The Victory Sisters
Image by Terry Mendoza
Thank you for talking with Vintage Life! Can you tell readers about The Victory Sisters?
LIZ: Of course! The Victory Sisters are a 1940s wartime vocal trio. We had our first gig in October of last year and have already gone on to perform at venues including Wilton’s Music Hall and The Ivy.
What is your performing background?
KAREN: We’re three musical theatre actors who met in a show that Liz co-produced at the beginning of 2014. Liz suggested to Marcia and me that she wanted to start a 1940s group, and we just took it from there.
MARCIA: Luckily we all got on really well, and Liz bakes amazing cakes, so it was a bit of a no-brainer as to whether we were interested!
When did you start performing professionally?
LIZ: As individuals, we’ve been performing professionally for years. I have worked as an entertainer for a couple of summers as well as numerous shows on London’s fringe theatre circuit.
KAREN: Before settling back into London life, I toured the world on cruise ships, performing in a variety of shows on-board some beautiful vessels.
MARCIA: I’ve mainly performed in London’s fringe venues, in both musical theatre productions and plays, for more years than I would care to mention (a lady never tells her age, you know!)
What aspects of the vintage scene influence you?
LIZ: It’s the whole attitude of the 1940s, with its ‘make do and mend’ mentality, that appeals to me. The music was such an important part of that era, and it brought people together during the hard times as well as the happy ones. People enjoyed the escapism they could get from going to the local dance hall and forgetting their troubles for an evening.
KAREN: Coming into the vintage scene, I’ve noticed how incredibly friendly everyone is. We haven’t been a part of the scene for that long, and it’s like a little community, where we all help out and recommend things to each other.
MARCIA: It’s true, the 1940s spirit is alive and kicking in the vintage community; I think people love getting together and taking the time to dress up and look their best – I know when I enter back into ‘modern’ living, my clothes, hair and makeup feel a little drab in comparison!
Who are your icons?
LIZ: Obviously our main icons are The inimitable Andrews Sisters. Their harmonies are amazing, and because they were sisters who could just sing like that straight off, they sound like one voice, which is a sound quality we are always aiming for.
MARCIA: Yes, we want to be as authentically 1940s as possible, which is why we stick to that era for song choices. But I think the group that has really paved the way for vintage groups in the present day is The Puppini Sisters. They capture the close harmony singing of The Andrew Sisters, but with a knowing contemporary feel, and their re-workings of iconic songs are fantastic.
KAREN: Oh yes, I just love their slightly psychotic version of ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree’ (go have a listen to it!)
How would you describe your performances?
MARCIA: I think we’re quite informal performers – we take our music and our harmonies very seriously, but not ourselves!
KAREN: I agree, we have a natural, fun style, with some choreographed songs and a little bit of flag-waving thrown in from time to time!
LIZ: We always incorporate our personalities in our performances, having a bit of chat between songs, and we like to get our audiences involved (which really captures the community 1940s spirit). Recently we had the pleasure of Mr Tom Carradine’s company at our gig, who led us and our audience in a Cockney sing-a-long!
If you could perform with anyone, who would you choose and why?
LIZ: For me, it would have to be Ol’ Blue Eyes. You just can’t beat Sinatra’s effortless style and super-smooth vocals.
KAREN: I would’ve loved to duet with Ray Charles on ‘Hit The Road Jack’. He was such an amazing character (the biopic ‘Ray’ is one of my favourite films of all time), with an incredible voice – perhaps a little Victory Sisters mash up should be on the cards?
MARCIA: I’m going to say Bette Midler. She is a real pocket rocket of boundless energy, and I would just love to jump around with her, wearing a mermaid’s tail and belting out ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’!
Where can readers find out more about you?
Liz: You can find out a bit more about us on our website, thevictorysisters.co.uk, where you can see photos, blog posts and videos. You’ll also find links to our Facebook page and Instagram and twitter accounts. For a war-time trio, we are surprisingly au fait with social media!