Gifford producing hymn book to help preserve culture

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Press Clippings, Related Readng, World Harmony | Posted on December 23, 2014, 9:53 AM


Matt Gifford is a busy and broad fellow. The bass of Musical Island Boys has undertaken an inspiring musical heritage preservation project:

After a month on Rarotonga researching for a project to publish a book of Penrhyn island hymns and folk songs – talented musician Matthew Gifford believes he can, with financial support, bring his project to life.Matt is of Penrhyn descent on his father Mehau Gifford’s side. The youngest son of Papa Charlie and Mama Tarani Gifford, he is passionate about the project he believes will take him two years to complete.Matt is also of New Zealand Maori descent on his mother Karen’s Ngati Kahungunu and Tuhoe tribes.Based in Wellington, Matt is also a member of the quartet ‘Musical Island Boys’, who won the world barbershop quartet contest in July in Las Vegas – the second team out of the USA to do so. There is no doubt the young Cook Islander is passionate about his home island and music and says that ultimate aim of publishing a book of Penrhyn island hymns and folk song to also including a CD of the hymns – is to preserve the rich culture of singing from the island for generations to come.“As a culture that relies on close-proximity and inter-generational oral transmission, these songs and their stories will not survive urban drift and the fragmented communities of Penrhyn Islanders,” says Matt.“This project is an attempt at capturing these songs and stories before the last of those who possess this cultural knowledge are gone forever.”

via Hymn book to help preserve culture.

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A Christmas Card from the Barbershop Harmony Society – YouTube

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in HQ operations, Social Media, Why I Barbershop | Posted on December 18, 2014, 2:13 PM


From all of the Barbershop Harmony Society staff… to YOU!

Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a very happy new year.

A Christmas Card from the Barbershop Harmony Society – YouTube.

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5 Reasons Why You Need To Tune In To The Sing-Off Holiday Special

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in Just for Fun | Posted on December 17, 2014, 3:50 PM



A cappella hits prime time once again! While we had hoped for another full season (and maybe a barbershop group in the lineup), the enthusiasm for The Sing-Off is strong within us. Fun charts, exciting staging and costuming, fierce competition… we know a thing or two about that! Don’t miss what’s sure to be an aca-awesome night of performances, including past winners Home Free and Pentatonix. Here are a few more reasons to watch:

5 Reasons Why You Need To Tune In To The Sing-Off Holiday Special

The Sing-Off is back for a two hour special airing on NBC TONIGHT (December 17, check your local listings).

via 5 Reasons Why You Need To Tune In To The Sing-Off Holiday Special.

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We Sing, We Serve: The Vocal Majority

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in Outreach, Together, Making The Music That's Making A Difference, We Sing We Serve, Why I Barbershop | Posted on December 11, 2014, 4:22 PM


Another example of living the message of We Sing, We Serve. Thanks to the VM for sharing this and to all of you who are reaching out to others with music. You ARE making the music that’s making a difference.

Several of our guys sang last evening for teenage boys at Phoenix House, a residential and outpatient drug and alcohol abuse treatment to help teens rebuild self-esteem and chart a path toward recovery. As we sang, an unexpected outpouring of emotion came from the boys. A director at Phoenix House told us, “I cannot adequately express in words just how special tonight was for the PH kids and the ‘big’ kids too. It means the world.” We’re told that the teens are compiling a “wish list” that we will do our best to fulfill for them before the holidays. Music + caring = enriched lives.


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Judging Categories: Choose your depth of study

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in Contests & Judging, Music | Posted on December 5, 2014, 12:03 PM



Whether you need a cursory overview or a plunge into the depths of judging, your Society Contest and Judging Committee hopes to make it easier to understand the judging system. Committee Chair Kevin Keller introduces some new ways to learn about what those judges are really looking for:

Have you ever thought “what in the heck does that category actually judge?”?  Other than a brief paragraph offered, you have had to wade through that Category Description and, after 10-12 pages, you find yourself still in the same spot you were in!!! The Society Contest and Judging Committee (SCJC) recognized that there was an opportunity to better explain exactly what the three categories are judging.  SCJC also recognized that there are differences in how much detail people want.

Check out the C&J website for some modifications.

For each scoring category, there is a “nutshell” of what that category judges.  If you want more information, click and that is expanded to a paragraph.  If that’s not enough, then you can download a 2-3 page discussion of the category.  No judge-speak but written for all readers (competitors and others interested).  THEN, if you want more information, you can download the C&J Handbook and read the Category Description.


Kevin Keller, SCJC Chair 2012-2015

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Another fantastic collaboration: Barbershop chorus + FIVE MORE CHOIRS

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in Media, Music, Outreach, Performance, Together, Making The Music That's Making A Difference, Youth in Harmony | Posted on December 5, 2014, 11:30 AM


Here’s a preview of the Ambassadors of Harmony as featured guests of the St. Louis Children’s Choir. That’s 155 barbershoppers and 450 kids!

The Ambassadors of Harmony – St. Louis Children’s Choir – Rehearsal at Powell Symphony Hall 2014

There’s nothing as moving as children’s voices to inspire your holiday season! Hear all six choirs of talented young singers – ages 6 to 18 – of The St. Louis Children’s Choirs performing Christmas carols and holiday favorites. Special guest artists include the award winning Ambassadors of Harmony – St. Louis’ finest men’s a cappella entertainment with 155 singers! The thrilling concert finale includes all 450 young singers together with the Ambassadors of Harmony – an experience you won’t want to miss. Join us for this St. Louis family tradition!

Tickets are now on sale through the Powell Hall Box Office. Go to, call 314-534-1700, or visit Powell Hall in person to purchase.

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Pentatonix Has the Highest-Charting Christmas Album by a Group Since 1962

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in In the news | Posted on December 4, 2014, 11:56 AM


A cappella is getting some love in the music trade press — and at the cash register.

Pentatonix’s That’s Christmas To Me jumps from #3 to #2 its sixth week on The Billboard 200.  It’s the highest-charting Christmas album by a group or duo since Mitch Miller & The Gang topped the chart with Holiday Sing Along With Mitch in January 1962. That was the sing-a-long ensemble’s second holiday album to reach #1, following Christmas Sing-Along With Mitch in 1958.

By climbing to #2 this week, That’s Christmas To Me pulls ahead of Mannheim Steamroller’s highest-charting Christmas album, 1995’s Christmas In The Aire, which reached #3. Two albums by TV “groups” also reached #3:  Glee Cast’s Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album (in 2010) and The Robertsons’s Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas (last year).

via Pentatonix Has the Highest-Charting Christmas Album by a Group Since 1962.

The market loves quality vocal holiday music… maybe barbershop is next?

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“No One Is Alone”

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week | Posted on November 26, 2014, 1:42 PM





Earlier this year we launched Jon Nicholas’s Hooked on a Feeling attached to the mega blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Next month, Into the Woods comes to the big screen with similar Hollywood pomp and circumstance.. (Think of the 2012 Les Miserables movie but with Stephen Sondheim at the helm.)

Get ahead of the excitement stirred by Into the Woods with “No One is Alone,” the featured song from the movie. Imagine singing the featured song from the film the same week it opens in theaters!

Liz Garnett’s arrangement is singable and moving, and we think you’ll enjoy this ballad.

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HQ Holiday Schedule

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in Harmony Marketplace, HQ operations | Posted on November 26, 2014, 2:30 AM


Harmony Hall in Nashville will be closed for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday Thursday, November 27-Monday, December 1. We will re-open for business on Tuesday, December 2. Naturally, you can kick off your Christmas shopping right away at


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To the Barbershopmobile!

