Comments: 156 • Responses: 47  • Date: 

reb67842 karma

Are there Barber Shop Quartet Groupies?

algaepickle53 karma

Not for sex, but there are people that like to follow around high profile singers a lot, which I try not to do. All of the "famous" people that I've met are really down to earth. You can literally just walk right up to them and say hello. They'll even sing something with you if they have the time.

spankydeluxe692 karma

I wouldn’t be so sure. I’m sure Sean divine has had a few groupies in his day lol

algaepickle2 karma

I ate breakfast with Sean once. He actually really appreciates it if you treat him like a normal person.

He is the biggest flirt I’ve ever seen in the BBS world though.

AdmiralAkbar126 karma

What's the general breakdown in music that you guys sing between classic standards, more modern songs, and comedy/novelty?

algaepickle26 karma

It really all depends on the group you sing with. Some groups do 100% comedy, some stick with the classics. For me personally, my chorus does probably 50/50 between classics and modern stuff.

I really enjoy both. Our current quartet champions, Signature, do 100% modern stuff. (Rock and R&B). Some quartets still do all classic music, and we love them just the same.

TacoDoc26 karma

Who is your favorite quartet and why is it the Be Sharps?

algaepickle23 karma

If you're looking for a serious answer, I don't have a favorite quartet, I have a LOT of favorite quartets. (The Be Sharps are one of them).

Also, a good friend of mine is in a quartet that performs the "Baby On Board" song as part of their routine. It's really cute :)

stevey_frac9 karma

Did 'A cottage for sale' performed by the Newfangled Four make your list? It's so raw, and emotional for me.

algaepickle5 karma

It's probably my favorite NF4 song. I love me a good ballad. I recently met Ryan Wisniewski, former baritone of NF4 as well. Such a nice guy.

Ubsidian242 karma

Former barbershop performer here! I did a bunch of SPEBSQSA stuff in high school, in the middle 2000s. I got to meet and get lessons from Vocal Spectrum just months before they won the international! Their Tenor during practice was scratchy and weakish sounding and we didn't know who they were yet so we were like, really? Turns out he was just saving his voice for the performance that night and when he started belting, my quartet and I were 👀👀👀👀👀👀 Are they still around? All I can find on YouTube is the older videos I've seen for the last 10ish years. Got to meet in a group setting the surviving members of Gas House Gang as well. Jim Henry is a genius.

algaepickle1 karma

Vocal Spectrum is around yeah. They are all in the chorus Ambassadors of Harmony, directed by Jim Henry and the VS baritone John Moroni

imherefromthefuture25 karma

Are there female barbershop quartets?

algaepickle28 karma

Great question! There absolutely are! Some groups even have a mix of both.

Check this one out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxBnB0g8OGM

imherefromthefuture4 karma

That's very cool! I just heard something I've never heard before. Thanks!

algaepickle20 karma

There's actually a full society for female barbershop singers, called Sweet Adelines. Next year, the Barbershop Harmony Society for the first time is allowing females to compete at the International Championships, although the men's, women's, and mixed champions will all get separate awards.

MusicalTourettes3 karma

Former Pacific Sound member here, they are multi year Sweet Adeline International champions. I got to sing with them at Regionals but never Internationals. Barbershop is awesome! My favorite musical style to perform with a group.

algaepickle1 karma

One of my great friends was in Melodeers. Have you heard of them?

suburban_hyena19 karma

Are you a barber?

algaepickle39 karma

No, but I am a shopper.

TAR_TWoP11 karma

If your group is doing personnalized announcements for people who booked you, have you gotten a funny one yet? Like an employee paying you to go sing to their boss about how they are leaving this terrible job. I always dreamed of seeing this!

algaepickle22 karma

My quartet actually just formed a month ago. We're long distance and we meet in person for the first time in a couple weeks.

I joined my chorus during COVID, so until VERY recently I had never performed any where with them.

My vocal jazz group did a promposal type of thing for some girl and she ended up rejecting the guy though... awkward..

