Matinee Idles
Matinee Idles

chorus of the atlanticPHOTO: The Chorus of the Atlantic is one of the a cappella group to perform Saturday at the Middletown Library.

MIDDLETOWN, NJ - As part of its arts programming, Middletown Township Public Library will host an A Cappella Concert on Saturday, August 18 at 2:30 pm. The Chorus of the Atlantic will perform classic arrangements in the barbershop harmony style.  Four-part harmony is the hallmark of barbershop music.  

The Red Bank Area Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society has been creating music in Monmouth County for more than 60 years.  The local chapter has two performing choruses. 

The Chorus of the Atlantic, a group of about 20 men who meet weekly on Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm at the Red Bank Middle School. The chorus performs at town events, fairs, and festivals throughout Monmouth County.  The group recently performed at the Monmouth County fair and a Blueclaws Baseball game and will be featured next month at the Longstreet Farm Home Harvest Days in Holmdel. 

The other performing chorus, The Matinee Idles, is a small group of retired gentlemen (and women) who perform afternoon performances at area senior facilities and community centers throughout the year.  

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In addition, barbershop quartets will perform traditional barbershop harmony songs on the program.  The Middletown Townshop Public Library performing arts program begins at 2:30 pm. in the Community Room on Saturday, August 18th.  The library is located at 55 New Monmouth Road, Middletown.

A cappella, or unaccompanied singing, is the art of singing without instruments to back up the singer.  All the sound comes from the singers.  In barbershop harmony, a melody singer is surrounded by three other singers in different parts that create the harmonic chords of 4 part harmony.  In barbershop harmony, the melody, or lead part is carried by the second tenor line.  The lead sings just below the tenor, how carries all the top notes.  The bass part is the lowest part of the chord and the baritone part fills in the chord, usually below the lead part, but sometimes above.  String all those chords together in a melodic way and you get great music in 4-part harmony.

The chapter members are part of an international society of barbershop singers numbering 25,000 men in North America.  This year, for the first time in its 80-year history, the Barbershop Harmony Society, still formally known as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA), has opened its membership to women.  Their new motto, Everyone in Harmony, invites people of all walks of life and any gender to join in the joy of singing.