What We Offer

The Belleville "Sounds of Harmony" Chapter has much to offer our members, centering on "the sweetest music under heaven," as barbershop harmony was called by the Society's founder, O.C. Cash.

Singing is the focus of what we're all about, and our primary goal is helping our members enjoy and improve their singing talents. Our director, Doug Brooks, is a seasoned barbershopper, in both quartets and choruses. His assistant, Hal Maples, is well regarded, not only as a singer, but also as an arranger. As a result of this highly-qualified team, each week our members receive a quality music lesson on vocal production, presentation, and all aspects of musical performance.

In addition to our resident expertise, we occasionally bring in coaches to help us refine our entertainment skills. Because of their assistance, we consistently place in the top three in Illinois District chorus contests, bring home the Small Chorus Award, and win the Most Entertaining Chorus trophy. Occasionally, we earn the award for Most Improved Chorus, as well.
Learning our music has been made much easier with the advent of learning files. These recordings allow the listener to isolate his part on the left track, listen and sing along with his part, and then slowly bring in the right track to practice singing with all the parts. This learning tool is great fun and quite rewarding.

Additionally, the Barbershop Harmony Society offers many opportunities that support our singing efforts. One example is Harmony University, a week-long experience for barbershoppers to learn more about their hobby. Also, for those wanting to develop their musical leadership skills, the Society holds Directors' University in conjunction with Harmony University. On a district level, Illinois barbershoppers can attend an annual event called IDAH, or the Illinois District Academy of Harmony, which is a one-day version of Harmony University.
Administratively, our chapter is managed by an elected Board of Directors, all of whom are active chapter members. New officers may attend the Illinois Leadership Training (ILT), where officers receive basic training necessary for the office to which they have been elected. These officers receive manuals for their particular administrative position, allowing them the chance to review their duties whenever necessary.

Fellowship is one of the proudest benefits of belonging to the barbershop Society. In addition to the weekly get-togethers, barbershoppers are offered the opportunity to meet other barbershoppers throughout the district and from around the world when we meet at District and International Conventions. We even learn a series of Barber Polecat songs which enable us to make harmony with three other parts wherever we go.

Community performances are provided by our chorus and quartets for organizations and businesses when they want quality, wholesome entertainment for all types of events. For more than 60 years our ensembles have sung for numerous clubs and companies and always look forward to more. (Check out the "Hiring Us" section for more information.) Since 1949 our annual show has allowed us to showcase our form of entertainment, treating our audiences to a variety of music in an informal setting. We also perform at many venues during the Christmas season.

Finally, a successful chapter needs resources to operate. Our expenses include rehearsal hall rental, director's fees, uniforms, show expenses, float maintenance and storage, insurance, competition expenses, advertising, and other related items. We work hard to be self-sufficient by earning money from Singing Valentines, our annual show tickets and program ads, concession stand work, parades, food booths at street fairs, and chorus performance fees. It takes a lot of commitment from our members to make this happen.

Barbershopping is a terrific hobby for men who like to sing, and, unlike many hobbies, it can be enjoyed for life. We hope that you find something on this page to make you want to become a part of it.

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