TAR_TWoP1 karma

Oooof. Yeah, I feel it's the kinda thing where having a discussion about it is way more important than a stunt.

I wish you lots of better contracts, then! I bet announcing to people that they're gonna be grandparents is probably awesome. Ooooh, and how about coming out with a barbershop quartet to give it some pizzaz? 😃

algaepickle3 karma

I wish I could've came out with a barbershop quartet LOL.

Quartet gigs are usually the more personal ones, I want to start a local quartet too so in the future we'll definitely get something like that because we'll be able to do a lot of gigs.

DokterZ10 karma

Are you a KIBBER?

I get the impression that current choruses are more competitive than in years past. (Tryouts rather than letting all interested members to join, for example). Where does your group fall on that spectrum?

algaepickle7 karma

My chorus is an audition chorus, although I've seen it all. A lot of the non-international level quartets like to be "everyman" choruses.

If you really want to do this, you will find a group close to you. Different directors have different philosophies.

The audition process we have isn't very rigorous either, just memorize one song and sing it with a few of the members.

likesAMAs8 karma

What voice do you sing and what’s your favorite song to sing?

algaepickle20 karma

There's four parts in barbershop harmony. Lead (the melody), Bass (the bass), the tenor (above the lead), and the baritone (fills in the rest).

I sing lead in my quartet and chorus (Not because I consider myself the lead singer, I just like singing melody parts and think I have good tonal quality for it).

If I'm just singing for fun with friends, I'll do everything except for bass, because my voice isn't that low.

My favorite song as of late to sing is called "Ebb Tide". It's just such a beautiful ballad with great chords and story. I can't put my finger on anything specific with it, it just makes me feel at peace to sing it.

I encourage you to take a listen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRkIgxLOeuk (This isn't me, just a performance I found on YouTube).

two_bass-hit3 karma

Really interested in recs for more dreamy stuff like this. Thanks for sharing

algaepickle1 karma

Once Upon A Time by Keepsake, Do I Love You by Quorum

exec_director_doom4 karma

My dad has been singing Barbershop for I'm sure almost 20 years, possibly more and has been in various choruses and quartets in the UK and has competed in the annual international conventions in the US a few times.

From the pictures I've seen of his chorus, I get the impression that the average age is above 50 or possibly even above 60.

Is that your experience too? Are there lots of people your age in your chorus? Is the culture shrinking over time or is there a steady influx of new members?

algaepickle2 karma

Adam said it perfectly.

NABDad4 karma

How do you pronounce "SPEBSQSA"?

algaepickle2 karma

Fun fact: SPEBSQSA was made to make fun of FDR’s new deal programs that contained a ton of acronyms.

LlamaBoomerang3 karma

What's your favorite performance that you've seen?

algaepickle4 karma


This one. I would do so much to have seen this live.

Literally every chord is pure beauty. I've been sitting here for 15 minutes trying to draft you a comment, but I can't find the words to describe this. Please enjoy.

LlamaBoomerang3 karma

Thanks, sounded nice imo, but that doesn't mean much coming from someone who doesn't have much analytical prowess of music. I'm personally a big fan of the Notre Dame medley from the ringmasters what's your opinion on it if you don't mind answering?

algaepickle1 karma

In my honest opinion, I personally don't like the tonal quality of Ringmasters. They're very talented don't get me wrong, just not my type.

Notre Dame is really really good though.

kaptaincorn3 karma

Ever heard the song- " A cup of coffee, a sandwich, and you"?

Would your group consider performing barbershop versions of U2 songs?

algaepickle3 karma

A cup of coffee, a sandwich, and you

I have not heard this song.

My group probably wouldn't but someone else definitely would. The definition of barbershop has expanded so much.

some_asshat3 karma

How did you get starting in singing?

algaepickle11 karma

Both my mother and my sister sang constantly around the house ever since I was a kid. I started singing and reading sheet music when I was around 18 months old. My sister and I used to play with the piano and bang out notes and create "songs". Lotta good memories.

My sister is now a music teacher and a really good pianist. I can't play the piano, but I'm lucky enough to still be involved with music as well.

