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Wilderness Road Chorus rehearsing again

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

Hey, hey, what’s that sound?

Why it’s the beautiful harmonies produced by the Wilderness Road Chorus, a collection of local ladies who love to sing.

Due to COVID related restrictions, singing dates and singing practices were greatly restricted last year.

But as of now, the Wilderness Road Chorus singers are barbershop-harmonizing back on their normal schedule of Monday night rehearsals at 7 p.m. at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church.

“For more than a year, the chorus has worked with zoom rehearsals, and masked, socially-distanced outdoor rehearsals when the weather was warmer,” said WRC Director Lavelva Stevens, director.

Stevens, who lives in Pulaski, added that hearing the harmonies really helps the chorus to develop the barbershop style.

“Barbershop harmony is, along with jazz, one of only two styles of music developed in the United States,” said Stevens. “The four-part harmony, a cappella, barbershop style dates to the 1850s. Its harmonies are specific creating a sound that barber shoppers call “Ringing the chord.”

 

Barbershop style singing is based on a four part harmony sung a cappella (only voices no instruments).

The first harmony is the Lead, a solid sound unit that follows the melody.

The second is the Tenor, which is a light, sweet, harmony sung above the Lead.

The third is the Baritone, which is a harmony that crosses both above and below the lead.

And lastly the Bass, which adds a rich mellow sound of the lowest notes of the chord.

When the harmony is done right, everyone hears a fifth tone, the overtone, which reverberates through the room. This is known as “Ringing the Chord.”

Newcomers are warmly welcomed and women 16 years of age and older are invited to visit a rehearsal to learn about the Wilderness Road Chorus style and the sound.

Women who are a part of Wilderness Road Chorus learn professional singing techniques that include instruction in breathing and posture, phonation and resonance and articulation.

“You don’t have to be able to read music,” Stevens said. “We learn the songs at rehearsal and recordings are available for singers to practice their parts at home.”

The Chorus is on Facebook at Wilderness Road Chorus and its website is www.wildernessroadchorus.org.

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