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Musical Director - Emma McManus

An interview with Emma and Bret

Emma relaxing after competition

This interview with Eamon Phillips (Emma’s Dad) was published in the Lancashire Evening Post in April 2013.

Meet Leyland’s answer to the Von Trapp family.

The hills are alive with the sound of barbershop harmonies for the Phillips family, where dad Eamon, mum Theresa, and daughters Katy, Emma and Laura all work together to make sweet music. The five all have various roles in Preston-based barbershop harmony groups the Red Rosettes and Red Rose Men’s Chorus.

Dad Eamon, 58, of Leyland Lane, Leyland, said: “I sing in Red Rose Chorus, my daughter Emma is our musical director, my daughter Katy is the musical director for the Red Rosettes, my wife sings with them and she is also the current chairman of national organisation the Ladies Association of Barbershop!”

As well as that, Katy, 26, Emma, 33, and Laura, 35, sing together with another girl from the Rosettes in a quartet, and Katy, Emma and Theresa sing with Eamon in a family quartet.

“You could call us a musical family!” Eamon said. “I first started in the Red Rose Chorus about 30 years ago and quite a few of the men I sing with have wives who sing in the women’s chorus. It’s a shared interest. The kids were small when Theresa started and have grown up with it. She was pregnant with Katy while she was doing it, so you could say Katy was in the chorus before she was born. All have been brought up with singing and all joined at the earliest possible age.”

Eamon and wife Theresa have another daughter, Claire, who chooses not to join her family in their singing exploits. He joked: “We don’t talk about Claire, she’s the black sheep!”

Lead, tenor, bass and baritone notes regularly ring from the family home where they practice barbershop tunes - but it’s not always harmonious.

Eamon said: “We meet upon a regular basis. Sometimes we will meet up for an hour before a practice chorus at Leyland Junior Methodist School. Emma will come round to the house to scrounge some tea and we will practice then. It gets very fractious at times. I have to sing bass because I’m the only one that can sing that low and the other three fight over the other parts. Katie is a bit of a perfectionist so we have to have it spot on.”

And he is used to being told how to hit the notes by his youngest daughter, who is the musical director for the Red Rose Men’s Chorus.

Eamon said: “She waves her arms in front of us and makes sure we are all singing the right notes and the right time. She also chooses the music. I have to listen to her, she’s not afraid of telling me off when I get something wrong.”

He and his wife moved to Preston from Northern Ireland 32 years ago and have lived in the area ever since. Their daughters also live in Leyland.

And their shared hobby isn’t confined to the rehearsal room. The family also go with each other to various barbershop conventions across the country.

Eamon said: “Singing in a barbershop quartet is just a fantastic hobby. We go along to each other’s conventions every year and we meet up with friends we have known for a long, long time. It is just a lot of great fun.”

More About Us

In October 2013 Northern Vibe (a quartet which includes Emma and two of her sisters) were

Bronze Medal Winners

at the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers Convention in Llandudno