The other day, I posted a video of a jaw-dropping extravaganza live-TV production of "76 Trombones."
Here's another absolutely wonderful version, dazzling in its own way.
So, ya thinks ya hates barbershop singing, does ya?
Okay, this isn't exactly barbershop quartet, but it is barbershop. It's just done with a full chorus, not four people. It comes from the Barbershop Harmony Society's International Chorus Championships. This is the big leagues, folks. Like barbershop or not, this is not at as high a level as it gets. The meticulous quality of the singing is only part of it -- the showmanship is another. (Yes, showmanship by a barbershop chorus. Go figure.)
At the championships, a chorus can win as many times as possible -- but if they win, they're not eligible to compete for two years. That's why two teams have really dominated the championship for a quarter century. In the past 24 years, Vocal Majoritiy and Masters of Harmony have won 15 times. Over those years, I suspect they rarely lost, since they usually didn't have to compete with one another.
A few choruses did sneak in. One of them, the Ambassadors of Harmony from St. Louis, who won in 2004. And then, five years later, the Ambassadors were back, facing their rivals who never lose and -- well, they pulled out this.
This is showmanship, even if you don't like barbershop singing. This is wonderful, even if you don't like barbershop singing. And this is what wins you the International Chorus Championship, against competition that just don't lose.
Stick with it, even if you find yourself scratching your head. This develops in a way you really don't expect. At the very least, revel in the expression on director Dr. James Henry's face at the end. As the crowd explodes.
Oh, what a day.
(Bonus help: it's best to watch this full-screen because of the size of the chorus.)
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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