Combining two forms of music under-appreciated in North American culture, we present: Barbershopera!
Wallace dePue, a former Barbershopper and former Professor of Music at Bowling Green State University, was the recipient of awards from the Boston Metro Opera for "Something Special," a barbershop opera that he wrote in 1976 for the Maumee Valley, Ohio, Chapter show, directed by R. D. Mathey.
Not only were the music original compositions words and music by Wallace, but he had never written barbershop songs or arranged them, so he ran them all through the Society for guidance. He also wrote the complete libretto and lent his help as the show was put together. It was performed with the BGSU Men’s Chorus combined with the Maumee Valley Chorus.
Guest quartets performing in the show included The Regents and The Happiness Emporium for the May annual show and The Roaring 20s on the Divisional show. Several chapter quartets, including The Coalition, a JAD district medalist at that time and The Four Knights in a Row with lead R. D. Mathey and bass Ben Ayling were also involved.
Video has recently surfaced on YouTube. Settle back for a jaw-dropping show. (And check out this contemporary story from the Toledo Blade, May 20, 1976.)