Not only that, but Beebe is a perfectionist, and the quality of sound and blend of voices have improved, he said, adding, “It is a phenomenal difference in sound.”
McMorris also stressed that barbershop music isn’t just tunes from the 1920s. Rather, barbershop refers to a sound and a style, and any type of music can be rewritten to fit the barbershop sound.
Barbershop is marked by four-part harmony and a lack of instrumental accompaniment, he said, adding, “It’s a warm, rich sound.”
Beebe also is happy with the chorus now, saying, “I’m so pleased with the voices that have returned or joined and the quality of singing.”
Anyone who likes to sing and have fun is invited to join, and you don’t necessarily need a strong voice.
The chorus members’ ages range from a high school freshman to 90-year-old Bill Smail of Covington, Ind., and his 88-year-old brother, Lenny. The members’ professions vary, including businessmen, farmers, students, retired men and professionals, Beebe said, and they come from across Vermilion County and western Indiana.
“We’ve never had such a diverse membership,” Beebe said, “and they all come together for the love of music.”
McMorris, who is an insurance agent, gave his reasons for joining: “It’s good fellowship. I enjoy the good vocals.”
He is one of five people from St. James United Methodist Church who make up the “quartet,” St. James Infirmary.
Appeal to students
Beebe, who has been director a year and a member of the local chapter since August 2011, has been involved with barbershop music since he was in college. As a music teacher in Danville schools, retiring in 1988, he said he has always appreciated the barbershop style, and tried to relay that to his students.
In fact, he’s excited about a workshop on Oct. 22 to introduce the musical style to students. Youth in Harmony is the educational arm of the Barbershop Harmony Society, and it’s the first time Danville has sponsored the workshop. There will be a male quartet to work with the boys and a female quartet to work with the girls.