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Pacific Sound Chorus Brings A Cappella Concert to Santa Barbara

Headline performance Saturday will be by a Swedish quartet called the Ringmasters

A Swedish quartet called the Ringmasters will be featured Saturday at a fundraiser a cappella concert at the Marjorie Luke Theatre in Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
A Swedish quartet called the Ringmasters will be featured Saturday at a fundraiser a cappella concert at the Marjorie Luke Theatre in Santa Barbara. (Contributed photo)

Intense beat boxing, strong vocal, riffs, mind-blowing solos, finger snapping and foot tapping are not only seen on the big screen.

In fact, all of that and more will be displayed center stage on Sept. 17 at the Marjorie Luke Theatre in Santa Barbara.

Members of the Pacific Sound Chorus, a 25-voice male barbershop harmony champion chorus that draws its singers from the tri-counties, will host its annual fundraiser concert themed “Seaside Rendezvous.”

No genre of music is off limits in the world of a cappella, and the show covers several eras and genres—from contemporary and western to old-fashioned barbershop harmony and bouncing doo-wop, all the way to an exploration of the current sound of contemporary music and more.

The show features two champion choruses and three champion quartets, including a headline performance from a Swedish quartet called the Ringmasters—the 2012 world champions in barbershop quartet singing. 

These men have already produced three albums and have been recognized as the first quartet from a country other than the United States or Canada to win the international quartet competition.

“Among all vocal a cappella groups, the Ringmasters are among the best in the world,” said Brent Anderson, Pacific Sound member and Seaside Rendezvous producer. “Everybody performing is at the top of their game.”

Flying in from Stockholm, Sweden, the group builds a bridge from the barbershop classics through songs from the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” to the Beatles and Elvis Presley. 

What's the recipe for their success?

Take four talented singers; Jakob Stenberg (tenor), Rasmus Krigström (lead), Emanuel Roll (baritone) and Martin Wahlgren (bass). Then, stir in rich harmonies, blend until the sound is smooth, and add in syncopated rhythms of classic crowd-pleasing covers.

Women and men from all ages who are joined by the joy of singing traditional and contemporary four-part harmony will also grace the audience’s ears. The sound of music from more than 50 singers will be echoing in the rafters of the 800-seat art deco venue. 

“Seeing an artist perform live is a different experience compared to listening to a recording,” said Courtney Anderson, Dos Pueblos High School and Carpe Diem vocal music instructor. “People are going to love the feeling they get when watching these artists perform on stage, and give their heart and soul to the audience.”

The show features an exclusive performance by singers of the Pacific Sound Chorus. For the past 17 years, these men have been enthusing their audience.

The 2016 Southwest Chorus Champions mostly sing barbershop, but their repertoire varies from the classics to the modern era of rock songs by Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Queen and The Eagles.

“Typically, barbershop harmonies were from songs from the turn of the century,” he said. “That style of harmony is popular, but it is being applied towards more contemporary tunes.”

Twenty-five women from Carpe Diem Chorus — a Sweet Adeline chorus who are current champions of their portion of Southern California — will provide four-part a cappella musical entertainment for attendees. 

These women have focused on combining their musical abilities with a high level of performance excellence through education in the barbershop art form, and often with jazz and contemporary songs.

“A cappella is four-part singing with people harmonizing together with no instruments,” Courtney said. 

Audience members will be treated to music from C'est La Vie, a quartet of women from Phoenix who are Arizona champions and also international collegiate title holders. The young barbershop harmony singers will graze freely through the pasture of quartet styles.

The lineup includes Cachet, a ladies quartet group who are also Southern California champions.

Formed in 2008, the Santa Monica Chorus has been entertaining audiences with its selection of songs ranging from contemporary day pop, to jazz, swing, Broadway show tunes and pop music. 

In addition to the show, the groups want to encourage the joy of singing to everyone. Attendees will be presented with a list of various singing groups in the area that are looking for new singers.

“There’s a physical sensation you get when singing,” Courtney said. “With harmony, it does something physically, and all of a sudden you get goose bumps.”

Whether you are a secretive soprano, accomplished a cappella singer or a beginner, the event aims to be a vibrant and inclusive community where the audience is invited to learn more about the craft of singing.

“Everybody can sing,” Brent said. “If you can talk and modulate your voice, you can sing. After practice, the muscles become coordinated to produce a sound. After the show, we are hoping several people want to join and sing.”

Barbershop music features songs with understandable lyrics, singable melodies, and musical and visual choreography methods to convey the theme of the song.

After World War II, barbershop singing was growing in popularity for men. In 1945, women wanted to participate in the high degree of vocal skill, and organized the Sweet Adelines in America.

“A cappella music and harmony has always been popular dating back to the music in the '40s and '50s,” Courtney said. “Vocal jazz and barbershop dates years back, but with recent movies, the style has gone viral and everybody loves it again.”

It gained the popularity with the youth when the strong premiere of movies featured contemporary a cappella style and a cappella reality show competitions.

Collegiate and youth have taken an interest in learning the craft of a cappella singing, Courtney said. 

American singer, composer, director and producer Deke Sharon, whose credits include television's “The Sing-Off” and “Pitch Slapped” and the “Pitch Perfect” movies, pioneered a new movement into the a cappella community.

“That’s when the youth got back into it again,” she said. “There was a huge surge of new youth singers that were interested in doing a cappella music, and barbershop especially, with choir programs doing contemporary songs.” 

There will be two shows on Saturday, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for students. A limited number of up-front seats are available for $50.

Purchase tickets by calling 1-800-353-1632, or online at http://pacsoundchorus.bpt.me.

The money raised will go towards the nonprofit organization Pacific Sound Chorus for music, coaching, the salary of its musical director and other expenses such as rent.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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