Photo - Barry Tripp
After 16 months away from being able to sing together, East York Barbershoppers finally got to ring chords together on July 6. While COVID-19 regulations wouldn’t allow us back in our regular rehearsal space, thanks to the hard work and technical prowess of Michael Green and Barry Tripp, we were able to enter the world of what we affectionately call Carbershop – singing barbershop in our cars.
Though we haven’t been singing together since March 2019, we have been getting together and singing via Zoom when it became apparent that the shutdown was going to be a long-term reality. Zoom rehearsals gave us the opportunity to keep in touch with one another and keep our voices in shape, but its technical limitations wouldn’t allow us to hear how we actually sounded together.
Carbershop remedied this by getting rid of the lag that various hops between internet servers introduce while allowing us to maintain social distancing. We gathered in our hall’s parking lot and plugged microphones into our new mixing board. No Bluetooth. No WiFi. Actual physical cables. The mixed signal was broadcast by a small FM transmitter which we tuned to on our car radios or on FM headsets. Any delay was small enough to be imperceptible. And because we were listening to a mixed signal, we may even have heard the other voice parts better than we normally do.
As hard as the singing drought was on the membership, it was torture for our director who had to completely rework his instruction methods without the benefit of being able to hear the results. So it was only fitting that our first Carbershop session took place on Pat Hannon’s birthday. In his words, “Best birthday present, ever!” And everyone who attended enjoyed it as much as he did.
Click here for the Bill O'Hara Obituary
CBC Sunday Magazine - An interview with Canadian Journalist, John Colapinto with host, Piya Chattopadhyay. The power and mystery of the human voice. Scroll down to listen the recorded interview from Sunday Feb 7. In the interview I learned that Piya is a classically trained singer. This special attribute with Broadcasters is not uncommon.
Check out John's new book, "This Is The Voice" on Amazon.ca.
I bought the book and have justed started reading.
Canadian Journalist John Colapinto speaks with Tony Bennett about what was a family secret for the last 4 years. Tony's amazing song repertoire and memory is in jeopardy but you can learn how he is dealing with it. I took my Mom to see him at Massy Hall just over 10 years ago when he was in his late 70's, early 80's. I am glad I did.
It is with a heavy heart that we pass on the sad news that Bill "Buddy" O'Hara passed away this morning from a heart attack. Bill had been in a care facility for quite a while now, and unable to have visitors given Covid, which would have been very tough for Bill given how much he loved to be out visiting and entertaining. I believe Bill was 82.
Bill was a Charter Member of Harmony Ranch and already a barbershopper before moving to Toronto in 1963 and joining East York. Bill was a very active member for many years, until his health made that a challenge. Bill was always available to lend his Tenor voice or his wonderful piano playing to any sing out or special occasion, and his quartet 3 1/2 Notes always donated 100% of their earnings to Harmonize for Speech.
Bill will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him. Unfortunately there will be no formal service due to the pandemic situation, but we will keep everyone posted of any future plans to honour Bill.
Happy New Year!
We're happy to see everyone back for our very first rehearsal of 2021! It's good to finally hear (and see!) familiar faces and catch up on happenings over the holiday weeks, despite being done remotely.
Our practice went off to a great start, instilling some much needed confidence for how we hope the rest of year will continue. I also loved the new things that we're attempting! It was very instructive to see Pat directing us across the songs we rehearsed, giving us a greater look into how we'd like our songs to flow.
Stay safe, keeping singing, and here's to a better 2021!
We bid goodbye to the most unusual of years at our last rehearsal for 2020 on December 15. We missed being together with family and friends, the traditional raffle and sharing some cake but, thanks to Zoom, we were still able to sing some seasonal songs and wish each other the best of the season. Also this year we added an exciting trivia game (won by Geoff Shields) and a possible new tradition that we’ll call “the Watching of the Hippo”. Of course, the highlight of the evening was finding out that our own Michael Melton has been named Ontario District’s newest Barbershopper of Renown (see previous post).
Over the year we’ve truly missed the ability to sing together and perform in public. So we ended this year with hopes that everyone stays healthy, that our live performances will return and, as is the East York tradition, a chorus of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. We all look forward to better things for next year.
In our final virtual practice last night we were joined by surprise guest Andy Dennett, Ontario District BHS Awards Chairman, so he and Gerry Selkirk (EYBS member and Assistant Awards Chair) could make the fantastic announcement that East York's Mike "Opie" Melton is one of just 4 barbershoppers being recognized as an Ontario District Barbershopper of Renown for 2020. Mike becomes the 34th East Yorker to ever receive this prestigous award, and it was very well deserved!
For more on Mike, keep reading!
Last night East York took advantage of a program put on by the Barbershop Harmony Society to have a judge spend an evening with us on-line to provide insights on a performance of our choice submitted in advance. We were really fortunate to have a fantastic Performance Judge join us, Michael Kelly, and as a bonus he was supported by another prospective Performance Judge, Drew Ochoa. Michael and Drew had reviewed multiple recordings we submitted, but ended up focussing on Cabaret, from our winning performance in the Ontario District Chorus Contest in Spring 2019. Michael and Drew spent almost two hours walking us through this one performance, pausing regularly to talk us through what was happening in the “mind of a performance judge” as the song progressed. This was an amazing experience, and we all walked away with a much better understanding of how we can approach presentation moving forward, not just with Cabaret but any of our songs!! Thanks to both Michael and Drew for sharing their time and expertise.
It's been more than six months of virtual practice at East York Barbershoppers (EYBS), and we've spiced it up this week with a joint virtual meeting with the City of Lakes Chorus (COLC) from Darthmouth, Nova Scotia!
About 37 members in total joined the meeting. The presidents of each chapter began with a welcome and brief introductions. Members from each chorus shared the history of their respective choruses and some of the traditional activites that couldn't take place this year because of the pandemic. It was helpful to share our struggles with each other, and join in the hope that things would improve in the near future - after all, without the pandemic, it was unlikely that our two choruses would ever meet, even if virtually.
Both choruses shared videos of performances and contests from the past. Our International Chorus Contests and TV appearances were an eye opener for many of the newer members of the EYBS chorus. EYBS's proximity to many chapters in Ontario as well as the States made it easier to participate in District events; COLC found it more difficult due to the geographical size of the North East District.