The African American roots of barbershop harmony

John Taber's picture

by Bill Carroll.

If, on a Monday evening, you drop into the community room of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church located at 36th and Everett Streets, NW, you will hear ringing chords of barbershop harmony as the Singing Capital Chorus (SCC) grows and polishes its broadly diverse repertoire.

The SCC is the performing arm of the District of Columbia Chapter of the international Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), performing throughout the year in the District of Columbia and wider metropolitan area. The BHS began as something of a lark in 1938. Stranded by canceled flights at the Muelenback Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, two traveling salesmen struck up an acquaintance, began singing barbershop songs in the lounge and invited other guests to join in. All agreed to meet again a short time later on the Roof Garden of the Tulsa Club in Oklahoma with the idea of forming a “peaceable assembly.”

Read the full article in the Forest Hills Connection