Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Take a Note from the Barbershop Boys; LOOKING for a New Hobby? the Peers of Harmony Would Welcome You, as KIM CARMICHAEL Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Take a Note from the Barbershop Boys; LOOKING for a New Hobby? the Peers of Harmony Would Welcome You, as KIM CARMICHAEL Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: KIM CARMICHAEL

TV TALENT searches are known for propelling young performers from obscurity to West End fame. As Jodie Prenger, Lee Meade and Connie Fisher can tell you, winning a lead role in a West End musical can change your life.

But one North East choir is hoping that shows like Andrew Lloyd Webber's I'd Do Anything and Any Dream Will Do can now help to change its fortunes too.

"There are a lot of talented kids out there," says Jeff Dawson from the barbershop singing club Peers of Harmony. "And they're being encouraged to discover that talent now with shows like Last Choir Standing.

"Kids are busting a gut to get into singing but they don't necessarily want to join a church choir so our stuff is ideal."

The Peers of Harmony meet once a week in a Tyneside church hall, where they practise anything from traditional classics to tunes by the Beatles, Beach Boys and The Drifters.

But the style is all the same - unaccompanied vocal music characterised by consonant four-part chords for every melody note.

The melody is consistently sung by the lead, with the tenor harmonising above the melody, the bass singing the lowest harmonising notes, and the baritone completing the chord.

The Peers of Harmony perform at weddings and parties and take part in competitive barbershop singing.

And father-of-two Jeff Dawson, who is leading the club's current recruitment drive, is hoping the rise of the musical talent show will encourage new blood.

"We really want to get more people involved," he said. "Barbershop singing is something everyone can learn. It's enjoyable for everyone."

The latest batch of hopefuls on Over the Rainbow, which was launched this month to find the next Dorothy to step into Judy Garland's red slippers, may have to go through gruelling auditions and live performances, but entry to the Peers of Harmony comes at an easier price. …

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