Posted by Becca Grimmer | Posted in #youredoingitright, Just for Fun, Social Media | Posted on November 20, 2014, 10:26 AM


“Wear your heart on your bumper. Chris Eitman of the Akron and Canton, Ohio, Chapters, tricked out his car in style.”

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“A Hard Day’s Night” easier than you’d think

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week, Uncategorized | Posted on November 13, 2014, 1:48 PM


1596song_of_the_week_trans3This week’s newest, hot chart is by the Fab Four! And who better to arrange a Beatles tune than Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS) member Dr. Liz Garnett? Liz also arranged the best-selling “Happy Together,” and a number of other charts in our catalog.

A Hard Day’s Night” has a driving rock tempo with sensible range and easy a cappella treatment. (Popapella, Barberpop, etc).

Looking for other Beatles tunes? Don’t forget When I’m Sixty-Four, Yesterday, and something to the effect…something.. oh, “Something!” When you plan your shows, gigs, and festivals, keep in mind audience connectivity matters. The Beatles had four albums that sold more than ten million copies!

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Central Wisconsin groups to compete in a capella contest

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Outreach, Youth in Harmony | Posted on October 31, 2014, 1:37 PM


Here’s a great approach: hold a contest/show, with prizes awarded to the music programs of particpating schools. Hats off to Center Point Choruss of Sweet Adelines!

Get ready for a little bit of “American Idol,” “The Voice” — or any other live singing competition — all rolled into one a capella competition.Center Point Chorus Sweet Adelines, a women’s barbershop group, is hosting the event, a two-show competition on Saturday at The Theater@1800 formerly Sentry Theater.

In addition to performances by the chorus and Maxx Factor, the quartet judging the contest, four central Wisconsin schools are vying for cash prizes that will go to their respective music departments: Wisconsin Rapids Assumption High School, Nekoosa High School choir, Pittsville High School choir and Stevens Point’s P.J. Jacobs Junior High School choir.In addition to garnering funds for the schools, half of the proceeds will be split between the Breast Care Center at Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital, Stevens Point.”We were looking for a way to share our love for a capella singing and barbershop harmony, in particular,” said Kathleen Harris of Babcock, director for the Center Point Chorus Sweet Adelines, adding she was 16 when she joined a barbershop group in Racine. “We want to bring this American art form to our youth.”Assumption High School is entering a barbershop quartet — which they named Deffault, with a double “f” for double forte, a musical term. Deffault includes Becca Hartley, 16, junior, lead; Emily Faivre, 17, senior, tenor; Elaina Stoffel, 18, senior, bass; and Emilie Keuntjes, 16, junior, baritone.Although the group has been together for about a year and placed first at state solo ensemble, this is their first out-of-school competition, said AHS choral teacher, Julie Stoffel.”This is a new way to sharpen their skills,” Stoffel said. “It was great fun, because it was a musical challenge.”Being in a quartet offers different challenges from a group choir.”Everything that you have to do in barbershop has to be bigger than you would normally do,” Elaina said.Another difference is they have to carry their own part — when standing close to each other, as opposed to being in an entire section in choir, Becca said. Barbershop quartets often are very expressive in their movements and actions, as well.”I find it hard to maintain a good facial expression through the whole song,” Emilie said.Practicing outside of school has bonded the girls, Emily added.The show also will include set from guest quartet Maxx Factor, who will judge the high school groups, and DreamRide, a Sweet Adelines chapter quartet. Maxx Factor was part of “The Sing-Off Live Tour.” The finale will include all the participants, with more than 100 singers on stage.Half of the votes for the contest will come from Maxx Factor, and half from audience. The students will go home with no less than $200 for their schools between the two shows, and as much as $500. The public is encouraged to attend and vote for their school.


via Central Wisconsin groups to compete in a capella contest Nov. 1 in Stevens Point.

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Rediscover the grandmasters: Back catalog has hundreds of classics you still haven’t sung

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week | Posted on October 30, 2014, 1:51 PM


Our favorite phone calls at Harmony Hall come from customers unfamiliar with some of the grandmaster barbershop arrangers. “Do you have this music by Way-esh?” “It looks like SAY-Boo.”

Did you know you can search by arranger in the Harmony Marketplace? Try typing in Waesche, Szabo, or Latzko to see the hundreds of charts these men wrote. Then realize many of these guys wrote without being able to hear the Finale playback as a crutch. That’s ace musicianship, guys.

And that’s to say nothing of Val Hicks, Earl Moon, Roger Payne, Freddie King, and a dozen other past giants. Sift through and find some classic roots barbershop. Think “The Shadow of Your Smile” “Who’ll Dry Your Tears?” “From the First Hello” and other iconic babashaaaawp songs.

Part of the pleasure of rummaging around the catalog is finding charts in the arranger’s own hand. Yes, it’s nice to read a clear, typeset sheet of music; but there is something thrilling and organic about seeing Walter’s hand on “Emaline.”

Here are a few faves you might recall.:


Good huntin’.

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“America’s Got Talent” auditions set – it could be you!

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Media | Posted on October 30, 2014, 12:29 PM


Speaking of under-appreciated art forms… how about some barbershop in one of the biggest talent contests running?

The Americas Got Talent Audition website lists everything you need to know about being on the tenth season of AGT:

You can audition in person at one of the many cities we are going to, or send us a video of your talent.  Or you can do both!




NEW YORK – NOV 8 & 9

CHICAGO – JAN 24 & 25









Producers have expressed interest in great a cappella groups, and we have the best. In addition to on-site auditions, there’s an Audition Online option.

Why not barbershop? Why not you?

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Former Churches Blessed With New Lives in Pittsburgh –

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in 2015 Pittsburgh | Posted on October 29, 2014, 2:56 PM


Some of the Steel City’s savviest entrepreneurs have been purchasing many of Pittsburgh’s disused churches and adapting them into clubs, restaurants, theaters and concert venues….

A chapel tour of the area, for instance, could include a singalong session at Charlie Murdoch’s Dueling Piano Bar inside a century-old Presbyterian church built for Ukrainian immigrants, a pottery class at the Union Project a community education center in the former Union Baptist Church or even a visit to the Sphinx Cafe, a hookah bar in a rundown former church of unknown provenance in the city’s university district.

via Former Churches Blessed With New Lives in Pittsburgh –

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Adam’s Goldilocks Charts

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week | Posted on October 24, 2014, 1:52 PM


song_of_the_week_trans3You may know him as Music Publications Editor Adam Scott, but ’round the shop we call him Chief Porridge Officer. He serves many diners with many tasty arrangements: hard charts suitable for huge voices, easy charts suitable for beginners and range-limited singers. And something else, the specialty of the house: “Goldilocks charts” that are complex enough to hold interest of the sophisticated ensemble, while still within the performance capabilities of most singers. CPO Scott suggests you sample some of these delights:

P.S. No one really calls him Chief Porridge Officer, but maybe it will catch on ….

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Students polish a capella skills at festival featuring Ringmasters

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Outreach, Press Clippings, Youth in Harmony | Posted on October 24, 2014, 8:35 AM


BLOOMINGTON (IL) — For Bloomington High School senior Brendan Donnelly, Thursday was a revelation.”Everybody here has the same goal, and that’s for everybody to succeed,” he said. “It’s amazing.”Donnelly was one of more than 500 students from 16 high schools to attend the 16th Annual Youth in Harmony Festival, an event co-sponsored by the Bloomington-based Sound of Illinois barbershop group that each year passes on the tools of the trade.“The whole goal is to bring the style to the attention of a younger audience,” said Jim Waldorf, program vice president for Sound of Illinois. “With the advent of ‘Jersey Boys’ and ‘Glee,’ it has taken on a new luster.”

