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Gardens Seek Barbershop Quartet With Cutting Edge


The home of the world’s oldest topiary garden – Levens Hall and Gardens – is launching a search for a first-class barbershop quartet, which can thrill the crowds at the celebrations the heritage home will stage in May 2023 to mark its third ‘World Topiary Day’.

The gardens, which have the art of ‘clipping’ down to a fine art, thought a barbershop quartet would be a very fitting form of entertainment for visitors to enjoy and something with which to celebrate what is now a worldwide event, thanks to Levens Hall and Gardens’ efforts.

The actual date of World Topiary Day is May 12 but the public celebrations tend to focus on the Sunday following that date, which is when the barbershop quartet would be likely to perform.

The Cumbrian heritage gardens is now asking for barbershop quartets, who wish to be considered, to send in a short video of themselves performing, but also suggest some suitable songs that they would sing, to help celebrate the event. These could be about trees, greenery, gardens or something else with a link to heritage, history or gardens. Song suggestions could provide the cutting-edge that the venue seeks when determining who to invite to play.

Additionally, details of the quartet’s charges and terms and any special requirements for their performance would also be required. All information should be sent to houseopening@levenshall.co.uk by December 31, 2022.

As well as having an association with the cutting and trimming that absorbs the Levens Hall and Gardens gardening team from September through to spring, barbershop quartets are known for singing music in four-part harmony or what could be deemed a ‘tiered’ style. Tiered topiary pieces have been the particular passion of the current Levens Hall and Gardens head gardener, Chris Crowder, who has held the post for over 30 years, contributing tiered delights to gardens in which 10 head gardeners have each made their individual mark since the topiary garden’s foundation in 1694.

“We shall be delighted to welcome a vibrant barbershop quartet to our world record-holding gardens for World Topiary Day 2023,” says Levens Hall and Gardens’ owner, Richard Bagot.

“This musical performance style has a rich heritage, just like our venue, and we are sure it will offer something different for our visitors. We look forward to receiving the videos and reels and are not necessarily looking for a professional quartet, just one that will bring a lot of life to the proceedings, so it could be an opportunity for an amateur group of enthusiasts to make their mark.”

World Topiary Day started during Covid lockdown in 2021 but really flourished in 2022, when restrictions were lifted and the occasion captured the imagination of topiary-owning gardens worldwide. In May 2022, gardens as far-flung as Australia and Belgium staged events in celebration of the event, with various US-based gardens also joining in, as well as over 35 French gardens.

Founding this day has not only helped to make topiary cool again around the world but made Levens Hall and Gardens the champion of this gardening form, on a world stage. To find out more about the celebration, head to www.levenshall.co.uk

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This story was published on: 09/09/2022

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