Making a Difference Through Music


A small number of gentlemen are making their way through the halls of a childrens hospital on a Thursday morning in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The bright and colorful artwork adorning the walls and windows of the Chris Evert Childrens Hospital reflect the lives of the precious young children that fill the rooms. But this morning, something just as colorful will soon be reverberating off the walls, filling the halls with music and filling those at the childrens hospital with the joy of song.

Steve, David, Lew, and Zach are the four members of a barbershop quartet representing the Miamians Music Medics, and like many others across the Society, they are taking advantage of an opportunity to lift the spirits of those in need through the gift of music. For a brief moment in time, hallways filled with medical equipment tethered by wires and cords give way to hallways filled with the sounds of four-part harmony.

From room to room they went, wherever they were invited in, visiting individuals and singing a song or two for anyone who were able to listen. In one instance, a quietly sung rendition of Happy Trails caused a precious bedridden young boy to break a smile and show a palpable positive increase in vital signs from the monitors attached to his body, exciting the nurses who were standing close by. And this isn't an experience unique to just these individuals. All across the country, similar stories emerge of lives continually being touched and enriched through the power of simple harmony.

While barbershop is by no means the only form of artistic expression being used around the world to bring joy through song, those who have experienced the thrill of singing barbershop first hand will tell you that it truly is a joy unlike any other. And it might be fair to say, from the perspective of a barbershopper, that the artistic expression of singing in four-part barbershop harmony is never a chore and never work, but rather a natural reaction much like breathing or using the senses. It simply must happen. And once freed, it takes on a life of its own much to the delight of any and all sympathetic ears.

But most of all, barbershoppers and all musicians alike will probably agree, when it comes to expression through music, it's about giving the gift of song, and receiving a gift much bigger in return. And it's about making a difference through making music, and being irrefutably changed in the process.

Said Miamians Music Medics representative Ernie de la Fe, "I'm convinced that visiting these area childrens hospitals will be one of the best things we've ever done as a chorus." Thank you, gentlemen, for giving your time in such an unselfish manner, and here's to the many others who are doing the same across the world.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 September 2013 18:19 )

Acclaimed A Cappella Group Visits BHS


This group of singers and vocal percussionists visited BHS on Monday afternoon to explore the Society's heritage. They became internationally known for being the runners-up in the 2010 NBC Television show, The Sing Off. Upon arrival at HQ, Street Corner Symphony met with Adam Scott. Scott is a music educator for the Society and quickly showed this group of young men around.

Here is a synopsis from Adam:

I met the men of Street Corner Symphony Monday afternoon for the first time. Like true southern gentlemen, they were respectful to our building, our employees, and our mission. They showed interest in our past, present, and future.

Our past.

They listened as I spoke about the origins of barbershop, and were impressed, like many are, of how quickly the Society sprang up overnight. They also "dug" Rupert Hall for holding cigars in the portraits and looking "like a boss".

Our present.

SCS was in our building because they were extended a hand of fellowship. They had been invited to perform on a show in Dallas with the fabulous Rich-Tones chorus of the Sweet Adelines International organization. Also in attendance at that concert was Society member Steve Stripling who took note of how well they mixed with the crowd. After learning they were Nashville residents, he made an introduction to me and fellow staffer Eddie Holt. Fast forward to Monday. SCS sings an impromptu performance for the Society, even incorporating a barbershop song written by our own Dr. Val Hicks and two other contemporary a cappella charts. The best part was SCS sneaking up behind one our employees (a fan of SCS) and scared her.... but with excitement and in a good way, of course! Not in a creep way. Oh yeah, they sang that song too. Creep by the popular band Radiohead. (I did say contemporary.)

Our future.

I watched as CEO Marty Monson talked with SCS and share his inspired vision of a cappella music. He discussed the scope of Nashville and what can be done together in Music City, USA. What should we do in this city? What are the similarities between the BHS and CASA? How we can benefit from one another? BHS and SCS discussed production and other goals we can achieve together. Expect to hear more joint efforts with the two groups.

-Adam Scott

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 February 2014 22:45 )

BeatBit visits BHS


On Wednesday, August 21st, the Barbershop Harmony Society welcomed visitors from the other side of the World.

Beat-Bit Music School from Bologna, Italy brought almost 20 students and their musicality to the Barbershop Headquarters to exchange art forms. Harmonizer editor, Lorin May gave a brief history of the Society in their native language (who knew Lorin could speak Italian?) before they shared their music with the staff at Headquarters.

The students were on a tour of the United States, and they were told that stopping in Nashville, TN to see the Barbershop Harmony Society was a must. We agreed! Their tour guide contacted our offices earlier in the week to secure a time for their visit. Here is a short clip of one of their performances:

After hearing them, a group of guys at HQ (Wayne Grimmer, Rick Spencer, Adam Scott, and Mike O'Neill) sang "Hello Mary Lou" for the students and other staff members. The students' eyes widened as they heard the four-part ringing harmony explode in the room. Many of them commented that it was nothing like they had ever heard.

They spent some time taking a tour of Headquarters and individually meeting the staff. Marty Monson's new vision for the Society is to reach to the outside and open opportunities to others to experience Barbershop. This was one perfect opportunity to share our art forms!

Last Updated ( Saturday, 14 September 2013 17:39 )

Justin Verlander sings with Beast Mode


Verlander sings Barbershop

Detroit Tiger Justin Verlander sings a tag with collegiate quartet Beast Mode

Pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Justin Verlander made his Barbershop debut one evening in a hotel lobby during the Barbershop Harmony Society International Convention.

The Society's convention was held in Toronto, Ontario, where Justin and his team had just won against the Toronto Blue Jays. Justin's team was staying at one of the hotels where many barbershoppers had swarmed lobbies, stairwells, and other nooks to sing tags.

Verlander was sitting in the lobby when he heard a bit of ringing music, and he was quick to applaud one of the quartets upon finishing a tag. “We didn’t realize where he was, as soon as we finish this tag, we just hear this slow clap from behind,” says Brandon Youngblood, 27, who sings with the quartet Beast Mode, out of Boston.

Beast Mode is a newly formed quartet that intends to compete in the Northeastern District Contest this fall.

The boys invited Verlander to sing a simple tag with them, and though he was hesitant at first, here is his debut Barbershop performance!

Beast Mode on Facebook:

Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 July 2013 15:25 )
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