The Connecticut Yankee Chorus
Connecticut’s premier men’s barbershop chorus
2016 NED Yankee Division Chorus Champion
2015 NED Small Chorus Champion and
2016 NED Yankee Division Small Chorus Champion
March 19, 2016
Northeast District of the International Barbershop Harmony Society
Rehearsing in Wallingford but with members from Old Lyme to Hartford to Poughkeepsie, NY, the chorus has sung in each of those towns, and in many more throughout their 60+-year history. With song selections from Americana to historical pop to patriotic to inspirational, there is surely something for everyone in each performance.
THE CONNECTICUT YANKEE CHORUS IS IN THE CENTRAL
CONNECTICUT CHAPTER OF THE BARBERSHOP HARMONY SOCIETY
What is the Barbershop Harmony Society?
The Barbershop Harmony Society, legally and historically named the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc.(SPEBSQSA), is the first of several organizations to promote and preserve barbershop music as an art form. Founded by Owen C. Cash in 1938, the organization quickly grew,promoting barbershop harmony among men of all ages.Just under 25,000 men in the United States and Canada are members of this organizationwhose focus is on
a cappella music. The international headquarters was in Kenosha, Wisconsin for fifty years before moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 2007. In 2003, in preparation for a new headquarters location, the Society sold both Harmony Hall, a historic lakefront mansion, and its nearby facility (known as Harmony Hall West) located in a strip mall which the Society purchased in 1976 and renovated. HHW had housed finance, merchandising, IT and membership. Operations and staff from both buildings were consolidated into a remodeled HHW. In 2006 the Society announced plans to move its headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee. In August 2007, the Society completed the relocation to 110 Seventh Avenue North, in Nashville.
Barbershop Harmony Society Vison & Mission
• Perpetuates and celebrates harmony in the barbershop style
• Promotes fellowship and friendship among men of good will
• Provides the opportunity to experience the joy of four-part a cappella singing
• Introduces and sustains music in the lives of people everywhere
• The joy of singing and ringing chords in four-part barbershop harmony
• Fellowship and friendship
• Service to others through our music
• The Barbershop Harmony Society brings men together in harmony and fellowship to
enrich lives through singing
• To be the premier membership organization for men who love to sing
Long-range vision description
• Each member experiences
a) The joy of hearing his own voice in four part harmony;
b) The friendship and fraternity of his fellow singers;
c) The personal, social, musical and leadership skills he has attained through his
membership in the Barbershop Harmony Society.
• Our quartets embrace and perform music predominantly in the barbershop style, and in a
broad range of other a cappella styles. Through the educational and coaching opportunities
available in the Society, they continually improve their public and contest performances.
• Chapter meetings are well planned, musically satisfying, and fun. Chapters are a diverse
group of men, brought together by the joy of harmonizing in the barbershop style.
Each chapter embraces and performs a cappella music, with the barbershop art form as the
root of their existence. The chapter enriches and energizes each member through
fellowship, fun and the joy of singing. With their performances and their alliances with all
other local vocal music groups, our chapters are leaders in the musical life of their
community, employing and enjoying the same educational opportunities for improvement
available to quartets and all singers.
• Our district and international conventions, festivals, and educational conferences
incorporate contests, activities, and training sessions to meet the needs of our membership
and their families. We continually strive for improvement in individual, quartet, chorus
and Society activities, performances, and events.
• As a Society, we have forged a strategic partnership with other singing organizations to create
the premier a cappella musical organization in the world, encompassing an welcoming all,
while continuing to recognize and emphasize the unique and prize qualities of the barbershop
style. The largest supporter of vocal music education in the world, the alliance has formed strong partnerships with school choral groups, music educators, and their organizations.
History of the Barbershop Harmony Society
Some say it was an accident, some say it was fate. Either way (or perhaps both) the movement we now enjoy as the Barbershop Harmony Society (aka. Society for The Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA)) can be credited to a meeting in Tulsa organized by Owen Clifton Cash on April 11, 1938.
Cash was really only interested in getting a few guys together to sing. There was no grand plan, no grand scheme. He and acquaintance Rupert Hall had a chance meeting in Kansas City several weeks before and discussed forming a Song Fest. On his return to Tulsa, Cash drafted an invitation and mailed it to the fourteen singers he knew might show up and encouraged them to bring guests.
In this age of dictators and government control of everything, about the only privilege guaranteed by the Bill of Rights not in some way supervised and directed, is the art of
Barber Shop Quartet singing.
Without doubt we still have the right of “peaceable assembly” which I am advised by competent legal authority includes quartet singing. The writers of this letter have for a long time thought thatsomething should be done to encourage the enjoyment of this last remaining source of human liberty. Therefore, we have decided to hold a songfest on the
Roof Garden of the Tulsa Club on Monday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m.
A Dutch lunch will be served.
After several months of research and investigation, we are convinced that your record warrants our tendering you the honor of joining this group. We sincerely trust you will not fail us.
As evidence of the work that your Committee has done in this connection, we enclose a compilation of most of the good old fashioned Barber Shop Quartet songs which we trust you will look over and familiarize yourself with. Bring this list with you.
It is our purpose to start right in at the first, sing every song, in numerical order, plow right down the middle, and let the chips fall where they will.
What could be sweeter than ten or twelve perfectly synchronized male voices singing
“Dear Old Girl!”. Just thinking about it brought back to your Committee fond memories of a moonlight night, a hay ride and the soft young blonde visitor from Kansas City we dated on that occasion years ago.
Do not forget the date, and make every effort to be present, telephone us if convenient. We will have a private room and so will not be embarrassed by the curiosity of the vulgar public. You may bring a fellow singer if you desire.
Rupert Hall, Royal Keeper of the Minor Keys
O. C. Cash, Third Assistant Temporary Vice Chairman
The Tulsa Club was a high class place and popular destination for special dinners, weddings and meetings. Special accommodations were made for the exclusive members,mostly rich Tulsa Oil men. Rupe was a member and arranged for the location. The management decided to place the “singers” on the roof (in open air – under the stars) so as to not disturb the clientele.
Although closed for years and under threat of demolition, the eleven-story Tulsa Club building still exists in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma and is located on the northwest corner of 5th and Cincinnati.
Built in 1923, it’s across the street (due north) from the Stanolind Oil Building where Cash worked.
It was a fine, warm spring day. O.C. Cash, Rupert Hall, Donnie O’Donovan, Elmer Lawyer and “Puny” Blevens were the first to arrive. Rupe went off to arrange for the food leaving the other four to ask,
“What Are We Waiting For?” They decided to try to woodshed the song “Down Mobile”.
Cash states that he had invited 14 men and 26 “crashed the party”. They sang and harmonized to some old songs for several hours with several breaking off into quartets as well.
Apparently some Tulsa club members on the floors below complained of the “noise” so the next week, April 18th, they met at the Hotel Tulsa (3rd and Cincinnati). Seventy men showed up at this second meeting showing there was interest in this idea and maybe an early indication of the future growth.
By the end of May, the newly formed group began meeting at the Alvin Plaza Hotel (7th & Main) and hosting 75 to 150 men each week. What would later be known as the Tulsa #1 Chapter, would continue to meet at the Alvin for 37 years.