On 21st October 1998 Harry Hall, a veteran barbershop singer from the UK, placed an advert in the Costa Blanca News asking ladies interested in forming a chorus to attend a meeting at Los Arcos Restaurant. 10 Ladies attended that meeting and within a few weeks were singing chords in harmony. Less than half had any previous experience in barbershop singing.
In October 1999 we had our first public performance in outfits bought from "The White Rosettes", the gold medal chorus from Leeds. We have 26 singing members and 8 social members, and from our initial repertoire of 12 songs, we now know a variety of about 40 songs ranging from ballads to rock and roll and have sung in many prestigious theatres on the Costa Blanca, namely The Benidorm Palace, Virgin del Carmen and Palaccio theatres in Torrevieja and the Rojales theatre to an audience of 700 people. Many of the people who attend our shows come back to see us on a regular basis. We also sing in a variety of other restaurants and bars in the area and have sung in more unusual places including caves, churches and airport lounges.
Of the founder members Olive Hall, Judy Phillips, Chris Coppin and Maggie Ellis-Press are still with the chorus.
(The picture on the left shows these founder members being presented with bouquets by our previous MD, Jan, at the 10th anniversary dinner dance of the Velvetones on 21st November 2008. Judy Phillips is our new MD from September 2012.)
Harry Hall passed away in September 2002 and his funeral was attended by "The Velvetones" and "The Torrevieja Harmonisers" (the men's chorus) who both gave harmonious tributes......
Sheila Phillips, a founder member and experienced barbershopper took over the musical direction of the chorus. Unfortunately after a prolonged illness Sheila died in June 2004 and again was given a fitting send-off - true barbershop style by "The Velvetones" and "The Torrevieja Harmonisers".
We were very fortunate to have Jan Ryder, an experienced barbershop singer and judge at Conventions in our chorus and Jan was able to take over the musical direction, since when the chorus continued to go from strength to strength.
Jan was Musical Director for the Velvetones from January 2003. For 24 years she has been a member of the Arun Sounds barbershop chorus in England who have been small chorus trophy winners on many occasions. Over the years she has sung in various quartets, been responsible for presentation in the Arun Sounds and has coached other choruses and quartets. For four years she attended the Judge Training Programme, specialising in the Presentation Category.
From September 2012, Jan handed over Musical Directorship to Judy Phillips.
The Velvetones are members of SABS (Spanish Association of Barbershop Singers), which was inaugurated in 2009. It is hosted in turn by the various member groups and has so far been held in Torrevieja, Madrid, Murcia and in 2012 in Benalmadena on the Costa del Sol. The Convention is attended by many visiting Barbershop choruses and quartets from all over the globe.