Sunday, February 27, 2011

2/26/11 - Harborlites


If you know me well you know that I've studied two styles of music: Opera and Barbershop.  I like to say I was born and raised "Barbershop"; I've been around it my entire life.  My mom started singing with a Sweet Adelines chorus when I was 4 months old, and she has continued to sing in choruses and quartets ever since. I officially picked up the hobby when I was 15 and started singing in my first barbershop chorus. Like my Mom, I haven't stopped yet. It's a wonderfully addicting hobby!

Barbershop has shaped my entire musical life and it is, I'm sure, in no small part why I'm a music teacher today. 

Now...barbershop has changed a great deal in the almost 35 years I have been around it.  My first impressions with Sweet Adelines were always good.  As I child I LOVED going to rehearsals with my mom.  The ladies just had so much fun!  The sang...they danced....they got to wear sparkly costumes!  What's not to love.  The songs were simple and easy to learn.  Everything about it appealed to me as a child.  The singing wasn't always amazing...but there was such a great sense of community when performing as a group with the other women that just can't be paralleled. The artform today, when performed at its best, has risen to a level on par with any other musical genre worth perfecting. 

I'm lucky.  Somehow, 8 years ago, I found myself within (a tad extended) driving distance of the best Sweet Adelines chorus I had ever heard.  The first time I went to a Harborlites rehearsal I was blown away.  I had never heard or seen anything like it.  They were preparing for their regional competition at the time and I had never seen such discipline, energy, and drive from a group of singers in my life...and I had seen a lot of singers!  The first thing I heard them sing was "This Joint is Jumping!" and boy was it ever!  I was hooked instantly.  I had been hooked on barbershop for years...but now I was hooked on Harborlites. 

I joined Harborlites at an amazing time.  I was with them when we won our first International gold medal.  I wept while watching the webcast at home with my 12 day old infant in my arms as they won their 2nd.  And I was there last October when with our best score ever we got our first 2nd place International medal.  There have been many ups and downs in the last 8 years. Lots of work, joy, love, frustration, acceptance...really, just about any emotion you can imagine. 

It used to amaze me that even after a masters degree in music education...I could still learn so much about music and performing at a Harborlites rehearsal.  I'm no longer surprised...but pleased that it continues.  As the chorus grows, so do ways far more significant than just musically.  Being a Harborlite means striving for excellence.  It means working...a lot....harder than for anything you've ever worked for. It means not standing still, and never settling.  It's truly special.

Why do I bring this up now?  Well, today was an amazing day of Harborlites coaching and it seemed like a fitting day to take a Harborlites themed photo.  I wish I had a better picture to share to celebrate..but didn't get the chance to take one of the ladies in action today. 

I know that it's a really long post for a really little picture.  But I've quickly discovered that, for me, this project is about more than the picture.

I give you two....cause I'm ever indecisive.  Would love feedback for which one I should use as the official photo.  Feel free to comment.

Here is my pretty Harborlites pin on the Pitch Pipe page showing the International Chorus results.  I like it because it includes more of what I'm thinking about today...but am a bit irritated that the Harborlites logo isn't so clear.

And...clearly this is just a better photo of the pin....but if you don't know anything about's just a pin.  The photo isn't really supposed to be about the pin. 


  1. I like the first one because, as you noted, it tells much of the story. And it is a great story! It is so beautiful to hear how much you love barbershop and how you feel it has shaped your life. I know singing with Harborlites has been magical -- I loved sharing that with you. Miss you and them more than I can say, but barbershop is everywhere and the Crystal Chords provides that lovely sense of community you described. Miss that "jumpin' joint" -- don't do much of that on the risers here, but I sing, and after all, what would we do without our music.

  2. I also like picture #1...I do see the Logo, clearly. I don't have my new pitchpipe yet, so this is a glimps for me of the results the rest of the world will see. Thank you for sharing your pictures and your story...You are a marvelous addition to the Harborlites family... and we do miss your mom more than she knows! So grateful she introduced you to the barbershop way of life and that you continue to share your gift with us.

  3. I like the first one as well. It's all about the story, right? I do wish the shiny letters were are little more defined, but in the end, it's still the shot that has the most to say (imho). :+)