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Barbershop: The Melody of My Life

Barbershop was the lullaby of my childhood

As a child, there was no better feeling than lying in my bed at night all cuddled up and warm from the bath, and from the sounds of my Dad’s quartet rehearsing in the next room.

Back in the 60’s, my Grandpa Hood joined the local chapter and began our family legacy. My Grandma Hood had also joined the local Sweet Adelines chorus, and they often joined in harmony singing with friends in their own mixed quartet. It didn’t take long for my Dad, Mom, Uncle Rob, and Aunt Sharon to join the barbershop world, and my family was wonderfully and musically never the same. Life in our family revolved around barbershop; family outings, picnics, camping trips all somehow ended up wrapped in its harmony. I was ok with that. It’s where I felt the most at home.

My Grandpa Hood was a salt of the earth kind of guy. Decent, sweet, a gentleman and a pretty good musician and singer. He exuded the fellowship that we Barbershoppers recognize and cherish in our larger barbershop community. He WAS barbershop, and I was proud that I could do what he could do. My own parents were both baritones. (Yeah. I know, and thank you for your concern, but I somehow turned out “fine.”) In fact, I think that set me up for a firm understanding of the glue of the art form.

Had I had the opportunity to join BHS as a youth I would have, but the only option for women in my area was Sweet Adelines. I went gladly into it because of my life-long love of the art form. And I’ve barbershopped like a fiend, too. In high-achieving quartets and choruses, I’ve worn all the “hats” one can wear in their barbershop career, from costume person to choreographer, membership chair, to musical director of my own chorus. Barbershop has been in my blood and my ears and my heart. I frankly don’t know what it’s like NOT to be immersed in it.

I write all this as it may capture the unexplainable feelings I had upon joining the Barbershop Harmony Society.

When BHS opened up membership, I leapt at the chance to join. I had no thought of what that meant to the future of the organization or to any thoughts of competing. I just knew instantly that I had to join. The pride I had that day I joined was overwhelming, and many happy tears flowed. Barbershop has been a large part of my identity from birth. And I’m now tied to my family, ALL of my family, in a way that I could never be before. The circle of harmony is complete.

And now my own quartet, Noise, made history last spring as the first all-female quartet to compete in the entire Society and in our Evergreen Division and District. We are thrilled to add this option to our barbershop lives! Like me, each member of Noise has ties to BHS through fathers, brothers, or husbands. There are many stories that intertwine our lives together going back generations because of barbershop. It’s our home, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for us as more opportunities open up.

Thank you, Grandpa Hood, for this legacy. I know you would have been so proud to see my BHS membership card. Thank you for this barbershop life.

Barbershop is and has been the melody of my life.

I am home.

About the Author

Lisa Hood is a 3rd generation barbershop brat, with 33 years SAI (R26) and 3 years BHS membership. When not barbershopping, she can be found helping seniors live better, happier lives, drinking copious amounts of coffee, making up songs, creating spreadsheets and doodling with pens she didn’t mean to steal.

She’s always up late for a tag, and a challenge and has been known to win last man standing. Blow the pitch, let’s sing!