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Barrie County Chordsmen celebrating four decades in county

By Susan Doolan, Special to Postmedia Network

The Barrie County Chordsmen are inviting local men to participate in vocal workshops leading up to their spring concert. SUBMITTED

The Barrie County Chordsmen are inviting local men to participate in vocal workshops leading up to their spring concert. SUBMITTED

The Barrie County Chordsmen marks 40 years with a style of singing that is enjoying a resurgence thanks to movies like Pitch Perfect and the Grammy Award-winning pop group Pentatonix, who catapulted to fame after winning the 2011 American television singing competition The Sing-Off.

In the lead up to the Barrie group’s spring concert, the chordsmen have opened the doors to all men to participate in vocal workshops.

Singers of all ages and skills are welcome to try it out, as the group learns two new songs: I’ve Been Working on the Railroad and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Ability to read music is not required.

“Anyone who comes for any one of the nights is welcome to join us at our show (April 12),” said Brian Tracey, one of 50 Barrie County Chordsmen.

The group is part of an world-wide organization that marks Barbershop Harmony Week. In Barrie, they are celebrating with a free concert at City Hall Rotunda on April 12.

While the group is limited to men, their all-female counterpart is called the Huronia Soundwaves, part of the international group Sweet Adelines, music can differ between the two groups.

“Ladies did a (recent) show on Broadway hits, but the men are a little more traditional,” Tracey said. “We’re not singing today’s pop songs, but we are singing ‘80 and ‘90s songs. It’s really fun.”

Since they began, the Barrie County Chordsmen have won the Ontario championship five times, most recently in 2015.

They rehearse every Wednesday evening and sing at a variety of venues through the year from churches, to retirement homes, community centres, fairs and festivals.

Their main concert, Sept. 23, doubles as a fundraising event.

The Barrie County Chordsmen, in conjunction with the Ontario District, support two official charities: Sing Canada Harmony and Harmonize for Speech. Collectively, they have raised over $5 million for speech therapy in Ontario, including a recent $50,000 contribution to the Sadlon Centre for Health and Wellness at Georgian College in support of the speech therapy clinic.

In addition, they support the Ontario Youth A Cappella Chorus (OYA). It represents Ontario at the International Youth Barbershop Chorus Festival.

Barrie County Chordsmen perform on Wednesday, April 12 at the City Hall Rotunda, beginning at 7:15 p.m. The one-hour concert is free, but donations to the Barrie Food Band appreciated.

The free vocal workshops take place on March 29 and April 5 from 7:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Dorian Parker Centre, 227 Sunnidale Rd., Sunnidale Park.

Call or text 705-795-0844 or visit www.barriecountychordsmen.com for more information. 



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