Plattsburgh Even if you just like howling in the shower, the Cumberland Bay Chorus is offering free vocal lessons from a well-known local singing coach at a men-only crooning camp for the next month.
Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the Northern Alliance Church annex from Feb. 28 to March 20, the chorus will have William Verity on hand to give free singing lessons to what long-time member Dave Hurd said will be a low-pressure learning environment.
Verity's headed choruses for Plattsburgh City Schools, SUNY Plattsburgh, All-County ensembles in Clinton and Franklin counties and conducted the North West District Music Festival in Vermont.
Chorus treasurer Tom Maglienti said getting the word out about the group and increasing enrollment can be tough. He was one of those tough recruiting targets until seven years ago. His neighbor, Dave Hurd, encouraged Maglienti to join up for years, but he always declined — until he retired.
“I couldn't come up with more excuses not to join,” he said.
And he's happy he couldn't. There's something unique about barbershop, he said. The tight harmonies of that a cappella style really get him.
“It's very gratifying, very satisfying to hear those chords ring,” he said.
Hurd said aside from Maglienti, he's recruited five or so more members for the group, and the time demands of group membership, though modest, can be a hard sell.
“They're concerned about whether or not they can sing, but if they can carry a tune, they'll do just fine,” said Hurd. “You're putting your voice out there for examination, and you're never sure it's right on.”
He, too, was slow in coming around to full-fledged membership. The group piqued his interest in the late '70s, but his kids were too young for personal pursuits like that. When they were off to elementary school, he joined up for awhile, but high school came along for his kids and he again had no time. Since they graduated though, he's been able to do his own thing.