Living barbershop from the inside, it’s always refreshing for us to step away and hear barbershop with fresh ears. Alexandria Harmonizer Tom Berkey invited his daughter, Kristin, to see him compete in Orlando, and she wrote this nice appreciation of the event and art form.
When I’ve told people that I would be spending my vacation day on Friday watching my dad in a Barbershop competition, most people said, “Your dad cuts hair?”
No–my dad sings in a barbershop group, as long-time readers of this blog know. In fact, he’s part of an award winning group, The Alexandria Harmonizers. He’s traveled the world with them: the group sang at the Great Wall of China and the group was invited to France celebrate one of the big anniversaries of D-Day.
They did not win yesterday, but it was a tough field in which to compete. We didn’t see every group, but we saw a lot of them. I am always impressed with the groups that keep this tradition alive. There were more groups of young singers than I thought there would be–and yet, why was I surprised? Roots music is often appealing. In an age that sees young people creating artisanal cheese businesses and urban farms and whiskey distilleries in a spare closet, why wouldn’t there be a return to Barbershop?
I am also astonished at the types of music that can be made into a Barbershop arrangement. My favorite song, not sung by my dad’s group, alas, was the arrangement of Paul Simon’s “American Tune.”