A cut above | PostIndependent.com

A cut above

Few sounds are as sweet as a melody sung in four-part harmony.

Community members have the opportunity to hear that sound, and plenty of it, this Saturday when the Mountain Sounds Barbershop Chorus presents its sixth annual Barbershop Show.

This year’s program is titled, “Barbershop U.S.A.” The 35-member, all-male Mountain Sounds chorus will perform traditional patriotic songs, including “This is my Country,” “Let There be Peace on Earth,” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”

The program will also include a selection of songs by American composer George M. Cohan.

As a special treat, the program includes performances by two local quartets, the Rocky Tops and Just Between Friends, as well as a 13-member, all-ladies chorus. While barbershop is traditionally all-male, Mountain Harmony, an all-ladies a cappella chorus from Eagle, will sing in the tradition of the Sweet Adelines, the female counterpart of barbershop chorus.

Mountain Sounds members come from Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Eagle and Carbondale. Mountain Sounds is a member of the national barbershop organization, the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA). The nonprofit organization has more than 34,000 members in 809 chapters nationwide, and another 4,000 members throughout the world. Barbershop choirs and quartets have provided good clean entertainment for more than 100 years.

In addition to providing “G”-rated entertainment, the organization provides scholarships to local students and conducts a music outreach program for local schools. The group rehearses at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the First United Methodist Church in Glenwood Springs, and welcomes men of all ages who love to sing.

Barbershop singing dates back to at least the mid 1800s, when it was called curbstone harmony. It first found its place in church hymns, minstrel shows and other social singing settings, as well as in barbershops. The term “barbershop” first appeared in a 1910 piece entitled, “Play That Barbershop Chord.”

SPEBSQSA began in Tulsa, Okla., when O.C. Cash and Rupert Hall put out an invitation for men to come sing some good old-fashioned barbershop songs and 26 men answered. By the third meeting, some 150 men attended.

The Mountain Sounds chapter was named for the spectacular Central Rocky Mountains that surround their hometown of Glenwood Springs. The organization’s quartet, the Rocky Tops, has been performing locally for six years. Rocky Tops members are tenor Dennis Brown, baritone Dave Mott, bass Bob Shivley and lead vocalist Bob Fox. They sing for local clubs, organizations and special community events, and most recently they sang for the History Channel’s Great Race event, which stopped for the evening in Glenwood Springs last fall.

The Kowalski Twins, a visiting quartet made entirely of senior members, can sing a straight ballad, but they love to put on zany costumes and belt out parodies about nerds, food or plastic surgery. The three young-at-heart members include Bill Foster on lead, Jerry Perron on bass, Bege Martin on baritone and Bob Young on tenor. They competed in January in the SPEBSQSA Midwinter Convention’s Seniors Championship in Riverside, Calif., performing their “Junk Food Medley.”


The Mountain Sounds Barbershop Chorus, the Rocky Tops barbershop quartet, the Mountain Harmony all-ladies chorus, and the zany Kowalski Twins


“Barbershop U.S.A.,” the sixth annual concert, featuring four-part barbershop sounds


2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6


Glenwood Springs High School auditorium


$8 for the matinee performance, $10 for the evening performance (purchase tickets before Saturday by calling 945-9156 and save $1)

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