December 2016
New MexiChords 2016 Christmas Show

Our Christmas show this year was Go Tell It On The Mountain.

The singing was good, with a good mix of songs old and new, both sacred and secular. And we had a good bunch of quartets from our chorus singing as part of our show — more than could be included in any one performance, so they were rotated about with different quartets singing at each performance. Quartets who sang on our show performances were:

ABQ
     
Brass Rail

City Lites
     
The Deliverymen

Quatro Querque Guys
      And our show's M.C. Bill Biffle
 

Of course, the thirty men our chorus did most of the singing on the show. This is how we looked on the stage (with Jamie Arrington directing us). And we sounded better than we look.

We can't re-do the whole show online. But you can see that we had fun doing the show.
     
     
     

Our special guests on the show were a group of very talented singers from Albuquerque's East Mountains area, the Moriarty Messengers from (no surprise) Moriarty High School.

These kids are really good! Their sound and their harmonies are superb. They picked songs we weren't familiar with, and made us all love them.

The lady in red (in the picture to the right, above) is their director, and it's clear she has infused a lot of her exuberance and enthusiasm into her chorus.

We finshed the show with the combined choruses telling everyone "We Wish You A Merry Christmas".

After our show, we intended to finish out the Christmas season with performances for the River of Lights at the Albuquerque BioPark, as we have in past years. But this year the city decided to cancel all the BioPark singing peerformances. We hope they will be reinstated next year.


Barbershop singing — a cappella singing in four part harmony — is highly enjoyable. It's enjoyable for the quartets and the members of the chorus, and it's enjoyable for those who hear us sing. And that's what it's all about.

If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


May 2016
New MexiChords 2016 Spring Show

Last year's show was a love story. It followed a young couple from their teenage years to their 50th wedding anniversary. A beautiful tale.

This year was a love story, too — but a different one. This young man fell in love, but lost the girl and fell in love again. Multiple times. That is why love, for him, is difficult. It drives him crazy.

But fear not. Our story does have a happy ending. The boy does get the girl; he finds his true love and finds that "Love Is Here to Stay."

The thirty-plus members of the New MexiChords gathered on stge to begin telling our story. Unusually, the first sone was not by the chorus but by one of our quartets — ABQ (is that for Albuquerque or is it Another Barbershop Quartet?). They set the stage singing "The Story of Love." And the story begins.

We all really enjoyed performing on this show. I think you can see how much from these pictures.

Our part of the show also included a number of our quartets. Each sang a song that fit perfectly into the script's story line. Our audiences said these quartets sounded really good!

ABQ

4 Lonely Knights
There wasn't time in each performance for all the quartets that were ready to sing. So three quartets — ABQ, 4 Lonely Knights, and Four What — sang on both performances, while the other four quartets (below) sang on one performance each.
Four What

Rio Bravo

Deliverymen

Harmonikats

Uptown Sound

As you can see, everything came together for the show just perfectly. And that is what made it so enjoyable for everyone, performers and audience alike.

Breaking with tradition, we had two guest quartets this year. The first one was our current Rocky Mountain District Quartet Champion Blue Steele. They are a local quartet — all four men live here in the Albuquerque area. How could we turn these guys down? Their singing was great, and their jokes made everyone laugh.
Blue Steele quartet members (left to right) are baritone Jamie Arrington, bass Greg Titus,
lead Shawn Mondragon, and tenor Stew Bush.

Our special guest quartet for this show was the 2015 International Seniors Quartet Champion The Saturday Evening Post. They won that title with the highest score ever made in the Seniors competition. Yeah, these guys are GOOD!amazing to listen to. A description of the quartet members, with part of their histories, is available on the quartet's website. Here they are — baritone Brian Beck, bass Tommy Wilkie, lead Allen Gasper, tenor Bobby Gray — singing on our show. And here is a link to a video of one of the songs from their seniors contest performance, theTin Roof Blues.

