Archive for the ‘Women’s Barbershop Music’ Category

Orange Crush… On The Move…

April 10, 2009

orange-crush

Elaine                 Sally                  Tracey                  Anna

My wife Elaine’s Sweet Adeline quartet “Orange Crush” is moving strongly towards the first “Official” Competition since they put this combination together. (the addition of Elaine to replace their lost Tenor). Their performances are getting powerful, magical, inviting and most of all pleasurable.

They have been getting specific quartet coaching for the quartet as well as going to visit various chapters, both men’s and women’s and singing a “set” of songs which will be their contest performance on stage in Pasadena, CA on April 24 & 25.

Last night I had the privilege of video recording a session where a small group of very capable people in the “know” (judges and the like) had Orange Crush run sets, and then critique them on what could be made better.  It was a great session and the quartet (who sounded GREAT at the begining) learned a few more little tips that will make their performance on stage (and therefore their scores) all that much better.

We all look forward to hearing them on stage and seeing how happy they are with the high scores they attain after doing the superb job we know they will do.

Stay “Tuned”

Jerry Braack

California USA

BHS International Qualifications…

March 17, 2009

moh-nashville1

This coming weekend my wife Elaine and I will be in Las Vegas, Nevada at the site of one of the many qualification competitions for the upcoming International Convention and Competition for the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS).  This particular convention will combine both the Far Western and the Rocky Mountain Districts.

The International Convention will be held in Anaheim, California, held from June 29, thru July 4, 2009.  It will be a thrill for my wife and I to attend this International convention since it is close to home. 

This convention will be the first time that a Sweet Adeline Chorus has been invited to attend and perform on one of the shows outside the main competition.

It will also be a monumental calling card to see the 11 time International champion chorus Vocal Majority and the 7 time International champion chorus Masters of Harmony perform together on the same stage.  Approximately 275 men will perform several songs together, as well as separate selections from each of the choruses by themselves.

I will be sure to post results for all to see, and possibly to hear, following the events.

Thanks for reading

Stay “tuned”

Jerry Braack,  California  USA

Harmony Youth Program Hits Another Home Run…

February 12, 2009

diva-day-2009-1

The Harborlites Chorus of Anaheim California hit another home run as they hosted “DivaDay” in Orange County at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa last weekend.

Comprised of over 130 women, the Harborlites Chorus meets weekly to sing, dance, teach and learn the art of vocal a cappella harmony.  Under the leadership of their gifted director, Pam Pieson, women of all ages and backgrounds hone their craft and share the art of barbershop harmony.

 Based in Anaheim, California the Harborlites Chorus was founded in 1960 as a chapter of Sweet Adelines International to encourage and promote barbershop singing for women.  In the ensuing decades, Harborlites has grown both in numbers and recognition, winning both Regional and International Championships.  Their performances incorporate excellent singing along with innovative choreography, plenty of heart, and their trademark energy!

 

diva-day-2009

Young women from 29 high schools from all over Southern California came for a day of learning the art of barbershop music and then were an integral part of a magnificient show put on that evening. Over 250 young women had the time of their lives and will surely take the education and energy back home with them and could possibly become members of Sweet Adelines International at some point in their lives.  The purpose of this event is to merely expose young ladies to the art form in hopes of continuing the art form for generations to come.

Becki Hine was the clinician for the “Divas” and brought all of her talent and experience for the day.  Becki is the director of the award winning Song of Atlanta Show Chorus, having been a member there for over 22 years.  She has conducted clinics in Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina.  Everyone was thrilled she was here.  The event was a phenomenal success!

Thanks for reading

Stay “tuned”

Jerry Braack

California  USA

Balanced… Not “Going Postal”…

February 8, 2009

 

Harmony with Balance…

 

 

Creating harmony in your life through music (Barbershop Harmony is my choice) or with any other method you choose is going to place you on a higher level of balance and contentment. All too often we hear of people doing something totally outside their normal expected behavior.  Some have referred to this type of activity as “going postal”.

This “label” has come from the number of instances that United States Postal workers have done the unexpected… even to the point of taking someone’s life, which in my opinion comes from their daily activities (work or home) becoming so out of harmony/balance that they are driven to drastic measures.  This could result in merely a wakeup call or in the worst case, prison or even suicide/death.

Counseling, better relationships or support might very well have helped these people to regain their life’s harmony and balance.  We should all strive to “center” ourselves and constantly create that synergy and life force that the universe has given us.

We often hear of successful people not thinking of work as “work”, but as something they very much enjoy on a constant basis.  These are the people who have gained much more than an income for exchange of time or energy or dollars, but that sublime existence where you know you have found “that” which allows… yes even makes, you balanced and harmonious in everything you do.

The result of this is everyone enjoys being around you… the energy you emit is that of attraction, balance and harmony.  A state which we should all strive to become, reflect and impart to others.

