The Harmony Brigade Experience: a personal account - Sunday

Sunday, August 20, 2006 (my birthday)

My birthday started out very nicely. The guys in Fourbearance headed off to an empty stairwell to record a few songs together so we could share them with our family members that couldn't come to the concert. The stairwell echoed badly, the mic was too close and we overpowered it on the louder passages, our voices were tired, and poor Jon had a cough that kicked in at some interesting times. Despite the crappy conditions I'm still happy with what we captured because the recordings can take us back to that stairwell and that night …

Around 1 am I was looking for new people to sing with and the members of Reveille were holding court singing what sounded like the arrangement of Danny Boy that I learned with the Suffolk, VA chapter. When they were done I asked if I could give the same song a try. I had recently sung a parody of that arrangement with a pickup quartet back home at a wedding reception and was eager to sing the actual song. John, Joe, and Mark were gracious enough to repeat the song and Mark helped me work my way through the passages that were different than what I had learned. I asked them if they knew the song That Old Quartet of Mine and found out that they did indeed know it although some of them hadn't sung it in a while. I've always liked that song and singing it with those guys gave me chills – damn it was good! I thanked them for their time and the chance to sing with them and headed off searching for new opportunities. I finally headed to bed around 3 am, happy, tired, and simply overwhelmed at the intensity of the weekend.

7 am. You could tell that I still hate mornings, but you have to get up if you want to catch the breakfast that you've already paid for (sigh). After a shower and some food I was ready to sing some more then we had the last session of the weekend. Eddie Holt won the award for "The Guy Everyone Wanted to Sing With". One of the guys I was hanging around with at that point wanted to know why I had such a snot-eating grin on my face so early in the morning. I told him that it was my birthday and that the weekend had been a present from my lovely wife – what a present! Being a typical barbershopper, he immediately let the room know and I was treated to a 50+ man rendition of Happy Birthday. Pretty cool stuff.

By 10:30 I was checked out of my room and heading to Shannon's place to pick Jeanne up for the ride home. Both of the ladies agreed that I was scary when on a barbershop high! I was tired and worn out from lack of sleep and literally bouncing from the leftover adrenaline from the weekend. So how much singing did I get in when all was said and done? I sang for roughly 7.5 hours on Friday, 10 hours on Saturday, and still had the chops to sing an hour or so Sunday morning before I left. Did I have a good time? Enough to ensure that I had the contact information for the membership guy for the North Carolina Harmony Brigade before I left! I'll try to get into that group too and I look forward to returning to Wilmington next summer!

The Harmony Brigade: they don't call it Extreme Quartetting for nothing!