The new Everyone in Harmony vision of the Barbershop Harmony Society calls for Barbershoppers to reach out and become radically inclusive to enhance diversity in our membership. Well, the Carolinas District is taking a leadership role in this mission.
The Barbershop Revival is an ongoing project in Research Triangle, NC, intended to celebrate the African American roots of barbershop harmony and, to quote Harold Hicks, President & CEO, The National Museum of African American Music, our goal is to “re-establish the historical links between Barbershop Harmony and African American Musical traditions. It is a Youth Outreach project aimed primarily at the three Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs) in the Research Triangle area. We view this project as a restoration of a cultural heritage to its founders.
To this end, we will be hosting a historic outreach to the African American students at these and other local universities.
The initial event will be a Harmony Explosion type singing and teaching workshop for college age students (18 – 24) to explore the origins of barbershop harmony in African-American culture. Students from the three local HBCUs will participate in an all-student chorus that will work with top clinicians in barbershop and a cappella to learn six songs they will perform on a Saturday evening concert to close the festival.
We are working toward our first event in the fall of 2018 on the campus of NC Central University. It will include primarily the students of NCCU, St. Augustine University and Shaw University and along with other area schools. We expect some high school students to participate as well.
The weekend will feature workshops, rehearsals and Master Classes by Dr. Wright and Dr. Henry, both directors of the International Gold Medal Champion chorus, Ambassadors of Harmony, and by International Silver medalist quartet Signature. David Wright and Jim Henry, authors of papers exploring the African-American roots of barbershop, will moderate a panel discussion on the true origins of barbershop harmony. We also plan to have the multi-Grammy award winning Gospel quartet Fairfield Four conduct master classes in a cappella singing. The event will be capped off with a Saturday evening concert featuring the combined student choruses, along with performances by Signature and Fairfield Four.