I discovered barbershop in particular from watching the movie "The Music Man" when I was around 8. The barbershoppers in the movie were my favorite characters.

Physix_R_Cool3 karma

Do you guys also do sea shanties? I feel ther's a great opprtunity in singing barbershop shanties!

algaepickle4 karma

I've never sang sea shanties with my barbershop groups, but that doesn't sound like a bad idea!

TheWingus3 karma

How does one go about joining the Barbershop Harmony Society?

I LOVE Barbershop singing and for a time it was all I listened to because the only CD’s I had in my new car were “The Very Best of Barbershop: Live 1990-1991” (it was either 90-91 or 91-92)

algaepickle2 karma

Message me and I’ll help you out.

BestCatEva3 karma

My beloved Uncle sang barbershop many years ago. It seemed to have been commonly associated with churches then. Does this music style have a history with religion?

algaepickle2 karma

Not really? There’s some religious songs though that are really nice such as Gospel Medley by Bluegrass Student Union.

newmansan3 karma

Good times my man. My chorus disbanded a year ago and I miss it.

You ever been to harmony college? Got to go one year and had a blast.

What part do you sing?

algaepickle1 karma

I sing lead. I haven’t been to Harmony College but I’ll be at International 2022

newmansan1 karma

If you get a chance, it's a lot of fun.

I started as a lead but went to Barri soon after. I miss being a lead .

International 2022 sounds awesome. I'll have to keep an eye out for your performance. You going as a quartet, chorus, or both?

algaepickle1 karma

As a chorus definitely. I have to qualify with my quartet still, and I think we have a decent shot. We’d be fighting for the cut though.

joshlama3 karma

Hi there, fellow Barbrshopper here (Aussie).

How's Christmas and Valentines prep going for your quartet and chorus this time around?

It seems that you got involved in Barbershop during the pandemic while most choruses were doing rehearsals online. How was that experience like? Do you think that online rehearsals has been helpful in your chorus during this time or was it considered too difficult?

algaepickle3 karma

It was hard. I lost so much motivation being online, that I almost quit. Christmas concert prep has also been hard as I’m busy with college. I haven’t been as involved as I would like to be as of late.

vectravintage3 karma

How are barbershop groups able to "tune" and flatten their 7ths to fit the just intonation frequency? Is it just by feel or there is a way to perfectly tune it by using/hearing for overtones?

algaepickle3 karma

You just have to tune it and listen for overtones. I personally can’t hear overtones that well but I know when I’m blending with someone just by how it feels in my body. I get a physical sensation.

ziggy823233 karma

My wife sings in a Sweet Adelines quartet and small group (she's currently chapter-at-large from her actual chorus because of the pandemic), so I've been to a lot of regional and international competitions. One thing that became more apparent during the Black Lives Matter protests last summer was how overwhelmingly white the organization and its members are. In your experience, are men's barbershop quartets more racially diverse? Another commenter asked about the average age in men's barbershop, which I'm curious about as well. I think the average age in my wife's chorus was 60 - they had several members in their 90s and my wife was the youngest member until she was 30.

algaepickle2 karma

I’d say it’s 90% white people. That being said I’m all for anyone who wants to do this trying it out.

A few of the older songs from the past are very racist (refer to mammy, Robert E Lee, etc), and I think some, but not all interested POC might have changed their minds if they thought this is wha lt we do regularly.

HighlandUK2 karma

What's a song that you'd really like to cover, but can't get the rest of your group on board with?

algaepickle3 karma

Cruella De Vil by Vocal Spectrum. It’s just way too hard for anyone to even care to try it.

adam_demamps_wingman2 karma

Did you ever meet a barbershop singer who couldn’t stop vibrato?

algaepickle2 karma

You didn’t have to call me out like that!

spider_842 karma

Have you ever considered buying Harmony One crypto coins?

algaepickle1 karma

I haven’t heard of that before!

tapcha2 karma

Ever sung "A pirate I was meant to be"?

algaepickle1 karma


WhiteLama2 karma

How did you get started in specifically barbershop singing?

