History of Barbershop Presentation – a video compilation (7mins)
Around the turn of the last century in the United States, the local town barber’s shop was often a central place for guys to hang out and wait for a shave or a haircut. With little other forms of musical entertainment, they’d often sing for their own amusement and some would join in harmony. The style evolved over time and a number of quartets emerged and became part of the music hall scene and Vaudeville.
It wasn’t until 1938 when a chap called O C Cash met with some friends and set up an organisation of like-minded singers, and so the ‘Society for the Preservation & Encouragement of Barbershop Singers in America‘ was born. (How they loved long titles back then!) The society has grown in popularity since, although now called ‘The Barbershop Harmony Society‘ it has around 25,000 members.
In 1945 the Sweet Adeline organisation was founded in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. Their membership has grown internationally, with now 23,000 women singing barbershop music around the world.
It wasn’t long before the UK women wanted to enjoy singing in this exciting engaging style too, and in 1976 the Ladies’ Association British Barbershop Singers was formed. Now with over 50 clubs around the country, the Association has around 2000 members nationwide.