Here's to the NEXT 75 years

Written by Administrator Thursday, 10 April 2014 21:03

The Barbershop Harmony Society concludes its 75th Anniversary year on April 11, 2014. We would like to thank all the many Barbershoppers, friends, families, and audience members who celebrated with us through the many events and through countless songs of celebration.

We have been proudly making music together for now over 75 years, and if you think the first 75 years has been exciting, wait until you see what's next!


Chinese Pop Music Superstar Sings Barbershop With Family

Written by Administrator Thursday, 27 March 2014 13:52

Who is Wang Leehom?

Chinese superstar Wang Leehom may not be a household name in the States, but rest assured he is a widely recognized figure in Chinese pop culture. He is a Chinese-American singer-songwriter, music producer, actor, and film director. Known as the "King of Chinese Pop", Leehom has repeatedly revolutionized the Chinese pop music scene with his evolving blend of pop, rock, jazz, hip-hop, R&B, classical, and traditional Chinese music ranging from aboriginal folk music to Beijing opera. The best-selling Mandarin-language musician of his generation, Leehom came to prominence as a teen idol at the age of 19 and has since released 15 solo studio albums and contributed to dozens more.

A brand new audience of several million was just exposed to a Barbershop classic

A video clip surfaced on Leehom's official Facebook page that itself enjoys over 1.7 million Likes. The clip features Leehom and his family at a recent gathering singing one of our standard beloved pieces of music, Sweet and Lovely (words/music by Norm Starks, arranged by Mac Huff). Enjoy the clip below:

Purchase this arrangement now!

Once again, Barbershop proves itself as an extremely entertaining and endearing artform that seems to have no cultural boundaries. KEEP THE WHOLE WORLD SINGING!

Passing of Society Great, James Hugh "Jim" Massey

Written by Administrator Friday, 07 March 2014 21:00

On February 28, 2014, James Hugh "Jim" Massey took his final bow. Always the entertainer, even when Parkinson's took his physical voice, Jim still managed to deliver a punch line with a charming gesture and an endearing smile.

He was born in McKinney, TX in 1933 to Jimmy Massey and Grace Hood. His father died when he was 10 months old but in 1943, Grace married Arlin Sharp. Together they raised him to be "anything he wanted". Jim became the first of his family to attend and graduate from college.

In the summer of 1954, Jim met the love of his life, Marcia Alice Brewer. They shared a love of singing and entertaining and after a four month courtship, they married in November. They had four children, six grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and chorus line of nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family.

After leaving the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant, Jim earned his degree in music from North Texas State University in Denton in 1957. He later completed both his masters and doctorial work in music at OCU and OU.

A composer and arranger of more than 100 songs, Jim's arrangements are still in demand. He was the musical director of the Oklahoma City Barbershop Chapter "OK Chorale" for 34 years and the musical director of the Oklahoma City Sweet Adeline Chapter for 47 years.

Jim was the founding member of the well-known barbershop quartet, the OK-4. The OK-4 came to prominent attention after they appeared in Oklahoma City's Lyric Theater production of "The Music Man" in 1966. They maintained an impressive schedule of engagements at parties, conventions and Barbershop shows across the country for decades. In 1968 and 1970, the OK-4 toured Southeast Asia entertaining US troops with the USO on the Pacific Hospital Circuit. Although principally a comedy act, the Ok-4 was also a force in Barbershop Society competition. The Ok-4 placed sixth in International Competition in 1973.

His additional Lyric Theater work included the leading roles of Lancelot in Camelot and Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside in Mame. While teaching at Oscar Rose College, he directed several productions and played Harold Hill in the Music Man.

Throughout his career, Jim coached countless quartets and choruses across the globe. Recognized for his talent, Jim was an integral part of the Barbershop Society's reorganization of contest judging categories. He wrote the current Presentation category for the Barbershop Society, and in 2007 Jim received the Barbershop Society's Life Time Achievement Award.

Besides his love of music, Jim always treasured a good laugh and a lively discussion. To all who knew him, Jim was a generous and kind man who always put his family first and he inspired Scott, Lin, Marla and Doug with his love for music.

As the stage lights dim and the curtains close, we applaud a wonderful man who became what he wanted and helped brighten the world with his song.

Per Jim's wishes there will be no wake or funeral. Instead, he wanted a party. At 2pm on April 5th at the Church of the Servant in Oklahoma City, that's what we shall do. Bring your love of harmony and when those chords ring, you might just hear Jim singing with you.


Westminster Chorus Brings Barbershop To The Choral Community

Written by Administrator Friday, 07 March 2014 20:59 The Society's own Westminster Chorus from Westminster, CA recently had the privilege of performing for the Western Conference of the American Choral Directors Association. This is a huge honor for any chorus, let alone, a barbershop chorus. The chorus was honored to have received a surprisingly overwhelming embrace and acclaim by the choral community. Here is the story of that day as capured by chorus member Shawn York.

In the chorus' own words:
Thrilled, honored, and blessed by the reception we received this evening at the ACDA conference - a standing ovation that continued until the very last man had left the stage. For years, we have seen a great respect and appreciation for choral music, by the barbershop community. Today, we got to experience a great respect and appreciation for barbershop music, by the choral community. Here's to a great relationship between the BHS and ACDA!! We are humbled and thankful to have had this opportunity.

Westminster Chorus poses with Sydney Guillaume, composer of one of the pieces the chorus performed for the ACDA Conference.

Learn more about Westminster on their official Facebook page

Jimmy Fallon Does It Again... Again

Written by Administrator Friday, 07 March 2014 19:39 Once again, comedian and new host of The Late Show Jimmy Fallon adopted the Barbershop art form to deliver a rendition of what could perhaps be described as the LAST song you would consider "well-suited for Barbershop". But nonetheless, the Ragtime Gals starring Jimmy Fallon and his band of merry mates expertly executed a four-part a cappella close-harmony rendition of the R. Kelly classic "Ignition (Remix).

(To save time for the author, the previous Ragtime Gals article's main content has been lifted and republished here, simply because, hey, it still applies!)

Honestly, to see our Barbershop style treated with such bold and fearless irreverence is nothing new to anyone who’s been around for the past half century or so. Those who hold this art form near and dear, time and again have seen the likes of the Beatles, Jerry Lewis, the Simpsons, Family Guy, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien (just to name a few) reach for the low hanging fruit of comedic juxtaposition and attempt to frame the modern against the old. Painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa, if you will.

However, questions of taste and style notwithstanding, The Rag Time Gals and others like them are ironically proving to the world the inherent entertainment value of joining together in four part harmony and delivering a message, vulgar or not. It’s Vaudeville, today. And either to the joy or dismay of our Society membership, it’s being presented to the world as barbershop, and right or wrong, television audiences are accepting that it is, indeed, barbershop.

So, important questions impossible to answer in the small space of this meager editorial get raised: Is barbershop simply an art form? Is it a set of values and ideals? For the lifelong fans and committed members of the Barbershop Harmony Society, it’s probably both and much more. But then there’s the harsh realization that to the vast majority of the uninitiated masses, Barbershop is a rag tag group of lowbrow comedians singing Barbershopped R&B music in top hats and suspenders.

The good news is that they sounded pretty good while doing it.

But the even better news is that the Barbershop Harmony Society has been bringing together the Old and New for over 75 years, and we’ve gotten really good at it! One visit to any of our International conventions will prove this to anyone, and the more people that have the chance to see Barbershop through this lens will begin to understand not just the smile-inducing power of four part harmony, but its trans-formative power to change lives for the better.

Click here to watch the video
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