Sheringham Shantymen appeal for new performers to help continue a musical tradition stretching back nearly 30 years
- Credit: Archant
When the Sheringham Shantymen first appeared on stage 27 years ago, chart topping acts included Fern Kinney, Odyssey and St Winifred's School Choir.
But, while most people would have trouble remembering many of the bands of the early 1980s, the north Norfolk songsters have stood the test of time, and as well as still doing up to 40 gigs a year, they have recently released their seventh CD.
The group was formed as a spin-off from a one-off performance by a team of RNLI crew members, who got together to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Sheringham's Augusta lifeboat.
After their first appearance at Sheringham Little Theatre in early 1980, their numbers swelled and the Shantymen began not only receiving bookings for festivals, weddings and town events, but were also asked to appear on TV shows including Blue Peter, Children in Need and Channel 4's Big Breakfast.
They went on to perform all over the UK at events including the London Boat Show and maritime festivals at Falmouth, Portsmouth and Southampton, also travelling to Germany, Holland, France and America and touring lifeboat stations all over southern Ireland.
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Sheringham lifeboat operations manager and Shantymen musical director Brian Farrow, who is the only remaining founder member of the group, put their popularity down to a focus on harmony, a strong committee and a wide range of skills and voices.
'We've had policemen, doctors, a barrister an electrician,' he said. 'And from organising gigs, to doing publicity, it's that wide skillset that makes us work.'
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Mr Farrow, 72, added that while, over the years, the group had raised tens of £1,000s for the RNLI and other charities, fundraising was a secondary concern.
'It's just a by-product really,' he explained. 'And I think that what has given us longevity is that we come alive in front of an audience, there's a tremendous social side to it and we get a huge amount of enjoyment out of performing.
Future plans include making a recording of the classic hit Sailing with youngsters from Sheringham Primary School and working on recruiting new singers and musicians.
'For me, being part of the Shantymen has almost become a way of life and it has certainly taken me to places I would never have been,' Mr Farrow said.
The Sheringham Shantymen would be pleased to hear from experienced singers and musicians interested in joining them. For more information, phone 01263 824311.
The group will be hosting a concert with special guest Keith Skipper at Cromer Pier theatre at 7pm on October 22. Tickets, priced £10 (£9 concessions) are available from the box office on 01263 512495