They sang that song on our show, along with a very diverse set of others from Doo Wop to West Side Story to Beach Boys to Gospel — along with tales of his Uncle Hoon from the "Ragin' Cajun" Allen Gaspar. The highlight of the evening was one of the two songs they sang from Les Miserables. You don't really know the musical range a barbershop quartet can cover until you've heard a group like this with lead Allen Gasper singing "Bring Him Home". An incredible experience!

 

Barbershop singing — a cappella singing in four part harmony — is highly enjoyable. It's enjoyable for the quartets and the members of the chorus, and it's enjoyable for those who hear us sing. And that's what it's all about.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


March 2016
First Singing Radio Commercial, 1926

Did you see CBS Sunday Morning on Easter Sunday? They had a piece on General Mills. In it, they noted that the first radio advertising jingle, the first singing radio commercial, was aired by General Mills in 1926. It featured the Wheaties Quartet singing to advertise the cereal of the same name (recently changed).

You can hear the commercial here. An item about it notes it was controversial because of a ban on direct radio selling at the time. The Wikipedia entry about it notes the National Broadcasting Company was trying to maintain a ban on direct radio advertising, and had a chance to maintain that ban because it was then the dominant broadcasting chain in the country.

Just a little really interesting history.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


March 2016
St. Patrick's Day

Quartet singing is great fun — and several of our chorus' quartets go sing at the "drop of a hat". That's what The Deliverymen quartet did again for St Patrick's Day, just for fun.

St Patrick's Day fell on Thursday this year, so we got started in the afternoon and sang Irish songs well into the evening at a whole series of locations (with pre-arrangements).

Singing at the Nexus Brewery was an excellent start, especially since we got such a good reception (see below).

The Barley Room welcomed us, too, both inside and on the outside patio. There, one of the patrons insisted on having her picture taken with us.

Other places were also very welcoming, perhaps none more loudly than Billy's. We don't have pictures from a number of the other locations, however, because their lighting made available-light photography difficult.

We closed out our evening singing at Kelly's Brew Pub where we sang between sets of a Celtic group. This venue was also unique for the day as the only location at which we had a microphone, a necessity in view of Kelly's size and the number of people there.

An extremely enjoyable afternoon and evening.

Members of The Deliverymen quartet are tenor Mark Burton, lead Gil Whalen, bass Cy Shuster, and baritone Gary Cable.

Coming up next is our Spring Show on May 21. See our chorus' webpage for details. In the meantime, why not celebrate National Barbershop Quartet Day on April 11.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


March 2016
Warm-Up Exercises

Looking for sheet music of the warm-up exercises we use? One of our members found it. It's here. We normally use Exercises 1 and 2. Yes, we also use "Ma, Meh, Me, Mo, Mu" which, with an "up a half" key change, is there as Exercise 4.

A good set of chords is also available here.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


February 2016
Some Historical S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. Documents
"The Earle E. House Documents"

Linked here are (mostly) scanned documents from the collection of Earle E. House. These were among the materials given to the Deliverymen by June Davis, Earle House's daughter, at the time of his 99th birthday celebration.

The first document is an information and recruiting pamphlet from 1952 called Let's Harmonize.

An early 1950's descriptive pamphlet is called Just What Is Barbershop Harmony? I just recently saw something current in the same vein. See also Dr David Wright's discussion of what makes barbershop, The Future History of Barbershop, available through the prior post Barbershop & Baritones.

There's also a pamphlet from 1953 that was apparently given to all new members. It's called You Are Now A Barbershopper. It provided much of what a new Society member needed to know.

In 1950, Earle House was president of the Colorado Springs chapter of S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. They put on a show called the Harvest of Harmony at the high school auditorium in August of that year. (See Earle identified as president on image/page 4 and on the next-to-last page.)

Earlier that same year, Earle and his family went to the International Convention and Quartet Contest in Omaha. An extract of key pages from that convention program is here. The quartet judging criteria are included, along with an advertisement for a complete history of the Society. If you like, the full program is here.

One more item: There a songbook (also called Let's Harmonize) that was apparently given out to (many) members — probably in the early 1940s as the picture in it of the S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. officers is dated May 2, 1940. The songbook contains just the words for a group of 161 songs.

