PITTSBURG — All you need to bring is a “pitch pipe.”
No instruments are needed to be in TriStatesmen Barbershop Chorus, President of TriStatesmen Daniel Renn said.
The group is involved in the Barbershop Harmony Society, an organization which “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,” the society’s website says. The organization — founded in 1938 in Tulsa, Oklahoma — helps connect quartets across the United States by providing fellowship and educational programs.
The TriStatesmen visit schools and sing at various community events. Recently they sang at the Pittsburg Farmers Market.
The TriStatesmen are hosting a membership night 7 p.m., Tuesday, at Family Worship Center in Joplin. People must go around the back of the building to enter.
Renn said they are encouraging people of all ages to join, their oldest is 95-years-old and the youngest a high school student. During the meeting new members will practice “simple songs” and the choirs will perform for everyone. There are no costs to join and no registration.
Marketing VP for TriStatesmen Barbershop Chorus Mike Baggerly said there is, however, a membership fee to be part of the Barbershop Harmony Society if people wish to join.
“It’s a bug, you get into it and you enjoy the a capella harmony,” Baggerly said. “You start walking those chords and you want to keep on doing it and you don’t want to stop.”
People don’t even have to know how to read music sheets, as a “riser buddy” will be provided to make sure they are right on cue.
Alan Pommier didn’t start singing until he was in college, but when he joined the TriStatesmen he said was, “one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had.”
It was Renn’s uncle who encouraged him to join the group, he’s been all-in since then for over a decade.
“It’s a great outlet, to let your mind go and enjoy singing,” Renn said. “It’s just a good time, good songs and a lot of good men.
“When you hear the four parts together it’s really a neat sound. It’s all voices, no instruments — all you bring is a ‘pitch pipe.’”
Pommier said the music is something an entire family could enjoy.
“When you join the chorus you become part of a special brotherhood,” he said. “As a part of that, you and your family become part of it.”
For Pommier, being in the chorus is part of something greater than himself.
“You can be part of such an amazing sound,” he said.
Another perk of being in the group are the district contests. Pommier said he was able to compete on stage with two of his brothers and other men as part of a quartet.
The joy they bring people, Pommier said, is the most important thing of all.
“I really think the true goal of singing is to make people happy, whether being happy on the risers or audience,” he said. “It is to allow people to forget things going on in their lives and just enjoy a positive experience.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.