About the Chorus

Close Shave Chorus came into existence in 1987 as a close-knit a cappella group of seven or eight members. Their first gig was at a private birthday party in the Glasgow area, and the performance lasted the length of time it took to sing four numbers – their entire repertoire! As the chorus grew to around a dozen, under the leadership of May Barnes, so did the repertoire. Founder-member, Brian Morren, recalls “We learned good basics from May. She was very disciplined; we did as we were told!”.

Since 1995, under current musical director Eoin Millar, the chorus has followed what might be called a loose barbershop format. The repertoire ranges from the early 20th century to the 1960’s, and reflects every great popular composer during that period (Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, Gus Khan, Oscar Hammerstein, Lennon & McCartney). Indeed, the current repertoire and back catalogue extend to well over 70 numbers.

Eoin Millar, Adviser of Music for Glasgow Schools until he became Close Shave’s maestro 20 years ago, has woven his magic through almost all of the chorus’s arrangements, making his tight four-part harmonies the envy of other close-harmony groups in Scotland. He is ably assisted in rehearsals and at performances by our Assistant MD, Heather Makar.

Four times since the millennium the group has been top male-voice choir in the prestigious Glasgow Music Festival, which is nearing its centenary, and in 2005 Close Shave was top choir overall, winning the Orpheus Trophy. The chorus has been entertaining audiences across the west of Scotland for more than 21 years, and has received many plaudits for their musicality, obvious enthusiasm and enjoyment, and their communication with an audience.

The chorus rehearses weekly on Tuesday evenings, and regularly performs in festivals (West End Festival, Merchant City Festival), at corporate events, weddings, family celebrations, churches and charity events. Performances can last around an hour and a half, or to suit preferences, and can include a number of songs for quartets from the group.

Chorus members come from a richly varied background – the law, academia, the clergy, architecture, journalism, landscape gardening, civil engineering, social work, medicine, and education, but all share a common pleasure in singing for fun. The current complement is:-

Tenors: Pat O’Brien, Gerry Heneaghan, Gerry McGuigan
Leads: David Warden, Paul Towning, Jim O’Neill, Robin Hopkins, Brendan Berry
Basses: Fergus Taylor, Eddie Mullen, Ron Marshall, Alistair Dickson, Stewart Campbell
Baritones: Brian Morren, Tom Allan, Bernard Hill, Julian Harrison

Musical Director: Eoin Millar
Assistant MD: Heather Makar