Between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., students took only a 30-minute lunch away from a capella workshops with professionals including Ringmasters — a Stockholm, Sweden-based group named the world’s best a capella quartet in 2012 — in preparation for a performance Thursday night.Both took place at Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, where boys rehearsed downstairs and girls upstairs around 11:30 a.m.. Each group took on a pair of songs: Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and Anna Kendrick’s “Cups” for the guys with the girls performing rock standard “Rock Around the Clock” and “I Will Follow Him” from “Nunsense.”

Ringmasters Member Jakob Stenberg said he was thrilled to see so many boys at the festival — 175 boys versus 325 girls.”When I was young, it wasn’t ‘cool’ to sing in the choir, especially for the guys,” he said. “That seems to have changed.”

via Students polish a capella skills at festival.

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Traditional New Orleans Foods | Gumbo, Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in 2015 New Orleans | Posted on October 22, 2014, 3:12 PM


New Orleans takes its food seriously, because it treats its food so joyously.

On its excellent trip planning site, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau e

If you end up at some boring chain restaurant eating bland hamburgers while you’re in New Orleans, we’ll simply never forgive you. More importantly, you’ll never forgive yourself. Avoid such shame by familiarizing yourself with the dishes below and be well prepared to savor forkfuls of the culture, tradition and recipe perfection that have earned New Orleans its culinary legacy . Learn more about Traditional New Orleans Foods | Gumbo, Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice.

While you’re there take, make use of the excellent free Day Planner, which helps you clip interesting restaurants,clubs ands sites to see, then drop them onto a day-by-day itinerary. Nothing worse than going to a place rich with history and fun, then forgetting what you most wanted to see.



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Students hit high note with Barbershop Extravaganza | Phoenix

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in 2015 New Orleans, Press Clippings, Youth in Harmony | Posted on October 22, 2014, 11:03 AM


Young choruses in the International Youth Chorus Festival at the 2015 Midwinter convention are ramping up right now, and we’re starting to se some nice press coverage. Here’s a nice piece on the Chandler Men’s Chorus.

You might not expect to hear barbershop music from high schoolers, but that’s exactly what you’ll hear at Chandler High School.A student group that will be performing on the concert “Barbershop Extravaganza” held next Tuesday, October 21. The students are hosting this concert to help raise money for their trip to New Orleans where they will be participating in a barbershop convention.The group of students taking part in the concert is very diverse. “We have guys from all parts of the campus,” says Lori Lyford, Chandler Choir Director. “We have athletes, we have dancers, actors, mathematicians. We have experts in every field. They just love to sing.”

via Students hit high note with Barbershop Extravaganza | Phoenix.

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Quartet jumps out of giant vending machine to surprise shoppers | Worcester News

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Press Clippings | Posted on October 22, 2014, 8:24 AM


One imagines this would have been easier in a TARDIS, but still, very cool.

SHOPPERS were surprised when a barbershop quartet and a mariachi band jumped out of a giant purple vending machine.The machine, which was the height of a double-decker bus, was set up at the Homebase store in Elgar Retail Park, Worcester.Hundreds of free prizes were distributed to shoppers who swiped to win on the Nectar Thank You Machine, pictured.

via Band jumps out of giant vending machine to surprise shoppers in Worcester: updated with new pictures From Worcester News.

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First pre-contest prognostication in press: Gulf Coasters – Naples Daily News

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in 2015 New Orleans, Contests & Judging, Press Clippings, Quartetting | Posted on October 21, 2014, 4:41 PM


Hats off to the Naple Daily News for early coverage of the 2015 Seniors Quartet Contest!

The Gulf Coasters, a local barbershop quartet, won first place at the Sunshine District Competition for seniors Oct. 10-12 at the Airport Marriott Hotel in Orlando. Now they’re one step closer to the final prize and unlimited bragging rights if they take home the gold at the New Orleans International Midwinter Convention Jan. 6-11.

Tim McShane, 61, Rod Johnson, 73, and Jack Slamka, 66, have already won international gold medals. Bart Plescia, 83, the fourth member, is still hoping for his first.

“We were prepared for it,” Plescia said. “Our goal was to win this competition so we could get to the international level. We’re very excited.”

“It would be very fulfilling and rewarding.”

Full story at Naples Daily News.

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Barbershop chapter sings from the heart | Youngstown News

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Press Clippings | Posted on October 21, 2014, 4:32 PM


Another nice “bread & butter” story, with accompanying video. Remember, mostnewspaper stories today include video mateiral on the website. Be prepared to speak for the camera!

Before Chuck Davis of New Castle joined about a year ago, he said he spent Tuesday nights at a karaoke bar with friends. The baritone, who at 28 is the youngest member, said he’s been singing since kindergarten and has participated in musicals and choruses in school. He said the musical “Anything Goes” introduced him to barbershop style. “It’s really cool,” he said.

Once he started rehearsing with Penn-Ohio Singers, he was hooked. “There is something that’s just beautiful when you hit those notes just right,” he said. He said the singing must get the serotonin going because singing makes you feel good.

The Slippery Rock University student added that the group also offers something more. “You meet people from all walks of life,” he said. “We come together for a common purpose … to make music.”

via Youngstown News, Barbershop chapter sings from the heart.

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‘You have to be the orchestra, the singer and the performer all at once’ | Video + Gallery | Providence Journal

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Events, Press Clippings | Posted on October 21, 2014, 4:20 PM


Nice coverage of the Northeastern District Convetion this past weekend:

It’s as if music, especially the conjoined voices of two dozen young men, transcends the limitations of the spoken word.

“It’s my varsity sport, my passion,” Taveras said. “It’s changed everything about my life.”

Taveras is a member of one of many barbershop choruses that competed in the Northeast District’s barbershop singing competition at the Rhode Island Convention Center, a two-day event that ended on Saturday. The competition drew approximately 1,000 attendees, including 24 barbershop quartets and 15 choruses.

Full story at the Providence Journal.

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A Musical Fix for American Schools – The Wall Street Journal

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in In the news, Outreach, Related Readng, Together, Making The Music That's Making A Difference | Posted on October 17, 2014, 10:27 AM


When the influential Wall Street Journal says that music training boosts IQ, focus and persistence, people have to take notice.

That’s the prescription of  “A Musical Fix for American Schools“:

Many solutions have been tried, but few have succeeded. So I propose a different approach: music training. A growing body of evidence suggests that music could trump many of the much more expensive “fixes” that we have thrown at the education system.

  • Music raises your IQ.
  • Music training can reduce the academic gap between rich and poor districts.
  • Music training does more than sports, theater or dance to improve key academic skills.
  • Music can be an inexpensive early screening tool for reading disabilities.
  • Music literally expands your brain.

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Read the convention issue and share your favorite stories online

Posted by Lorin May | Posted in Harmonizer, Social Media | Posted on October 16, 2014, 4:19 PM


hzr_om_issuuThe Sept/Oct issue of The Harmonizer – the CONVENTION ISSUE – is almost in the mail. But if you don’t want to wait until the last week of October to read it, read the whole thing now at No password is required, but if you create an account or login with Facebook, you can clip articles or spreads and send them to your friends or your Facebook feed. Share your barbershop passion with everyone you know!

We’ve already shared:

How Harmony Foundation looked like Nostradamus when they ran a certain video just before The Academy wonthe collegiate contest.

Why it was natural for a Platinum-selling recording artist to be singing on the AIC SHOW.

How recent past chorus champs would have placed against the 2014 chorus field. (Spoiler: One would have finished 7th!)

