Saturday, January 27, 2007
Beauty Shop Quartet
We saw the coolest show Saturday night. Two members of our church along with two other women who come together to form Four Friends Singing, a barbershop harmony quartet, presented their annual fundraiser concert. This year Four Friends invited Barber-Y Coast, a male barbershop quartet.
The church had been transformed into a cabaret like atmosphere with candle lit tables, complete with the serving of baked treats, wine and cheese. UC members Diane and Sarah and their two friends started singing years ago when they all attended the University of Chicago. The ladies began the show in classy black then changed into white shirts with colorful sparkly vests and matching armbands. Very sequinny, smart and dapper.
The guys, who sported no mustaches, bow ties or straw hats, were dapper also in vests and arm bands and joked that when they aren't singing in a house of worship they are called the Vestosterones.
The harmony of both groups singing a cappella was astounding. I love that full, ringing chord, distictive barbershop harmony sound. Also, it was nice to remember that songs used to have actual melodies and creative lyrics without backin' that ass up or any such thing. Not that there's any thing wrong with that, I mean I like some of that too. But the songs the Friends and the Coast sang were mostly from the Tin Pan Alley era when songs were crafted for singing. When even after the phonograph, sheet music sales were as important as record sales. The groups also shared song trivia about the songs and the movie or play it came from. Back then, Broadway musicals provided most of the songs on the pop charts. Today of course it's rare to have that crossover. Movie musical songs joined Broadway tunes on the pop charts, but it wasn't as calculated as today where they somehow squeeze in a rap song no matter what the movie is about.
The Four Friends sang the Judy Garland to Mickey Rooney song, My Funny Valentine from Babes in Arms, What'll I Do and Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree and the 1930 song Georgia on My Mind. Trivia surprise, composer Hoagy Carmichael wrote Georgia about his sister not the state.
The ladies finished with a George Gershwin medly. The last song of the medly Strike up the Band ends with the lyrics "when the flag unfurled for a brave new world" they reached down and unfurled the GLBT Rainbow Flag, and the crowd goes wild. Nice surprise! Wonderful evening.