Barbershop Extravaganza

The ever talented and creative Kristen Thompson has pulled off yet another delightful Barbershop program. A gorgeous Sunday afternoon, September 30, at the Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula in Carmel Valley was the setting for the irrepressible sounds of Barbershop harmonies – with a few corny jokes thrown in for good measure. In addition to the familiar barbershop gems, student groups from Salinas High School and Pacific Grove High School were featured. A hallmark of this style is not only the blended harmonies, but also not using music. Everything is memorized to the greatest effect of communication with the audience. A particular hallmark of this afternoon’s music was the singers’ ages from 16 to 92 – all blended in vocal harmony as well as the camaraderie of the group.

Cypressaires Men’s Chorus started off with “Shave and a Haircut.” Four high school boys joined in on “Hello, Mary Lou” and “Almost Like Being In Love” from Brigadoon. The student quartet, BreakerShop Boys from Pacific Grove High School, gave a terrific rendition of the old standard “Coney Island Babe.” The BreakerShop Girls followed with “Just In Love” – outstanding harmonic blend but way too short of a selection. More should be heard from this group as well as the boys.

Women’s group, Vocal Point, presented the lively “Casey at the Bat” and then a smooth version of “That’s the Story of Love.” The Cypressaires returned with a riotous “Beer Barrel Polka” complete with “beer” steins and fancy footwork. “San Francisco Bay Blues” and the ever solid “Darkness on the Delta” continued to show off the blended harmonies. Donning sunglasses for a trip “Under the Boardwalk” again with the harmonies and choreography, these guys are unstoppable.

The Main Street Barbershop Boys, from Salinas High School, were personality plus singing “Come Go With Me.” These guys and the Main Street Barbershop Babes who followed with “Let Tonight Be the Night” are definitely vocal forces to reckon with and should continue their vocal endeavors. The Babes’ had a blend that showed not only their rehearsal time put in but also their obvious enjoyment of this time honored style.

Cannery Rogues offered “Life is a Cabaret,” “Sh-Boom,” and “This Little Light,” again with time honored harmonies as well as choreography. The next quartet was Four On The Floor with “God Only Knows,” a lush “In The Still of the Night,” and old standard “Bye, Bye Blues.” A newer selection presented was “Fun In Just One Lifetime.” That reminder to have fun and chase the blues at least for an afternoon was wonderfully accomplished. For a finale, all groups returned for the ever popular “Lida Rose” and “Dream of Love” duet from The Music Man. Having the range of ages performing together with big smiles and warmth radiating out to the audience was such a pleasure and treat.

Again, kudos to Kristen Thompson for continuing this time honored style and especially encouraging and including high school students. For an upcoming treat, the Monterey Peninsula College Community Band and a Thompson directed children’s chorus of over 100 elementary students will present a program on December 2nd at 2 p.m. Be on the lookout for more details!

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