There are also eight Society songbooks and lots of sheet music in Earle's box. Those materials have not been scanned.

These materials were given to the Deliverymen by Earle E. House and his daughter June Davis when the quartet sang for his 99th birthday celebration on December 13, 2015.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


February 2016
Singing Valentines, 2016

Every year the barbershoppers of the Albuquerque area deliver Singing Valentines. This year, with Valentine's Day on a Sunday, the Singing Valentines were delivered throughout the Albuquerque area on Friday February 12, Saturday February 13, and Sundy February 14 (Valentines Day itself). This is this year's advertising flyer.

Valentine Central (through which all deliveries are ordered) was run once again by the Albuquerque Barbershop Community Collaborative (ABCC), an umbrella coordinating group formed by all five Albuquerque choruses: two men's choruses (the New MexiChords & Duke City Sound), two women's choruses (Enchanted Mesa Show Chorus & Route 66 Sound), and the young women's chorus (OnQ).

Sixteen or eighteen quartets spent the three days delivering Singing Valentines. A significant number of the quartets belonged to the New MexiChords. One of them, The Deliverymen, is pictured here with the lady to whom we delivered one of our Singing Valentines — including a red rose and a box of chocolates.

We all delivered a number of Singing Valentines in person — all around the Albuquerque area — and some more by telephone over three rather full days. In addition The Deliverymen (and other quartets, I'm sure) sang for free, for publicity, or for food, at a number of other locations. That's a lot of singing! But it was also a lot of fun!

We had quite a number of our chorus members delivering Singing Valentines, plus the additional volunteers at Valentine Central. That's pretty good participation!

It's not just Albuquerque where Singing Valentines are delivered, though it's said this is where they began. Just as an example of how widespread they have become, CNN did a feature this year called Barbershop quartets deliver love notes on Valentine's Day. Singing Valentines are being delivered now all over the country.

Yes, it's too late to send a Singing Valentine for this year. But we'll be delivering again next February. See you then.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


January 2016
A Hero's Memorial


Kevin Williams remembers his brother, Washington National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Matthew McClintock, during a memorial service Sunday in the Kiva Auditorium. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)
Hundreds attended a memorial service for Albuquerque native Matthew McClintock, a real hero. Sergeant McClintock — Matt — joined the Army after graduating from Albuquerque's Eldorado High School. He was trained in infantry, later becoming a Green Beret. He joined the Washington National Guard after leaving active duty and was deployed with them to Afghanistan for his third combat tour of duty there. He was killed during a firefight on January 5th while trying to save a wounded comrade and his team, and was promoted from staff sergeant to sergeant first class posthumously. He was 30 years old and leaves behind a wife and infant son.

The New MexiChords were proud that we were invited to participate, singing the National Anthem at the memorial service. Along with everyone else, our eyes refused to stay dry during McClintock's final roll call, three-rifle volley, and taps.


The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


January 2016
A Military Retirement Ceremony

The New MexiChords were invited to sing at the military retirement ceremony of MSgt Karen Baca Nielsen from the New Mexico Air National Guard on Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM. She retired as the NCO in Charge of the National Guard Bureau Counterdrug Federal Operations Program, ending a 27 year career in the New Mexico Air National Guard.

Karen and her brother Dan, as well as their five siblings, all chose careers in public service. They are the children of LGen Edward Baca, former chief of the National Guard Bureau and the most senior National Guardsman in the United States, and his wife Rita.

The New MexiChords were proud to have been included in this ceremony. And MSgt Nielsen said she was prooud to have us there — no one else had been able to have a full chorus at their retirement ceremony!


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


December 2015
Happy Birthday to a Veteran Barbershopper

He may not sing lead anymore, but Earle House is still a barbershopper. So for his 99th birthday celebration, his daughter arranged for a quartet to come from the New MexiChords chorus of Albuquerque, NM to sing for him.


Veteran Barbershopper Earle E. House at his 99th birthday celebration, with daughter June Davis and the Deliverymen quartet (Mark Burton, Gil Whalen, Cy Shuster, Gary Cable).

