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.
I had arranged earlier with Barry Tripp, VP Chapter Development, for us to visit on a Tuesday night in June at Harmony Hall, the Gower Street rehearsal facility the chapter owns. Somehow, our wires got crossed and we showed up a week earlier than he was expecting. Bonus for us, it turned out, because we got to take in their final rehearsal before a Saturday show and see director Pat Hannon vigorously working the 40-something member chorus: ironing out wrinkles and fluffing up nuance in their repertoire as he tweaked his wall of sound. Continue reading