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Can you imagine singing alongside Gary Barlow on the Royal Variety stage? The conductor who coached his choir is coming to Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 10:30 30 May 2017

Hannah Brine conducting.  Picture: supplied by Hannah Brine

Hannah Brine conducting. Picture: supplied by Hannah Brine

Hannah Brine

A peaceful Norfolk woodland retreat is a far cry from the bright lights of the Royal Variety stage.

David Walliams gives Gary Barlow a shock when he turns up on stage at the Royal Variety Performance wearing nothing but his pants and a string of pearls. The comedian walked out on stage to surprise Barlow, the cast from the singer's musical comedy The Girls - which is based on Calendar Girls - and 130 ladies from the Women's Institute. The choir was coached by Hannah Brine. Photo: ITV/PA Wire.David Walliams gives Gary Barlow a shock when he turns up on stage at the Royal Variety Performance wearing nothing but his pants and a string of pearls. The comedian walked out on stage to surprise Barlow, the cast from the singer's musical comedy The Girls - which is based on Calendar Girls - and 130 ladies from the Women's Institute. The choir was coached by Hannah Brine. Photo: ITV/PA Wire.

But award-winning choral conductor Hannah Brine, who coached the choir for Gary Barlow’s performance with the cast of The Girls at last year’s Royal Variety Show as well as numerous other television shows and awards, will be sharing the secrets of successful singing at West Lexham Manor later this year.

She is heading to the county for the first time to lead a weekend of singing and relaxation at the retreat, near Litcham, from September 7 to 10 teaching a variety of musical styles in three and four part harmony, from folk and classical to pop and jazz, as well as looking at vocal technique.

Alongside workshops led by Hannah herself, singers will enjoy extra sessions led by Irish choral conductor and music educator Patrick Barrett.

Ms Brine, who currently directs two high quality community choirs in the heart of London, said: “I am so looking forward to the retreat this year. West Lexham is a beautiful setting to sing in and I can’t wait to bring together singers from all around the country to make music together.

West Lexham Manor. Picture: Ian BurtWest Lexham Manor. Picture: Ian Burt

“This is my sixth retreat - but my first in Norfolk – it would be wonderful if lots of singers from the local community can join us.”

All singers are welcome and participants do not need to be able to read music. Singers on previous retreats have ranged in age from late 20s to 70-plus.

Dorinda, one of the participants on the singing retreat last year, said: “The one thing the weekend gave me was confidence. It’s probably one of the very best things I’ve ever done.”

The weekend includes an evening cabaret with accompanist, an informal performance, plus a free afternoon to explore the local area.

Hannah Brine founded and conducts community choirs Kensington Singers and Victoria Park Singers and also conducts the ITV choir.

She has fixed and coached choirs for the Olivier Awards, the Royal Variety Show and for Strictly Come Dancing.

In 2015 she received the inaugural BBC Music Day Unsung Hero Award for launching Victoria Park Singers in Hackney.

Anyone interested can e-mail hannah@hannahbrine.co.uk or visit www.singingretreatwestlexham.bpt.me.

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