The Harmony Heritage Singers delighted a packed Mount Vernon Unitarian Church Sunday with a crowd-pleasing concert to benefit United Community Ministries.
The group of 89 gentlemen sings songs old and new in the barbershop style. That means four parts; tenor, lead, baritone and bass singing in perfect harmony.
The Harmony Heritage Singers is the Mount Vernon Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Founded in 1996, the group grew from 12 to its current 89 members. All but three of them are military men. Members rehearse twice a month and perform twice a month and everybody who participates is there simply because they love music.
“It’s an American form of music,” said member Mike Everard. “Nobody cares what you make and nobody’s out to make you."
At Sunday’s performance, the group dazzled the crowd with standards and hymns like “Amazing Grace” and also reinvented newer songs like “Country Roads.” In honor of President’s Day, the Harmony Heritage Singers wore patriotic ties and armbands and performed tunes like “America.” The group sang a medley of each branch of the military’s song and asked veterans in the crowd to stand when their service was honored.
“They say, ‘those old guys can really sing’” joked Everard.
Everard says he thinks barbershop style appeals to a lot of people because it is especially melodious.
“Melody and harmony and even words are often missing from today’s music,” said Everard.
Sunday’s concert was free and open to the public, but an offering was collected for United Community Ministries. The non-profit social services agencies is headquartered in Hybla Valley.
“It’s giving back to the community and it’s very local,” Everard said. “This is Route 1; these are you neighbors that need help.”
The oldest member of the Harmony Heritage Singers is 97. They also have a member who is a brand new father.