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Kingsmen USA Tour 2018 - Exceeding expectations

The Kingsmen embarked on an adventurous and successful 12 day tour of the east coast of the USA after 18 months of fundraising which netted the grand total of £15K. This went toward paying for all the coach journeys and subsidies for some of the organised trips.

Roy Hann, Music Director, Founder and Hon Life President of the Kingsmen was instrumental in getting the tour off the ground and arranging the itinerary with his many contacts and friends in the USA barbershop scene.

The party took with them a Kingsmen USA Tour 2018 twelve page booklet which was sponsored by local hotels, pubs and businesses to distribute at all their stops along the way in the USA. Sponsors were Dart Marina Spa, Blueriver Cottages, Kingsbridge TIC, Sunshine Luxury Villas, The Cottage Hotel, Buckland Tout Saints Hotel and the Crabshell Inn.

Some pages were devoted to promoting the South Devon and Plymouth region with articles about the 'American Connection' and the tank tragedy at Slapton Sands in World War 2 codenamed 'Exercise Tiger' on April 28th 1944 and the forthcoming Pilgrims Father's 400th Anniversary celebrations in 2020.

The party comprised 30 singers and their wives. One of the Kingsmen's younger members Andy Lamerton took along his wife and young daughter Darcy who is only 18mths old, and she stole a few hearts along the way and was extremely well behaved on such an arduous journey (24hrs travelling at the beginning and end of the tour)!

The first stop was Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and a tour of the Amish community. This proved to be a very inspiring and humbling peek into their simple, but admirable way of life. The group actually did the tour in a yellow school bus which was a novelty in itself!

Then the whole group were treated to a fantastic reception party hosted by the Red Rose Chorus (men) and ladies chorus, the Vocal Harmonix.

The following day the Kingsmen travelled to Harrisburgh to appear on the main stage at the annual Harrisburgh Arts Festival with stalls and smaller stages which hosted a variety of performances ranging from jazz to acoustic artists and bands. The whole setting stretched out along the edge of the picturesque Susquehanna River. The event culminating in a joint chorus with the Red Rose Chorus and Vocal Harmonix Ladies chorus on what proved to be a very hot and humid day with temperatures in the 90's!

That evening the whole group were again treated to another fantastic evening of eating and singing and partying; what a way to end the visit to Lancaster!

On then to Washington where everyone went their own way to visit many of the important sites such as Capital Hill, the White House, the Aeoronautical Museum and much more.

Some of the group visited Arlington War Cemetery which dates from the American Civil War and contains over 400,000 graves of those killed in the First and Second World Wars, Korea and Vietnam. The group arrived in time to witness President Donald Trump arriving in his cavalcade amidst very tight security for the annual Memorial Day service held in the amphitheatre.

This visit was yet another very humbling experience to see all the thousands of white headstones.

There are some very famous people interred there including President John F Kennedy and some of his family members.

A highlight of the tour followed in the evening where the guys got to perform to and sing with former world barbershop champions the ‘Alexandria Harmonizers’ at their international convention rehearsal evening. They are heading to

Orlando in July to try and win ‘Gold’ again and we wish them the best of luck in their quest.

Finally to New York where many of the group were hosted by members of the ‘Westchester Chordsmen’ and their families.

There were some free days where everyone went their different ways, many with their hosts, to visit the many sights of New York and Westchester County (which is where most of the hosts live and the chorus meets for rehearsals).

Many went to the main NY sights such as 'Ground Zero', Times Square, Manhattan and the finance centre, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and the 'High Line' (a disused above ground railway line which snakes for approx. 2 miles through lower Manhattan and is now an oasis of small gardens and trees).

Some of the group visited West Point Military Academy which is in Westchester County and had a guided tour and insight into the workings of the premiere military academy in the USA which is home to some 4000 cadets who are trained to graduate and become commissioned leaders in the United States Army. Their motto is 'Duty, Honor, Country'. All cadets have to have a sporting ability.

There was so much to see and do that it couldn't all be done in the short time there and on top of all the day visits, rehearsals had to be organised in readiness for a joint concert with the Westchester Chordsmen.

This was held on the third and final evening of the visit at Highland Middle School auditorium in White Plains, NY. There weren't many empty seats in the capacity 1500 seat theatre and the enthusiastic audience were treated to some fantastic performances from both choruses and some great quartet singing from the Westchester Chordsmen ranks.

On then to a final party and dinner at the Reformed Church Hall, Tarrytown, New York where further performances were held in what proved to be a brilliant 'afterglow' ably MC'd by Steve Delahanty, a renowned composer and arranger of international award winning barbershop songs, with some fantastic singing from a variety of quartets and smaller singing groups to round off a fantastic evening and tour.

If you would like to see the Kingsmen in action then why not come to an evening of choral singing and mandolins on Fri 13th July at St George's Church, Modbury at 7.30pm. Guest performances from Wadebridge Male Voice Choir and an ensemble of mandolins by members of the Mandolin Orchestra of Devon (MOOD).

Tickets £7.50, £5 (U18) available from:

  • Pickles of Modbury;
  • Kingsbridge TIC;
  • Chris Birch (Modbury) Tel: 01548 831187;
  • Roy Hann (Music Director) (Kingsbridge) Tel: 01548 856528;
  • Bill Palmer (Ivybridge) Tel: 01752 417656;
  • On the door

 

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Guest Book

  • I would like to say how much my wife and I enjoyed your performance at Buckland Tout Saints on Christmas Eve. It perfectly set the scene for what was a marvellous break.... Read More
    Steve

  • Hi There I would just like to say i had the Pleasure of Meeting 4Kandles at Harmony College...Great Great Performance and a Superb Bunch of Guys.. Thank you to Greg for the great... Read More
    Mark Connelly

  • Thank you so much for the Christmas CD, my 91 year old dad and I have been singing along this morning!... Read More
    Anita Hyde

  • Have missed listening to you, will try and catch up again soon, when I can get over i'll check out your diary to find where you are singing.... Read More
    Lilian

  • 16 of the Kingsmen singers performed at the Central Church Torquay mens breakfast and we were very impressed with the quality of the singing and harmonies - and they are even nice... Read More
    Steve Norman

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Evangelical Church,
Fore Street,
Kingsbridge.
TQ7 1PG

Wednesdays from 7:30pm to 10pm

01548 856528

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