We interrupt this pretty-great-so-far Tuesday to bring you a temporary Geekout About Barbershop. I’ve started so many blog entries about this art form, trying to convey the joy it gives me and so many others who sing barbershop or listen to it. I still don’t know if that’s possible, but here’s a mini intro.
Last weekend I attended an annual retreat with a chorus in Bremerton with which I’m currently singing. We had a fabulous coach all weekend sang only the two songs we will sing in competition in May. I didn’t tire of singing two songs, over and over and over, delving into mere syllables and isolating vowel sounds. It doesn’t get old.
On the drive home, I marveled about this. In a chorus, the four parts can be singing all the correct notes to create an a capella chord, and yet the chord won’t “lock” or “ring”. Then the coach can tell one part to “add more lift” to their notes– a fairly arbitrary or ambiguous statement, if you aren’t a singer or aren’t familiar with what we do. But if that part adds more “lift,” suddenly, not only will the chord lock and ring, but my note will actually somehow be easier to sing.
I’m not sure how it happens. There may be something scientific about it. Maybe it’s magic.
So, I sing in two choruses and have done very little quarteting, but here’s a phenomenal quartet. They are performing in our organization’s 2010 International Convention and Competition; they later went on to win that competition (out of fifty-something quartets from around the world). They’re great, but I have other favorite quartets (both men’s and women’s). I tried to queue up the song I actually want to share: “My Foolish Heart.” If it doesn’t work, you should fast forward to 2:18 to hear it.
This isn’t actually the best rendition of this song I’ve ever heard, but it is one of my favorite songs to hear in barbershop (and it’s a common competition staple). And aside from all that… it just sorta speaks to me.