Barbershop Chorus to sing at AHSC meeting
Andes — The Midstatesmen Barbershop Chorus, based in Oneonta, will bring its a capella four-part harmony to the Pleasant Valley Meeting House on Monday, Oct, 28, when the Andes Society for History and Culture holds its fall general meeting.
After a “pot-luck” meal in the dining hall, activities move to the former church, where the chorus will perform at about 7 p.m. The range of musical selections will include “the old songs,” some of them dating back to the early 20th century, to music made popular by the Beatles and the Beach Boys.
Tracing the history
The “Barbershop” style of singing dates back to April 11, 1938 when 26 men, recruited by O.C. Cash and Rupert Hall, gathered to sing together at the Garden of Tulsa Club in Tulsa, OK. Therefore, this year marks the 75th anniversary of an organization now known as the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Much of the gathering consisted of quartet singing. In the “Barbershop” style, the tenors sing the highest notes, the bases the lower notes, the leads sing the melody most often, while the baritones tie things together by sometimes singing above the leads and sometimes below them. In the a Capella style, there is no instrumental accompaniment.
For most of its history, the organization, which now has a membership that is international, was known as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. When the form of music expanded to other countries, the name was changed to the Barbershop Harmony Society.
The Oneonta chapter of the society was chartered in 1975, although many of its members had been active in other chapters in the area. Chapter members come from a wide area — from Andes on the south to Richfield Springs on the north, and from Gilbertsville on the west to Jefferson on the east. The chapter is one of the easternmost in the Seneca Land District, which includes all of western and central New York and northern Pennsylvania.
Hitting the road
The chorus has sung for audiences throughout the area of its membership, and has also entertained at many adult homes, especially during the period before Christmas. Its most recent “gig” was on the original Columbus Day (Oct. 12), fittingly in the Chenango County town of Columbus.
The Midstatesmen performed here several years ago, and many of the same singers will be on the stage for this year’s show. Its quartet, “Steppin’ Out,” will also be featured on the program. There will be a freewill offering.