Remembering A Very Special Person of Note
How my grandfather introduced me to a lifelong love of barbershop harmony
Written by Amanda Hauler. Photos provided by the author.
It’s great to be a barbershopper! The Barbershop Harmony Society has been a part of my life since 2007, and I couldn’t be happier to finally be a member of the organization. The day I joined I was asked “Who’s your Person of Note?” I am glad to say that my grandfather, my Pop Pop, introduced me to his barbershop chorus when I was in high school. Like many of us, I fell in love the first time I heard it. The Sound of Sunshine Chorus of the Pasco Chapter (New Port Richey, FL) of BHS changed my life for the better that night. Really, I have all of them to thank for enriching my life with harmony. There were countless rehearsal nights that I had the pleasure of visiting, it was even an honor to bake treats for coffee time! I developed relationships with so many of the men in the chorus, and they would always be sure to check up on how I was doing when I would visit.
The first few years I was around barbershop harmony, I didn’t realize the reach of the organization. Sound of Sunshine didn’t compete, so I didn’t hear a lot about SUN District events, or the international competitions. However, when I got to visit, I frequently sat in the back of the room and hummed the melodies to the songs they sang. One of those visits I was approached and asked if I was a member of Sweet Adelines International! Honestly, it might have been one of the first times I had heard of SAI, and I was not yet a member. When I got home from my visit that summer, things were about to change.
I was in college for music at the time and in meeting with my Music Director we chatted about my need for a choral credit to graduate on time. The college chorus met on Wednesday nights, the night that I was playing percussion in a community orchestra and receiving college credit for my time. My Music Director gave me free reign to join a local chorus on the same terms and that my time would count for college credit. Any guesses what happened next? You bet! I found the first Sweet Adeline chorus that fit my schedule and attended rehearsal as soon as possible. Within four years of being a Sweet Adeline I managed to join four choruses, and register one quartet - things I never could have dreamed in those first few years.
From the moment I joined SAI, my hunger for harmony could not be sated. My first BHS event was Harmony University 2014 because I could not pass up the opportunity to sing for Debbie Cleveland in the inaugural Young Women in Harmony Chorus. That fall I found myself at my first Mid-Atlantic District convention, followed by the spring contests, Harmony College East, and HU again that next summer. When Everyone in Harmony launched, I was so thrilled to see many of my friends join BHS with full membership for the first time. I know that their memberships have enriched their lives, and it is how I feel about my membership today.
My Pop Pop passed a few years ago, and two very special things got to happen at around the same time. I inherited a hat of his with a SPEBSQSA patch and about 50 pins. Included in that number are various pins from International conventions, and 20 Person of Note pins. This heirloom quickly became a treasure, and allowed me to deepen relationships with many barbershoppers in my life who were at some of the same conventions remembered by this hat.
I am humbled by the Person of Note pins because I know my Pop Pop enjoyed sharing harmony and having these as the concrete proof is something I will hold dear forever. I hope that in my own journey of sharing barbershop harmony in my daily life I’ll be able to amass some Person of Note pins myself!
The second thing that happened was that I had the privilege to visit some of the men who were present when I first heard barbershop. This came about while scrolling on Facebook and seeing several men that I recognized in a SUN District spring competition photo. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes! At that moment, I knew that I had to make the trip to see these men. That opportunity happened pretty quickly as they announced their fall show soon after I saw the competition photo. These men were now in a different chorus, The Hernando Harmonizers, and Main Street would be singing on their show! The months went by and it became clear that I could make a very quick trip down to reconnect with these men. I am so thankful that I got to see them sing, visit with them during the afterglow, and tell them just how much their harmony has meant in my life.
As of today, I have enjoyed barbershop harmony for 13 years, I have sung barbershop harmony for 9 years. I have been a member of four choruses spanning 3 Regions, and competed in one quartet. I have attended Harmony University in Nashville three times, and attended Virtual Harmony University this year. I have competed and attended many competitions, and regularly partake in the educational offerings of Region 19 and the Mid-Atlantic District. I am an Assistant Director of Jersey Sound Chorus, and was voted Sweet Adeline of the Year by my chorus members in 2019.
With all of the people and experiences brought into my life by barbershop harmony, I frequently find myself thankful that my Pop Pop chose to bring me along to rehearsal so many years ago and introduce me to a life-changing world of harmony.
Peace, love, and harmony,
Jersey Sound Chorus Sweet Adeline of the Year 2019
Do you have an amazing Person of Note Story like Amanda?
We’d love to hear about it! Please email your story to Katie Macdonald, Recruitment and Retention Manager, at email@example.com and your story might be featured in an upcoming BHS publication!