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Surrey Harmony last competed in Nashville, TN in 1998 and even back then, when the scores were read out, there were whoops and cheers. For the first time in history… we hadn’t come last!

Fast forward 11 years and last place is a long way off, but so is the coveted top 10! Everything was to play for as the Sweet Adelines International Competition got underway.

The chorus arrived in Nashville on the Sunday and once settled into the hotel, we readied ourselves for a week of Barbershop, friendship and fun.


It was a free day for the most part so members took to the town to explore. Quite a few were spotted at the Oprey Mills Mall for a spot of retail therapy, while others checked out the sights and sounds of downtown Nashville. Everyone was back in the afternoon though, for the first of our 4 rehearsals. Nashville’s famous night life as the chorus hit the Wild Horse Saloon for buffalo wings and Line Dancing.


Saw 2 more rehearsals, but there was still plenty of time in the evening to enjoy a bit of Nashville’s famous night life as the chorus hit the Wild Horse Saloon for buffalo wings and Line Dancing. The party continued until late and rumour has it that one or 2 may have even finished their 42oz cocktails!


Was time for the competition to start with the Quartet semi finals. A dazzling performance by Tone-acity, saw the UK’s entry place 33rd out of 50. Well done girls! A rehearsal followed and then it was time for an early night.


Performance Day was upon us. Our late billing meant many of the chorus were able to spend some time watching some of the earlier contestants, including choruses from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. Not to mention our very own Nottingham sisters Lace City Chorus. Competition was fierce and the auditorium was huge… there were a few pangs of nerves as we made our way back to the hotel.

Resplendent in our new chorus make-up

Resplendent in our new chorus make-up, our hair high and wide and our new necklaces sparkling in the glow of the ballroom lights, we had our final warm-up rehearsal. Not wanting to peak to early we didn’t sing the whole package through, but instead concentrated on short bursts of the songs. There was also plenty of time for some final bonding and spirit lifting. As 6pm drew near it was time to board the coach to the 10,000 seater Somet Stadium, usual home to the Nashville Predators Ice Hockey team.

Our hair high and wide and our new necklaces sparkling in the glow of the ballroom lights

For many of Surrey Harmony’s members, it was their first appearance on the International stage. One such newbie remembers the time flying by, Sandie Kirk “Representing the UK at International with Surrey Harmony was an incredible opportunity. It really was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. Walking onto that stage in front of all those thousands of people was the biggest buzz. Our 6 minutes seemed to be over in a flash and we came off even more excited than we’d gone on. We had no idea how we’d done, but it felt like a solid performance, so we just had to wait for the results.”

Once the finalists had been announced, we started to make our way back towards the hotel… but many of us were barely at the bus queue before the word started to spread. “15th” came the cry over heads of others in the queue. “No, we can’t be!… Really?… I don’t believe it?…15th?…No!” Excited voices filled the bus as we wondered in disbelief if we really had come that close to the finals and beaten our previous highest ranking of 22.

It’s the highest ever ranking for a UK chorus.And we had! 15th in the world! We were just 32 points off 11th place and a spot on the stage on the Saturday. It’s the highest ever ranking for a UK chorus. We cannot tell you how thrilled we are with such a fantastic result! But we hear a picture paints a thousand words…

We were joined that evening by our friends in Alaska Sound Celebration Chorus who gave us an insight into the Land of snow and ice where Men are Men and dance a little bit like Michael Jackson. The party that followed continued well into the night!


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