About Us/History

Who We Are

 

First established in 1982 and holding rehearsals inside KCVI as the Cataraqui Townsmen, the chorus is deeply integrated into music culture in Kingston and throughout the Ontario region. For more than 30 years, we've sung at hundreds of performances ranging from retirement homes to delivering Singing Valentines, from public appearances and fundraisers to events hosting Canadian Provincial and Federal politicians.  Some of our past and current members include prominent figures within the International barbershop community such as Sing Canada Harmony founder and chair, Digger MacDougall, and the late Paul Tamblyn, director, coach and former faculty member at Harmony University.

Our current artistic director, Andrew Carolan, is well-known in the Australia and New Zealand region for his work, and is also an award-winner in the 2014 Pan-Pacific quartet contest with his quartet The Establishment. 
 

What Is Barbershop Music?


Barbershop harmony is a rather unique style of A Capella singing where three voices harmonize to a melody, usually sung by the "lead". The tenor sings notes above the lead, the bass sings below and the baritone fills in the chord by singing notes either above or below the lead. In fact, the baritone is largely responsible for giving barbershop harmony its unique sound.

As an art form, barbershop harmony is indigenous to North America: a product of African-American musical styles, European hymn-singing and the tradition of recreational music. It is preserved, encouraged and has evolved within the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS). The BHS is the world’s largest men’s singing organization, with over 30,000 members in Canada and the United States alone, and some 3,000 affiliate members world-wide. Over 300 chapters (including the Kingston Townsmen, founded in 1982) and over 1,800 registered quartets comprise the BHS. Our “sister” singing organizations, the Women’s Sweet Adelines International and Harmony, Inc, also have a membership of well over 3,000 worldwide.