Why Nebraska’s past Top 10 chorus, The Pathfinders, delivered their best performance ever for an audience of one.

Read all 62 picture-packed pages at! PDFs are also available to members and Associates


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They wrote ‘em–and arranged ‘em!– in the good old days

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week | Posted on October 16, 2014, 1:54 PM


song_of_the_week_trans3This week we look back on great songs written by Barbershoppers for Barbershoppers.

Each Time I Fall in Love” by S.K. Grundy, has fueled many a late night tag session with it haunting “foolish over you” tiddly. (Get the learning track so you can lock in the tag!)

Paul Olguin’s “I Was Born 70 Years Too Late” (also withlearning tracks) describes both the composer and his audience. This bouncing, Tin Pan Alley-flavored tune was made famous by international medalist Special Feature.
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BHS to appear at major music educator conferences

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in HQ operations, Outreach | Posted on October 16, 2014, 1:24 PM


NAFME_conferenceDirect contact and support of music educators continues to be a key element of the Society’s Outreach strategy, and we will be well-represented at two major upcoming national events.

Later this month, the city of Nashville plays host to the National Association for Music Education’s annual event, which features hundreds of interest sessions, honors ensembles, and performances by big-name groups such as The Boston Brass and the US Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus.

The Barbershop Harmony Society will be at the event, too, guiding teachers to our hot new arrangements, featured events such as the Collegiate Barbershop Quartet Contest and the International Youth Chorus Festival, and introducing them to our broad slate of outreach events for 2015.

If you are in town for the event, be sure to visit us at booth #617.

ACDA logo 2015Then, in February 2015, the Society will have a major presence at the biennial meeting of the American Choral Directors Association, at which we’ll make a significant presentation on barbershop’s origins in African-American music, host special music reading sessions and an industry showcase. Everyone attending ACDA will come away impressed with the depth and breadth of our offerings to support music in communities across the continent. If you plan on attending the ACDA Convention in Salt Lake City, please contact Sherry Lewis at Harmony Hall; we’d like to plan a reception for them to come and bring a friend who they’d like to introduce to the BHS CEO and Education Team. Lots of photo ops — and we’ll be giving away HU Scholarships while at this convention!

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“Something Special,” the barbershopera, honored in international competition

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in History, Media, Related Readng | Posted on October 16, 2014, 1:18 PM


Combining two forms of music under-appreciated in North American culture, we present: Barbershopera!

Wallace dePue, a former Barbershopper and former Professor of Music at Bowling Green State University, was the recipient of awards from the Boston Metro Opera  for “Something Special,” a barbershop opera that he wrote in 1976 for the Maumee Valley, Ohio, Chapter show, directed by R. D. Mathey.

Not only were the music original compositions words and music by Wallace, but he had never written barbershop songs or arranged them, so he ran them all through the Society for guidance. He also wrote the complete libretto and lent his help as the show was put together. It was performed with the BGSU Men’s Chorus combined with the Maumee Valley Chorus.

Guest quartets performing in the show included The Regents and The Happiness Emporium for the May annual show and The Roaring 20s on the Divisional show. Several chapter quartets, including The Coalition, a JAD district medalist at that time and The Four Knights in a Row with lead R. D. Mathey and bass Ben Ayling were also involved.

Video has recently surfaced on YouTube. Settle back for a jaw-dropping show.  (And check out this contemporary story from the Toledo Blade, May 20, 1976.)

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Lorde – Live On Letterman Interview – YouTube

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Media, Press Clippings | Posted on October 16, 2014, 12:32 PM


In a David Letterman interview, pop sensation Lorde reveals that she is friends with lots of people, young, old, and sang barbershop and did drama in high school.

Lorde – Live On Letterman Interview – YouTube.

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Walt Disney World’s Barbershop Quartet The Dapper Dans Provide Some In-Flight Entertainment! |

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Just for Fun, Media, Press Clippings | Posted on October 15, 2014, 9:39 AM


The folks at Perez Hilton, breathless celebrity-spotters, know a great quartet when they see it.

Walt Disney World's Barbershop Quartet The Dapper Dans Provide Some In-Flight Entertainment! |

One Southwest Airlines flight got the most unexpected surprise ever! Nope, it wasn’t a passenger with Ebola!Walt Disney World’s resident barbershop quartet The Dapper Dans sang for some lucky passengers, making the rest of us who air travel with just in-flight trivia to keep us company extremely jealous!

Full posting: Walt Disney World’s Barbershop Quartet The Dapper Dans Provide Some In-Flight Entertainment! |

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The State of Bluegrass Music | Rolling Stone

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Related Readng | Posted on October 9, 2014, 4:52 PM


Another traditional American musical art form contends with the tension between preservation and evolution. Substitute the word “barbershop” for “bluegrass” in this Rolling Stone story , and you’ll hear a familiar debate.

But as with any family, there’s often disagreement. Purists decry the use of drums while progressive musicians continue to push the boundaries. “There are hardcore people that [think] if you even have a microphone you’re way too far out,” Del McCoury says with a laugh. “I exaggerate, but you have the hardcore folks. They can listen to whatever they want to but you need variety. You need to have that. You’ve got to have young people coming in all the time. That’s what brings young people in, more progressive sound and variety. I just like variety in music. I think it’s a good thing.”Most musicians are generally supportive of innovation in the format, but some fans have a more restrictive view. “There’s some hardcore traditional fans out there who really think that the best bluegrass ever recorded was in the late Forties, early Fifties and that nobody can really improve on that,” says Cardwell. “That’s their favorite, and God bless them, they’re entitled to that perspective. Part of the reason for these strong feelings is they treasure the music so much. It’s more than just a casual interest, almost a passion, a religious fervor. People who just really love bluegrass music treasure it so much that they want to hold onto it very tightly and not let it change because they’re afraid if we don’t keep it the same, then it’ll disappear in a generation or two.

Read the entire story at The State of Bluegrass Music | Rolling Stone.

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Grants webinar with Joe Cerutti available for replay

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Events, Grants, Media, Outreach, Run your chapter | Posted on October 6, 2014, 1:09 AM


Joe Cerutti answers questions about a landmark opportunity for Barbershop Harmony Society chapters and districts to dramatically expand their outreach into their communities. Before viewing, please review the program outline at

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What do these six chapters have in common? A bold new experiment!

Posted by Scipio Garling | Posted in Chapters, Outreach, Run your chapter, Together, Making The Music That's Making A Difference | Posted on September 26, 2014, 2:46 PM


The Research Triangle Park Chorus, the Ambassadors of Harmony, the High Country Chorus, the Upper Yoopers, the Arlingtones, and the Alexandria Harmonizers– what could these diverse chapters have in common that no other chapters do?!

They’ve all registered to be part of the Society’s new “Open Board” program!

Open Board is a Society pilot program allowing chapters to add non-members to their boards of directors.  Open Board chapters like these will invite  local arts supporters, benefactors, and other VIPs to join their boards. By opening up their boards to such outside membership, Open Board chapters hope to spark all sorts of positive change such as donor-based fundraising, new approaches to governance, improved connections with their local community, and new performance and collaboration opportunities.

“Most choruses and performing arts groups have boards of directors composed entirely of just such supportive non-performers,” notes BHS CFO Erik Dove, head of the Open Board Task Force.  “Chapters large and small can all benefit from adding non-barbershoppers to their boards to bring new ideas, opportunities, connections, and support. The Society’s eager for chapters to explore all these possibilities by joining the Open Board program.”

Registrant chapters have already begun identifying and inviting community leaders to help them forge a new future. Your chapter, too,  can register to be part of the Open Board, just by filling out this simple on-line form.  Discuss it with your chapter today!

