A classic American art form, the barber shop quartet, has been taken to a new level with the local Emerald City Chorus. It is a nonprofit dedicated to the education and performance of the complex harmonies involved in singing barber shop-style music. I was thrilled to hear about the chorus when Rachel Klein, the Public Relations Coordinator, mentioned something on our Facebook page, so I took the opportunity to pick her brain for you guys. Here you go:
Tell us about Emerald City Live:
Emerald City Chorus will present Emerald City Live! It is the name of our 5th annual show and we're delighted to be in the beautiful historic Orpheum Theatre for the third year running. The show is somewhat of a cross between "Prairie Home Companion", "Saturday Night Live" and the "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" with a character now and then thrown in from other classic TV favorites such as Gary Owens (the announcer on "Laugh-In"). We'll work in a newscast, weather forecast, sports, food/travel and a "View from the Pew". All skits will tie into one of our songs which will include, to name a couple, "Walkin' After Midnight" and "Mississippi Squirrel".
So, Emerald City Live will be taking place August 27 at the Orpheum Theater. What should people expect on August 27th?
People of all ages will be thoroughly entertained with the great a cappella music and clever skits.
This is going to be the 5th annual concert, what have some of the other concerts entailed?
We started out in 2007 & 2008 with Christmas shows at the historic Augusta Theatre (seems we're into historic). With two years of Christmas shows under our belts, we decided to step up to the Orpheum. in 2009. Our first outing there was called "Emerald City Chorus & Friends" and last year we presented "Ghouls' Night Out" (this was just before Halloween). Every member of the chorus portrayed a famous woman, living or dead, real or fictional. Those portrayed included characters such as Amelia Earhart, Cruella DeVil, Barbra Streisand, the Queen of Hearts and numerous others. This was also the first year that we contracted with a "headliner" Sweet Adeline quartet as our guest performers. That quartet was the 2005 International champions "the BUZZ". They were a tremendous hit with the audience.
We were fortunate this year to get our guest quartet, "MAXX Factor". They had appeared on the NBC-TV show "The Sing-Off" and finished in fifth place. Singing barbershop harmony in a contest such as this was a real challenge. Barbershop harmony is built on a somewhat different chord structure than normal harmony.
MAXX Factor then competed at the Sweet Adelines International Convention & Competition in Seattle, WA last October and won their "crowns" for 2011.
The quartet members live in the Baltimore, MD area and have been performing and competing together as MAXX Factor since August 2007.
They will be debuting their new CD at our show and making their first appearance in this neck of the woods.
On your website it says you’re looking for singers. What qualifies someone to be in the group? How can people get involved?
Yes, we are continually looking for new singers. It is a perfect opportunity for singers to put their singing talents to use. Sweet Adelines International (of which we are a chapter) is an International educational organization with chapters all over the world, including Sweden, England, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
Emerald City Chorus has members of all ages from many walks of life and we welcome singers that need an outlet for their singing talents. Some people who don't think they could possibly qualify may be surprised to know that it isn't necessary to read music to join. Most of our music is recorded for learning purposes. You receive sheet music for each song. And if you are a singer (teacher, karaoke, church choir) you'll love making harmony with us and hearing the ringing chords. Just make plans to visit a rehearsal any Monday evening (except holidays, then it is Tuesday) at 7:00 pm and join us on the risers. Our co-directors, Judy Alterman and Dana Evans will listen to you sing a few lines of something (maybe Home on the Range or Happy Birthday) to determine what part suits your voice best. From then on out you will be hooked!!!
What are some ways that people can support Emerald City Chorus?
On our website there is a section about our "Precious Gems". We have several super supporters featured. We are a non-profit 501.c.3 organization so all contributions and donations are tax-deductible. Our "Precious Gems" also receive perks at the show. We have other Gems that donate their time and efforts to help support the chorus whether financially or by using their special skills either building a prop or helping backstage or on stage portraying a character for us!
Tells us about some of the Emerald City Chorus travels:
The extent of our travels as a chorus have been limited to traveling to several outlying communities for private and public appearances and of course each year in the spring we travel to Overland Park, KS for regional competition.
Emerald City Chorus has competed for four years now and in that time have scored 6th place (three years in a row) in a field of 15-17 choruses in the region. This year in March we placed third place for our division (AA), third place overall and the Most Improved Chorus Award.
A bus trip is being planned for the entire chorus to attend the International Convention & Competition in 2012 that will be held in Denver, CO.
You can get more information on the Emerald City Chorus here: http://www.emeraldcitychorus.org/
If you have a band, venue, music topic you think would be good for the blog, email me at email@example.com HAPPY LISTENING!