Saffron Walden, Essex and was instantly hooked on a cappella. JP’s an honorary life member of the Cambridge Chord Company where he was part of the ground-breaking team that went on to four consecutive British Barbershop titles.

Since then he has sang lead with The Serious Chord Squad from Windsor.

He joined as MD in 2008 and has competed annually since then, never leaving the top five in the country.

Before Windsor John was MD of the LABBS Chorus in Havant for six years, including one meteoric first contest cycle when the chorus went from 29th to 7th in the country in six months between convention and prelims and on to win most improved chorus.

On getting the job as Spinnaker’s MD JP said: ‘I must be absolutely bananas. It is actually a dream come true and brilliantly close to my home.

‘But to follow in the fabulous Jenny Savory’s footsteps is a challenge not to be taken lightly. Suffice to say I have fastened my seat belt and advise them to do the same.’

Spinnaker Chorus meet on Wednesdays from 7.30pm- 10pm at Blendworth Church Hall, Blendworth Lane, Horndean. PO8 0AA.

For further details visit spinnakerchorus.co.uk.