‘Outstanding’ Hemel bass singer calls it a day - with resounding applause from his chorus pals
84-year-old John is retiring from the Hertfordshire barbershop chorus
An 'outstanding' bass singer from Hemel Hempstead is retiring at the age of 84 - with a resounding 'thank you' from his chorus pals.
One of the finest bass singers in Hertfordshire barbershop harmony history, John Green, of Galley Hill, has performed with the Kings of Herts chorus for 26 years.
Chorus chairman John Lough, who presented John with a commemorative thank you trophy, called it 'a remarkable record from a colleague with an outstanding voice. He will be greatly missed.'
John Green joined the newly-formed Harpenden-based chorus in 1995.
A Londoner, he attended St Andrew’s Church School, and sang in both school and church choirs and once a week at early morning mass.
Joining the Kings of Herts revived John's early enthusiasm and revealed his facility for learning the four-part barbershop repertoire - way in excess of 100 songs.
He said: “It was a quarter of a century of pleasure - performing in a variety of shows, going abroad for singing holidays and festivals, and all along enjoying a great social life.”
His proudest moment came in 1996 when the Kings finished tenth in the national convention championship run by the British Association of Barbershop Singers in Brighton, in competition with around 40 other choruses, many of them twice the size of the Kings.
Roger Chantrelle, Kings’ music director from 1994 to 2002, said: “John played an important part in achieving this success. We rose in 18 months from 39th in elimination rounds to tenth.
"John was a confident and reliable singer and enthusiastic performer both in contests and at sing-outs.
“His positive approach was infectious and it is great that he has been able to enjoy ‘ringing some barbershop chords’ into his 80s.”
John, who has five sons and 10 grandchildren, has lived in Hemel Hempstead since 1963.
He is a trained mechanic who finished his working life as a boiler operator with paper and board producer John Dickinson.
Barbershop has not been his only hobby, in his youth he played table tennis for Middlesex and he ran four London Marathons.
Another highlight was a charity bike ride for the fire brigade, round the coast of Britain - and there were two attempts to climb Mont Blanc, Europe’s second highest mountain, first with eldest son Mark, and then with Mark and second son Ian, although neither bid was successful.
As he bows out, John recommends barbershop to men of all ages.
He said: “I have loved the singing, the camaraderie - and the sheer enjoyment of it all coming right on the night.”