Barbershop singing is four part harmony with individual parts sung unaccompanied by instruments to produce a unique musical style that rings chords. It’s this ringing of chords that gives the participants the thrill of a lifetime and can only be truly experienced by being one of the singers that is making it happen. This should be on anyone’s “Bucket List” for sure.
No, you do NOT need to be a musical genius to enjoy singing barbershop or even have a superior voice. If you can sing Happy Birthday in key, you can learn the rest by attending a Tualatin Valley Harmony Masters chapter meeting and letting them help you. You will be encouraged to sing in the chorus in the section that fits your voice placement and beginners are welcome with open arms.
However to get the most out of your first experience with barbershop singing, don’t be bashful. After the meeting, get a few of the experienced members to include you in singing a tag or two with a quartet. The tag is the juicy part of popular barbershop songs that is usually sung at the end as a climax and has the best opportunity to produce ringing chords. Many of them are short and simple, so they can be taught on the spur of the moment and even beginners can do well. This activity is so much fun, it will be heard just about anywhere barbershopers gather.
Chapter meetings are most often begun by singing vocal exercises to work on the craft, so arrive early and plan to stay late for the fun later on. Many chapter members even continue at a local establishment for an afterglow, where lots of singing takes place.
If you want to look into more of the technical details of barbershop singing, you can visit Wikipedia. But if you just want to experience the fun for yourself, come on and sing with us!