My uncle and aunt are quite big in the barbershop scene here in the Nordic countries and have been to international competitions (shoutout to Absolut and ReMix), so I've always thought it quite interesting to hear peoples stories.

algaepickle1 karma

I was in The Music Man when I was younger and the barbershop quartet let the kids sing with them. After the show ended I kind of forgot about it but then rediscovered it and the society on YouTube.

sonofaresiii2 karma

My dad got into barbershop singing about twenty years ago. The local group died off (often literally), so those who were left melded with another nearby town's. That one dwindled, so he and a couple others joined a bigger state-wide one. That one too eventually died off, and my dad finally gave up (he was more casual and the only ones left seemed to take it more seriously than he wanted)

It seems like barbershop is a dying genre. Do you notice things getting smaller, do you think there's a chance it'll be revitalized or keep dwindling? Where do you see the future going? It seems like groups are struggling to bring in new members, as a new member yourself what attracted you to it and what do you think can be done to keep it going?

algaepickle2 karma

I’ve only been a member for one year, so I don’t really know how big it used to be. What I can say is that I do think we’re on a steady decline, mostly because of gate keeping and lack of advertisement. There will always be at least some sort of community though.

Aerron2 karma

I remember going to barbershop quartet shows when I was in high school in the 80s to see my grandfather sing. I am happy the tradition has continued.

What brought you to barbershop? Were/are you in choir in church or school?

algaepickle2 karma

I was in choir in high school, I found barbershop through the movie The Music Man.

NikkoE822 karma

Don’t you mean the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc.?

algaepickle2 karma

The name was changed a while back for obvious reasons.

Male_strom2 karma

One more song?

algaepickle1 karma

Later :)

LondonPilot2 karma

Congrats on having such a fun hobby!

What’s the difference between barbershop and a Capella (apart from the all-male aspect of barbershop, or is that the only difference?)

My step-daughter is into a Capella, she sang and competed in a group while she was at university, and now she’s left uni she’s just recently found a group to join where she lives.

algaepickle3 karma

Barbershop’s main difference is that the melody isn’t the highest part. It’s actually in the middle!

We also use a lot of 7th chords, more so than any other type of Acapella

algaepickle3 karma

Also, a lot of barber shoppers, mainly the young guys, so vocal jazz and other types of Acapella too.

BertzReynolds2 karma

Do you actually cut hair?

algaepickle1 karma

Which one do you need cut?

lostDeschain1 karma

Are you familiar with the Johnny Appleseed (conference? ) I was in some barbershop groups awhile back. Had the pleasure of seeing Gas House Gang and many others.

algaepickle2 karma

Absolutely! The Gas House Gang were killer!

chiupacabra1 karma

Favorite tag?

algaepickle2 karma

Way too many to mention. I really like Buddy Can You Spare A Dime. That’s a classic.

Reedsandrights1 karma

Hey, former society member here! I wish you all the best in your journey. Do you compete with your quartet? Midwinter is coming!!

algaepickle1 karma

We actually just formed. It’s a long distance quartet. We would compete at international in nextgen varsity if we qualified.

Glad to see a society member here!

BlLLr0y1 karma

My chorus teacher in HS was in a group called State Line Grocery that medaled 3 times, between 07-09, consecutively. So my question is, have you ever heard of that group? Shoutout Mark Lamback, one of the best dudes I've ever known.

algaepickle1 karma

I have definitely heard of them.

dunebuggy11 karma

Do you first learn your part in isolation or do you all just jump in together? If in isolation can you hear the part in your head or do you need to hear it first e.g. on a piano?

algaepickle2 karma

I’m the type of guy that likes to just jump straight in and make chords. Who cares if we mess up? We usually go through chord by chord and also sing the lyrics in unison a dozen times on the same note to blend better.

88toddler1 karma

Can we pay you guys money to sing for someone like in the movies?

algaepickle1 karma

We’re not taking requests right now, but maybe in the future once we’re not so busy :)