Calling Them Good-Will Ambassadors Isn’t Good Enough
Sometimes you write about something simply because it’s just too gob-smacking wonderful.
This is one of those.
This is one of those, even though I don’t like over-praising things because they can never live up to one’s expectation. Yet even with that admonition, this is one of those.
It’s a video from the 2009 International Barbershop championship, and these are the winners in the chorus division, the Ambassadors of Harmony.
Right now, that sound you hear are people stampeding away from their computers, screaming in horror. Barbershop singing for many is just one step above the agony Broadway musicals.
Okay, then, I’m up for a challenge. I’ll now double-down on my bet and ratchet this up a notch: they are singing a song from a Broadway musical.
And yes, even those people whose heads are about to explode should watch. Because you will come away from this amazed by the group’s sheer majestic virtuosity, no matter what you think coming in – and even going away – of barbershop singing and Broadway musicals. This is the exception to your rule. Rejoice in the exception.
For anyone who thinks that barbershop singing is just four guys standing in a line wearing straw hats and striped jackets, this will turn that perception on its ear. And then twist it inside-out. And then flip it in the air with a triple spin. This is the utter joy of exuberant showmanship.
How good is this? If you turned the sound off and just watched, you would still not only likely enjoy it, but might come away thinking, “Oh, my God.” And remember, this is a singing competition.
I suspect that after the performance every other competitor in their division turned to one another and said, “Okay, we’re fighting for second place.”
And they were. Because what the Ambassadors of Harmony achieved was something remarkable. Not only did they win the contest – but they won with the highest score ever in the competition. But that’s not what was remarkable. You see, they also beat a chorus, Vocal Majority, which had not lost a contest in 30 years.
Watch the video, and you’ll see why. And see why it’s not surprising.
It’s possible some of you may have seen it already, since it was a featured video on YouTube. That’s how good it is. Me, I came across the video on Mark Evanier’s wonderful website, that I’ve written about in the past.
A word of advice. Though I suspect you’ll stick with it all the way through, just a heads-up to be sure to. There’s some surprising staging near the end (I refuse to say more), and the ovation when they finish and faces on the singers is a joy to see.
(If your computer is powerful enough, you can click the HD button on the viewer for a great image. If your system can’t handle it, however, you’ll get a herky-jerky image. Just click the HD off.)
That’s all. Nothing more than that. Just a video to watch. But sometimes, something is so wonderful that it just deserves to be seen. Excellence deserves attention, no matter what the venue, no matter how goofy one’s previous perception.
And the thing is, as much pleasure as viewers might get from this, what’s perhaps most impressive is the deep pleasure that the performers themselves are clearly getting from it. And in the end, perhaps that might be the secret to most excellence. Doing something because you simply love it. Doing something because if you don’t, you feel you will burst.
And when we are allowed to witness such joyful excellence, we ourselves tend to feel uplifted by the effort and therefore feel a participant in the experience and are better for it, as well.