Barbershop chorus starts new year with new leader
By Jack Evans
A man whose record of involvement in barbershop singing goes back almost 50 years , Lynn Brown, has now taken over as director for A Cappella Quinte, the regional chapter of the Ontario Barbershop Harmony Society, part of a thriving international organization. The international organization, in recent months ,marked its 75th anniversary during a gala convention at Toronto.
The Quinte chorus itself has been around for about 40 years under long-time director Robert Young, who continues to be supportive of the group as a fill-in director.
During its recent annual Christmas tour of area senior facilities, the chorus serenaded at about half a dozen nursing and retirement homes scattered around Belleville, a rewarding outing for the 30 or so singers.
Born and raised on a dairy farm, Brown studied civil engineering at Queen’s University and then did post graduate studies to become a professional Ontario Land Surveyor, now based at Port Hope. While at Kingston, he joined the chorus there in 1969 and later transferred his membership to Oshawa. He sang in two quartets that competed at the Ontario District level and did extensive training in singing and voice development. In recent years, he took special training in chorus directing and barbershop musical theory studies, going on to direct the Peterborough Aces chorus, the Durham Shores Sweet Adeline Chorus (women’s branch of the barbershop society) and specializing in coaching quartets.
He recalls with fondness a tour of England with the Tri-City Chorus in 1988.
As new director of the local chorus, Brown applauded the group’s involvement with the community through the annual nursing home tour and other engagements, and heralded a term of increased emphasis on barbershop craft.
The chorus is now working toward its annual show, set for Saturday, May 12 .(Please note a change of date.) Details on location and special guests continue to be finalized, but it is hoped the 8 Wing Concert Band will perform, in keeping with the continuing anniversary of the First and Second World Wars. Some exciting new barbershop songs will be on the program.
The chorus, at more than 30 members, continues to welcome men who like to sing. Newcomers to barbershop singing or barbershoppers moving into the community may drop in to chorus meetings at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in the Youth Hall of Maranatha Christian Reformed Church on College Street west. For more information, contact Bob Fellows at (613) 966-3986 or Bob Goodall at (613)966-53234. For those wanting to book the chorus for a singing engagement, contact Jon Warren at (613) 962-7003.
Current president of the chapter is Dr. Robert Goodall, who has been a member for many years and is now serving his second term as president.