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Photo courtesy of the Barbershop Harmony Society

10 ways barbershop singers will surprise and delight Salt Lake City

By Barbershop Harmony Society | Posted - Jun 25th, 2019 @ 9:00pm



When the Barbershop Harmony Society brings 6,000 singers and fans to its International Convention and Contest in Salt Lake City, you’ll naturally expect to hear harmony everywhere you turn. What might surprise you, though, is just how open and accessible this music has become — and how quickly you’ll feel a part of the worldwide barbershop family.

The full week of shows, contests, and classes opens on July 1 with a free welcome party on the Conference Center Plaza, and concludes with a landmark barbershop chorus appearing on Music and The Spoken Word with The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

A barbershop convention is part music festival, part harmonic extreme games, and part family reunion. If you were not in Salt Lake City for the previous four visits stretching back to 1980 (most recently 2005) you might not know just what to expect — or how much fun it will be.

The full week of shows, contests, and classes opens July 1 with a free welcome party on the Conference Center Plaza, and concludes with a landmark barbershop chorus appearing on Music and The Spoken Word with The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

A barbershop convention is part music festival, part harmonic extreme games, and part family reunion. If you were not in Salt Lake City for the previous four visits stretching back to 1980, and most recently in 2005, you might not know just what to expect — or how much fun it can be.

Photo courtesy of the Barbershop Harmony Society

Barbershoppers will sing for anyone who asks!

Seriously. Walk up to any barbershopper and request a song. No matter if there’s no quartet at hand: with a whistle and shout, they’ll rustle up a foursome while you’re still searching for your pitch pipe. Instant command performance! You’ll find them on Temple Square going to the events, or at major downtown hotels, especially Little America, the headquarters.

Barbershop will surprise you with its range of music

Of course, you’ll hear plenty of vintage music from Tin Pan Alley and the Great American Songbook. You’ll also hear beloved music from Broadway, gospel, doo-wop, country, torch songs and contemporary pop.

Surprise: it’s not all men!

While the July event is a men’s contest, the Barbershop Harmony Society embraces a vision of Everyone In Harmony, which means all people of all ages. Since 2018, women have been welcomed to membership, and new groups are forming for women’s quartets, women’s choruses, and the fast-growing experience of mixed harmony.

Barbershoppers make it easy for you to sing along — just ask!

Although barbershop harmony sounds complex and amazing, its fundamentals are pretty simple. If you can sing one note — just one — you can be part of a barbershop quartet. Be brave! The rewards — the goosebumps, the joy of connecting with others — are magnificent!

Your family will love the great entertainment

Your family will love the great entertainment With superb singing, high-energy staging, and family-friendly material, barbershop shows are suitable for all ages. You’ll hear music from Disney, great traditional Americana, and good clean fun.

Best bet: Thursday night’s Association of International Champions Show, titled “Family Harmony,” featuring nine past champs, including reigning champs After Hours.

Want to duck in for a quick sample? Check out the free admission to some contest events for Utah residents — go to www.barbershop.org/utah.

Surprise: it’s younger than you thought!

The fastest-growing age segment in barbershop is under 30, which should be no surprise. The authentic, unadorned sound of human voices in harmony are a relief from the bombardment of everyday noise. The cooperation, trust and genuine emotional bonds built from singing together are a bridge from the social isolation many people feel in a hyperconnected world.

Barbershop will be everywhere — free

You’ll hardly be able to miss it, but if you want specific destinations, check out the Welcome Party on Temple Square on Monday, July 1, from 6:30-8:30 pm.

Want to duck in for a quick sample? Check out the free admission to some contest events for Utah residents. Details at www.barbershop.org/utah

Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum will host a special public performance and education event on Friday, July 5 at 1 p.m.

The best part of the barbershop culture is the casual singing that takes place among strangers. Drop by the Little America Hotel almost any evening, and you’ll find casual singers simply hanging out, meeting old friends and trading songs. Glorious cacophony!

Barbershoppers can transform your own singing

Barbershop is easy to start singing, and just like any sport or art, it improves with study and practice. The sweet blended sound of barbershop comes from good vocal training — which you can get at the barbershop convention. Numerous workshops and private instruction take place throughout the week, and a convention registration provides access to a wealth of renowned coaches and teachers.

Photo courtesy of the Barbershop Harmony Society

Like what you hear? There’s plenty of barbershop in Salt Lake City after the convention has departed. Check out these local chapters.

Barbershop choruses will thrill you with their showmanship

The big sound of choruses of 20 to 150 men would be enough — but add visual dazzle and you have an unforgettable spectacle. Dancing, transformations, and pizazz mark memorable performances.

Admission is free to Utah residents for select events. Details are available at www.barbershop.org/utah.

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square welcomes the Vocal Majority to 'Music and The Spoken Word'

The Vocal Majority, along with more than 600 barbershop gold medal singers, appeared on "Music and The Spoken Word" with the Tabernacle Choir in 2005. Sunday, July 7, two of America’s greatest choruses combine again!

The Vocal Majority is the most decorated, most recorded barbershop chorus in the world, and is proud to have collaborated with the renowned Tabernacle Choir numerous times through the decades. This year’s reunion promises to stir and inspire. Admission to "Music and the Spoken Word" is free, but space is limited and demand will be even higher than usual.

Barbershop Harmony Society

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