Thanks for reading, harmoniously yours

Stay “tuned”

Jerry Braack

California  USA

Balance in Music, Business and Life…

February 3, 2009

Balance and Harmony

 

 

As we go through life, circumstances come at us from all directions and from many different sources.  The development of our lives comes from not what happens to us, but what we do as a result of what happens to us.

Vernon Law once said, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward”.  This has held true throughout time and will continue for thousands of years in the future.  I believe our experiences create who we are, and our reactions create the harmony and balance in our lives… or the lack thereof in varying degrees.  The balance and harmony in mind, body, personal life and business life can be a natural evolution or a rude awakening depending upon the person and the current stage of their life.

Wikipedia defines balance: “In biomechanics, balance is an ability to maintain the center of gravity of a body within the base of support with minimal postural sway. Keeping balance requires integration of inputs from multiple senses with the motor system responsible for muscle actions. The senses must detect the change of the body position with respect to the base (whether the body moves or the base moves). The limit of stability of an individual standing quietly upright is defined as the amount of postural sway at which the balance is lost and the corrective actions are required. The limit of stability may be described by an irregular cone above the support base.”

In my humble opinion… through music (Barbershop Harmony) which requires harmony and balance, people can build a better base from which to deal with life’s ups and downs while evolving themselves as a person all the while.  I have certainly found this to be the case in my life.

I hope this has shed some light on the perspective of balance and harmony for you, thanks for reading.

Pole

Stay “tuned”

Jerry Braack

California  USA

The Up & Coming Youth Movement…

February 1, 2009

  

Yesterday evening my wife and I were privileged to attend the “Young Women in Harmony Festival” show on the campus of California Baptist College in Riverside, California, which highlighted the day of learning more about the Barbershop style for some high school girls in the Inland Empire (Southern California).  There was even a quartet from one of the high schools.

Harmony Stars

The young women called “Harmony Stars” spent the day with members the Inland Empire chapter of Sweet Adlines International, under the direction of Bonnie TerKeurst since 2000.  Bonnie is a certified Sweet Adelines Director, and holds a BA in music, plays piano, organ and bass guitar and has accompanied many local groups.

The Clinician for the “Harmony Stars” was Bobette Gantz, a Sweet Adelines chorus director singce 1970 and is currently the co-director of the Channelaire Chorus in Ventura, Californaia.  Bobette is a Master Director, a Judge Specialist, an International Facility member, and has been a Certified Sound Judge since 1971.

Hypnotic

Hypnotic… a local quartet all of whom hail from the Harborlites Chorus in Anaheim, California came and shared their talents for the day with the high school girls.  Hypnotic is the Sweet Adelines International, Region 32 3rd place medalist quartet. This quartet has youth on their side as well as some pretty strong music backgrounds like majoring in music, teaching music and music theater  as well as joining the society at age 11 (2 of them) and age 19 (1 of them).  They are looking forward to the upcoming Regional Competition at the end of April.

 It is always a pleasure to see members of Barbershop organizations sharing and encouraging youth to be involved in music.  I believe it is as tough as ever growing up in todays society, and music can provide balance and harmony to create stronger young men and women to become the strength of our world in the years to come.

Thanks for reading and commenting

Stay “tuned”

Jerry Braack

California  USA

SAI & BHS Overtones, The Fifth Voice Creation…

January 31, 2009

Panache Sweet AdelineHere is one of my favorite quartets from the Sweet Adeline society singing one of the songs they won the International championship with “Sweet Adeline“. They are truly wonderful ladies, lending their talents to directing, coaching, quarteting and not the least of which is their long term dedication to the barbershop style of music! They all hail from right here is Southern California.

What is prized is not so much the “overtone” itself, but a unique sound whose achievement is most easily recognized by the presence of the “overtone”. The precise synchrony of the waveforms of the four voices simultaneously creates the perception of a “fifth voice” while at the same time melding the four voices into a unified sound. The ringing chord is qualitatively different in sound from an ordinary musical chord e.g. as sounded on a tempered-scale keyboard instrument.

Most elements of the “revivalist” style are related to the desire to produce these ringing chords. Performance is a cappella to prevent the distracting introduction of equal-tempered intonation, and because listening to anything but the other three voices interferes with a performer’s ability to tune with the precision required. Barbershop arrangements stress chords and chord progressions that favor “ringing”, at the expense of suspended and diminished chords and other harmonic vocabulary of the ragtime and jazz forms.

The dominant seventh-type chord… is so important to barbershop harmony that it is called the “barbershop seventh…” [SPEBSQSA (now BHS)], and Sweet Adeline arrangers believe that a song should contain dominant seventh chords anywhere from 35 to 60 percent of the time (measured as a percentage of the duration of the song rather than a percentage of the chords present) to sound “barbershop.”

Thanks for reading

Jerry Braack

California  USA

Ringing Chords the Barbershop Way Part 3…

January 22, 2009

UnderAge QuartetHere is something for you ladies in the audience… A young group of ladies that can bring down the house… UnderAge Quartet.