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Pop Superstar Lady Gaga teams with Tony Bennett for album of standards

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in In the news, Media | Posted on September 23, 2014, 4:10 PM


Pop quiz: is this a quartet contest score sheet, or a track list from a pop superstar famed for outrageous costuming and heavy dance beats?

  1. “Anything Goes”   Cole Porter
  2. “Cheek to Cheek”   Irving Berlin
  3. “Nature Boy”   eden ahbez
  4. “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love”   Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields
  5. “I Won’t Dance”   Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach
  6. “Firefly”   Cy Coleman, Carolyn Leigh
  7. “Lush Life”   Billy Strayhorn
  8. “Sophisticated Lady”   Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, Mitchell Parish
  9. “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”   Irving Berlin
  10. “But Beautiful”   Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke
  11. “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”   Duke Ellington, Irving Mills

Could be both.

USA Today’s review of “Cheek To Cheek” , a collaboration between Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, is fairly generous:

Listening to Lady Gaga sing American Songbook standards with Tony Bennett on Cheek to Cheek (* * * out of four) can be a bit like watching a pretty, eager young girl try to walk a red carpet alongside a veteran supermodel.

The 28-year-old pop diva has impressive raw material — a supple, textured voice capable of evoking sensuality, tenderness and pain — and she and the 88-year-old Bennett enjoy a playful, sometimes poignant rapport.

Expect plenty of reviews from all sides of the spectrum. Meanwhile, what will you do with the improved recognition of these classics from the great American songbook?

Listen now on Spotify.





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The Chordettes Film in funding stage

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in History, Media | Posted on September 23, 2014, 2:36 PM


Who were the Chordettes?

The Chordettes were a singing group from the 1940’s, through the 60’s that transformed male barbershop quartet arrangements into one of the most unique and recognizable sounds ever known to the history of music.

Originally hailing from Sheboygan Wisconsin – The Chordettes spent less than three years on the road, singing at barbershop functions and state fairs. They were quickly scooped up by CBS’ Arthur Godfrey Show to be a part of a daily Radio-Television community. Only a couple years later did they get fired from the show and started to record pop records of their own as a last ditch effort to keep their careers alive.

They topped the charts with the likes of Mr. Sandman, Born to be with you, Zorro, Just Between You and Me, Lollipop, Lay Down Your Arms, Hummingbird, Eddie My Love, and many more and were also the first musical guests on the national airing of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.

The Chordettes had an unusual ability to combine different music genres in a pop setting, which helped set the stage for the great collision of Jazz, Country, Barbershop Harmony, and Blues – we know today as Rock n’ Roll.

The Chordettes Film Fundraising Site.

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Somebody’s Gotta Sing It! | Mike Rowe

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Press Clippings | Posted on September 23, 2014, 9:37 AM


Barbershopper/TV star Mike Rowe is bringing a new show to CNN on October 8, and he enlisted fans to help with the theme song.

That sounds like a job for Barbershoppers, right? And LOL past district champion and international semi-finalist VOCALITY jumped right up.

Jump over to Mike’s Somebody’s Gotta Sing It page to see other entries


Somebody’s Gotta Do It is a show that’s simply gotta be done – unscripted, unrehearsed, and unusually fun. It’s all about people who do what they do because they just can’t help themselves. People on a mission. People who march to the beat of a drum that only they can hear. Those are my kind of people, and CNN has given me an hour on prime time to introduce a few of them to America. The fun starts Wednesday October 8 at 9pm. Somebody’s gotta watch it – so hopefully, I’ll see you then!  – Mike

via Somebody’s Gotta Sing It! | Mike Rowe.

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Bolton choir Cottontown Chorus starts its own talent-finding competition (From The Bolton News)

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Membership growth, Press Clippings | Posted on September 23, 2014, 8:41 AM


Love this approach! The best way to get people singing is to have them sing what they love best: Bon Jovi.

An award-winning barbershop singers ensemble has launched its own bid to find “the voice”.

The 60-strong Cottontown Chorus, based in Bolton, is laying down the vocal challenge as part of a national Learn to Sing scheme.

The group is inviting anyone interested to attend for two evenings to try their hand at singing Bon Jovi’s hit record, Living on a Prayer.

It will be sung “acappella” which means there are no instruments being played. The chorus meets on Tuesday evenings at Turton High School in Bromley Cross.

Full story: Bolton choir Cottontown Chorus starts its own talent-finding competition (From The Bolton News).

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Sweet Notes from Taproot’s “Fabulous Lipitones” – FeetFirst

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Press Clippings | Posted on September 23, 2014, 8:28 AM


It appears that  The Fabulous Lipitones is starting to get legs. Here’s a review of a new staging in Seattle. 

The Fabulous Lipitones is about an over-the-hill Midwestern barbershop quartet. Created by Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut, Lipitones is chock full of groan-inducing humor (the group’s main rival is The Sons of Pitches) punctuated by barbershop tunes that hearken back to the ‘50s and ‘60s.

When one of the quartet unexpectedly dies right before the national competition, the group is desperate for a lead tenor. By accident they hear “Bob” singing over the phone and think they’ve found their much-needed fourth.

Full review: Sweet Notes from Taproot’s “Fabulous Lipitones” – FeetFirst.

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Harmony U makes quartets happy

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Harmony University, HQ operations, Quartetting | Posted on September 16, 2014, 12:06 PM


We couldn’t possibly run every “thank you” we receive (lucky us!), but sometimes it’s nice to let the part speak for the whole. The Con Men, a 2014 collegiate medalist,  took time out to share their impressions of the Quartet College experience.


Rich Knight coaches The Con Men at Harmony University Quartet College 2014

On behalf of The Con Men, I would like to thank you for the scholarship that we received to Harmony University this year. It was an experience that I know none of us will ever forget. When we arrived at Belmont on Sunday night, we really weren’t sure what to expect, but when we left, we knew why people refer to it as “the best week of the entire year!”

The staff was absolutely wonderful! Starting off the week coaching with Rich Knight was absolutely a dream come true for us (little did we know that it was only the tip of the iceberg) and it was so cool to realize that even our biggest barbershop idols can be totally down to Earth people. Across the board, the entire staff was immensely helpful in helping us achieve a new level that none of us could truly grasp the concept of until we experienced it first hand. I can’t even tell you how many doors were opened to us through getting to work with or even just talk with the entire staff; especially the coaches in our pod: Rich Knight, David McEachern, Steve Armstrong, and Becki Hine, but also Gary Plaag, Marty Lovick, and Doug Harrington.

Working with the NextGen Chorus was also more incredible than we had ever hoped it would be. We are all huge supporters of YIH, especially since two of us are direct products of The Singing Buckeyes Harmony Camp. We have had our fair share of working with high school and college aged students before, but these guys were absolutely phenomenal! The guys were so responsive to everything that we had a chance to work with them on in the sectionals, and were all very respectful and attentive to both Clay Hine and Debbie Cleveland the entire week. On that note, Clay was a blast to work with. He really had a handle on what he wanted out of the chorus and they delivered without question. We are so proud to have been a part of that group all week.

The amount of knowledge gained from the week was worth more to us than we can ever say so we sincerely want to thank you and everyone involved with Harmony University for giving us this opportunity. Without the scholarship we received this year, we would not have even considered attending. I would love to say that we will come back every year, but we know financially that isn’t possible. The truth is, I honestly don’t know when we’ll have the money to attend again, which makes this past HU even that more special.

If you could, please pass this along to anyone involved in picking the scholarship recipients, whoever they are, because through them and this entire organization, I know that we are all better singers, better musicians, better performers, and better men for attending Harmony University this year.

