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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Barbershop show brings top performers to area

3/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

The Derbytown Chorus will perform at their annual show along with special guests Max Q and Main Street.
Photo courtesy of the Akron Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society
CUYAHOGA FALLS — The best in barbershop-harmony style of singing will perform in the Akron area at the 66th annual Barbershop Harmony Society show.

The show will be presented twice, April 5-6, at 7:30 p.m. at Cuyahoga Falls High School.

Show director Mike Sitter, a member of the Akron Derbytown Chorus since 2004, said this year’s show will feature two internationally accomplished vocal groups, Max Q and Main Street.

He said Max Q is considered one of the best quartets in the history of barbershop, earning a Barbershop Harmony Society gold medal in 2007. In addition, all the members have medals from other groups.

“They are just loaded with talent,” Sitter said. “They are powerful; they have a big sound, which most barbershoppers like. They are very entertaining and their repertoire is quite diverse.”

One of the members is from the Cleveland area but the others live elsewhere, so the group sees each other in person mostly at performances, Sitter said.

“These guys, they can learn without getting together in person each week,” he said. “A lot of their rehearsal time comes when they are in a show.”

One member of Max Q, Tony DeRosa, is also a member of Main Street, Sitter said. That group performs at Walt Disney World as the Dapper Dans.

“They’re quite a different style from Max Q,” Sitter said. “Main Street looks more like the stereotypical old-style quartet. Their costuming and act is kind of a throwback, but they’re very entertaining. They are the kind of quartet that has an upbeat, happy feeling, and they communicate with the audience very well.”

The show also will feature the Derbytown Chorus, who will present a set with the theme “That’s My Baby.” Sitter said the songs performed will be those with the word “baby” in them.

“There aren’t that many songs in the catalog of barbershop arrangement that are about babies, but many with the word ‘baby’ in them,” he said. “It actually works out very well. Sometimes no change in the lyrics is needed.”

He said the performance would feature humor derived from the jitters of expectant fathers in maternity ward waiting rooms.

This year, local resident Tom Gentry will return to be master of ceremonies. Gentry is a sought-after arranger of songs in the barbershop style and has coached and judged events worldwide, Sitter said.

Also on the bill that night is Tetrad, a quartet from Kent Roosevelt High School.

“They’re quite good,” Sitter said. “They’ve only been together less than a year and are planning to compete in Johnny Appleseed District competition soon.”

The Derbytown Chorus learned about the group when they visited the school as part of their outreach into local high schools with vocal groups.

Sitter said he and members of the society are happy to see that young people are getting interested in a cappella singing.

“We find when we go to the schools, the kids love it,” he said.

Sitter said barbershop-style singing is unique and complex.

“The main characteristic of it is what we call lock and ring,” he said. “It sounds like you have more than four voices and you hear notes that aren’t being sung. It’s all done by ear. You can’t do it on a piano — you can only do it with voices. You can get spine-chilling chords and that’s what we shoot for.”

Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for children and students and $15 each for adults in groups of 10 or more. Tickets will be available at the door and may be ordered at 330-690-6158 or by credit card online at www.derbytownchorus.org. Cuyahoga Falls High School is located at 2300 Fourth St.

Also available are tickets for the Afterglow, a postconcert event with entertainment and food in the high school’s cafeteria following the April 6 show. Tickets also will be available at the door.

Sitter said the Derbytown Chorus is always looking for new members. Men of all ages are eligible. The group meets Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 50 N. Prospect St.

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