What did Scott Joplin, Sydney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, W. C. Handy, and Louis Armstrong have in common? All sang in barbershop quartets on New Orleans street corners as young men as they became the world’s foremost jazz musicians.
Recent research by music scholars has shown that barbershop harmony – like jazz, blues, and gospel – is yet another indigenous American art form rooted in the African-American music traditions of the 19th century. In keeping with the BHS vision of diversity through radical outreach, Carolinas District is holding The Barbershop Revival to celebrate the contributions to barbershop by the African American culture.
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 kick-off Revival will take place March 22-23, 2019 on the campus of NC Central University at The Price Music Center. The Revival is a two-day singing workshop for college and high school age students to celebrate the origins of barbershop harmony in African-American culture. It will be open to the male and female students of NC Central, and other universities in the Triangle area.
The students will comprise a men’s chorus, a women’s chorus and a mixed chorus.
The men will be working with Dr. Bill Adams and Dr. Jim Henry, Director of International Champion chorus Ambassadors of Harmony along with Crossroads International Champion quartet.
The women will be working with Debbie Cleveland, Gold Medal quartet lead and 2017 BHS/NAfME Music Educator of the Year, along with SAI medalist quartet GQ, and Red Caps Scholarship recipient quartet HALO.
Dr. Adams will moderate a panel discussion on the African-American origins of barbershop harmony.
A Saturday night concert in NCCU’s BN Duke Auditorium will feature the above quartets and headliners The Fairfield Four, a 5-time Grammy Award winning gospel quartet. In 2016, in recognition of the influence gospel singing has had on the origins of barbershop, the quartet was made lifetime honorary members of BHS. We are honored to have them at The Revival.
Come celebrate the cultural richness of our favorite hobby! Tickets for the Saturday concert will be $15 at the door.
For more information, click HERE or go to www.barbershoprevival.org.