How it all began
One November evening back in 1987, an enthusiastic group of women, aged from fourteen to sixty years, got together in a Church Hall in Sandown on the Isle of Wight, and Wight Satin was born.
The Musical Director of this fledgling chorus was Stuart Sides (currently directing choruses, coaching quartets and choruses, and singing in multiple groups in the Netherlands) assisted by his mother Anita and his fourteen-year-old sister Beth (who is now singing with the UK’s hugely successful champion quartet, Finesse, who are also now 4th in the World!!).
Our first contest
Thanks to a feature in the local newspaper and a mention on local radio, chorus membership began to increase, and a year later a more confident Wight Satin decided to go along to the annual Convention of the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS) in Harrogate.
WOW!!! It took our breath away. Everyone was so friendly, the enthusiasm was infectious, and as for the singing – we couldn’t wait to become part of it all. We applied and were accepted as a LABBS club in June 1989, and we entered our first preliminary heat in April 1990 at Aston in Birmingham.
We had to leave before the results were announced, so we phoned in from the first service station - to discover we’d won our way through to the finals in Harrogate later in the year! We just had to sing to celebrate, and received a great round of applause from other travellers.
Later in the year we competed at Convention in Harrogate, and we were proud to accept the Novice Chorus Trophy. Since then we have competed at venues all over England, from Exeter to Harrogate, and in the Republic of Ireland.
The Rise and Rise of Quartets
Soon two chorus members, Anita and Miriam, and their daughters, Beth and Chris, decided to form a quartet and called themselves Family Ties. We were so proud of them when they went on to win Silver Medals in 1991 and 1992.
But we really raised the roof at Portsmouth Guildhall in October 1993 when they became winners of the coveted Gold Medal for Quartets. This fantastic achievement led to Family Ties travelling twice to the USA, to perform on stage in Disney World, Florida, and the International Jamboree in Miami.
Following the success of Family Ties, several other competing quartets have arisen from our Chorus over the years, among them Steppin' Out, Harlequin, Root Ginger and Island Edition.
When work commitments took Stuart to the Mainland, he left us in the capable hands of his sister, Beth. Later, Beth would also cross the Solent to work, leaving her mum, Anita, as Musical Director. Chris, another member of Family Ties, took over next, followed by her husband Alan - yet another Gold Medal winner with BABS. As you can see, we’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had a series of uncommonly talented people working for us.
In February 2006 we were lucky enough to engage Nick Frampton, who is an experienced Director and a Presentation Judge for both LABBS and BABS, as our Musical Director, until his retirement in January 2010 due to ill health; he’s now singing with another musical ensemble on the island.
From January 2010, the MD’s many responsibilities and tasks were undertaken jointly by a team of talented ladies from within the chorus with many years combined experience in barbershop singing and music-making. They gave Wight Satin the benefit of that experience for the following 4 years. From January 2014, the unenviable task of leading us was taken over by Jacqueline Morris, a music/piano/singing teacher and member of Wight Satin since November 2012.
Into the future
Over the years Wight Satin has sung at a wide selection of venues on the Island and further afield, and we intend to go on entertaining people, raising money for charity, working together to improve our performance standards, and taking part in events, contests and festivals wherever and whenever we can.
The LABBS motto is "Ring the World with Harmony" – we strive to put that motto into practice, from the rigours of rehearsal to the buzz of performance, in fun and fellowship.
We always welcome new members and look forward to great things this year and beyond.