From Small Beginnings...Heartbeat Chorus began in a back room at the Swan Inn in New Mills, Derbyshire, in 1998 with only 8 or 9 members at the first meeting. Originally a Ladies' Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS) member chorus, under the direction of Lesley Carson, Heartbeat began with a repertoire of just a few songs - Heart of My Heart and Barbara Ann. Honing their craft by spending time singing in nursing homes in the local area (something Heartbeat still do via our amazing Music In Mind team) they eventually felt ready for competition, coming in 25th place that first time out. Gradually, they made their way up the rankings to 7th position.
Founder member Karen Marshall recalls the early Heartbeat sing-outs with much fondness, especially one at the famous Bluejohn Caverns, which had great acoustics but left everyone soaking wet from the dripping stalactites!
In 2007 Heartbeat made the move to our current home within the Sweet Adelines International (SAI) organisation, as part of Region 31, Quartet of Nations.
In August 2010, Heartbeat were delighted to welcome Nancy Kelsall as Musical Director. Her barbershop experience, drive and enthusiasm, as well as an influx of new members, enabled us to win third place as a large chorus at The Sage, Gateshead in 2013. In May 2015, we won our first Gold medal and a place representing Region 31 in Las Vegas at the 2016 Sweet Adelines International Championships.
In 2017, we travelled to Cork, Ireland, for the Irish Association of Barbershop Singers (IABS) contest, taking Gold in the International Chorus category. Ireland has always held a special place in the hearts of Heartbeat Chorus and its many quartets, inspiring many fond reminiscences. We very much look forward to returning there as soon as we can.
In 2018 we celebrated our 20th anniversary with a get together of members old and new.
Since then we have gone from strength to strength. With a membership of 74, we took our second Gold medal at the SAI Region 31 Convention in May 2019 and became eligible to compete in the 2020 Sweet Adelines International Championships. These were to have been held in Louisville, Kentucky in October 2020.
Coronavirus put that on hold for a while but, following our First Place Midsize Chorus award in May 2022, we look forward to being able to represent Region 31 again in Kentucky in 2023.