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Rocket City Chorus, Southern Splendor to harmonize at gazebo concert

Southern Splendor Chorus is shown at a competition in 2009. (CONTRIBUTED)
Southern Splendor Chorus is shown at a competition in 2009. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – The purely American art form called ‘barbershop’ will be harmonizing at the Madison Gazebo Concert on July 27 at 6:30 p.m.

Rocket City Chorus, along with Southern Splendor, will sing standards and a few surprises in a capella and barbershop harmony.

Rocket City Chorus organized about 50 years ago. Members live across North Alabama and South Central Tennessee.

The chorus’ official name is a bit imposing — the Huntsville Metropolitan Chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America Inc. Their everyday name pays tribute to the rocket glory days of the Wernher von Braun era.

The chorus performs at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville Stars games, parades, nursing homes and assisted-living centers, Huntsville Hospital, local high schools, Panoply and Huntsville’s Concerts in the Park.

With barbershop singing, the lead vocalist sings the familiar melody, while the tenor sings higher notes above the lead. The bass handles the chords’ lowest notes and keeps the song’s rhythm. Pitched just below the lead, the baritone completes the chord.

Rocket City Chorus rehearses at First Baptist Church, 600 Governors Drive in Huntsville on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. The group welcomes new members. For more information, visit rocketcitychorus.org.

Keeping the harmonious theme, Southern Splendor will follow. The all-male chorus sings four-part, a capella (without musical accompaniment). The music style dates to the late 1800s and combines English hymns with African-American influences.

Their barbershop songs often culminate in the “tag.” The vocals build for a final blend of chords that are fun for the group to sing and entertaining to the audience.

Southern Splendor Chorus organized in 2001 and continues to invite members to rehearsals on Thursdays at 7 p.m. at Athens Bible School. For more information, visit southernsplendorchorus.com.

Madison Arts Council sponsors the Madison Gazebo Concert series. For information, visit madisonarts.org.

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