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John Wiggins

A Tribute to John Wiggins – Our Founder

This is a salute to one man who had a tremendous influence on the early history days of BABS. He started in 1974 when he joined the Reading chorus to sing in the first Convention in Newcastle. Although starting as a Bari he soon moved on to sing Tenor and had early success with his quartet “Union Jacks” in 1977 where they were quartet finalists.He repeated this in 1982 with “Yesterdays Dreamers” where they were again quartet finalists and in 1981 they were the very first BABS quartet to attend the S.P.E.B.S.Q.A Harmony College in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Later in 1975 he went on to form, with 7 others, the “Chesham Buckaneers” now know as “Knights of Harmony”. He has been with the Knights ever since except when he was the founder of the now-defunct “Gentlemen Songsters”. John worked hard to produce his “dream” chorus and it was a great disappointment to him when it folded.

He is unparalleled in the various BABS posts he has undertaken over his 45 years in Barbershop and these include, in chronological order:

  • Harmony College Organiser 1981 and ran arranging classes at HC for over 20 years
  • Guild of Judges Chairman 1984/5
  • BABS Chairman 1987
  • Special Events Director 1995
  • Convention Show Producer for several years working with his wife Gina

In 2004 came the recognition of his contribution to BABS, when along with 17 others he was enrolled in the BABS ‘Hall of Fame’

John has been responsible for dozens of arrangements which many choruses and quartets included in their repertoire and he intends to continue even after retirement from chorus

It has been my great pleasure since I joined Chesham in 1980 to count John as a friend and his importance to the development of a hobby that has been loved by more than 10000 Barbershoppers to date cannot be underestimated

BOTY – 2019

Barbershopper Of The Year 2019

Congratulations to Simon Hargrave, our ex Musical Director, on being awarded the Barbershopper of The Year (BOTY) trophy.

Each year, at the club AGM, members hold a secret ballot where they select the person who they think has done most to help the club and its members. The result of the ballot is withheld until the Annual Dinner so both the recipient and guests have no idea who has won until the presentation.

This year we had to delay the presentation, as the trophy needed some refurbishment, but still the members and the recipient were not aware of the winner until it was presented at last week’s rehearsal.

In presenting the award the chairman commented on the outstanding amount of work Simon had done for the club during his almost 6 years in the post of Musical Director.

He particularly thanked Simon for his almost 100% attendance over the period and for the weekly audio recordings which he diligently edits, before circulating them to every member.

The Chairman also confirmed that the chorus had shown their respect for Simon, by giving him 70% of the votes cast.

Time To Sing

Time to Harmonise

Starting Thursday September 12th, we invite you to join us on a FREE six week course where we teach you the art of singing a-cappella harmony.

Come along and you could make music like this.

Afterwards, stay and adjourn to the on-site bar for some banter and beer.

What have you got to lose?

Come along to the White Hill Centre, Chesham, HP5 1AG on Thursday, September 12 at 7.45pm.

Contact Chas on 07762 089818 / 01296 668985

email us at:

Gerry Darvill

Gerry Darvill (1939-2018)

The Knights of Harmony have said farewell to one of their much-loved and enthusiastic veterans, Gerry Darvill. Sadly, Gerry passed away on August 1st, aged 79, with his family around him.

Gerry sang with the chorus for 26 years, and his attention to detail in pursuit of the perfect chord made him an outstanding chorus member.

His wife of many years, Olive says: ‘Gerry had a very good ear for music – and he wasn’t happy unless the right notes were sung’.

He had performed at Convention as recently as the end of May 2018 and was due to attend Harmony College at the end of August. He always enjoyed singing in the Harmony College Audition Chorus with his good friend and fellow Knight, Ron Hollis.

At the church service mourners were given a detailed account of his work with the Fire Service, his love of the Church and his music skills.

He loved to drive, so it was a good fit when Gerry joined the Fire Service as a Driver/Fireman/Mechanic in 1966. He was to spend the rest of his working life in the service.

While Gerry loved his work, he loved his music even more. He came from a musical family where there was singing, piano, drums, violin – and Gerry on the banjo. Olive says his love of singing Barbershop gave him so much pleasure, and he really enjoyed his Thursday evenings rehearsing with the Knights. It gave him so many friends.

Many of those chorus friends turned out in full Knight’s uniform to pay their respects at his funeral on August 21st. It was a privilege to perform two of Gerry’s favourite Barbershop songs: I’ll Walk with God and You Raise Me Up.

Fellow Knight Chas Owen, paid this tribute: “Gerry was a kind and generous person who would always go out of his way to help others“. We will miss him.

We send our sincere condolences to Olive and family,

Rest in peace, Gerry.