A Delightful Quartet

It was listed as “A Delightful Interlude” and a delight it absolutely was. The traditional Barbershop Quartet made up of Bob, Dick, Jim and Vern (Vern had a mustache to set him off from the others) sang seventeen “oldie goldies,” without music and without a flaw. All in their 70s and 80s, they were also celebrating over 240 combined years of marriage to their respective spouses (spice?), and they gallantly introduced each wife as the husband introduced the next song.

In the order listed above, they were Tenor, Lead, Baritone and Bass, except in the song “Ain’t She Sweet,” when they said they were singing ‘a new arrangement.’ With each phrase of the lyrics, they rearranged their order left to right, and also rearranged the syllables of the words, to produce gibberish – except that we all knew the words anyhow, and we just enjoyed the effect, laughing out loud as we all went along! This kind of visual and verbal humor is traditional in a BBshopQ, and these four carried it off with aplomb. (Or was that a cantaloupe?)

These geezers know all the traditions and tricks of this genre, and are obviously enjoying themselves as they entertain us. They have been in this particular quartet for over 15 years, so they fit together like a well-oiled machine, helped along by even more years in singing BBshopQ music than they’ve been married. Their voices may not be as strong as they once were, but the harmonies are tight, the timing is right on, and we in the audience were still wanting more when they closed with a heartfelt rendition of Bob Thiele’s ‘What A Wonderful World.’

In my experience, in quartets like this, the basses are usually tall and thin, and the tenors short and sometimes stout. Not here! Bob Amer, the tenor, is tall, and Jim Woods, the bass, is short. So, for me at least, there was additional visual humor.

As a life-long music educator, I am hugely pleased to see/hear music being made like this. As much as we enjoyed hearing it, I felt they enjoyed doing it even more. Blessings on the Sarasota Music Club for continuing to bring these performances to our members and guests. Just another reason to be thankful in 2021!

by dale jensen