-The Northeasters Honesdale Barbershop chorus of the Barbershop Harmony Society will be hosting its 35th annual show, entitled "Celebrate Harmony" on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. at Honesdale High School.
The Barbershop Harmony Society is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year and the theme of the concert is in honor of that. It was started in Tulsa, Okla.
"We will be performing songs that have been used throughout the barbreshop era," said Rich Bionda, who has been a member of the 25-member Northeasters Honesdale Barbershop chorus for 17 years.
The Barbershop Harmony Society was once called the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA).
"Barbershop harmony is an unaccompanied four part a cappella harmony with a tenor, baritone, lead and bass," Bionda said. "We practice with learning CDs that have the prominent part for each voice for each song along with studying the arrangements. We rehearse the songs for each annual show for about 10 months."
He said that the director "inputs his own interpretation" for the songs and directs the chorus accordingly. He added that "almost any song" can be arranged for barbershop harmony and that the Barbershop Harmony Society has archives of songs that have been performed.
The Barbershop Harmony Society is the largest all-male singing organization in the world with about 30,000 members, including 1,500 quartets in 800 chapters. Besides singing for fun, barbershoppers perform for worthy organizations, charities and sporting events.
The Honesdale Chapter was founded in 1979 and awards annual scholarships to Wallenpaupack, Honesdale and Western Wayne high school students. They are a nonprofit group.
"All the money we raise goes to scholarships and getting the music for our shows," Bionda said.
Bionda explained that a good friend he grew up with and sang with in a group, told him he might enjoy barbershop.
Page 2 of 3 - "I tried it out and I enjoyed it," he said.
He stated that nobody is paid and that the "enjoyment each singer receives" is payment enough.
"We purchase the arrangements and CDs from the society," Bionda said. "Part of the cost goes back to the original arranger and composer of the song."
The Northeasters Honesdale Barbershop chorus has three charter members, Bob Mains (director), Scottie Ogden and Clyde Krieder.
"I like the friendships and comradeship in the chorus," Bionda said. "It's also a fun challenge learning the songs."
He said that one of his favorite things about barbershop is that it's a "great sound" if done right, adding you can hear a "ringing noise" when they hit the same note.
"It's great to listen to," Bionda stated. "It's a fun hobby."
In 2004 the Northeasters made a Christmas CD with the Wayne Choralaires and all proceeds from the sale of the 1,000 CDs, which totaled $10,000, were donated to the Wayne Children's Bureau.
The Harmony Foundation is the official charity of the barbershop Harmony Society. Its mission is to "support the gift of singing as an extraordinary means of making life more enjoyable, satisfying and meaningful."
This is done through funding music education for students in high school and college in order to "develop and advance the love and ability for singing."
"We are a chapter that is not interested in competing," Bionda said. "We welcome anyone who likes to sing to join us. We are always looking for new members. All it takes is some effort to learn the songs, listening to the CDs and going over the arrangements."
He added that they also need younger members to help keep the chorus going.
During the concert on Oct. 12 four chapter quartets will also perform, including Chordially Yours, Basses Loaded, Stourbridge Lion, and Northeast Spirit.
The guest professional barbershop quartet will be "The faces4Radio." Bionda said they will perform during the intermission. Their website is www.faces4radioquartet.com.
Tickets for the show are $10 and can be purchased ahead or the night of.
Page 3 of 3 - Bionda explained that B&B Dodge volunteered to provide van shuttles from the upper parking lot to the school before and after the show.
Rehearsal for the Northeasters Honesdale Barbershop chorus is every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Presbyterian Chapel at 10th and Church Streets in Honesdale. Call (570) 685-1554 if you are interested in singing or for further show information.
You can also visit their website at www.northeastersbarbershopchorus.org.