Barbershop is …

Barbershop is
a much misunderstood
musical force for good.
A kind of Westminster
without the politics.
Ambassadors without
the Ferrero Rocher. Zero8
with an ironically high score
a Hallmark of Success,
ringing true to their art,
on a journey without end
with songs of many parts
telling stories full of heart,
life’s tales of mixed fortune
that transcend all that stuff
and takes us from the rough
to velvet vocal grace, without
a single trace of discord
(except where intended).

What is? …
Barbershop is
singing unaccompanied
anywhere that you care
in the garden or the park
in the bar after dark or the
pub with some grub with a
pint if you’re dry, have a tear
in your eye for a love that is
lost … or one you’ve just won
whatever the cost. Barbershop
is the salve that, applied to the
ears, rolls away all the years
with ageless appeal and an
endless feel of vocal accord
that enables an equity of
beginnings and endings
and it pleases the Lord
with spirits ascending.

What is? …
Barbershop is
tearing up musical rules
whatever your vocal tools
it allows you to address
with rubato, or digress from
the score and, what is more
it sounds like the Lord
of the Rings hit the ground
on the seventh with a chord
like no other, made a sound
that will astound like you
heard a full orchestra set off.
Give it large. You’re the boss.
You’re in charge of the gang,
be they four or you hang with
dozens more, it’s just the same
this vocal game … Barbershop is.

© 2020 John Anstie
All Rights Reserved

[For good measure and, speaking of “The Boss”, as a mark of our intention to stick together whilst we cannot be together, here is what we ‘performed’ at the BABS Live event last night, a new song that we haven’t performed together, but learned, rehearsed and performed (via skilfully multi-tracked individual audio recordings, woven with video cameo performances from us all, by our maestro MD, Tim Briggs) … Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in The Dark“. Metaphorically speaking, this seems quite an appropriate title.]

You can read the background to this poem here


About PoetJanstie

“Life is short and art long, the crisis fleeting, experience penniless and decision difficult” ~ Hippocrates. As a young man, John was sporting and fit. It was then as much his recreational therapy as a cappella harmony singing, music, walking in the hills and writing is now. Playing Rugby Union for over twenty years, encouraged in the early days by a school that was run on the same lines and ethos as that famous Scottish public school, Gordonstoun, where our own headmaster had been as a senior master. This gave shape and discipline to a sometimes precarious early life. His fitness was enhanced not only by playing rugby, but also by working part time jobs in farming, as a leather factory packer and security guard, but probably not helped, for a short time, selling ice cream! His professional working life was spent as a Metallurgical Engineer, Marketing Manager, Export Sales Manager, Implementation Manager and Managing Director of his own company. Thirty five years spent, apparently in a creative desert, raising a family, pursuing a career and helping to pay the bills, probably enriched his experience, because his renaissance, on retirement, realised a hidden creative talent as a writer of prose and poetry. He also enjoys music, with a piano and a fifty-two year old Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar. He sings bass in three a cappella harmony groups: as a founding member of a mixed voice chamber choir, Fox Valley Voices and barbershop quartets. He is also a member of one of the top barbershop choruses in the UK, Hallmark of Harmony (stage name of the Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club), who, for the eighth time in 41 years, became UK Champions in 2019. He is also a would be (once upon a time or 'has been') photographer with drawers full of his own history, and an occasional, but lapsed 'film' maker. In his other life, he doubles as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend and Family man. What he writes is sometimes autobiographical, often political, sometimes dark and frequently pins his colours to the mast of climate change and how a few humans are trashing the Earth. In 2013, he published an anthology of the poetry (including his own) of an international group of poets, who met on Twitter in 2011. He produced, edited and steered the product of this work, "Petrichor Rising", to publication by Aquillrelle. His sort of strap-line reads: “ iWrite iSing iDance iChi iVolunteer ”
This entry was posted in Music, Performance, Pleasure, poem, poetry, Singing, story. Bookmark the permalink.

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