Back in 1938, the founders of our Society stumbled onto something quite profound: The joy and transformation that comes with four voices singing together.

Rooted in African American traditions, this wonderful music — barbershop music — embodied the transformative power to change men for the better. Perhaps it was in the transcendental overtones of well-tuned chords, or the tender emotions of the songs themselves, or simply in the strength of true harmony and camaraderie.

Resolved to preserve this fine tradition and propagate its growth, our founders brought 26 men together on a rooftop to sing, and thus our humble Society was born — the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America.

Now in our ninth decade, it’s time to pause and reflect on where we’ve been … and where we’re going.

Our founding members did much for our Society, leaving us with a set of enduring purposes. They also made key decisions that, while befitting the times, no longer serve us today.

We’ve spent the last several years re-focusing our energy and regaining momentum, building stronger programs and re-establishing our voice in the choral field. In fact, it’s safe to say that our current vision has already been realized: We have become “the premier membership organization for men who love to sing.”

Along the way, we’ve realized a few things:

  • We, as a Society, understand and embrace the transformative power of harmony.
  • Our members have an appetite for change.
  • The collective time, talent, and generosity of our members are our greatest assets — and we have released only a fraction of that potential.
  • What worked in our past may not work for our future.

Most importantly, we realize that harmony is a gift we’ve been entrusted with, and it’s too wonderful to keep to ourselves. We must share it with young and old, with people of every color and every background, with our neighbors and perfect strangers and everyone in between, because the world needs what we have.

In times of conflict and exclusion, barbershop inspires us to blend, to cooperate, to create beauty and to love each other. Imagine its impact as a balm for wounded warriors, an intervention for at-risk youth, as a way to ease end-of-life transition, or even as a better way to rehabilitate people in our prison system.

It’s time to see barbershop as more than a treasure for our own enjoyment, but as a force for direct impact on society. We have the resources and the capability. And now, we have a renewed vision:

Everyone in harmony.


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