Barbershop singers find harmony at Loyola University during music conference | Entertainment/Life


Imagine this:

You sign up for a week-long basketball camp and Lebron James and Stephen Curry are your coaches.

During the day you run drills and practice your skills, then later at night you all play 3v3.

Sounds almost too good to be true, right?

For members of the barbershop singing community, Harmony University’s weeklong music conference was just that, according to Barbershop Harmony Society publicist Brian Lynch.

Everything about the hair salon

Barbers of all ages and experience levels have traveled from around the world to Loyola University New Orleans for daily classes and seminars on vocal performance, conducting, arranging, and all things hair salon. The program’s volunteer faculty included artists and award-winning coaches, including Anthony Colosimo and Theodore Hicks.

After their lessons, the participants closed their evenings by coming together and singing tags, the last section of a song characterized by its dramatic variations. The tag is carried by the lead, while the tenor, baritone and bass create harmonies.

Tim Waurick, a 20-year-old Society member and champion tenor of the Vocal Spectrum Quartet, said tags are what get most people addicted to hair salons. He said it’s one thing to just listen, but being in the beacon circle is completely different.

“Singing in front of others is a very vulnerable thing to do,” Waurick said. “But once you get past the first few moments, it’s liberating.”

Waurick currently creates and sells Learning Tracks, recordings of songs in which he singles out each of the four vocal parts to help the listener learn their role.

lovers in love

Lynch said the inclusiveness is one of the best parts of the barber shop. He added that most attendees at Harmony University do not have a classical education. They were just amateurs who fell in love with the art, he said.

More than 400 participants representing 11 countries came for the week of musical education and harmony.

“Everyone is welcome here,” he said. “Every part of this is done in a safe and loving environment.”

In 2018, the Barbershop Harmony Society launched the “Everyone in Harmony” strategic plan, which opened membership to people of all ages, backgrounds, gender identities, races, orientations. sexuality, political opinion or spiritual belief, according to the organization’s mission statement.

Julian LeFlore, a member of the company for five years, said the new plan has been well received.

“It’s been phenomenal,” LeFlore said. “They have been very intentional with the changes in the organization and it shows at all levels.”

“To give everything”

The company held its first open competition, regardless of gender, in July 2022.

Singer and educator Tessa Walker said it was during this competition that “everyone in harmony really came together”.

The Barbershoppers sing in harmony at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall during the July 28 international convention.

Walker is a member of the three major hair salon organizations in the United States: Sweet Adelines International; Harmony, Inc.; and now Barbershop Harmony Society.

She said she looks forward to the collaborative and competitive opportunities that are now available to all hair salon performers.

“It’s important because now we can really give it our all,” she said. “I hope to prove that I can defend myself against the big guys. I have a chance to leave my mark.

Cradle of the hair salon

Harmony University will return to New Orleans for the next three years to host the music intensive.

Lynch said being in the city, which they consider the birthplace of the barbershop, was an experience in itself.

The barbershop’s roots go back to African-American traditions of harmonizing hymns and folk songs in the late 1800s, according to the Barbershop Harmony Society.

LeFlore added that after slavery ended, barbershops doubled as social institutions and so the music continued.

“They were community hangouts,” LeFlore said. He said that while the barbershop may have been popular in other places, the first bands to be recorded were in New Orleans.

With the conference now being held in New Orleans, you’ll continue to experience the barbershop’s history first-hand.

“Those times when we can all be together are just awesome,” LeFlore said.


About Author

Comments are closed.