Let’s get together!
The story of Barbershop Harmony
Barbershop music survives from a custom that began in English barber shops where, during the sixteenth, seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, lutes or citterns, the forerunners of the modern guitar, hung on the wall for use either by waiting customers or by barbers waiting for their customers. You can easily understand why barbershops came to be associated with music if you allow your imagination to tell you that they were ideal places for men to ‘let down their hair.’
And when unoccupied, such as barbers often are, what better self-entertainment is there than singing? But barbers set aside their instruments and lost their musical enthusiasm when new economic and time-consuming activities such as bloodletting, tooth-pulling and periwig-making were introduced into their trade end soon supplanted the ancient musical hobby. So gradually the barbershop concept of music salon disappeared.
This “Barber's Music” came to the colonies along with other old world customs and gradually became popular as Barbershop Harmony, sung by four parts. On April 11th, 1938, 26 men answered a summons to the Tulsa club, by O. C. Cash and Rupert Hall, to attend the first meeting of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet—or the Barbershop Harmony Society, as it is now known.
In 1964 a group from Canada visited Britain and the first British chapter of the British Association of Barbershop singing was born in Crawley. Since this time, the number of clubs in the Association has grown to more than 50 with a total membership of over 1500 men.
The world-wide society boasts of more man 800 chapters with over 50,000 registered members, and half as many more as yet unregistered. Ladies' organizations were formed shortly after the men's. Clubs have been formed in Canada, Belgium. Holland, Western Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Czechoslovakia, Australia, Russia, Austria and—since 1988, in Spain.
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Paul comes from Kings Langley in Hertfordshire. He has lived in Spain since 1984 and was a founder member of the Costa Barber Singers. He has also performed with various local musical theatre groups and has been a radio presenter for over 13 years, most recently with Onda Cero International, presenting his daily “Easy Afternoon Programme.”
Keith came to Spain to work as a Financial Adviser 4 years ago but finds himself doing all sorts of things he has not done since his school days, one of them being singing, and loves the fun of the barbershop group.
Ed spent his childhood in South London and the home counties. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1961 and spent many years as an Air Radar Technician—serving in the UK, Gibraltar and (unaccompanied) in RAF Gan—the Maldives. He was commissioned into the Engineering Branch in 1977, with more postings in the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium. Since he moved to Spain in 1981, with his wife Jane, he has been an enthusiastic singer with the Costa Barber chorus.
Bob joined the Costa Blanca Barbershop Singers in 2001 and thoroughly enjoys the company and the opportunity to indulge in one of his hobbies. He has always enjoyed singing, right from childhood. In the UK, he had his own haulage business before going into car sales. His other hobby is boating: he and his wife of 50 years have even boated up the Seine to Paris.
Howard has been singing most of his life. In the 60s he sang and played guitar in various bands, and performed solo (he still does) as ‘Big H’. At the moment he also sings in the Costa Blanca Male Voice Choir. Howard is a teacher, and Head of 6th form at Xabia International College. He is Welsh, and his other passion is Rugby—especially the Welsh putting one over the English!