Okay... so what am I writing about? Ummm... well, according to my last blog post in *cough cough* October, I'm supposed to be purposefully writing 1,000 words a day.
I can't defend myself of my massive failure at that. But if you watch this video, you'll see how I've done.
Himself & I decided that New Year Resolutions of healthy eating and habits (a continual resolution, often restarted on arbitrary days in the middle of the year) begin after the Big Game day. I joined Weight Watchers 2 weeks ago for online and meetings, but haven't been to a meeting yet. I've tracked a few meals, but have not earnestly devoted my thoughts and time to get back on the plant-based wagon.
And regaining stamina and energy through losing weight and walking every day for 40 minutes is key to this post: the discovery of My Why.
My Why is Barbershop. There. I said it. Singing a cappella is encompassed in that, but honestly... Singing and Performing, Learning and Teaching Barbershop is my why. The other day I likened Barbershop music to the Tardis (12 min vid) - small and square on the outside, but when you enter inside, it is So Much Bigger! Love Matt Smith at 4:10, by the way.
Yes, there can be Barbershop that is cheesy. But really, we love cheese. We are a cheese-loving nation, aren't we? Cheese on anything (almost) makes it better. Cheesy Grits. Nachos. Cheese in rice. Cheesy beans on toast. Cheese on a baked potato. Only Barbershop Cheese doesn't pile on fat or calories. I happen to be going slowly toward eating plant-based... which means no more cheese for me. But believe me that I know cheese is a beautifully-tasty food, and yes, for me, the cornier the joke is, the better (corn = cheese in this comparison). So I am not disparaging cheese.
Yes, Barbershop has (among the uninitiated) the perception of only being sung by old guys in boater hats and striped vests... So? Who cares if they're a little cheesy? I'd rather have cheesy nice guys than slick, despicable snakes in the grass. And there are some super talented young 'uns (men and women) who are definitely NOT "your grandparents barbershoppers." Young or old, good singing attracts everyone!
Thanks to Deke Sharon, who has been described as the "Father of contemporary a cappella," the distinct style of singing known as Barbershop has been blessed as A Cappella's Martial Art. In other words, if you learn to sing Barbershop harmony well than you have the foundation on which to become a Ninja of a cappella singing.
"You might think Barbershop is only old guys singing old songs, but you're wrong. Sometimes the songs are new, sometimes the guys are young, but you know what? There's a lot to be learned from your elders, and if a song has lasted a century, it's still around for a good reason." ~ Deke SharonSo, you ask, why exactly is Barbershop like the Tardis? Because on the outside, Barbershop is square, and not very complicated. Heck, one of the hallmarks of the style is that it is built on simple melodies and relatively easy to sing. Once you learn more about how an overtone is produced (which is the goal of every quartet and chorus singer) however, you realize that there is so much more to what barbershop singing requires in order for those chords to ring. The Merriam-Webster technical definition of an overtone is:
"one of the higher tones produced simultaneously with the fundamental and that with the fundamental comprise a complex musical tone."Sweet Adelines International defines it a thus:
"When the music is sung accurately and with good breath support and vocal techniques, barbershop harmony produces overtone vibrations that create a resonant ring unique to this form of music."In other words... when you're doing it right, the singing produces another audible "voice" heard high above (and sometimes below) the actual notes being vocally produced. It's acoustical magic and way-hey too much math for me to even try to explain in more precise language... but singing barbershop, when it's all done correctly - creates a bigger sound than what is actually being sung. Barbershoppers call that "Expanded Sound" and it sounds like more people are singing than are actually singing. Like the Tardis. See? It looks all square and normal, and then you enter in to the overtone series and Banga-boom(!) it's BIGGER!
And wait, there's MORE! It won't be in this post... but there's so much more to reveal regarding vowels, arrangements, music theory, physical and emotional benefits of singing alone and singing together... The Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), formerly known as SPEBQSA (Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America) has it right in their motto #everyoneinharmony. As does Deke Sharon with his #harmonythroughharmony.
Singing together, I believe, can change the world.
Understanding that physiologically it is easier on our vocal mechanism to sing than it is to talk; leads me to believe that while not everyone has the natural, born-this-way voice gift... Everyone has the physical mechanism to sing. And has to ability to learn to sing. It is something that can be taught.
And singing together in a barbershop chorus (where not everyone has to have a solo voice), creating those overtones and sharing the pure joy of creating music and overtones with others might just possibly change the world.
In the Christian world, since 1982 when Keith Lancaster wanted to form a ministry through a cappella singing, there's been Acappella Ministry. #hearitinourvoice was a motto they used, and is now a collection of released songs from the Acappella company. This ministry has brought so much joy and music to people around the world!