Ever since I saw The Music Man I have loved barbershop quartets. I’m not sure they actually have anything to do with barber shops other than the general red and white poll type outfits most quartets wear. These good-natured vocal groups perform perfect 4 part harmony, normally featuring a great deal of humor taking us back to the roaring 20’s when apparently life was a lot more fun.
No one knows for sure who started Barbershop Quartet Day but most think it has something to do with The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, whose home is in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The harmonies in a barbershop quartet have gone on to be used in other forms of music – rock, jazz, Broadway… and while the quartet may not be as popular today as it use to be, we hear it’s roots over and over again in music today.
While traditionally a male dominated field, women’s barbershop quartets have sprung up in recent years. They seem to follow the tradition of the barbershop quartet by adding their voices to it’s heritage. While generally filled by a bass, baritone, tenor and screaming tenor, the quartet can be any combination so long as a four-part harmony is observed.
Visit nearly any theme park across America and you are likely to find a Barbershop Quartet performing somewhere. If you are lucky enough, you might even run into Jimmy Fallon performing with one at Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida.
How to celebrate – Form a Barbershop Quartet of your own! Join an already existing Quartet. Watch The Music Man and listen to one of the most renouned Quartets ever, The Buffalo Bills.