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April 4, 2013
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The sweet sounds of barbershop in Grand Junction

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - There's joy in singing for a lifetime - that's the message of the Bookcliff Barbershop Harmony Chorus, and why proceeds from all of its performances are given to youth vocal music programs in the Grand Valley.The Bookcliff Barbershop Harmony Chorus will perform its annual spring show "Celebrate Harmony" at the Avalon Theatre Saturday, April 6, at 2 and 7 p.m.Men used to gather around barbershops (handy meeting places) to get together and sing - hence the moniker, said chorus member Jim Witt.The Grand Junction men's barbershop chorus formed 45 years ago after Florence Kiefer decided the men needed their own singing group. Kiefer had helped start the Grand Mesa Chorus of Sweet Adelines, a female a cappella singing group in 1963. Her husband, Jerome Kiefer, and son Dennis became charter members of the men's barbershop chorus, of which Dennis is still a member."I really do enjoy it," Dennis Kiefer said. "Our goal is to teach (through its Youth in Harmony program) young people that singing harmony is something they can do for a lifetime."Toward that aim the Bookcliff Barbershop Chorus has given more than $13,000 to local school music programs over the past several years. In addition to its own repertoire, each year the local group invites a national award-winning barbershop chorus to join them for the annual spring show in Grand Junction.This year, "via Voice," a barbershop chorus from the Pacific Northwest, will perform."Two of them are from Canada. Oftentimes, champions don't live in the same state," Witt said. "They'll meet twice a month to rehearse and sing their hearts out."This year's spring show will include both the entire chorus, as well as individual quartets singing old songs such as "Let Me Call You Sweetheart." Other songs include Billy Joel's "For the Longest Time," the ballad "Mam'selle," and a 1940s tune, "You Make Me Feel So Young.""We're (also) bringing back a song from a few years ago that was written by our oldest member, Ken Reish," who's 83, Witt said. The song, "Grand Junction, My Hometown," was adopted by the Grand Junction City Council as the city's official song, Witt said. "We'll close with 'Teach the Children to Sing' - our theme song," he said.Also performing Saturday are choruses from Orchard Mesa, Mt. Garfield, Bookcliff and East middle schools.At the 2 p.m. show, Central High School student Delaney Worrell will perform the song "Dream of Now" from the musical "The Music Man." Additionally, the Caprock Academy High School band will perform outside the Avalon Theatre before each of the two shows.In keeping with barbershop tradition, after Saturday's evening show, the music will continue with an "Afterglow" performance at the First Baptist Church, 720 Grand Ave. The Afterglow event is open to the public and includes food. Cover charge is $5. The visiting barbershop group via Voice will be there, as well as the local chorus.

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The Post Independent Updated Apr 4, 2013 08:07PM Published Apr 4, 2013 03:55PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.