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What Happened to Barbershop?

What Happened to Barbershop?

When you weren’t looking, we changed some things

So when you think of barbershop you think of this… right?

Perhaps you think of these guys… it’s cool. We all do.

The Dapper Dans of Disney (pictured above) play to millions of theme park visitors a year. They are master entertainers and boast the biggest audience, no qualms here.

You might even go here

Let’s face it, Jimmy Fallon’s satirical prowess is a tour de force in the late night realm and Family Guy is unmatched in irreverent humor. They both know their audience and know how to score laughs.

Here’s where we might get you. Much like Pop Culture, much of the barbershop world has become aesthetically oriented and embraced modernity. Follow me:

This is what the reigning kings of barbershop look like. Ringmasters Quartet from Sweden

Not what you were expecting, eh? They can sing whatever they want (Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, blues, jazz), wherever they want (NBC’s The Today Show), whenever they want. And they’re fantastic.

Ringmasters above are the current kings, but there are other “past” kings who have helped define cool, modern, and slick. OC Times:

They’re rockstars.

These guys in Vocal Spectrum have limitless vocal ranges and flexibility.

So good. So precise. So exciting. Usually, they’re everyone’s favorite example of vocal excellence…

It’s not just cool… there are groups committed to excellence in comedic timing and delivery. Current comedy kings? Storm Front:

Groundbreaking performance of a beloved classic, Lida Rose, with a spin you’ve probably never seen:

The list goes on. And the best part? There are tens of thousands of men all over the world actively bringing barbershop music to their communities, enriching their own lives and the lives of others through their quartets and choruses.

The Ambassadors of Harmony in St. Louis, 160+ men strong:

Barbershop is “old”? Think again. Westminster Chorus from SoCal lights up the stage:

And the best part: There are groups all over the world you can join!

Every week, choruses and quartets all over the world gather together in song as members of the Barbershop Harmony Society. And each year, members gather together in July for the biggest barbershop a cappella convention and contest on the planet. See below to learn more about our Youth Harmony Camps, and find a group near you.

Youth Harmony Explosion Camps

A great multi-day opportunity for high-school singers to experience the thrill of singing.
Scholarship details and more info…

This article was inspired by the brilliant work of the people at Buzzfeed Community: What Happened to Opera?. Our Barbershop article outrightly copies many of the wonderful themes from the Opera article thanks to the many aspects our artforms share. Thanks for the inspiration, friends!