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Barbershop Brings Harmony to Bird City

Wanted. Cheyenne and Rawlins County area families to travel to Bird City Thursday, Nov. 18, to enjoy a night of barbershop singing. The Immanuel United Methodist Church, 116 E. Fourth Street, Bird City is the location of the free event from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. CST.
Guest means guest and there is no obligation to join either group. Sponsored by the Tumbleweed men’s Barbershop Chorus and the women’s Prairie Rose Harmony Chorus, members of both groups will be on hand to lead guests in the joys of signing harmony. Thomas Annis, Oakley, is the music director for both groups. This is a special weekly rehearsal, not a show.
Over 80 years ago, the founders of The Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) stumbled onto something quite profound: The joy and transformation that comes with four voices singing together. The BHS wants more people to have the opportunity to experience the joy of singing.
“Our mission is to bring people together in harmony and fellowship to enrich lives through singing,” said Dan Obrien, president of the Tumbleweed Barbershop Chorus, Colby. The Colby Chapter meets regularly most Thursday nights throughout the year, and one night a month carpools to Hays to harmonize with their men’s group.
The women of Prairie Rose Harmony regularly meet Tuesday nights from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. CST. Both groups normally gather weekly at the Colby United Methodist Church.
Both harmony groups form inter-generational bonds and encourage youth to join in the fun. Several men and women choose to become members of their choruses from the time they join for the rest of their lives.
Barbershop harmony inspires us to blend, create musical beauty and to make friends. Our vision of everyone in harmony means every person who loves to harmonize has a place in our family. We invite singers across diverse cultures and groups. Barbershop harmony is a style of unaccompanied four-part vocal. The music is written with its greatest emphasis on chord structure. Strong arrangements showcase full four-part chords for every note. The signature “barbershop seventh” (1-3-5-7) chord appears frequently in barbershop arrangements, and in contest-suitable music, might constitute more of thirty percent of the chords in a song.
These chords help create ringing overtones that are a desirable feature of the barbershop sound. To that end, barbershop singing places heavy emphasis on carefully tuning chords in “just intonation.” Barbershop harmony is rooted in African-American traditions of the late 1800s in the South. Many of the earliest groups of men harmonized while visiting their neighborhood barbershops.