Local acapella group Pacific Sound Chorus is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, an occasion for which it has invited an international champion of barbershop harmony singing to headline its annual Barbershop Harmony Show.
On Saturday, Colorado-based barbershop quartet Storm Front will lead a lineup of acapella groups including Pacific Sound Chorus and local women’s chorus Carpe Diem through a program called “Till There Was You” at the Marjorie Luke Theatre.
Gold medal winners in the 2010 International Barbershop Harmony Society Quartet Contest, Storm Front is well known in the barbershop harmony singing community for its comedic performances, which Pacific Sound Chorus spokesperson and bass singer Brent Anderson thought would be well liked by fans of his group.
“Having seen Storm Front many, many times, I just know that they’re a quartet that will appeal to our audience,” he said.
Since winning the international contest at the beginning of the decade, Storm Front has exclusively performed its brand of comedic barbershop harmony singing in non-competition performances.
In an interview with the News-Press, Storm Front lead singer Jim Clark explained that his quartet like all groups that win the international contest were automatically retired from future competitions after winning first place. Though he admitted to missing the thrill and creativity that goes into competing, Mr. Clark appreciates that he and bandmates Darin Drown, Syd Libsack and Jeff Selano don’t have to work quite as hard as they used to. Before winning the contest in 2010, Storm Front spent almost all of the previous decade working toward victory.
“To try to be the best at something takes a lot of time. We competed at internationals for nine years before we won,” he said.
After 2008, the quartet determined it would strictly be a comedic barbershop harmony quartet in competition performances. Now that competing is over for Storm Front, the group sometimes sings non-humorous material but mostly maintains its reputation as a funny vocal group. Mr. Clark described the Storm Front comedic style as primarily slapstick humor and parody. The most famous song the quartet has planned for tomorrow’s set is a rendition of “Lida Rose” from Meredith Wilson’s Broadway show “The Music Man,” but “with a twist,” as Mr. Clark said.
The concert will also feature performances from large choruses like Carpe Diem, a Santa Barbara-based Sweet Adeline vocal group, as well as small groups like Priority Male and Modern Nostalgia, a barbershop quartet comprised of Pacific Sound singers including Mr. Anderson and his son in law, Bobby Georges.
Directing Pacific Sound Chorus’ performance for the first time is Mr. Anderson’s daughter and Dos Pueblos High School vocal music teacher Courtney Anderson-Georges. Having directed women’s choruses in the past, working with Pacific Sound is something of a new experience for her.
“It’s different directing men than directing the women’s groups I’ve worked with, so it’s been a good challenge,” Ms. Anderson-Georges said.
She added that because she’s a woman, helping Pacific Sound’s bass singers with their vocal parts can be a little tricky.
“Being a woman directing men, I can’t always hit their vocal ranges,” she said.
When they take the stage of the Marjorie Luke Theatre, the Pacific Sound singers will perform a set consisting of gospel tunes, a “love set” of songs about the different stages of falling in love from flirting to marriage, and the event’s title song “Till There Was You,” also from “The Music Man.”
In addition to Pacific Sound, Ms. Anderson-Georges will also direct a set by the Dos Pueblos High School Jazz Choir, who her father complimented as “so good that they tend to steal the show.”
Following Storm Front’s headlining performance, the show’s entire cast will gather on the stage for a massive finale that will be yet another challenge for the Pacific Sound director.
“I’m both excited and nervous because that is a lot of people to direct. It’s the largest choir I’ve ever directed,” Ms. Anderson-Georges said.
Tickets for the 20th Annual Pacific Sound Chorus Barbershop Harmony Show can be purchased online at www.luketheatre.org.
The concert will begin at 2:00 p.m. November 2 at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, located at 721 E Cota St.