*Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
There is an alternate universe in the world of barbershop music. I doubt people in the general public are aware of this. I seem to be immersed in it this week. (I draw the line at wearing a matching shirts with the other ladies here. I'll support. I'll clap. I'll cheer. I will NOT wear a matchy-matchy shirt with them. Sorry.) Anyway . . . there is even a market to purchase all things barbershop. It seems that anyone can slap a treble clef on an item and it is retail mania. Dave's group is singing on Friday evening. (I know, no fireworks shows for us. This is serious business.) There are 4 days of competitions for the quartets. They go through several rounds of competition to skim down the group to the best of the best for a big showdown Saturday night. The groups already have to be pretty darn good to even be competing here already having won local and regional competitions. However, the top few finalists are absolutely amazing! There is a big difference between the pretty darned good and the absolutely perfect. It's very fun to watch. I might even buy a recording of their music - I really am immersed. Because it is competition for a panel of judges, it is not as fun for the audience as a regular stage performance. However, they are performing in a huge sports arena and there are thousands of people here every day. For me, an afternoon is enough. I can't do 5 days straight. Luckily, there a gigantic mall next to our hotel to fill my days. Friday is the competition day for the chorus groups. Again, they have already been through several levels of elimination to be here. I have got to say, Dave's group "The Spirit of Phoenix" is quite amazing. They are a group of over 70 men. I would take a video of their performance, but they are a little over the top stringent about no recording devices during the shows. I'll try to get in to one of their rehearsals and get a video clip. You will be amazed. I mean it. In the meantime, start humming "Shine On Harvest Moon" to get in the mood.