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Loving a special style of music

By By Billy Melton/Special to The Star
Aug. 5, 2001
The Meridian Barbershop Chorus is an organization of Christian men who love to sing a style of music called "Barbershop Harmony."
A unique sound created by uniformity of word sounds and a special emphasis on close harmony the lead usually sings the melody, with a tenor harmonizing above the melody, bass sings the lowest harmonizing notes; while the baritone provides the in between notes, either above or below the lead, completing the chords that give barbershop its distinctive, four-part sound.
More than a chorus
We consider ourselves more than just a barbershop chorus. Some might say that we are a civic club that meets at noon on Tuesdays and Fridays for a rehearsal, singing songs that lift our spirits and releasing any stress we might have from our work.
Some of us consider ourselves as a fraternity of men that love Jesus, our fellow singers, and our community. Central United Methodist Church has been gracious to provide facilities for our rehearsals and copies of our music. The Rev. Nick Nicholson was one of the first of our lead singers. Some of the fellows bring a brown bag lunch or deli to eat in the fellowship hall after rehearsals. We furnish the Cokes!
It's a hard fact that today, recreational singing is on the decline. Families no longer gather around a piano for a little pleasure singing. When school budgets are cut, the arts are the first to go. We are rapidly becoming a culture of listeners, rather than singers, content to let others make music for us.
Remember the good old days when the audience would sing the words on the screen at the Temple Theatre by following the little bouncing ball?
We have been singing at many functions, community development clubs, churches, XYZs. We recently sang for Sela Ward and her supporters for "Hope for Children." This will be our primary charity and the profits from our "Festival of Harmony" next year will go to this charity. You will be hearing more about this in the near future. This month we will be the entertainment for the East Mississippi Business Development Corp. honoring Glen Deweese. For small gatherings, we can furnish a quartet for entertainment.
It's not hard
You don't have to read music to sing barbershop, just a good ear and attending rehearsals. Some of our members don't know one not from another but learn through repetition and help from their fellow singers.
We started our singers with six fellows and invited others singers to join. We are recruiting fellows that sing in church choirs and those that have sung in college and high school choral groups.
Today, our chorus consists of 25 active singers. Some of us have been singing for about one year but we are adding new singers weekly. It is never too late to join, just call Billy Melton at 485-2312 or Ken Patterson at 485-4113.

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