In Harmony,

The Con Men (David, Matt, Brent, and Russell)

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The Old Joes’ Choir wins barbershop category in World Choir Games

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in In the news, Media, World Harmony | Posted on September 16, 2014, 10:02 AM



The Barbershop Harmony Society and its affiliates are not the only places to find our style of close-harmony singing. This past summer, the Old Joes’ Choir of Colombo, Sri Lanka, took top honors in the Barbershop Choirs Division of the World Choir Games, singing a set that would sound right at home on any barbershop stage. Click through to the choir’s Facebook page and take a listen.
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Miss America 2015: Boardwalk barbershop quartet serenades pageant boss (video) |

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Media, Press Clippings | Posted on September 15, 2014, 9:06 AM


Preliminaries host Dena Blizzard had a barbershop quartet that she “found on the boardwalk,” perform a humorous intro for Miss America CEO, Sam Haskell, during the final day of Miss America preliminaries at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ

Miss America CEO Sam Haskell is known for giving impassioned speeches about the pageant.

In acknowledgement of that fact — and the length of those speeches — the host of the pageant’s preliminary competition, Dena Blizzard, unveiled a present for Haskell tonight. A barbershop quartet — pulled off the Atlantic City Boardwalk, she said — to cheerfully harmonize about his long-winded ways.

Blizzard, a stand-up comedian and Miss New Jersey 1995, wrote the lyrics to the song they performed, which included this line:

“Please keep things short / ’cause we’ve got a gong.”

With that, one of the singers banged on a pot.

via Miss America 2015: Boardwalk barbershop quartet serenades pageant boss (video) |

Updated 2014-09-30: Thanks to Bob Heim of the NassaU Mid-Island Chapter’s Toosday Toons bulletin for this more detailed story. TT-oct-2014

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Forefront wows ‘em at Camp A Cappella

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Outreach | Posted on September 12, 2014, 9:25 AM



We may recall that we had mentioned that 2014 Silver Medalist Forefront would appear at Camp A Cappella in June. and that Forefront tenor Drew Wheaton would be a featured instructor.  We have since received a very nice report from Camp Director Brody McDonald:

Camp Acappella was a smashing success, with nearly 200 campers in attendance. To say that barbershop night was well-received would be an understatement. ForeFront hit it out of the park!

While there are many worthwhile camps in the country, we feel that Camp A Cappella is a strong ally to BHS/SAI/HI. Based on our current tracking, we’re looking at a minimum of 300 campers next year. Unlike the existing barbershop camps (like Buckeye, Greater Cincy, Acappellooza, etc.), we offer exposure to a large number of students who are already rabid for a cappella music, but likely have not been exposed in-depth to barbershop.

As we move forward, I hope we can continue to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. Thank you once again for sending ForeFront and Drew!

Camper comments were equally effusive:

I really like that we had different kinds of a Cappella showcased for us. Country, barbershop, and contemporary, it was great to hear such variety!!!

It was really cool to see Forefront because I love love love barbershop!

I thought it was really nice that we could experience barbershop at a pop a cappella camp!

Drew opened up the world of barbershop to me and I never knew I would like it so much.




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Deke Sharon on Gold Medal Moments

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Gold Medal Moments, Media | Posted on September 12, 2014, 8:18 AM


Toby Shaver’s awesome podcast welcomes Deke Sharon, often considered “the father of contemporary a cappella.” Deke shares the story of his barbershop roots, his early years with the Tufts University Beelzebubs, his professional career with The House Jacks and founding The Contemporary Acappella Society of America (CASA). Deke and Toby also talk about his involvement in “The Sing Off” and “Pitch Perfect”, as well as his recent collaborations with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

#024 – Deke Sharon | Gold Medal Moments.

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Add expertise and advocacy to your chapter with Open Boards

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Outreach, Run your chapter, Society Board, Together, Making The Music That's Making A Difference | Posted on September 11, 2014, 11:35 AM


Want to solidify your chapter’s ties to your local community? Develop fundraising connections? Acquire new opportunities for gigs and venues? Collaborate more easily with other performing arts groups and civic leaders?

Consider adding non-BHS community members to your chapter board of directors.

Successful arts groups all have boards that are composed of non-performers who are supporters of the arts. They use their money, influence, and connections to advance the group’s mission and goals. It also frees up time so the performers can focus more on honing their craft and singing!

To see whether local chapters can benefit by borrowing a page from such independent arts groups, the Society has just approved a pilot program that allows chapters to put non-Society members on their boards as members-at-large.

So, instead of envying the local symphony or community chorus for all their connections, you can copy their model of success by putting local VIPs and arts supporters on your board of directors as members-at-large.

The Open Board pilot program allows chapters to include non-BHS members on their boards of directors during the 2015 and 2016 calendar years. Chapters with a board size of more than seven will be able to include up to two such community board members; all other chapters will be able to include one non-Barbershopper.\

Get full details and register at

via .

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The Sing Off is BACK!

Posted by Becca Grimmer | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on September 10, 2014, 9:36 AM


The search is on again for contestants of the hit a cappella reality show, The Sing Off!! Sweet Adeline International Quartet Queens, Maxx Factor, were on the first season and we think it has been far too long since barbershop was represented on this show! Who’s going to audition this year?

Los Angeles – Sept. 30
Nashville – Oct. 2
New York – Oct. 4

If you think that they won’t be accepting quartets, have a look at the FAQ.  They’re accepting 4-20 members this year! Sounds like a quartet or a chorus could be contenders this year!

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Who owns barbershop?

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Media, Related Readng | Posted on September 9, 2014, 5:08 PM


Stripes, barbershop and the Big World Out There

As the largest body of practitioners of the barbershop musical art form, the folks most immersed and versed in its culture and mechanics, we assume that when barbershop happens anywhere, we must have had a hand in it.

As Barbershoppers, we tend to believe that the ways we look and sound are best suited to advancing the craft. Musically, we probably are the best. Certainly there’s plenty of debate even within our own slice of the world over what constitutes barbershop, on a spectrum ranging from “pre-1920 only” to “any four-part a cappella”, with most of us lying somewhere between those extremes.

The truth is, barbershop belongs to people singing barbershop. Anyone can sing barbershop, anywhere, anytime, with or without SPEBSQSA, with or without a logo, wearing stripes and straw hats, or suits, or caveman costumes, or whatever else. Barbershop appears in places without our prompting and certainly beyond our control.

That’s great! More people making barbershop means more barbershop!

When barbershop music appears on a comedy show, expect comedy. For example, when Jimmy Fallon’s Ragtime Gals quartet sings a hip-hop song, the comedy springs directly from the jarring juxtaposition of traditional stripes with music from 2014. It’s not funny if they come out wearing street gear, or contemporary barbershop suits.

What does the Barbershop Harmony Society gain from an appearance like this? Listen to that crowd screaming its pleasure. look at the millions of YouTube hits on a making some pretty good chords, HAVING FUN MAKING CLOSE HARMONY. Win!

The next time you say “barbershop quartet” to someone under 30, and he responds, “Oh, like Jimmy Fallon!” you should reply “RIGHT! Wasn’t that fun? We have that much fun every week.” Then sing a tag, and move on.

Yes, we want to see and place quality contemporary barbershop in front of big audiences. At the same time, when you have a tiger by the tail — RIDE! It’s great to have famous people showing the world that barbershop is fun.

Now let’s do it in our own communities too, making use of that awareness.



