The origins of the chorus

In the past several years, mixed barbershop singing has become more and more popular in the UK. 
A number of people who had taken part in BABS Harmony College Extreme Quartets and / or the UK Harmony Brigade joined the
EQ Chorus in 2017 and 2018 to compete in the first BABS mixed chorus competitions.

In some of the rehearsals for EQ Chorus (later renamed EQ Rendezvous) it was apparent that the membership of the chorus was increasing, and it was difficult or impossible to have everyone together for rehearsals, as it was a diverse chorus with members coming from all over the UK and at least three other countries.  As a result, not all chorus members were prepared for contest performances to the same degree.  Some of the singers began discussing the possibilities of starting a smaller auditioned chorus where the obvious potential of the group could be developed further. These discussions were being held at rehearsals and other points of contact between October 2017 and the BABS convention in May 2018.

Nicola Ebert, Mary Dineen and Susie Maye were the founders who finally made the decision to try to launch this chorus, and Frank Wilson joined them and set up a chat group where plans were developed starting in May/June 2018.  With Benn, Lindley, Geoff, Rae and others joining the chat group, it quickly became apparent that there was sufficient interest to go ahead.  Rae volunteered to be the group’s first musical director and plans for a first get-together were formulated.  

Rae took the initiative to set up the chorus, establishing a website and a facebook group (as well as logo and graphic identity), prepared an audition process, and selected two competition songs.  Lindley provided admin support for the audition process and sourced music copyrights.  Benn, Mary, Simon and Nicola participated in the preparation of the chorus and its rehearsals, and contacted potential singers.

Endeavour as a BABS Club

In the second part of 2018 BABS had set out new rules for its Mixed Chorus competition, requiring competing choruses to become BABS clubs. The Endeavour group focused on the BABS competition as an objective.  A draft club constitution was prepared in November 2018 (using the BABS model) and volunteers for the club’s first committee were found: Benn, Mary, Simon, Nicola, and Lindley, with Rae as musical director.  At the first rehearsal the chorus confirmed the willingness to become a BABS club and compete at the BABS convention, and ratified the constitution and voted in the committee by unanimous voice vote.  Subsequently the BABS requirements were fulfilled successfully and Endeavour became a BABS club in March 2019.

The audition process yielded over 50 people who were interested, and around 40 submitted audition recordings and were admitted.  The group had its first rehearsal in November 2018 near Cambridge. The chorus had Liz Garnett as coach on day 2 of its first rehearsal.

A poll was conducted to determine what frequency of rehearsal and how many events the Endeavour members favoured.  There was a considerable spread of views, but there was an interest at participating in SABS, BABS, and BinG conventions as well as IABS and any other relevant music festivals.

Endeavour held its second rehearsal in January 2019, with Nick Bryant as coach on day 2 of this rehearsal.  The group had also decided to enter competition at SABS in Spain, and there were about 32 singers who were to participate.

In February 2019, Lisa Robathan agreed to direct the chorus in the upcoming competition events at SABS in Calpe, Spain, and at BABS in Bournemouth.  Lisa subsequently confirmed her willingness to continue and became joint MD with Rae Watney.

SABS Competition, 2019

Endeavour’s first public performance, after three weekend rehearsals, took place on the SABS competition stage in April 2019, in front of judges Steve Armstrong, Renee Tramack and Joe Connelly.  We achieved a 5th place finish, competing with some top groups*.  Endeavour’s score of 77.7% (with an even higher score -- 82% -- in the Singing category) confirmed that this was a chorus with potential, and the ability to achieve excellence.
(* At SABS, Endeavour placed fifth behind Harmunichs at 82.3%, GEM Connection at 82%, Crystal Chords at 81.7% and Brothers in Harmony at 79.2%).)  

BABS Competition, 2019

Endeavour’s second competition event was the Mixed Chorus competition at the BABS convention in April 2019.  Endeavour placed second, behind A Kind of Magic, with a score of 74.2%.
Through the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-2021 Endeavour continued rehearsals online, initially on Zoom and later on using Jamulus & Jitsi which allowed us to sing in harmony together in real time again, albeit virtually. The chorus also produced a number of 'virtual chorus' recordings, and began work on new songs, including a specially commissioned arrangement of a ballad for contest stage.

BABS Competition, 2022

At the first post-Covid BABS Convention, in Harrogate, Endeavour again placed second (behind The Bristol Mix), with an overall score of 75.7%.

IABS Competition, 2022

At the first IABS convention for three years, in Killarney, Endeavour took second place in the International Chorus contest, with a score of 76.7%. (Building Bridges chorus came first, with a score of 79.6%). For this contest set, our first song was directed by Lisa, and the second song was directed by Rae, making her Endeavour contest directing debut.

BABS Competition, 2023

At the BABS Convention in Bournemouth, Endeavour again placed second (behind Bristol A Cappella this time), with an overall score of 76.3%.

BABS Competition, 2024

At the BABS 50th Anniversary Convention in Harrogate, Endeavour were just outside the medals, in 4th place with an overall score of 74.9%.