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Oh Happy Day!

I suppose that the natural enemy of beautiful choral singing is timidity. Actually, I know it is! I have never heard a great singer who has not overcome it. So many many are plagued by timidity and insecurity and never learn to sing freely and naturally and robustly. But can they?

Yes, of course they can! Anyone of normal brain health is capable of outgrowing timidity, and anybody of normal physical health is capable of singing plenty well enough to be a great member of a great chorus. (I’m not saying that everybody has the makings of a great soloist, mind you, so please don’t misunderstand me.)

Continue reading Oh Happy Day!

The Standard Skill Set for Barbershop Singing: PART I

The following article is reproduced from my Pelham School website:

In my previous article, Two Philosophies About Barbershop Singing—And Their Outcomes, I promised to follow up with this present article. Well, here it is, even if it is nearly three years late!

The goal of this article is to efficiently enumerate some skills that are frequently overlooked in deference to those most fundamental basics of “getting the words and notes right”. As a choral director, I believe that the following skills should “come standard” in a choral singer—and that goes for Barbershop choruses, too. Continue reading The Standard Skill Set for Barbershop Singing: PART I

Two Philosophies About Barbershop Singing—And Their Outcomes

The following article is reproduced from my Pelham School website.  While Sing, Montana! does not sing only Barbershop, this article is still very relevant to what we’re doing.

Barbershop singing can be great fun for singers of many skill levels. Here are just a few of the more obvious reasons for that:

  • Singing is both fun and therapeutic.
  • Songs themselves are fun.
  • It’s great to have something regular to do–to be regularly active.
  • It’s rewarding to have some place to “belong”.
  • It’s fun to hear skilled musicians perform good arrangements.
  • There’s some level of importance to preserving an historic art form that doesn’t get loads of popular support.
  • There’s a certain thrill that comes from public performance.

In my experience, these are some of the main reasons that keep most Barbershoppers involved. Interestingly, however, being involved and being excellent don’t necessarily go together. There are a great many Barbershoppers throughout the world, comprising lots and lots of choruses and a bajillion quartets. (OK, that’s not an exact number for the quartets!) Some of these are so excellent that it takes a real expert to discern what they might do better. Then there are some that are on that track, but simply haven’t been on it long enough to achieve the level of excellence that they will eventually achieve. But then there are the rest, who never seem to near that level of excellence, even after decades of activity. Continue reading Two Philosophies About Barbershop Singing—And Their Outcomes