The barbershop chorus has a name

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Features Editor

The Troy Men’s Barbershop Chorus had been making a name for itself long before it had a name for itself.

The chorus was organized in January 2001 with its membership coming from Pike County, Montgomery, Dothan and Birmingham. The revival of barbershop singing in Troy was well received and the men’s group quickly began to get rave reviews from all who were privileged to hear them.

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Those who heard the "barbershop quartet" for the first time were amazed and puzzled at the number in the "quartet" which was many more than four.

"We are not a barbershop quartet," said Jim Wadowick, organizer of the chorus. "We are a chorus."

Wadowick explained that when the chorus breaks into a foursome to perform, only then are they a barbershop "quartet" called the Dixie Cut-ups.

And, the men needed to be able to identify their group by name, so they chose the "Heart of Dixie" as their official name.

On May 24, the chorus was awarded its official charter by the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. (S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A.).

With an official charter and an official name, the chorus is intent on being a civic organization.

The chorus recently performed at the Jean Lake Festival and at the Memorial Day Service at Bicentennial Park. They welcome the opportunity to perform at other events.

The chorus is open to anyone who enjoys singing.

"If one can sing, ‘Happy Birthday,’ one can be a ‘barbershopper," Wadowick said. "Barbershopping is one of the most fun and enriching musical experiences one can have."

Music reading skill is not necessary, because parts are taught

"by ear." Learning tapes are furnished so barbershoppers can practice in the privacy of their homes.

"There is no age restriction," Wadowick said. "Participants range in age from 20 to almost 80. For having fun, meeting new friends and contributing to Troy civic life, there is nothing like it."

Anyone who is interested in joining the chorus, in knowing more about the Heart of Dixie Barbershop Chorus or in having the chorus perform at an event is encouraged to call Wadowick at 566-1664.

S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. is a non-profit organization with headquarters in Kenosha, Wis. It has a membership of about 40,000. It hosts district and national conventions, the next of which will be in Nashville during the Fourth of July weekend.

"There are affiliated chapters in 10 other countries and barbershop choruses in a total of 40 countries worldwide," Wadowick said. "A very large barbershop chorus movement is now taking place in Russia, backed by the Russian Army. They say the singing is keeping the army men off the vodka!"