From seeing the bright lights of Las Vegas to performing in the iconic London Palladium, a Bolton barbershop which has been around for nearly half-a-century is certainly going places.

This week, The Cottontown Chorus were at Turton High School rehearsing for their next concert - and are looking for new members.

The male a capella group has been around for 46-years  - and has won a number of awards.

Jonathan King, Secretary at the Cottontown Chorus said: “The choir is now 46 years old, and it has been going since pretty much barbershop has been going in this country.

“We have had many highlights over the years including winning eight gold medals and one silver medal.

"We have sung at the London Palladium and been a part of the choir of the year with the BBC in 2009, we have sung in Ireland at a convention, we have sung in America four times and so many more amazing memories.

“It really gives you a buzz to be a part of the group, every Tuesday.

“I get so much joy out of it - I sing with other people, and you connect with other people through singing.

“I feel at home here with Cottontown Chorus, I come here, and it feels like I have a load of brothers, which is really nice because they are all looking out for you.”

The group were rehearsing for their show tomorrow (Saturday, March 2)  in High Wycombe.

Over the years the group has travelled to London, Ireland, and other places up and down the UK as well as Louisville, Philadelphia - and Las Vegas twice. 

In the show, A Kind of Magic, the group will be partnering up with the Amersham  a capella group of female singers for four songs, as well as singing seven of their own songs.

Shanna Wells, acting chair of the British Association of Barbershop Singers, travelled from Bambury in Oxfordshire to spend the evening with the group listening to rehearsals of songs in their upcoming performance.

She said: “The Cottontown Chorus are our current gold medallists chorus, they are a cracking bunch of guys and I know a lot of them personally, so it is nice to come and see them.

“The talent, the enthusiasm, the skills of this group are insane, they are just very welcoming.

“It is a well-known fact that singing is phenomenal for mental health and wellbeing.

"If you can do it with a group of people that are all here for exactly the same reason and you have that social aspect as well and go to pub afterwards for a drink, all of that is really good to help isolation and loneliness and to help mental health.

“If we can get more of these choirs across the country, the world would be a much better place in my opinion.

“Come and join them, come and have a go, you couldn’t ask for a nicer bunch of people.”

The group, which currently has around 40 members, is also hoping to increase numbers up to 100 and are inviting people to join now.


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Chris Shephard, a member of the choir, told The Bolton News what the Cottontown Chorus means to him.

He said: “I personally couldn’t be without singing and music, when Covid hit and everyone had to stay at home, I lost my love of music at the time because I wasn’t singing actively with a great bunch of people, and I forgot about it sadly.

“Until a number of years later, one of my friends in the group, John, who was still singing here and he got me back into it.

"As soon as I stepped back into singing, I realised what I had been missing, I would never give it up now.

“This is such a different thing to get involved with, it is a different hobby, singing, to bring us together to make music together.

“I would encourage people to just come along and get involved, everyone is just so friendly and encouraging.”

Gary Roussak, treasurer at Cottontown Chorus, said: “We would like to encourage people to join us because we have lost probably 15 to 20 people since Covid happened and we would like to encourage younger people to also join us.

“It makes a difference to people’s lives being part of the choir especially for their mental health.

“The members of Cottontown really enjoy coming together to sing.”

Tickets are still available for this weekends performances if people would like to travel to see them.

Get tickets here:

For those who would like to join The Cottontown Chorus, rehearsals are 7.30pm to 10pm every Tuesday at Turton High School.

For more information about the Cottontown Chorus, go to:

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