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College features Pine Barons Chorus

Mainstage Center sponsors performance by barbershop singers

The Mainstage Center for the Arts will present the Pine Barons Chorus – with guest quartet Ovation – at the Dennis Flyer Theater at Camden County College in Blackwood on Saturday, April 20.

Show times are 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets for “It’s the Music that Brings Us Together” are $20 and can be purchased at the door.

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“Singing barbershop is different than any other chorus,” said Moorestown resident John Celani. “Number one, we don’t use music, we don’t sing with music like most choirs do or church choirs and things like that. We’re performers.”

The Pine Barons Chorus is a member organization of singers who meet regularly to practice and perform. The group has more than 40 singers ages 17 to 80 and older, representing all walks of life, from Cherry Hill and surrounding areas, according to pinebarons.org.

Its goal is to get out and perform for and be a part of the community. The chorus sings at annual shows and competitions, along with community events. Members also perform singing telegrams around Valentine’s Day.

Each spring, the group participates in the Division of the Mid-Atlantic District chorus competition. The regional qualifiers in both quartet and chorus categories go on to the district level of competition in the fall. Qualifiers from each district then participate in summer’s International Competition.

The Pine Barons Chorus is a chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, a nonprofit of approximately 28,000 members in choruses and quartets worldwide.

Most choruses have several members who form their own vocal quartets in addition to singing with the larger group, and the Pine Barons Chorus is home to a number of them. Celani is the only township resident singing with the group, and he’s also a member of the Roadies Barbershop Quartet, which will sing two of his arrangements at the April 20 show.

“This year, we’re celebrating our 75th anniversary in October at the Tavistock Country Club and we’re going to invite old members that have sung with us in the past and have left either to another chorus or they moved …” Celani explained.

“ … It’s not like going to church and listening to a chorus sing,” he added. “It’s entertainment. We have motions, we move. It’s completely different, and so far, we’ve survived 75 years.”

Another chorus passion is learning more about the art of a cappella singing. Vocal instruction is a regular part of chorus rehearsals and an important component of the chorus experience. A couple of times a year, the group is coached by various visiting masters in the art of harmony singing and performance techniques.

The Pine Barons Chorus meets at 7 p.m. every Monday (except holidays) at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Cherry Hill, next to Ponzio’s Diner on Route 70 and Kings Highway. Celani has been a singer all his life, and would like to see other Moorestown residents join the group.

“Just stop in, if interested, and listen,” he urged. “You will love it.


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