Outreach and support for local music education to highlight service-oriented convention
If the Barbershop Harmony Society has its way, there won’t be a street corner that isn’t ringing with harmony next summer, when its annual convention comes to Pittsburgh June 28-July 5, 2015.
Speaking at the VisitPITTSBURGH annual meeting, Society CEO Marty Monson outlined a vision of service tied to the “Tourism Builds Community” theme promoted by the bureau. “For 75 years, our conventions have swept into town, sung up a storm, spent ten million dollars in lodging and hospitality, then disappeared, leaving only an echo. We want to change that. We want to make a lasting impact in the communities we visit, by helping shine a spotlight on the good that music brings to lives. We want to start making friends and contacts throughout the region whom we can partner with to make a difference --not just for a week, but with a lasting impact.”
To that end, the Society is actively seeking community partners in the arts and tourism sectors that have needs that Barbershoppers can support while visiting. “We hope that vocal ensembles of all stripes will sing with us and allow us to sing with them to celebrate our shared passion for creating something beautiful in community with others. We want to be of service, of all kinds -- fundraising, supporting music educators, and bringing music resources to all communities.”
Monson was joined at the event by college quartet champion The Newfangled Four, which earlier performed in school and community venues throughout the area. “We are trying to spread the message to young people especially that music is a lifelong activity that brings joy, health and stability to people’s lives. Music crosses bridges and borders to unite us. It’s never too early or too late to sing.”
The Barbershop Harmony Society convention will be one of Pittsburgh’s largest events in 2015, drawing more than 7,000 guests from around the world, spending an estimated $10-$12 million.