Our Mission

‘To create an inclusive, fun environment for women of all ability levels to build lasting friendships through the power of song and raising money for charity.’

About Harmony Belles

“The only thing better than singing, is more singing.” Ella Fitzgerald

Harmony Belles is an all-female friendly and enthusiastic 4 part singing group for ladies over 18, based in Marlow. We have been singing together as a group for many years connected by our shared joy of singing. We have a mix of musical expertise and experience, and perform two concerts per year, both raising much needed funds for local charities or those close to the hearts of the members. Our musical genres are varied, from musical theatre to jazz to pop and to classical. As a singing group, we are inclusive, we do not require our members to audition or to read music, although many of us do. We love a challenge and relish the opportunity to improve both technically and creatively with songs outside our comfort zone.

About Us

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Our Shows

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Where We Rehearse

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Meet Our Musical Director

"The more inspirational and personal the better"

Anne Fairbrother, Musical Director, Harmony Belles

After graduating from the University of Surrey with a master’s in music, Anne began working with Popchoir in London. She set up and ran large choirs in several north London locations and the West End. Anne regularly directed Popchoir in performances all over the capital and performed with the choir backing global artists at Alexandra Palace, Shepherd’s Bush Empire and the O2.Anne has also directed a number of work place choirs including the Royal Free Hospital and a series of groups for Marriott Hotels.

Having now relocated to Oxfordshire Anne is working with several local choirs including Harmony Belles in Marlow, Thames Valley Barbershop Chorus and Harmony community choir in Sonning Common.

Alongside her commitments as a choir director Anne continues to teach singing to all ages and perform as a soloist and group vocalist.

Hear from our members

“When I started at the choir it was lovely to be welcomed in with no prejudgment, no auditions just smiles and encouragement which has continued and grown over the last 2 years.” Dawn

“Choir is something just for me! I love singing and I believe that when you sing together you connect with others at a really genuine level. Love this group of gals and the chance to have fun, get better, make friends and raise money for much needed local charities.” Jane

“Music has always been part of my life. I love my Wednesday evenings. Singing in harmony with good friends and new friends and leaving the world and its troubles outside is a real tonic!” Chris

“I treasure and look forward to my Wednesday nights at choir, which is a bit of ‘me time’ in the middle of a hectic week of work and juggling children and their many after-school activities. I love the diverse range of musical genres that we sing. The Christmas and Summer concerts are such special events to share with our friends and families, as well as an opportunity to raise money for local charities.” Jo

“I can’t really understand why but singing is very uplifting… maybe it’s something to do with getting more oxygen into you! It’s great to concentrate on something for an hour and a half and forget everything else in life. It’s fun each time to see if we produce something horrible or beautiful! It’s captivating watching the choir leader demonstrate in her beautiful voice. And finally, but importantly it’s lovely to see the same faces of friends each week and hear snippets of their varying lives.” Sally

“I love coming to choir because it is friendly, we have lots of laughs, we work hard, the music is enjoyable with a mixture of styles and difficulty. What more could you want?” Sheila

“It gives me a really pleasurable sense of achievement to work with the choir, singing to create a harmonious sound blended together. There is a real ‘buzz’ when participating in the concerts, sharing our music with friends and family; this fills me with pride! The friendships developed have enabled us to support choir members when life events hit hard. Singing together online helped keep our spirits up during ‘lockdowns.” Carol

“Because we sing great songs & have great fun - it’s a great midweek boost!” Judi

“I love our super singing group for having a Musical Theatre bias, unlike a traditional choral choir. I also love the supportive and friendly community.” Rosie

“I am part of Harmony Belles choir because it brings me great joy and satisfaction to be part of a special group, who sing for the joy of it and who support each other in this lovely, non-judgemental endeavour. I love using and developing my voice for the fun of it and to raise funds for charitable causes that either mean something special to people within the choir or to the local environment.” Karen

Meet Our Committee

Julie Sowerby
Treasurer

Vanessa Woolley
Choir Coordinator

Melanie Hudson
Top Alto Vocal Rep

Catherine Formstone
Mezzo Vocal Rep

Carol Record
Soprano Vocal Rep

Jo Wiggs-Steele
Bottom Alto Vocal Rep

Lisa Richardson
Choir Librarian

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Our Repertoire

We have sung over 250 different songs over the years across many genres. Most of these songs were performed by the whole choir. We have also performed with soloists or in small groups. This gives members the opportunity to stretch themselves but is by no means compulsory. The small groups provide a beautiful variation in a concert, particularly at Christmas.

At our Christmas concerts, we often mix traditional Christmas Carols and Classics with Christmas Jazz and Pop.

The songs in our main Summer concerts have ranged across the whole spectrum from Musical Theatre to Burt Bacharach to ABBA to the Andrews Sisters and even to medleys of iconic modern performers such as The Beatles, Tina Turner, Elton John, Adele and David Bowie.

We’ve sung acapella to Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ and belted out to ‘New York, New York’, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’. We’ve put on the disco lights for ‘It’s Raining Men’ and ABBA and we’ve been thoughtful for ‘Fields of Gold’ and ‘Moon River’.

How Harmony Belles Came To Be: Our History

Harmony Belles: a community-based choir in Marlow:

“There’s a spiritual uplift you get when you are part of a mass of people and a mass of noise…The mental health benefits of coming together and singing after this miserable shocker we’ve been through, is going to be vital.” (Gareth Malone on singing and choirs and on getting back to normal after lockdown)

A large majority of the choir have been singing together for many years in the form of the Marlow Songbirds. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, some of us continued to sing online with the guidance of our then Musical Director. At the time it was a much-needed panacea for everyone.

In September of 2021, our much-loved Musical Director stepped down after over ten years of bringing us together. We were naturally very saddened but understood her reasons for wanting to move on. As a group we realised just how much we wanted to carry on singing together, how much we’d missed being together during the lockdowns and we collectively decided to find a new Musical Director as soon as possible.

At this point, we discovered just what a talented group of ladies we are. Amongst our members was a fantastic mixture of professional skills and ability, ranging from medical, through to people management and human resources, commercial, marketing and copy writing and design. This plethora of talent enabled us to begin to pull together the necessary elements for our new choir including the all-important recruitment of a new Musical Director.

By the beginning of November, we had interviewed and recruited our current Musical Director, Anne, and began to sing together again in person after nearly two years of absence.

We were able to get back to our previous rehearsal location at the URC Church in Marlow and we implemented a Covid procedure to reduce the risk of getting ill recognising the diversity of ages.

One of the first tasks after recruiting a new Musical Director was to find a new name for our choir, so we worked together to find a name that inspired us and captured our joy of singing in harmony.

We renamed ourselves, Harmony Belles and began the process of designing and building a website.

And we now have a date for our very first concert as the Harmony Belles.