Here is the final of 3 parts of ringing the chords…

Historically barbershoppers may have used the word “minor chord” in a way that is confusing to those with musical training. Averill suggests that it was “a shorthand for chord types other than major triads”, and says that the use of the word for “dominant seventh-type chords and diminished chords” was common in the late nineteenth century. A 1910 song called “Play That Barber Shop Chord” (often cited as an early example of “barbershop” in reference to music) contains the lines:

‘Cause Mister when you start that minor part
I feel your fingers slipping and a grasping at my heart,
Oh Lord play that Barber shop chord!

Averill notes the hints of rapture, “quasi-religion” and erotic passion in the language used by barbershoppers to describe the emotional effect. He quotes Jim Ewin as reporting “a tingling of the spine, the raising of the hairs on the back of the neck, the spontaneous arrival of ‘goose flesh’ on the forearm…. [the 'fifth note' has] almost ‘mysterious propensities…’ It’s the ‘consummation’ devoutly wished by those of us who love Barbershop harmony. If you ask us to explain … why we love it so, we are hard put to answer; ‘that’s where our faith takes over.’” Averill notes too the use of the language of addiction, “there’s this great big chord that gets people hooked.” An early manual was entitled “A Handbook for Adeline Addicts”.

He notes too that “barbershoppers almost never speak of ‘singing’ a chord, but almost always draw on a discourse of physical work and exertion; thus, they ‘hit’, ‘chop’, ‘ring’, ‘crack’, and ‘swipe….’ …vocal harmony… is interpreted as an embodied musicking. Barbershoppers never lose sight (or sound) of its physicality.”

WoW what a sound… Barbershop Harmony!

Stay “tuned”

Jerry Braack

California  USA

From the heart…

January 13, 2009

Jerry & Elaine Christmas 2009Hello to all,

As the new year opens with an infusion of new hope and energy for all, I too am looking forward to a “Devine 09″.  Over the active years of my Barbershop life, through all the chorus and quartet singing, performances in several countries, committee meetings and board meetings, I always did so with great enthusiasm.  Making costumes, learning music, attending conventions to compete or just as a spectator, or teaching a “tag” to 3 people I had never met before were just some of the wonderful times in my life. 

I truly believe that the active years I spent in Barbershop helped to define who I have become as a person.  My personality has grown, I have matured, I have become more intelligent, tolerant, appreciative, aware and all in all in my humble opinion a better overall person.  Music does wonderful and magical transformations to people who perform it… and hopefully to those who hear it.  I truly believe that it is the responsibility of the performer to take the audience down a “musical pathway” during the performance bringing them into an emotional experience that takes them for the moment to a mystical place in their mind.

Most of my initial 25 years were spent with the Riverside Citrus Belters (Riverside, California), then to Redlands Harmony Heritage (Redlands, California) and then to the International Champions… The Masters of Harmony (Santa Fe Springs, California… Los Angeles County).  In 1996 I was diagnosed as an “adult onset diabetic” which caused me to take a leave of absence from the Masters of Harmony after the 1999 International Convention in Anaheim, California (which we hosted and won!).  Being 6’6” tall I think helped to compound the problems I was experiencing with my feet gradually loosing feeling and hurting much more intently the day or two following rehearsal night.

After several years of not enduring the intensity of the rehearsals of the Masters, I began to realize that the feelings in my feet were as bad if not worse than when I was active with the Masters, and that I needed to make the unfortunate decision to not return to active singing with the chorus. I still support them by attending performances and purchasing CD’s so I can listen to them even thought I am not present there.

I now enjoy my barbershop through this blog… bringing back memories and learning new facts that I can relate to the world, and through the experiences of my wife Elaine who is active in Sweet Adelines both in the Harborlites Chorus and now having joined a quartet called Orange Crush.

Thanks for reading

Stay “tuned”

Jerry Braack

California, USA

 

Barbershop New Years’ Party… WoW!

January 3, 2009

My wife and I were invited to a “Barbershop” New Years party at the home of Gerry & Nick Papageorge in southern california.  It was great seeing lots of old friends and meeting some new ones as well. There were barbershop singers from the Masters of Harmony, Harborlites Chorus, Sounds of Harmony (Chino, CA, Gerry Papageorge director), and as luck would have it the only “organized” quartet was Orange Crush… (I’m prejudiced since that is my wifes’ quartet).

Good food and good friends were in abundance. Party favors were plentiful (see attached pic), and I can imagine the neighbors were holding their ears when the stroke of midnight hit.

Nick and Gerry’s son is in a rock band and they were there as well, so when the band played, the vocal singing of barbershop could not be heard. (The band had the mics, amps and speakers).

After the band stopped playing, the sounds of barbershop started and continued until at least 2 AM, when Elaine and I left.  A great way to bring in the New Year with lots of good friends and lots of good barbershop harmony.

“Stay tuned”

Jerry Braack

California USA


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