Frequently Asked Questions About Barbershopping

What is the Barbershop Harmony Society?


The Barbershop Harmony Society is a not-for-profit singing and social organization with over 25,000 members in the U.S and Canada, and with affiliated organizations around the world. Its purpose is
To perpetuate the old American Institution, the Barbershop Quartet and;
To promote and encourage vocal harmony and good fellowship among its members, and;
To serve the musical needs of all current and potential members by providing and actively supporting a wide variety of barbershopping opportunities which may include organized quarteting, pickup quarteting, chorus singing, and group or "gang" singing, and;
To encourage and promote the education of its members and the public in music appreciation, and;
To initiate, promote and participate in charitable projects, and;
To promote public appreciation of barbershop harmony.

What is barbershop singing?


Barbershop singing is a traditional American art form. In short, it is singing songs written in a tradional style in four part , male harmony. Barbershop harmony is unique in that the melody is almost always carried by the second voice, called the "lead", while the tenor, baritone and bass provide the harmony.

What are the requirements for membership?

If you can carry a tune, and you're male, you are eligible for membership.

Will I have to audition or pass some kind of test?

No way. After you have attended some meetings we may check your voice to see what part (tenor, lead, baritone or bass) you are best suited for but you won't have to prove to anyone that you're another Pavrotti or something.

I like to sing but I never had any music training. Wouldn't that be a problem?

Not at all. Most of our members have never had any formal musical training.

I don't have the slightest idea about what part I'd be able to sing.

No problem. You could try different parts if you want, and we'll have some one available who can help determine which part is right for you.

Would I have to sing in a quartet? I'd feel really funny about that.

Lots of our members don't sing in a quartet. That's why we have a chorus. But after time goes on some members get that urge to sing in quartets, which is a great way to maximize the pleasure of barbershop singing. Its up to each guy.

If I came to a meeting I'd feel strange trying to sing with a bunch of guys who can already sing.

We almost always have new members or guests who are just getting into barbershop singing so you won't feel alone. Also, our chorus is frequently learning new music so even the old members are in a learning mode. And you can be sure that the people you are sitting with (or standing next to) will happily do all they can to help you and make you feel welcome!

I'm sure I'd make a lot of mistakes. Won't that screw things up for anyone else?

Not really. Everybody makes mistakes - that's why we have rehearsals. Eventually you (and the rest of us) will get it right.

I'm retired and have my days free. Does the Red Bank Area Chapter have anything special to offer me?

We have a daytime chorus, the Matinee Idles, that is very active. Members of the Matinee Idles must be members of the Red Bank Area Chapter, but not all of them sing with our main chorus, the Chorus of the Atlantic, although most do.

Are there any social events, or is barbershopping just singing?

We are a singing and social organization. There is usually plenty of socializing at our meetings, which are generally followed by an optional "afterglow" at a nearby watering hole. During the year we have a number of other fun activities, including our annual installation dinner dance, a ladies night, a Christmas party, and a family picnic. We work hard at singing, but we have a load of fun doing it!

Where can I learn more about the Barbershop Harmony Society?

Check out their Web Site by clicking on the Barbershop Harmony Society icon on your left. You may also want to look at the Wikipedia articles on Barbershop Music and the Barbershop Harmony Society.

More Questions? Email us at [email protected]