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July 17, 2012 > Barbershop at the Temple

Barbershop at the Temple

Submitted By Barry Levin

Barbershop is a uniquely American musical art. This music, sung "a cappella" (no accompaniment) with four voice parts: tenor, lead, baritone, and bass. The distinctive sound of Barbershop is formed by a tenor harmony sung above the melody and a bass overtone structure through which the other parts can sing. Barbershop is arranged with embellishments to enhance the message of the song; chords are balanced and sung with standard meter and the lyrics are understandable.

Tenor, the highest part, is sung above the melody. Lead, one of the two middle parts, is generally the melody, although occasionally the melody line will temporarily transfer to another singer. Baritone, also a middle part, harmonizes usually below the melody. Bass, the lowest part, is the foundation harmony sung below the melody. This wide range of voice parts offers women with high or low voices a comfortable part to sing.

Barbershop style harmony adapts to many musical genres including jazz, country, gospel, and contemporary. For the music nuts among you, barbershop features seventh chords that resolve primarily around the circle of fifths, while making frequent use of other resolutions. Barbershop music also features a balanced and symmetrical form, and a standard meter. Everyone who enjoys listening to good harmonizing music is invited to Barbershop at the Temple for a pleasant evening of music.

Experience this unique musical form when two quartets perform at Temple Beth Torah on Saturday, July 21. Mystique and On Tap are members of Sweet Adelines International, a women's barbershop-style ensemble organization, and represent two local Sweet Adelines choruses - Bay Area Showcase Chorus and Mission Valley Chorus. Both rehearse in the South Bay and are always looking for new members. If you are interested in taking a look at what they do, feel free to speak to them during the break.

This summer, the "World Choir Games" will be held for the first time in the U.S., and Barbershop music will be introduced as a competitive category of its own. The local Regional Championship chorus "Bay Area Showcase" has been invited to participate and will be traveling to Cincinnati, OH, to compete in these games.

In the fall, Mission Valley Chorus will be representing the local region of Sweet Adelines at their international competition in Denver, CO. The chorus won the right to compete at International Competition by winning the regional contest last spring. (Bay Area Showcase Chorus is this year's champion chorus and will compete at next year's international contest in Honolulu, HI.)

The evening will also feature a special performance by singer/songwriter Carl Tilchen. Tilchen has composed and performed unique songs in various musical styles for many special events including the San Jose Jazz Summerfest, The Village Gate, The Bootlegger Bistro in Las Vegas, The Woody (Guthrie) At 100 Festival, Freight & Salvage, and the Newport Folk Music Festival.

Staged on the temple's front lawn, attendees are invited to bring blankets and folding chairs and enjoy an evening of music under the stars. Refreshments will be available. This event marks the temple's first "coffee house" performance with more to come.

Tickets are $7.50 for adults and $5 for youths under 13. For more information contact Shirley at (510) 791-5144 or e-mail for reservations.

Barbershop at the Temple
Saturday, July 21
8 p.m.
Temple Beth Torah
42000 Paseo Padre Pkwy., Fremont
(510) 791-5144

Adults: $7.50; Youth under 13: $5

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