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Subtitle Michigan Ontario Barbershop News Pioneer District Barbershop Harmony Society
March 2008                ArchiveAdsSubmissions Links          Online Edition #3

Wayne Chapter

Our next job was at a facility called ARC. It is a place where they try to help the developmentally disabled. We knew that this was going to be a fairly large group so we had one of the quartets (3D’s & W) join with us. Along with the usual songs, we sang a few additional upbeat songs. We were really amazed at how well behaved these people were and how much they enjoyed the music. Some of them can’t talk but you could see it in their faces. The director of the facility asked if they could take a few photos of us and a bunch of the disabled came and got in the pictures. When we were leaving, they wanted to shake hands with us and thanked us in their own special way for singing for them. This is the type of assignment that makes us feel really good about what we do.

Mark’s wife is a teacher at Divine Child High School in Dearborn. We entered the building just as the students were changing classes so we were waiting to go to her classroom as they walked by and we got a lot of really curious looks. One of the classrooms was directly across the hall from the lobby and they were all congregating by the door and asked what we were doing. We told them we were going to sing a couple of romantic songs to one of the teachers. One of the girls asked if we could give them a sample. So, being the gentlemen that we are, we sang one for them. After we were done, I heard one of them say how “cute” we were. It made our day.

Now it was time to go to Karen’s classroom. We entered and lined up in front and started to sing. She introduced us to them and told them that Mark was her husband. Again, it’s amazing how our type of singing is enjoyed by even the younger generation.

Now it was time to go sing for Tony’s wife. She wasn’t home so we decided to go to lunch. As any of you have done Singing Valentines know, when you walk into a restaurant, you really draw a lot of attention. We ended up singing a few songs for the waitresses and the customers.

Tony’s wife still wasn’t home and we still had some time to kill so we stopped at another restaurant for a cup of coffee. This time the owner bought our drinks for us after we sang a few songs.

We finally got to Tony’s wife and sang for her (and their dog).

The next stop was at the Livonia City Hall where we had the other sextet join us. We go there every year. The ceiling of their lobby area goes all the way to the 5th floor and is open to each floor with a balcony. The acoustics are great.
Wayne Singing Valentine

My First Singing Valentine
(click image for album)

by Frank Adams, Webmaster
Renaissance Chorus

I have been a member of the WayneChapter for a little over a year. I had heard the guys talk about doing Singing Valentines last year and had been really looking forward to doing them this year. From the stories they told, it sounded like it would be a lot of fun. Here is the story of my experience this year.

I decided that I would add to the experience by being the person booking the telephone orders. It was really interesting to talk to the givers and hear some of their stories. It brings the singing to a more personal level. There were quite a few that I wanted to personally go to because I knew their stories. Taking the orders also ended up involving me in scheduling the 4 groups we were going to send out. I say groups because we only have 2 actual quartets in our chorus. Since we had 12 other guys who wanted to sing, we ended up having 2 sextets instead of just quartets. I was to be with the group Mark Pritchard (our president) had originally named Four Instants thinking we would only have a quartet. We decided to stick with the name anyway. Singing in our group were Mark (T), Jerry Beamish and Jim Farkas (L), Tony Pyrkosz and I (Ba) and Charles Nalbandian (Br)

I got my tux and all the accessories and patiently awaited the big day. I wasn’t disappointed. We met at 8 A.M. at the church where we rehearse. Everyone was busy getting the roses wrapped in cellophane and ribbons, looking at their schedules, making last minute adjustments and putting on their boutonnieres. You could feel the excitement in the air.

At last it was time to leave. Our first assignment was to sing to Mark’s mother-in-law. Mark went to the door and rang the doorbell. Nobody was answering but he did notice that the TV was on so we waited a few minutes and she finally came to the door. Wouldn’t you know it, she had been in the shower. We waited for her to get dressed and then sang to her. She was really thrilled to have her son-in-law sing to her.

The receptionist calls up to each floor and everyone comes out and looks down from their floor. It is really a lot of fun. It’s kind of like Romeo singing to Juliet. The ladies throw dollar bills down to us as we sing (sometimes even a five will show up).

As I said earlier, when you take the bookings over the phone, you sometimes get into a conversation with the giver and find out some interesting things about the recipient. The guy we were to sing to next had called his wife on there first Valentine’s Day together and sang “I Love You Truly” to her. He has done this every year since. This year she wanted to turn the tables on him and have it sung to him. He is working 2 jobs and she wanted us to come when he was home for supper. As soon as we pulled up, she was waving for us to come in in a hurry. He was in the shower. We waited quietly in the living room as she called to him to come in there. He walked in wearing his bathrobe and was quite stunned. For a few seconds we thought he was going to kick us out. We sang “...Sweetheart” first. Then Mark told him that we understood he had a song that had a special meaning to him and began “I Love You Truly”. That brought a smile to his face as well as his wife’s. It even looked like his eyes got a little wet. Another job that made our day.

The next gig was for a young guy who was taking his girlfriend out to dinner. The restaurant was fairly dark. She was engrossed in conversation with him. We walked up to the table and she still hadn’t noticed us. Finally she turned her head and saw us. I asked her if she was Karah. She said “NO! (pause) Yes”. I think she was so surprised that she didn’t know who she was for a moment. Either that or she thought that by denying it, we would go away. This was the only time throughout the day that I was the only bass.

We concluded our day with most of the Renaissance Chorus meeting at the Livonia Senior Center. There was a Parkinson’s Disease Support Group having their meeting there and we sang a few songs for them after their meeting. We always feel a special warmth when we are able to entertain groups like these.

“Singing Valentines” was one of the most enjoyable and entertaining experiences I have had since joining the Wayne Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. It was really a lot of fun bringing these special one-of-a-kind gifts of love and affection to these people. The ability to sing together with a group of guys all day long and contribute to the sound was a whole new adventure for me. I am already looking forward to next year.