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Barbershoppers have kept the whole world singing for 75 years

Commodores-barbershoppers-75thBy Jack Evans
The annual show by the Quinte Chapter, Barbershop Harmony Society, will feature songs through the years as the chorus celebrates the 75th anniversary of the international society.

From a meeting of a few men in 1938, the organization, originally founded as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, quickly spread throughout the United States, into Canada and then to England, continental Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

With its official theme song, “Keep the Whole World Singing,” the society has been doing just that for 75 years. The unique four-part harmony movement, which features unaccompanied singing (a cappella) has also spread to women’s choruses and quartets.

To assist A Cappella Quinte, (the new name for the local barbershop chorus), to celebrate this event on Saturday, May 4, musical guests will be Belleville’s famous Commodores Orchestra, whose own roots span almost the same 75 years as the barbershop society.

The program will span songs and ballads from the late 1800s, when barbershop quartets first became popular, through to contemporary times with songs like “Yesterday,” by the Beatles.

The local chapter, started almost 40 years ago under the name, The Trentones, changed its performance name to A Cappella Quinte two years ago.  It now embraces close to 40 singers from across the Quinte area from Brighton to Deseronto and Roslin through Prince Edward County. The director for many years is Robert Young.

Within the ranks of the chorus, two quartets are scheduled to make their own contributions to the show, including the long-established Belleville area quartet, In-Four-Mation.

While the barbershop chorus has partnered with many musical groups in the area over the years, this is the first time they have had the distinguished Commodores Orchestra as guests.

In keeping with the chorus’s tradition of sharing proceeds from its annual show with a local charity, a portion of the May 4 show will be shared with the local Grannies for Africa group.

Show time is 7:31 p.m. in Belleville’s Maranatha Church auditorium. Tickets, at $20 for adults, $5 for students, are available from members, or at the door.

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