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Chanticleer members sing barbershop off-stage

Posted by Lorin May | Posted in Just for Fun, Quartetting, Tag singing, Together, Making The Music That's Making A Difference, Uncategorized, Why I Barbershop | Posted on September 8, 2014, 3:44 PM


Seen on Facebook: They’re one of the world’s most elite and most famous professional vocal groups, and they appreciate the power of a barbershop tag as much as we do. Check out four members of Chanticleer saying farewell with a tag … and a fifth voice at the end that, in this case, was no overtone.

Someone get these guys into a district contest. They’ve obviously got the pipes, and they even already have the matching socks …

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Hooked on “Hooked On A Feeling”

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week | Posted on September 8, 2014, 1:56 PM


You would have had to have been hiding in a mineshaft deep on the far side of the Moon to have escaped the hype around this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy blockbuster movie. Among its virtues, though, is the incessantly catchy hit “Hooked On A Feeling,” a 1968 B.J. Thomas hit that became locked in our minds by the Blue Swede version with the “ooga chakas.”

Our new arrangement comes from Jon Nicholas, director of the Lexington Kentuckians Chorus and a name you may recognize from another chart of his that we published last year, The Beach Boys’ “Little Saint Nick.” You can listen to Tony DeRosa ooga chaka his way through the learning tracks, too.

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So You Think You Can’t Sing

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in In the news, Membership growth, Outreach, Related Readng, Social Media, Why I Barbershop | Posted on September 8, 2014, 12:07 PM


Deke Sharon, the All-Father of A Cappella, hits it square-on with his latest rant/sermon/moment of inspiration.

His premise: many people would readily agree that they are fine shooting hoops casually in their driveway, without aspiring to be NBA players. Similarly, a little casual singing in the shower is different than practicing and honing one’s skills to be an accomplished performer. Both are good – both are communication, and should be part of the fabric of our lives.

“Encourage your friends to sing. Expect them to not be amazing right away.”  Be tolerant.

(Deke’s name comes up often on this blog — because the man is right!)

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The Barbershop Harmony Society staff responds to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – YouTube

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in HQ operations, Just for Fun, Related Readng | Posted on September 8, 2014, 11:53 AM



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Eight-part showstopper: “If There’s Anybody Here From Out of Town”

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week | Posted on September 4, 2014, 4:49 PM


In the ongoing race toward relevance, there’s nothing better for audience development than reaching out and singing with other musical groups. Our featured song this week is perfect for performing with men’s quartets plus women’s quartets.

If There’s Anybody Here From Out of Town” bounces across the USA, cataloging locales and scenes in toe-tapping fashion. Dave Briner’s arrangement for men’s quartet plus women’s quartet was made famous in an excellent performance by Panache (1990 SAI International Champion Quartet) and Acoustix (1990 BHS International Champion Quartet,) and works well for choruses also.

This arrangement makes an outstanding addition to youth choral events, too, as clinician Debbie Cleveland attests:

2013 combined chorus_sm

Nick Gordon and I have directed this arrangement as the closing number for three years at the Greater Cincinnati Harmony Fest, and the kids look forward to it every year! The arrangement is very accessible for the young singers, but has enough harmonic interest to challenge their ears and boost their musicianship. It features the women’s voices alone, and then the men’s voices alone, both singing different rhythmic and lyric patterns, creating a great deal of musical variety for the audience. The contrast of the legato female vocal lines and the syncopated male countermelody is like a puzzle that gives great satisfaction to the singer and the listener when the pieces are fitted neatly together. The lyrics include mention of four-part harmony, friendship and the universal nature of good-will and hospitality. This, along with a swingy rhythm that is easily choreographed and a tag that ends on a shimmery multi-part chord, makes it perfect for a finale!

Get it now:


Learning tracks:

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Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in 2015 New Orleans | Posted on September 4, 2014, 9:51 AM


Mark today as our first mangling of Cajun usage in describing the Midwinter Convention in New Orleans, January 6-11, 2015. There will be virtually no requirement to say it well, and if you’re doing it right, no one will hear to notice anyway.

You probably already know about the big stuff:

  • 2015 Seniors Quartet Championship
  • 2015 International Youth Chorus Festival
  • Big shows featuring top performers (and more surprises being added every day)

But did you know just how close to real New Orleans excitement we’ll be? “Let the good times roll!”


Zoom in this Google Map. Our headquarters, with all our lodging, shows and events, is in the Hilton New Orleans Riverside and adjoining Convention Center.

See that streetcar station on the property? That takes you right into the French Quarter. See Harrah’s Casino? Yup, that’s a scant two-block walk.

Take the streetcar in the opposite direction, and ride on down to Mardi Gras World. This museum and events center houses a workshop for building the dazzling floats that make a parade in New Orleans unforgettable. We’ll be holding a special get-together in its recreated plantation room, a moonlight setting straight off the bayou.

Fun? Over the top!

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Web developer? You could work at HQ

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in HQ operations | Posted on September 3, 2014, 4:49 PM


Check the Careers / Internships page for this current posting:

The Barbershop Harmony Society is looking for a well-rounded web/software developer to help us evolve our systems from a .NET environment toward a PHP/LAMP environment. We will be maintaining our current .NET web applications while we begin our transition to more open source-based solutions. Our ideal candidate is someone who is skilled in both platforms. Primary Responsibilities:Maintain and contributing to develop the aesthetic of the society’s websites & web applications.Help define the strategy and architecture of future platforms.Provide user support to internal teams.Work with a dedicated project manager to prioritize your schedule, deliverables and timelines.Work within a coordinated team environment – CIO/COO, design & project manager roles are already in place.This is a full time position with a very attactive benefits package including health, vision and dental insurance; retirement; vacation, etc. Please reply with a resume and samples/working links. Freelancers need not apply. No recruiters or phone calls please.


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An “everyday” Gold Medal Moment | Pathfinder Chorus

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Chapters, Members, Together, Making The Music That's Making A Difference, Why I Barbershop | Posted on September 3, 2014, 11:57 AM


Mark Erikson of the Pathfinder Chorus from Fremont, Nebraska, shared this great reminder of the way we touch lives every day.

Ringing like never before, the final chord of Auld Lang Syne soared to the rehearsal hall’s rafters. Then silence. No one moved except the frail old gentleman in a folding chair with his walker close beside him. He lowered his head into his cupped hands.

As one of the few surviving charter members of the Fremont Chapter, he is no stranger to this group or this hall. Days earlier, at his request, the chorus sang at the memorial service and celebration of life for his recently departed wife. Visiting us during a Monday night rehearsal for the first time in a while to simply say – thanks.

During the break, well-wishers shook his once powerful hands. His booming bass voice not so much any more. However, the gleam in his eye and the smile on his face spoke volumes as he listened with great pride to the now perennial top 10 chorus he helped form four decades ago. He came to say thanks to his heroes.

But there were no heroes on the risers that night, or during that song. We sang as one. Just as countless coaches and our own directors had said we should and could. And we did.

Virgil Post made but one request of our director Pete Stibor that night, “Ask the boys to sing Auld Lang Syne.”

Oh my! We had sung that classic, but vocally challenging ballad in competition for two straight years; rolled it off our current repertoire list at least two years ago. But there was only one right answer, so we sang – without sheet music for all but the visitors and our newest members.

In a moment we knew something was different. We did more than just sing the song. More than sing TO someone. We sang FOR someone – our own dear Virgil.

I’m sure the director stood in front of us the entire time; but he became transparent. To a man, we focused on Virgil. The once well-practiced dynamics, nuances, pickups and cutoffs all came flooding back to us without effort or conscious thought.

 Connie Kiel you can be proud. We achieved unconscious competence.

