Life-enhancement Through Song

In the past few months, our chorus has experienced the loss of loved ones. Not all were members of the chapter, but they were significant in the lives of many of us. We’re not alone in these occurrences, because it is the interest at a generational level that encourages us to belong to a group that sings barbershop harmony.

Sorrow is somewhat alleviated, and joy is made even greater, by singing. It doesn’t even matter if you can sing well. I can’t. The best I can manage is singing in tune. Most of the time. Not being heard is one of my main goals in our weekly rehearsals. I’m a master at voice camouflage, perfecting a stunning combination of volume and head tilt… well, not always. Group singers are said to experience the same benefits even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality. It’s arguable whether my vocal instrument even reaches that level, but I’m happy to reap the benefits nonetheless.

When I’m surrounded by my fellow chorus guys, all the different sounds we make combine to leave me thrumming in harmony, lit up like a firefly flashing in synchrony by whatever piece is currently racing through our brains, bodies, and hearts. That, alone, enhances my life. And that constitutes fun.

Visit our website: www.cvbarbershop.org – Come Join The Fun!

It’s Global; It’s Fun!

The world loves to sing. There are tens of thousands of vocal groups in America. A cappella has become a global phenomenon.
If you’re a Barbershopper, the odds are good that you have seen a certain Norman Rockwell print. You know the one I mean. First appearing on a 1936 Saturday Evening Post cover, the scene depicts four men, one with lather on his face, warbling a sentimental ballad: the quintessential barbershop quartet.
Barbershop quartets often are characterized as four dandies, perhaps bedecked with straw hats, striped vests and handlebar mustaches. These caricatures of the barbershop tradition are not only a quaint symbol of small-town Americana, but have some historical foundation. Barbershop music was indeed borne out of informal gatherings of amateur singers in such unpretentious settings as the local barber shop. And now, there are choruses that add the opportunity to join and sing barbershop harmony. Our Sandblaster Chorus is the only one in California’s Coachella Valley.
Singing Barbershop Harmony is not just a “hobby;” it is a passion.
Come Join The Fun!

Be Happy Because You Sing

So, it’s Tuesday, and I consider missing the weekly rehearsal night. But, with a sense of obligation, I decide to go. Within fifteen minutes, my spirit is lifted, my heart is filled with peace, I’m grinning, experiencing a rejuvenation of soul. I feel fantastic. What a wonderful release that is. Something is added to my life – music and connection with other people. Neurologists explain it using scientific terms for the reaction, the causes, and the chemistry. When we sing, it brings us outside ourselves; it forces us to think about what another person is doing. I’m talking about singing in a chorus, not singing by yourself in the shower or when driving.  With the chorus or quartet, we must pay attention to what someone else is doing, coordinating our action with theirs. It activates the beneficial sense of being a part of a group. Call it social bonding. I don’t sing because I’m happy. I’m happy because I sing. Come Join the Fun!

Building Your Confidence

Whether you’re a Lead, Tenor, Baritone, or Bass – singing Barbershop Harmony with a chorus or quartet is quite different from singing a cappella while driving or taking a shower. Add the other three parts, and the overtone will seek and hopefully find its rising point. And that balance is the goal of a Barbershop Harmony Chorus or Quartet. Group singing and performance can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations, even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality. This is not a rarified practice of the elites, but rather the thing that masses can do. Not all arrangements are written to be sung by a group of particularly talented people. Just because something is simple doesn’t mean that it won’t provide a complicated and enriching experience to sing it. Barbershop Harmony is something that amateurs can do. Certainly, professional singers are recognized, but as long as you can sing in tune – and most people can – you can find incredible joy in this music. Someone once said, ”If a piece of music is too difficult for amateurs to sing, the chances are that it is not good enough.”
This quote is from one of my favorite Barbershop Harmony directors: “Sing as well as you’re able, but don’t worry about being the best.” Thanks, Dick.
C’mon, everybody… Come Join The Fun!

Welcome, Guest

Surf through our website www.cvbarbershop.com and you will see that we meet every Tuesday night – 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. with a break at approximately 8:30. 

What should you expect as a guest at our rehearsal? ONE: A warm welcome! As our guest whom we’ve invited, we promise to… make you feel like one! TWO: Singing! We’ll start with a brief one-to-one with our Director. He’ll run you through some simple (painless!) voice placement routines and then introduce you to the group as we run through the warm-up. From there, we’ll continue with our practice plans, which vary according to our performance schedule.

Any questions? We certainly hope so! In fact, as a guest, we encourage you to fire away about anything at all in our rehearsal routine – terms, procedures, barbershop culture, salsa recipes… anything! With a guest, we’re always pleased to offer what answers we can.

“Can I bring a friend?” Absolutely! Bring two, three, or more! This, of course, includes spouses or anyone else you’d like to bring along.

Cost? Once again, you’re our guest. No cost or obligation implied for anyone attending a rehearsal for the purposes of “test-driving” the barbershop experience.

