The first meeting of what is now the ScotianAires was held in April of 1980. In September of that year, the chorus held its first Guest Night, with the chorus sharing the billing with City of Lakes, a men’s barbershop chorus based in Dartmouth.
At the ScotianAires’ first board meeting in 1981, they learned about an international organization called Harmony, Inc. which brought together women barbershoppers from across the United States and Canada. The following year, they decided to become a chapter of Harmony Inc., and the chorus received its Harmony charter in 1983.
Since that time, the chorus has grown significantly and has performed in venues ranging from local seniors’ homes and shopping centres to the Spatz Theatre, Halifax International Airport and the Pier 21 Museum. The chorus introduced training and coaching sessions in both voice and performance and has won numerous awards, a testament to its members’ hard work, dedication and love of a cappella singing.
Barbershop singing has its roots at the turn of the 20th century. Around that time, the local barbershop was not only a place for a shave and a haircut, it was also a social gathering place for men. In addition to exchanging local gossip, singing simple melodies to which others could harmonize became a feature of many barbershops. Consequently, the term “barbershop” came to represent this particular style of singing.
Barbershop is sung a cappella, which is an Italian term literally meaning “in the manner of the chapel” – that is, without instrumental accompaniment. The vocal harmonies are produced by four parts: lead, tenor, baritone and bass. The melody is sung by the lead voice; the tenor voice sings the harmony above the lead; the lowest harmony is sung by the bass and the baritone voice completes the four-part chord. Close harmony and ringing chords are a key feature of the barbershop style.
Today, barbershop is sung by both men’s and women’s choruses and quartets around the world. The repertoire can vary from traditional barbershop melodies like “Heart of My Heart” and “Shine on Harvest Moon” to Broadway show tunes like “All that Jazz” and “Do You Hear the People Sing” to rock and pop classics like “Africa” and “I Get Around”.
An international non-profit organization whose purpose is “to empower all women through singing, education, and friendship.” The ScotianAires are a chapter of Harmony, Inc.
The Barbershop Harmony Society
Founded in 1938, the Barbershop Harmony Society preserves and extends the reach of a uniquely American close harmony musical art form whose roots lie in African-American improvisation and European harmony traditions.
Sweet Adelines International
A worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education and performances.