As promised, the OC Times quartet deserved its own post. I am stoked that they won their competition. Here’s a little background.
See here for a general history/overview of barbershop singing, which has been around for ages and ages. Today, there are two international organizations that promote barbershop singing; one is the Barbershop Harmony Society, which is the men’s division. It has been around since 1938. The women’s division is Sweet Adelines, and it was founded in the sixties. I’m a proud member of a Sweet Adelines chorus. There are many regions all over the world in both organizations.
Each region has an annual competition (separate for BHS and SA; in fact, we don’t really interact much at all… I’ll get to that). Both quartets and choruses compete in the competition, and the first place chorus and quartet go to the international competition the following year. In between competitions, most choruses put on their own show, usually complete with skits, spoof-y songs, and the like. These chorus shows also feature quartets that have members in the chorus, or quartets in the area, and that includes men’s quartets, and even men’s choruses, sometimes. So that’s when we get to interact with each other. And we can and do go to the other org’s competitions, too.
So anyway, the BHS just had their International Competition in Nashville, TN, which is their new international headquarters, as well. My favorite men’s quartet, OC Times, competed there this year and WON, and of course all of us fans are completely stoked. They’ve gotten fifth place before, and second, but this time they’ve really done it.
I don’t think their performance is on YouTube yet, but this is my favorite song that they do. It was originally done by John Michael Montgomery, and it’s a very popular country song. It just proves that barbershop is as versatile as you can get.
The only bad thing about a quartet winning an international competition is that they can’t compete again with the same four members – at least one has to be switched out. And when you’ve found the perfect dynamic in a quartet, the last thing you want to do is replace someone.
My favorite women’s quartet is called Salt, and they’re all Swedish (which is my heritage). They won the 2007 Sweet Adelines International Competition in Las Vegas, which I was actually there for, and it was SO incredible.
I started singing barbershop when I was 14, which makes me a “barbershop brat”… can you tell? I’m obsessed with this art form. I love that it’s a cappella, and that there is just so much involved, and that anyone can become a member, and everyone can find something to love about it, and all the kinds of songs that can be arranged… I love it all. There are many technicalities that I could explain, like the different voice parts, ringing chords, key changes, the excellent groups, the fun workshops, the sisterhood… it just goes on and on.
I ♥ A Cappella Barbershop Singing!!!