Tony and the Time Machine – A Barbershop Odyssey

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The NORTHLAND BARBERSHOP CHORUS of the Sault, Ontario Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society is proud to announce its 54th Annual Show will be presented Sat. April 7th, 2018 starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Sault Community Theatre Centre. Show info can be found  HERE

Tony and the Time Machine – A Barbershop Odyssey

The Sault Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society was founded in 1961. Many men who enjoy singing and who might consider joining the chorus have at times been reluctant to attend a rehearsal because they have been influenced by many cultural stereotypes regarding just what exactly “barbershop” music is and is not. Or, they are uncertain if they have the skills needed to join a group like The Northland Chorus. We thought it would be fun to do a show wherein a prospective member is taken on a trip through history using a barber chair as a Time Machine to learn about barbershop singing – from its roots in barbershops in the late 1800’s to what it is today.

The Barbershop Harmony Society was started in 1938 in Tulsa Oklahoma by two gentlemen, Rupert Hall and O.C. Cash, who invited 14 friends to a “Songfest” in the Rooftop Garden of the Tulsa Club in April 1938. By the 3rd week, the number of singers up on the roof numbered 150! Today more than 80,000 men and women sing in organized barbershop chapters. An organized Society was founded in 1938 for one reason: to preserve the turn-of –the-century songs its founders sang in their youth. This is exactly what Barbershop Chapters do today – only the songs of our youth can be anywhere from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s right through the 80’s and 90’s. No song is off limits if it lends itself to a cappella harmony.

Along the way we will confront many of the common stereotypes: “You have to know how to read music or be a soloquality singer”, “All you sing are boring ballads”, “Barbershop music is from a bygone era, with songs mainly from100 years ago”, “You wear dated straw hats and striped shirts with arm bands and look like Jimmy Fallon’s “Ragtime Gals”, “Barbershop is a hobby mostly for old guys” etc. All not true!

Barbershop is not an era, rather it is a style of singing any kind of music from pretty much any era – so long as it’s got the potential for four-part harmony. Music on this show will range from a 1910 Barbershop standard, through music from performers as diverse as the Mills Brothers, Bing Crosby, The Everly Brothers, The Cascades, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Leonard Cohen and Bugs Bunny! From its origins in the late 1800’s on street corners and barbershops, through the formation of the Barbershop Harmony Society in 1938, to the present day, our show explains why this unique style of music remains popular with men of all ages: mainly because it’s fun to sing!

The 40+ man chorus will present songs in traditional 4-part a cappella harmony within the context of an original play written by chorus director Bob Shami. The prospective member is dentist: Dr. Phil N. Yankem (KEN JONES). His guide through time and the barbershop universe is a barber: Tony Tenorre (DR.TOM LEHMAN) Tony’s barber chair doubles as his time travel vehicle, but be careful and “Don’t touch-a the red button!” Other characters include MATTHEW DOHERTY (Newsboy), MARIE BUJOLD-VALLÉE (Dental Assistant Ginger Vitas) and JESSE LETHBRIDGE (Bill Singer). LEE ANN PEARSON handles stage direction.