The Deliverymen sang a number of songs. Some were songs Earle could sing along with, including "Lida Rose" and some Polecat songs. Some Christmas songs were included because of the season.

The span of Earle's barbershop experience could not be recalled, but he was president of the Colorado Springs Chapter in 1950 when he and some family members attended the International Convention and Quartet Contest. That's the contest in Omaha, NE at which the Buffalo Bills won as the International Quartet Champion - perhaps the most famous championship in the history of our Society.

Earle's 99th birthday celebration was on December 13, 2015.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


December 2015
New MexiChords 2015 Christmas Shows

Our first Christmas season performance was by invitation at the Coronato Historic Site north of Albuquerque. We sang in the porch area shown on their flyer (below) somewhat protected (along with many of the patrons) from the wind and cold.

Our Christmas show this year was It's Looking Like Christmas.

The singing was good, with a good mix of songs old and new, both sacred and secular. And we had a good bunch of quartets from our chorus singing as part of our show — more than could be included in any performance, so they were rotated about with different quartets singing at each performance. The quartets who sang on our show performances were:
Asynchronoous Sound       City Lites
The Deliverymen       Harmonikats
Knights before Christmas       Rio Bravo
Two other groups — both VLQs (Very Large Quartets) — were to be included but were scratched due to illness: The Gourmets? and the combination of ABQ with the ladies quartet Glitz.

The one thing we didn't have this year was a good position for our photographer, as you can see from this picture of (almost) the full chorus.

But you can see that we had fun doing the show.
 

We did something really different this year with our guest invitation. We're not sure if it's a first for the Society, but it might be. Our special guest was the Mariachi Herencia from Albuquerque's Atrisco Heritage Academy. They were a real crowd-pleaser. Many show patrons started singing along with some of their songs. (Yes, Spanish songs are very popular here.) We sang "Feliz Navidad" with them as the finale of our show. The Mariachi Herencia and we got standing ovations.

After our show, we finished out the season with performances for the River of Lights at the Albuquerque BioPark. People walked among the dazzling holiday light displays. And many stopped near the Garden Tent to listen to us sing. The audiences were good, and we had lots of fun.

Yes, we'll do it all again next year. It's too much fun not to.


Barbershop singing — a cappella singing in four part harmony — is highly enjoyable. It's enjoyable for the quartets and the members of the chorus, and it's enjoyable for those who hear us sing. And that's what it's all about.

If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


October 2015
New MexiChords at the 2015 Balloon Fiesta

October in Albuquerque really only means one thing — the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! That means hot air balloons, and lots of them — in this case, over 550 or them launching each day of the fiesta.

The Albuquerque event is pretty unique. It was the largest such event in the world, and now — with limits placed on the number of balloons allowed to register — is still one of the largest. Albuquerque is also one of the only places (maybe the only one!) where people can walk out on the field among the balloons.

Of course, the real draw is the balloons in the air. Lots of them, making a polka-dotted sky that's always changing, never the same from minute to minute.

Opening day, October 3rd, was special. The New MexiChords were there to sing. We sang the National Anthem as the official "first balloons" lifted off, carrying our nation's flag, to open festivities for the Fiesta and its Opening Day. Then, after the Mass Ascension, we were back to perform for the crowd.
 

Our audience apparently enjoyed our performance. That included members of the US Military Academy (West Point) class of 1967 who were having a mini-reunion there. And we really enjoyed performing there. Plus, it was an honor to perform for Opening Day.

(Full disclosure: We were not entirely happy — and neither were members of our audience — that we got moved up to an earlier time than had been advertised, nor with being cut back from singing two sets to singing just one. Still, ....)

Yes, getting up early enough to meet together at 5:00 a.m. is difficult. (And, if we are invited back, we will have to meet even earlier to have a chance at getting into the Balloon Fiesta parking lots.) But it was worth it. Performing on the Balloon Fiesta's Main Stage was a really good thing.

