The Dayton Metro Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society is executing an innovative musical collaboration with a cappella singing groups from Miami Valley School and Northmont High School. We will explore one another’s musical styles, exchange musical gifts, and share in the camaraderie of singing. This partnership will bridge the ages, cultures and musical experiences of this diverse Dayton community, as we emerge from the isolation of the pandemic.
To that end, each musical group spent the fall of 2021 perfecting the song(s) we wish to sing for the other groups to demonstrate our distinctive musical styles, including modern pop, barbershop and classical. To commemorate the history of Dayton, Ohio, one of the songs performed by Dayton Metro Chapter of BHS will be the iconic Dayton, Ohio, 1903 by Randy Newman.
Simultaneously, each of the three (or more) choral groups are working on a selected song which was arranged to encompass both Barbershop and contemporary a cappella styles. This song was arranged by Christopher Diaz. Mr Diaz is a proven multi-talented arranger, vocalist and vocal coach for the last decade. He produced learning tracks that will help each choral group to master this song.
On an appointed day in February, 2022, at least three choral groups will assemble for a community building Festival Workshop, hosted by Dayton Metro Chapter of Barbershop Harmony Society and our director for the day, Christopher Diaz.
Our music clinician for the Festival Workshop will be Drew Wheaton of Louisville, Kentucky. Mr. Wheaton is a member of the International Gold medal champion quartet, Forefront, currently directs a Louisville chorus named Thoroughbreds, and is engaged at all levels of the A Cappella Education Association, where he oversees the adjudication process.
Drew will reflect on the history of unaccompanied singing ranging from ecclesiastical chant through motet style singing and other classical idioms. Of particular interest will be the history and origins of the development of Barbershop, including the influence of the African-American musical tradition; and the subsequent flourishing in America of multiple forms of a cappella song. Drew’s presentation will include leading brief choral exercises illustrating the nature of various kinds of unaccompanied singing.
During the workshop, each choral group, under the direction of its own conductor, will sing a prepared song in their own idiom. The three choral groups will then work together at perfecting the song arranged by Mr. Diaz. The workshop will include a brief intermission for refreshments and conversation so that friendships may blossom in the midst of the music making. Parents and friends will be invited to observe part or all of this unique workshop.
As a result of this workshop experience, a performance (or two) open to the public in the late winter or spring will be held featuring this new collaborative choral group utilizing the talents of everyone. It is our hope to present our music, for example, at a half-time show at a University of Dayton Women’s basketball game, a concert for parents at Stivers and/or at the Levitt Pavilion on Main St. in Dayton.
Our goal is to celebrate the musical and ethnic diversity of our city, form bonds that will draw vocal artists together in mutual appreciation and help bridge the gaps in the community of Dayton. We want to lift up our essential unity as human beings.
We plan for the legacy of this shared musical and cultural journey to have a long afterlife, by producing and sharing a video that will celebrate this partnership and feature the song(s) that we have enjoyed together, thus encouraging the dream of “Everyone in Harmony in Dayton.”