Main Street brings barbershop to area schools

Type of post: Chorus news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: John Braden
Status: Current
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23 2022
By Jerry Meier
Thanks to a generous grant from Harmony Foundation International, the Main Street Barbershop Quartet (2017 BHS International Champion) performed at four schools on Dec. 2, 2022, the Friday before the Holiday Harmony Spectacular, where Main Street also headlined.

Roger, Tony, Mike and Myron arrived early at California Trail Middle School in Olathe to entertain Cassandra Sutherland's Choir Program with songs and Deagan Organ Chimes. They briefly explained and demonstrated how the barbershop style of a cappella music blends four voices together to harmoniously expand the sounds into something bigger than themselves.

Lead Tony DeRosa served as the "Master of Ceremonies" and center of attention at each school stop. The quartet sang four songs as they demonstrated the barbershop style of music while answering questions and teaching tags.

Tenor Roger Ross routinely answered the most common question, "How long have you been singing Barbershop?" with the same clever answer: "since 7:30 a.m. this morning!"

The quartet effectively demonstrated how a simple three-part harmony (upper harmony + melody + bass foundation) was pleasant but not quite good enough, because one part was missing. Baritone Mike McGee proudly demonstrated the missing part of the four-part harmony by singing his baritone part solo - the "garbage part" - as described by Tony. All students agreed that four-part a cappella barbershop harmony sounded so much better than one or two or three parts together.

Bass Myron Whittlesey provided additional comic relief during "Frosty the Snowman" by introducing several of their snowman jokes:
-- "Hey!" "What?" "What did the snowman say to the other snowman?" "What?" "Is it me, or do you smell carrots?"
-- "Hey!" "What?" "Where does Frosty keep all of his money?" "Where?" "In a Snow Bank!"
-- "Hey!" "What?" "Where did Frosty learn to dance?" "Where?" "At a Snow Ball!"
(I think you get the picture).

Next the quartet traveled to Olathe North High School and sang for a group of Micah Horton's choir students. Tony and the quartet taught them to sing the tag, "To the Last Goodbye." In the vocal music programs, the sopranos sing tenor; the altos sing lead; the tenors sing baritone, and the basses sing bass (because they cannot sing any other part).

After lunch, the quartet traveled to Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park (home of Stand By Barbershop Quartet, the 2018 8th Place and 2019 7th Place NextGEN Varsity Quartet Finalist). Main Street sang for two classrooms of choir students taught by Beth Richey-Sullivan. Two VLQs (very large quartets) were inspired by Main Street to step forward and sing the tags.

The final stop was Oregon Trail Middle School in Olathe. Beth Nelson was entertaining four classrooms of students in the Auditorium when Main Street arrived. Main Street took the stage and the students were thrilled. After school, one middle school student told the quartet that he had formed a Barbershop Club at the Middle School, and was planning to participate in Harmony Explosion in February. That's exactly the message that we wanted to hear at the end of the day.