Barbershop singing — a cappella singing in four part harmony — is highly enjoyable. It's enjoyable for the quartets and the members of the chorus, and it's enjoyable for those who hear us sing. And that's what it's all about.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


September 2015
Rocky Mountain District 2015 Convention & Contest

The New MexiChords went to our district's convention and contest in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We heard a number of really good quartets, and a few not so good. In the process, we also started making arrangements with the quartet we hope to have as the guest quartet on our 2016 Spring Show.

We sang better than ever. And our score went down from last year's!

Yes, it appears this was a "down" judging panel. But even so, ....

All in all, a lot of good singing. A lot of enjoyment. Now we've begun working toward next year's contest — again in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


August 2015
First Draft

All big things have a first draft, right? Recently discovered, here's "Einstein's First Attempt".

In case you don't get it, it's a musical reference. As such, it's as perfect as a perfect fifth.
A very sharp image. (See also E# = F.)


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


May 2015
New MexiChords 2015 Spring Show

It was a perfect storm. Everything came together perfectly for our spring show. The show theme, the songs, the script, the staging, and our uniforms all came together . . . did I say "perfectly"? And our chorus was singing better than ever, too.

It was very romantic. The title and theme were A Lifetime Together.

The songs and the script traced the life of a couple from their first meeting in their teen years to their 50th wedding anniversary. Meeting, breaking up and getting back together, marriage, raising a daughter, her college and wedding, and coming to the couple's fiftieth anniversary celebration itself. And just the right songs to go with the script and the story. One of our members narrated the story instead of singing with the chorus. All of that combined with our improved performance level to make this an especially enjoyable show to perform and an especially enjoyable show for our audience.

We got new uniforms for the occasion. They looked pretty good — and we looked pretty good wearing them. This time we're all dressed the same.


Here we are (part of the chorus, anyway) with narrator Dave Ring in front of us, sitting on his favorite park bench telling his story with his photo album.

We all really enjoyed giving this show. I think you can see how much from these pictures.

Our part of the show also included four of our quartets. Each sang a song that fit perfectly into the script's story line. Our audiences said these quartets sounded really good!

ABQ

Deliverymen

Harmonikats

Brigade Quartet

As you can see, everything came together for the show just perfectly. And that is what made it so enjoyable for everyone, performers and audience alike.

Our show also featured our special guest quartet, Blue Steele. They were a lucky find for us, and a great addition to our show. Blue Steele is a local quartet — all four men live here in the Albuquerque area. Their singing was great, and their jokes made everyone laugh.Blue Steele quartet members (left to right) are baritone Jamie Arrington, bass Greg Titus,
lead Shawn Mondragon, and tenor Stew Bush.

Besides singing for us and our audiences, Blue Steele is preparing for some very big performances. First, they will represent the Rocky Mountain District at the International Quartet Competition at the beginning of July — the first Albuquerque quartet to represent our district in twenty years. Then, just after they get back from the international competition, they will be the featured quartet in the Landmark Musicals performances of The Music Man, July 11-26.

Yes, these guys are going places! We wish them a lot of luck in their upcoming competition!

 

Barbershop singing — a cappella singing in four part harmony — is highly enjoyable. It's enjoyable for the quartets and the members of the chorus, and it's enjoyable for those who hear us sing. And that's what it's all about.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


March 2015
St. Patrick's Day

Quartet singing is great fun — and several of our chorus' quartets go sing at the "drop of a hat". That's what The Deliverymen quartet did for St Patrick's Day, just for fun.

St Patrick's Day fell on Tuesday this year, which is our regular chorus practice night. So we didn't have as much singing time available this year as before, and so could not sing at as many places as before. Still, we managed to sing at four different places (with pre-arrangements). The response at all four places was enthusiastic, though less energetic at the retirement home. My own personal scorecard: Most loudly energetic was the crowd at Billy's. The Barley Room was right behind them in energy and enthusiasm — and their patrons and waitresses wanted their pictures taken with us. (See the picture below; the waitresses there really got into the spirit of the holiday!)