By the first key change, we could sense something special was happening. One stray thought came to mind ever so briefly. Relax. This is no time to tense up. Just enjoy the moment.

So we did and so did Virgil. The final chord like so many before it rang forever.

Emotions too overpowering for words. Virgil’s head tipped forward into his tremoring hands to hide the tears now streaming down his face. What just happened?

Seconds seemed like hours. Still, not one of the six dozen men on the choral risers moved or breathed. The ones on the fourth and fifth steps were too far away to earlier notice the glisten in the old man’s eyes. But now everyone knew.

We created one of those Jim Henry Gold Medal Moments. Goosebumps running wild up and down arms and legs. Still, not a single muscle even so much as twitched. No talking, not even a whisper. A moment frozen in time to be replayed in our minds the rest of our lives…and Virgil’s too. We can change people’s lives through music.

Finally, Pete walked over to sit alongside and console one of our founding fathers, now crying openly. Virgil’s once trembling hands now steadied on Pete’s arms, like two brothers. Tears welled up in our eyes too, but still no else moved. 

Just savoring that Gold Medal Moment and envision creating more. . .

In a conversation afterward, Virgil (now age 87) said “I’ve loved music all my life, and to me barbershop is a complete fulfillment of the most beautiful harmony you can get. Talk about raising the hair on your arms when you hit that chord just right. Barbershop harmony can’t be found in any other form of music.” He has loved singing barbershop since the original Pathfinder Chorus formed in the late 1940s and he was a charter member. “That group only lasted three years, but we loved singing.” For the next 20 years, Virgil sang in church choirs and with his children. Late in 1971, four or five guys met at Chuck McKenzie’s house with Chet Fox, a SPEBSQSA representative, to re-charter the Pathfinder Chorus, becoming “official” again in the spring of 1972. For more than 35 years Virgil sang with the ‘new’ Pathfinder Chorus, “loving every minute of it” until he developed Parkinson’s Disease and lost his rich, melodious bass voice. He still visits on occasion, and is always welcome.


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Johnny Hammond – The National Anthem Houston Astros 08/31/14 – YouTube

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Press Clippings | Posted on September 3, 2014, 11:36 AM


Johnny Hammond The National Anthem Houston Astros 08/31/14 - YouTubeWe see many videos and photos of Barbershoppers singing the National Anthem at sporting events. (Past International President Burt Huish and NED Barbershopper Al St. Louis are notable for sheer number of performances.)

We all aspire, however, to the strength and vigor of long-time Houston Barbershopper Johnny Hammond, who at the tender age of 98  corrected: 90 gave a wonderful performance before a Houston Astros game August 31, 2014.

Updated: many readers reminded us that Johnny is equally famous in barbershop circles as lead of  Bayou City Music Committee, 1989 International Seniors Quartet Champion.

Don’t take our word for it – watch the video. The man brings it.

Johnny Hammond The National Anthem Houston Astros 08/31/14 – YouTube.


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Randy’s 2014 travels

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Just for Fun, Members, Related Readng | Posted on September 2, 2014, 4:20 PM


Barbershopper Randy Freeman has been living a barbershop dream. With no particular destination in mind, he has spent most of this year wandereing the country, visiting barbershop chapters and making new friends.

99 days

8,248 miles

33 choruses

19 hosts

11 states

The idea germinated in my head in December of 2013 as the snow started falling in Indiana but the seed had been planted years earlier. It seemed like a great idea so as the year came to a close I began planning my “get-away”. With no debt and no-one depending on me for daily support I decided that 2014 would be a year of travel and transition for me. After closing my 16 year old business in December of 2008 due to the economic downturn, surviving 44 radiation treatments for prostate cancer in early 2009, losing my Father to pancreatic cancer in 2010, losing my wife to parathyroid cancer in November of 2011 and putting my daughter into drug rehab in 2012 I had lost the momentum of my life and was sort of coasting along. I needed a change of scenery. So . . .

On January 31, 2014 I completed packing all my worldly possessions into a 10×15 storage unit and on February 1st I left Indianapolis, IN. As I was driving southwest on interstate 74 toward Cincinnati, Ohio the weatherman was predicting 4 more inches of snow for Indy.

Over the next 99 days, before returning to Indy, I would travel to 11 different states, visit 33 different barbershop chapters, stay in 19 different homes and drive 8,248 miles.

Read all about via Randy’s 2014 travels

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Erik Dove hired as Chief Financial Officer

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in HQ operations, Leadership | Posted on September 2, 2014, 10:29 AM


erik_doveErik Dove has been hired as Chief Financial Officer, overseeing strategic finance and legal issues for the Barbershop Harmony Society. An attorney and MBA, he brings critical experience in multiple industries in both the private and public sectors. His Board governance and legal experience stretches across education, arts, and business organizations, including several leadership roles as a Barbershopper with the Great Northern Union Chorus. “I am very honored to join you in the Society’s efforts to change lives and make music that is making a difference!,” wrote Dove to CEO Marty Monson in accepting the position.

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Office Workers Who Sing Together Are Healthier

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Press Clippings, Related Readng | Posted on September 2, 2014, 8:40 AM


Newsweek reports that  Office Workers Who Sing Together Are Healthier:

“Making music together stimulates one’s creativity and helps one’s self-confidence,” notes Mark Ford, director of knowledge management at Clifford Chance, a global law firm, which offers staff singing and piano lessons. “When you work long hours, it helps tremendously to take a break like this. You walk back to your desk refreshed.” “Anybody can participate,” says David Smith, business development director at the London law firm Outer Temple Chambers and founder of the law-firm choir competition Legal Harmony. “Whether you’re a receptionist or a CEO, if you can get away from work for 45 minutes and make music, that time is invaluable.”According to research by Töres Theorell, professor emeritus of psychosocial medicine at Stockholm University and one of the world’s leading authorities on music and well-being, workplace singing in particular makes employees healthier, too. “Learning how to sing is a physical matter,” he explains. “It has a positive effect on the heart, and one’s lung capacity improves if one learns deep breathing [as practised by singers]. Deep breathing is useful even when one isn’t singing.” Singing, reports Thorell in Psychological Health Effects of Musical Experiences, published by Springer earlier this year, even has a positive impact on the hormones that help wounds heal faster.

Full story: Office Workers Who Sing Together Are Healthier.

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Barbershop in theater: A Review of ‘The Fabulous Lipitones’ in Stony Point –

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Press Clippings | Posted on August 29, 2014, 5:11 PM


When a genial, appealing quartet of old-timers called Benchmark made it to the finals of the 2011 season of “Australia’s Got Talent,” the group’s tenor told viewers that even though they hadn’t won, they had achieved their goal: demonstrating “that singing a cappella music in the barbershop style is cool.”

Maybe The New York Times doesn’t think we’ve reached that mark, but its review of “The Fabulous Lipitones” is generally positive, if not effusive.  We can all enjoy appreciate the reviewer’s  description of our sound: “… the ethereal blend that characterizes the best barbershop style” — which is linked to a YouTube video of 2011 Collegiate Quartet Champion Prestige!

 Read the full Review of ‘The Fabulous Lipitones’ in Stony Point –

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“You’ve Got A Friend In Me”

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week | Posted on August 28, 2014, 4:46 PM


Songwriter Randy Newman has had a great pop career of singable, witty songs, but his wider fame has come in later years as a composer of film scores. Up for this week is his quintessential buddy song from the hit movie Toy Story: “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”

All singers (even the baritone!) get to have the melody in this quick-learner from arranger Dan Wessler and a track from Tim Buetel (do you get the love from After Hours here?) This will be a sure winner with audiences of all ages.

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