Filed under: A Cappella Harmony, Barbershop Harmony, Barbershop music, BHS, Minnesota, Music | Tags: barbershop harmony, music, starting a blog
A comment by one of my fellow barbershop chorus members got me thinking, and thus I have started another blog. It’s still in the beginning stages, so there is not much there, but if you would like to find out what our chorus is doing I invite you to check it out.
Filed under: A Cappella Harmony, Barbershop Harmony, Barbershop music, church, Farm, Farm Bureau, Music, Politics, School bus, time, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: funeral
None of likes to think of death, but it comes to all of us. Once we have finished being born we are all in the process of dying. I plan on wearing out this body before I do. So although I expect to live a bit yet, here are some thoughts on my funeral.
I’m an organ donor. I have no use for this body after death, if any other does, let them have it.
I choose cremation. Just burn my remaining husk and scatter the ashes in the field. It’s where I have drawn my life from, let my ashes go back to the soil.
Carry my ashes into the church in my old canoe. It has carried me far and shown me much beauty. Yes, it’s a bit beaten up and shows some wear, but don’t we all.
I see no need for headstones or monuments. There is a quote from one of the long dead kings of Sparta that says it all. ”If I have done any deed worthy of remembrance, that deed will be my monument. If not, no monument can preserve my memory.”
Let the ushers and casket bearers be chosen from the Farm Bureau, the bus drivers and our card club. I’ve enjoyed being with them all.
The group I’ve enjoyed the most in life is our barbershop chorus. They are to be honorary casket bearers. They’ll be singing so there is no other job they need to do.
Music, specifically music sung in parts, has been a great comfort to me. Whether it is belting out the base line to some old familiar hymn or laying down the foundation for a chord in one of our barbershop chorus tunes, music is a great way to express your feelings. My favorite songs include:
- This is my Fathers World
- Earth and all Stars!
- Built on a Rock
- I was there to Hear Your Borning Cry
- I’ll Fly Away
- I’m Sitting on Top of the World
- God Bless the USA
I’ve seen much of life. I’ve travelled most of our country and many parts of the world.
I’ve found a woman who is my best friend and who takes good care of me. There are children, family and friends.
I’ve had the chance to shake hands with presidents. I’ve been there to help shape policy in church, state and country. I’m a firm believer that the world is run by those who show up, and I’ve tried to show up whenever possible. Most of all I’ve done my best to make this a better world for all.
Yes, I’m a bit thick headed and slow to learn, but I did learn. There has been much change in my lifetime and all whom I have met have helped me learn how to deal with the world. Hopefully I’ve helped them learn to deal with all the world can throw at them as well.
Filed under: A Cappella Harmony, Barbershop Harmony, Barbershop music, BHS, Minnesota, Music
It’s now the Sunday after our barbershop chorus show, “It’s a Brand New Day.” The show went well, we sang as good or better than we ever have. The guest quartet was great, three guys in their 50′s and a kid about to finish college from ND, who liked to sing songs from the 60′s. I’m tired but happy.
Barbershop music is a great hobby where you get to work with great people and learn how to be musically excellent. It’s just that to do it right, you have to spend the time to work at it, and then you get to party.
In our chapter we put on two shows on a Springtime Saturday afternoon, then an afterglow. That means a lot of singing.
We spend at least one third of the year working toward show day. Then, on Friday night we set up the auditorium and afterglow area and practice. After practice we make sandwiches for the afterglow.
Saturday singing started at noon. We practice, put on our tuxes (with new shirts and ties) and head off to perform our 2:30 show. We sing six songs, take a break while two quartets do their sets, sing four more songs, have lunch and do it again at 7:00. We take down and put away the things we used in the auditorium as soon as people clear out of the way.
Then comes the afterglow. At the afterglow, we munch on pickles, chips and the sandwiches we made Friday, and listen to the quartets do a few more songs, and our guests head home. We clean up the tables, chairs and trash from the afterglow. Now it’s time for the diehards to party.
The after-afterglow is a place to kick back with an adult beverage, ring a few chords with the out of town quartet, teach each other some new music and talk about barbershop. When it all broke up, it was 2:15 in the morning. An early end to the affair.
Our chapter is, more or less, a social chapter. We like to sing, we sing well, and we like to talk to our friends. Some chapters are interested in competition. Everything they do is aimed at competition. That is too much work for us. We do our chapter show, sing in churches in the summer, do a benefit show or other paid performance when we can and a funeral or two for members when we must.
We’re lucky two members of our chapter are also members of a competition chorus. They bring back ideas from the other chorus that really help us grow musically. We use what we can, and we live without the rest.
We enjoy our chorus. We enjoy singing for our friends. We do our best not to look foolish on stage. Above all we make good friends with men who we otherwise might not know. Oh yes, and our wives know where we are on Monday nights.
Filed under: A Cappella Harmony, Barbershop Harmony, BHS, make a difference, Minnesota, Music, Youth in Harmony
Saturday was our barbershop chorus Youth in Harmony event. This was our 7th year to sponsor this chance for high school age men and women to learn about the joys of singing the barbershop style.
The day starts for us months in advance when we contact area music instructors. Those who wish to participate are provided with music and learning CD’s that they can share with the kids.
On Saturday we had both a men’s (Vocality) and women’s (Northern Lights) quartet and a event director (Brent Graham) who help polish the music. The men and women each learned two songs as a group and then another for all of the kids. With songs like “We go together” from Grease for the women and the Beatles “All my lovin’” for the boys the interest was high. The event closer was the song “Harmony” in 8 parts.
There was plenty of food and free time scattered in with the hard work. The event closing concert included our chorus as well as the guest quartets. The kids closed the day by singing the songs they had learned. There was a lot of music and fun for all.
Although there was some resistance from the directors when we started the program, they all agree now that this is one of the best events you can have for helping the kids learn to listen when they sing. The kids have so much fun that they cannot wait for the next time we host the Youth in Harmony event. The joy of singing with each other is appreciated by all participants. This event will live on for many years to come.