In 1978 our founder and our President today Mr Ian Russell had an idea.
He was singing with a chorus in Saffron Walden and was growing tired of the travelling so thought it would be a good wheeze to start a chorus here in Potton.
From it's inception, when 9 men gathered, the chorus has grown both in membership and in its standing within the UK Barbershop fraternity.
Twice becoming UK champions during the ninetees Shannon Express has represented the UK in America and Europe. We were runners up in the Sainsbury's Choir of the Year competition two years running and have had a BBC documentary made about us. If you have a little look at the YouTube link on the front page you will be able to watch some of the footage.
To this day Shannon Express is a thriving club and remains among the top ten of UK choruses affiliated to The British Associitaion of Barbershop Singers (BABS). With a strong membership we are also among one of the largest clubs in BABS, an accolade of which, as a rural based club, we are most proud. Our members travel from far and wide to sing with us - currently our longest distance member travels from Wantage!
So why are we called Shannon Express? Most people assume it is because we have an Irish connection. The truth is that we are named, as are many things in Potton, after the locomotive which first ran the now disused line between Potton and Sandy - this will also explain our logo.
Our current Musical Director is Tony Bylett who was a member of the chorus back in the nineties and he too has represented the UK as a champion with Shannon Express, Cambridge Chord Company and as a Tenor with his quartet Evolution. Tony's father Ray was one of the fouding members of the chorus and is still a member today. Tony's son now sings with Shannon Express and is currently our youngest member - a family within a family.
It would be remiss if we were not to mention our sister chorus Phoenix on this page - a club that our Founder Ian was instrumental in starting. The wives and partners of the Shannon members saw what jolly japes the chaps were up to and thought they might like to have a go themselves and so with Ian's help they formed Phoenix. Phoenix has become a major force in UK four part a-capella and themselves have become UK champions on numerous occassions. There really must be something in the water!
Please visit their website at www.phoenixladies.co.uk