The Ontario District's international representatives were sent off in style at the 29th annual Pep Rally in Mississauga yesterday evening. Eleven quartets and nine choruses performed in a night of celebration and fundraising hosted by the Association of Ontario Champions (AOC).
The Ontario District is one of the seventeen districts of the Barbershop Harmony Society throughout the United States and Canada, and is the only all-Canadian district. It is committed to serving and supporting its 33 barbershop chapters, over 60 quartets, and over 1200 members throughout Ontario, and it is committed to promoting the Society's mission of bringing men together in fellowship and harmony to enrich lives through singing. Member choruses and quartets are encouraged to perform throughout their communities in support of worthwhile civic, cultural, educational, and charitable endeavors.
My friend Grant Orchard and I paid a visit to the East York Barbershoppers this week. Grant, a fellow tenor singer in newchoir, has been intrigued by the close, four-part male harmonies particular to this style of a cappella singing, and I have been waxing nostalgic lately about a musical form to which I once enjoyed a very close connection. So we took advantage of the Barbershop Harmony Society’s open door policy of letting the curious drop in on their regular weekly rehearsal night to see it all in action.
Tri-City Gospel Chorus was formed in 1995 when men,who liked to sing Gospel Music in four part harmony, were invited to meet at Harmony Hall in East York. The assembly of singers was orchestrated by Ontario Quartet Champions and Ontario Senior Quartet Champions the Tri-City Slickers Barbershop Quartet. The Tri-City name was used for the quartet who belonged to three chapters of the Barbershop Harmony Society, East York, Markham and Oshawa. Tri-City has stuck with the chorus since its beginnings. Members of the chorus come from all over Ontario, with some from the Niagara area.
For all Barbershoppers who are planning on attending the SING! Festival this week there are two special offers!
If you have a group that is going - use the promo code SING!CHOIR to get a discounted rate.
And, if you want to share your music with others as a VLQ or quartet, sign up to perform in one of several designated areas at the Distillery. There will be live entertainment in public areas between 11 am and 6 pm. The commitment is 15-30 minutes, depending on space availability.
By Benjamin Stein, Beat Columns
The human voice is an astonishingly versatile instrument, capable of an infinite variety of tones, timbres and inflections. Something primal in us is touched by the extremes of range in the sound of a coloratura soprano or a basso profundo; the virtuoso melismatic technique of a Hindustani or R&B soloist; the mysterious, elusive harmonies of Tibetan and Tuvan throat singing; and the street-corner, sandpaper tones of Tom Waits, Billie Holiday and Joe Turner.
Young Guns, a representative of the Ontario District are participating the SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival preview show at Nathan Philips Square May 21st between 12:30 - 1:30 pm. Barbershop quartets and VLQ's can strut their stuff all weekend, May 30/31 at the Distillery. For complete details of the Festival: www.singtoronto.com.
After a fantastic weekend of barbershop, the Ontario District crowned a new District Chorus Champion and qualified two quartets for the BHS International Competition in Pittsburgh, PA this July. The Barrie County Chordsmen were named the district chorus champions with a score of 758, an average of 63.2. ON Q! quartet was crowned as the 2015 Ontario District seniors quartet champion, and Replacement Parts won the contest novice competition.
Nothing says “I love you” like a barbershop quartet showing up in your bedroom with an early morning singing Valentine.
“That was funny,” recalls baritone Ian Crosbie, who has been delivering singing Valentines with his fellow Bluewater Chordsmen for 15 years.
“We had a morning booking at a house where a husband wanted us to sing to his wife,” he recalls. “She had no idea and was still in bed.