Local barbershop chorus celebrates 50th anniversary

During the past 50 years of the chorus, many men have experienced the harmony of the chorus, with membership ebbing and flowing, but no matter who is in the group, musical director Dianne Tortorelli-Brooks said there is always a "closeness" and "support" she has never seen anywhere else.

"Everybody is there for each other and supports each other and you don't always find that in other groups," Tortorelli-Brooks explained. "And even some choruses ... don't have the camaraderie and the closeness that this group has. So, it's really special."

However, it's not just the members who support one another, it's also the community.

"When they heard us sing, they wanted us," Brooks said. "Every one of them."

"They are so supportive of the barbershoppers that it's hard to believe that we actually have followers that will follow us to different performances," added Tortorelli-Brooks. "As long as they see that we're performing some place, we'll see them there."

Over the last 50 years of existence, the chorus has also been there for the community.

"Of course everything we do, we give it to charity," said Brooks. "And, we've helped a lot of young people in the community."

The barbershop chorus also visits nursing homes and hospitals to sing to the elderly throughout the year. In fact, they'll sing just about anywhere to lift the spirits of those around them.

"For whatever reason we happened to be in the bank, the same bank, the same time," explained Lushia, referring to Brooks and himself. "And, the bank is backed up, the line is backed up. And, that's not a pleasant experience, standing in line at the bank. But it was pleasant by the time [Brooks] got done."

"He [said] to a woman, a young woman, 'I bet I can get you to sing.' And, sure enough, the whole lobby was singing by the time we left," Lushia said.

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