Here are a number of frequently-asked questions that we get:
Initially, we'll ask you to identify the part you think you believe would be best, and just try it out. Barbershop bass has a traditional vocal range. The baritone and lead parts have about the same range as a "second tenor," and a barbershop tenor is usually higher than a traditional "first tenor" and is mostly a falsetto voice. Because of this, it is not uncommon to have guys with natural bass voices doing quite well as barbershop tenors! After some experience you will find the right section. The section leader will hear you sing and give any needed guidance regarding your ability to sing in the chorus.
One of the wonderful things about singing in an ensemble is that normally, an average voice is better than a solo voice. Solo voices often stick out and are difficult to blend with other voices. In general, we prefer, "an average voice, with a good ear."
You do NOT have to read music. We learn our songs by getting part-predominant CDs that we can listen to between rehearsals to learn our individual voice parts. So when we come to rehearsal, the director can work mostly on ensemble singing rather than spending a whole lot of time teaching notes.
We rehearse each Monday throughout the year, and in April we put on our annual shows. We generally have our shows in Fergus Falls on Friday night and Detroit Lakes the following night. In 2011 we added a third show as a Beneift Show for the Wadena Area Tornado Relief Fund. We also usually participate in a Barbershop Harmony Society division competition in the spring of each year. (We passed in 2011 due to our Wadena benefit show.) We also like to perform in and around our area for local festivals, banquets, charitable events, as well as singing at Christmastime and for arts festival events. Some of us also do what we call "Sunday Singers," filling in for church choirs that take the summer off.