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A lesson at a dinner party

A lesson at a dinner party

Marty thought he was just showcasing some barbershop... until his host showed the guests what our culture is really all about.

Marty Monson is CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society

A business associate has a monthly dinner party with his neighbors. They move this party from one house to the next, and each month they bring in somebody before they have dinner, and do a little educational session on something. He asked for me to come in and tell these people about the Barbershop Harmony Society.

I was just on cloud nine. Three quarters of people didn’t even know we existed, had no idea our headquarters were here in their backyard, no concept of the breadth and depth of our organization. I got through all the story; I showed a bunch of videos, and then said, “We’re gonna sing a tag now” and taught “Sunshine is Bidding The Day Goodbye.” Now, a lot of them knew I was coming in as a part of barbershop and singing and a lot of them don’t sing much, but I got them going. It wasn’t always the prettiest chords, but you could see the sparkle and see the peaks.

Then I showed him the video of Mike Rowe tapping out Brian O’Dell of Forefront. “It’s not the performance here that I want you to know about. I want you to know that outside of all this performance stuff, that ‘tap out’ occurs in our hotels, when we start creating foursomes or groups, and we teach these tags that you’ve just learned into the wee hours of the morning. These could be complete strangers, and they don’t care because all they want to do is ring chords and they could have completely polar opposite opinions about certain topics. They don’t care.” There were a few nods at that.

My friend told the group, “When I came in to help Marty and the Barbershop Harmony Society Board on some pretty complex topics, it was amazing. They were at a point that was really contentious, and everybody was getting on edge. Then somebody said, ‘Time out, it’s time to sing.’ And we sang a song, then one more, and then we took a break. When they came back in, it was a whole different environment. Because we created harmony, we knew we could create harmony in our decision making.”

I didn’t need to say it a doggone thing after that point. That’s how we work in the tagging environment, the social, the recreational aspect of our organization.

This is what people learn about us… but they never learn it from watching performances on YouTube. This is what you get from living among us.