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Singing quartets' praises



Published: Sun, August 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The hall of fame spans a century of barbershop quartet history.

By PAUL WHEATLEY

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

SHARON, PA. -- Around every turn, groups of four or more sang traditional barbershop quartet music to celebrate the grand opening of the Barbershop Hall of Fame in the city's downtown.

Singers from around the country, such as Classic Edition, an award-winning quartet from the Midwest, arrived Saturday to commemorate the hall, part of The Vocal Group Hall of Fame & amp; Museum.

"This place is going to be the Smithsonian of barbershop," said quartet member Sandi Wright of St. Louis, Mo.

Located at 115 E. State St., the hall of fame spans the history of barbershop from its roots in the 1870s to modern-day groups. There's even a mock barbershop inside where visitors can get their picture taken.

"Most people think barbershop is where you get your hair cut," said Jennifer Fogle of Pittsburgh, a member of local group Live Wire, which has members from Boardman and Poland townships.

What they are: In reality, barbershop quartets are four-part a cappella harmony groups, both men and women.

Fogle, whose group performed during the opening, said singing gives her something to do between working and raising children.

About 15 quartets performed over three hours Saturday, including the Penn-Ohio Singers, who sang "On A Wonderful Day Like Today" as the first song ever performed on the hall's stage.

"It's absolutely wonderful," said Reed Sampson, spokesman for the barbershop society headquarters in Kenosha, Wis.

The society provided all of the photos that adorn the hall's walls.

The hall is set to hold banquets, will feature various quartets and will soon house a music research library.

"It'll be constantly changing and updating," said Tiffany Frank, executive director of The Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

The barbershop hall is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors.

wheatley@vindy.com




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