What should I bring? Yourself and your voice. We’ll provide all the rest.

Driving directions: Go to the website above, and you’ll see where we meet.

What if I need a ride? Contact us by sending an email to us on the Join Us tab of our website. Our members journey from all directions within the Coachella Valley. Someone will be near you.

Now get set to Come Join The Fun!

Becoming “Rememberful”

Recently, our director used a non-word term: Rememberful. We all laughed. But, it gave me pause. Rememberful is exactly the description of what we all go through, regardless of our ages. It’s an incredible experience being a young guy in a chorus with “seasoned” guys. Even before becoming “seasoned,” we begin to recognize how much we’ve learned during our lives. We all will reach an age when our brains are like filing cabinets. They are filled with millions of bits of information (known today as MegaBytes). When we try to file something new in the front area of the top drawer, we must make room for that new information by re-filing the contents of that top drawer. Consider this: We are learning a new song. We rehearse, we sing, we are given direction to refine the sound.  We’re doubtful that we can recall the words, the notes, the music – but, it happens – we become rememberful. Whether 18 or 88, it occurs. One thing about a song we’ve learned, even during our childhood, it takes little to become rememberful of the basics of the song. With short rehearsal, it comes back again. A gratifying truth for those who might be concerned about their memory. When we discover that we are able to recall a tune – one of the Old Songs – and can learn a new one for our repertoire, we know we are rememberful. Come Join the Fun!

Who Sings Barbershop?

What is at the core of a guy who sets aside time each week to meet with other guys to sing? Is it the fellow who sings along with a source of music while driving? Is he someone who recalls singing with a glee club? Does he sing with a choir or chorale? All things considered, the guy loves to sing. His spirits rise when he whistles, hums, or sings as he goes about his daily incidental moments. I suggest, “Come to a meeting and sing Barbershop Harmony.” I’ve heard the response, “I can’t sing.” Hmmm. “Can you sing ‘Happy Birthday’?” “Yeah. Sure.” My response: “Come on by and we’ll teach you the rest.” C’mon, we’ve all joined in singing something a cappella. A national anthem. Happy Birthday. We’ve all sung with others in groups numbering from ten or less to a hundred or more. What a grand experience. Did anyone ever turn to you and say, “You can’t sing?”

Who sings barbershop? Guys who love to sing. If it doesn’t fit your style, there’s no commitment. It will stir your soul when you find the moment that your voice is an integral part of a chord that rings. For some, like me, it takes time to begin understanding the direction. Oh, what joy when a new level is reached! Give it a try. No matter where you are.

Come Join the Fun! If you’re near Palm Springs, California, find us on http://www.cvbarbershop.com.

It’s a hobby, sure…

… but only as demanding as you make it. Starting out with the songs that you have probably heard many times makes for a pleasant time. You do your best to hit the right notes, and you find out that there are variations that make it sound even better. Oooooh, when your voice hits a ringing chord that you never reached before – nothing like it. A couple of hours spent with singing down-to-earth. up-in-heaven, over-the-rainbow songs lightens your life. Many of us have discovered the reality of almost deciding to not go to a meeting but going anyway and staying involved while there… You come away with uplifted spirit, feeling good, invigorated, satisfied through and through. The brain glows, the body warms, the smiles shine. Singing the basics, what are called Barbershop Polecats, thrills the soul. When you’ve finally decided to give quartetting a try, and your confidence is built with the assistance of at least one other guy who wants you to succeed – ooooooh – nothing like it. At almost every meeting, we can sing in a quartet if we wish. It’s voluntary. And, oh, so much fun. There is no judgment of the performance, but there is applause and congratulations. Each of us do improve each week, just as we do as part of the chorus. You should give it a try. Visit our website – http://www.cvbarbershop.com. Send a message if you’d like. The email form is on the website. Come Join The Fun!

Four Part Harmony

So, what is it, anyway? It’s a cappella singing as a Lead, Baritone, Bass, or Tenor with a chorus or a quartet. Euphorius harmony that rings as we sing. It’s a hobby, sure, and it embraces the heart and soul of more than thirty thousand of us in the Barbershop Harmony Society. Me? I sing Bass with the only Society chorus in the Coachella Valley - the Sandblaster Chorus. Barbershop harmony became a popular reality in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Seventy-five years ago, some guys got together and sang harmony in four parts. No musical instruments. It grew, becoming an attraction, and other men formed chapters and met in other cities across the U.S. It is now International. When a gang of harmonizers get together — and the overtone grabs the audience and the singers, smiles spread, encouraging us to sing “One More Song” to “Keep The Whole World Singing.” That’s what it’s all about. With this blog, I intend to expand local interest and describe significant happenings affecting our Chapter in the Coachella Valley — The Sandblaster Chorus.                                                                                                          Take a look at www.cvbarbershop.com                                                                             Come Join The Fun!