The Mid-Atlantic District (M-AD) of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) held its annual Harmony College East (HCE) this past weekend on the beautiful campus of McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.  We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather, and we couldn’t have asked for more amazing singing!

HCE offers two-and-a-half days of classes, coaching, rehearsals, and just plain barbershop fun to anyone interested in learning more about the craft of barbershop harmony.  Enrollment is open to SAI and HI participants as well! There were approximately 500 attendees who took (and taught!) classes in everything from basic music theory to transformational leadership to how to be a better [fill in your voice part here!] to Tune It or Die! Faculty is made up of talented, experienced, and qualified barbershop teachers.  Three district choruses and many district quartets came for the weekend to get extensive, expert coaching from top-notch coaches who came to sleepy Westminster from all around!  Additionally, there is a simultaneous Youth In Harmony “Camp” where youth from elementary to college age came in quartets, ensembles, and as individuals to get coaching and meet other like-minded people to improve their craft!  Two amazing shows (one on Friday night, and one on Saturday night) featured all of the coached ensembles, both adult and youth, and several of M-AD’s International qualifying quartets who were there to polish and perform the sets that they will put on stage in Orlando in a few weeks.  What a great weekend!  Two particularly outstanding Mixed Barbershop moments are highlighted here:

HCE offers adult students the opportunity to be a member of the HCE Chorus, which includes men and women who received the music in advance, and were privileged to participate in rehearsals and a performance of “Smilin’ Through” under the direction of Steve Armstrong, former director of Toronto Northern Lights (BHS 2013 Chorus Champions) and one of the Society’s most sought-after teachers, coaches and arrangers. (PC: Bill Colosimo)

On the Youth in Harmony side, in addition to receiving expert coaching in their quartets and ensembles (approximately 8-10 hours over two days!), approximately 55 middle school, high school, and college students also participated in the HCE Youth Choruses: Young Men’s (directed by Jeff Glemboski, music educator and Bass of ‘Round Midnight), Young Women’s (directed by Meredith Glemboski, music educator and Lead of Brown Eyed Girls) and the Combined Chorus.  This year, under the direction of Ben Hawker (Baritone, Pratt Street Power, 2016 International Youth Champs), the Combined Chorus sang “Sing!,” made famous by Pentatonix, and arranged by BHS arranger and singer Wayne Grimmer (Lead, ‘Round Midnight).  (And if you look VERY closely, you can see Meredith and Jeff’s infant son in his mixed barbershop debut!) This performance was the finale of the Saturday night show, and when the show was over, after a rousing standing ovation, there was an abundance of singing in the “quad” area of the college — young with old, accomplished with beginner — until the wee hours of Sunday morning! (PC: Bill Colosimo)

Sheryl Berlin

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