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Our history so far…

GEM Connection Barbershop Chorus (GEM stands for Great East Midlands) was founded in May 1998 by 23 enthusiastic female singers. Since then the chorus has increased and now has over 50 members.  

The chorus performs at a variety of events in the East Midlands, where we are based. We support both local and regional Music Festivals and community events and have also taken our music to Wales, Germany, Holland and Buffalo in New York state, performing on shows and competitions with other singing groups and musicians.


To give a flavour of our programme, the past two years have included the following:


2015 (Gallery)

2015 started with another successful ‘Be a GEM for a Day’ workshop where attendees not only added artistry to the song they had learnt, but also how to do moves at the same time.  In April GEM took part in the Voice Festival UK Community Choir final at Birmingham Conservatoire. In June we sang to a group of visitors from the Methodist church in Nigeria whilst on retreat working on our competition songs, and in October we won BRONZE at the national LABBS competition.  We finished the year helping to raise money for the ‘Sing for your Heart’ charity in Derby and also sang at the Rolls Royce Band’s 80th birthday celebrations.


2014 (Gallery)


Although GEM took a year out of the competition field, it was still a very busy time. The chorus sang twice for Radio Derby, held a very popular one-day workshop on harmony singing, and went to Italy in May for a 5 day whirlwind tour of Tuscany, singing in squares at every opportunity and giving concerts in churches every evening. In the Autumn GEM’s 2nd CD was recorded and released just before Christmas. GEM also supported charities in Stretton and Derby, and had guest spots at the Making Music Conference and a graduation gathering at Derby University.  The year finished with another sellout Christmas Show.


Our repertoire is varied ranging from traditional Barbershop standards to songs from West End shows and popular music from recent decades. We are a keen and confident team of singers of all ages and from all walks of life, coming together to make the unique sound that is GEM’s barbershop harmony.

Since 1998 GEM Connection has continued to work hard to improve its national standing in competition. This gets more difficult each year as we and other choruses continue to raise our game. However, in 2008, after celebrating our 10th birthday, we were delighted to have our efforts rewarded by winning the silver medal at Harrogate in our association’s annual competition.

We continue to work ever harder to improve the standard of our performance. This is achieved by enjoyable weekly rehearsals led by a rigorous chorus director and Music Team, regular expert coaching sessions, and a will to improve by working hard both individually and as a team.


Want to know more about this type of singing? See What is Barbershop