The Deliverymen with waitresses at the Barley Room on St Patrick's Day
quartet members are Mark Burton, Gil Whalen, Cy Shuster, and Gary Cable

The Deliverymen will be out singing again next month, maybe on National Barbershop Quartet Day (April 11) and certainly as part of the publicity for the New MexiChords spring show on May 15 & 16 (see the New MexiChords web page).


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


March 2015
Dan Baca, R.I.P

We recently lost a good friend, in a tragic auto accident that's still being investigated. He died much too young — at 41 years of age — leaving a wife and daughter. He was a vibrant, very active, and talented man. The New MexiChords are sad that we needed to sing at his funeral.

Besides singing in the chorus, Dan sang in Singing Valentines quartets for two years. Two quartets he sang in are pictured here.

above second right with Gil Whalen, Levi Trujillo, and Fred McCracken
below second left with Brad Clement, Jerry Quintana, and Paul Rowe

Rest in peace, Dan. We will miss you.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 


February 2015
Singing Valentines, 2015

Every year the barbershoppers of the Albuquerque area deliver Singing Valentines. This year, with Valentine's Day on a Saturday, the Singing Valentines were delivered throughout the Albuquerque area on Friday, February 13, and Saturday, February 14. This is this year's advertising flyer.

In previous years, Valentine Central (through which all deliveries are ordered) had been operated informally by members Albuquerque's six barbershop choruses — two men's choruses (the New MexiChords & Duke City Sound), two women's choruses (Enchanted Mesa Show Chorus & Route 66 Sound), and two young people's choruses (The 505 for men and OnQ for women). This year Valentine Central was run by the Albuquerque Barbershop Community Collaborative (ABCC), an umbrella coordinating group formed less than a year ago by the six choruses.

Sixteen quartets spent the two days delivering Singing Valentines — even one to a group of couples in Santa Fe. Six of the quartets belonged to the New MexiChords. One of our quartets, City Lites, even got coverage in the Albuquerque Journal.

Another of this year's quartets is the Harmonikats, pictured here at Valentine Central.

A third quartet is The Deliverymen, also pictured here at Valentine Central.
I'm not sure about the other quartets, but I can tell you what we did. We delivered 14 Singing Valentines in person, and 2 more by telephone, over two very full days. In addition we sang for free, for publicity, or for food, at 11 other locations. That's a lot of singing! But it was also a lot of fun!

New MexiChords quartets who delivered Singing Valentines this year but are not pictured here are ABQ, Rio Bravo, and Young at Heart.

That's 24 people out of our 40 man chorus delivering Singing Valentines, not counting the additional volunteers at Valentine Central. That's pretty good participation!

Yes, it's too late to send a Singing Valentine for this year. But we'll be delivering again next February. See you then.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music
 

January 2015
Barbershop & Baritones

Dr David Wright gave a keynote address entitled The Future History of Barbershop at the Barbershop Harmony Society's Mid-Winter Convention in New Orleans in January 2015. In it he identifies what he considers the key features of barbershop harmony — of barbershop music. The slide he uses (and has used for years) says this:

Characterizing Features of Barbershop Harmony:
  1. Consonant four-part harmony; a capella; solid voicings; harmonic variety; few passing tones
  2. Melody in the second tenor, first tenor above, bass usually on solid chord tones, baritone fill
  3. Embellishments continually converging to homophonic chords
  4. Freedom with the song
  5. Chords tuned with an ear towards lock and ring
With item number 2 he talks about the barbershop voice parts, especially the baritone part.
The melody is in the second tenor. There's a first tenor above, bass filling in on solid chord tones, and baritones filling in what is left. I have seen many kinds of music, vocal and instrumental, and I have never seen anything in music like the barbershop baritone part. There is nothing that abandons normal voice leading like barbershop baritone. I see that in no other kind of music. That alone identifies barbershop uniquely. By itself. You don't have to go any further than that.

This portion of Dr David Wright's presentation is available here; these comments are in the first minute and a half. The entire talk can be found here.


If you enjoy barbershop style music, watch for our next show and come hear us sing.
Or come sing with us. It's really fun!

The New MexiChords is an a cappella barbershop chorus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Category: Music