Bay Area Showcase Chorus has been around since 1956, performing in the local community and earning awards at regional and international competitions. We are a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, a worldwide organization of more than 20,000 women singers. Our chapter is a non-profit organization and entirely volunteer-run. We are not affiliated with any religious organization, though we have used church halls as a rehearsal venue.
Julie Starr has been our Music Director since 2002. She is a long-time member of the chorus, has sung with several quartets, and has had a number of leadership roles at the both the local and international level. She was recently elected to serve on the Sweet Adelines International board of directors.
Our chorus has about 100 members, ranging in age from early 20's to early 90's. Many of our members used to sing in school or church. While a few are professional musicians, many have no formal training or experience, and just love to sing! We eagerly welcome women of all ages, vocal ranges, and musical backgrounds.
Barbershop is a style of a cappella singing in close 4-part harmony. The melody is sung by the second-highest voice, called the Lead, and the other three parts (Tenor, Baritone, Bass) harmonize to support the melody. We sing a variety of music, ranging from traditional barbershop to pop tunes, all in 4-part harmony. Because our music often tells a story, we use facial expression, gestures, and sometimes choreography to convey feelings as we sing.
Due to the COVID pandemic, we have observed shelter-in-place regulations and continued our weekly rehearsals over Zoom since March of 2020. No, it's definitely not the same as singing together, but we are keeping spirits high and keeping connections alive. Because chorus singing is a "super spreader" activity, we won't be singing together in large groups for some time. But we do sing (in our own homes), dance (for physical warmups and choreography), and work on our vocal production and other skills. We sometimes have outside coaches visit our Zoom rehearsals, and we've used "breakout rooms" to work on voice parts, discuss chorus business, and socialize.
We are hopeful that we will soon be able to gather once more and hear the great, soul-satisfying sounds of 4-part harmony!
In June of 2020, our chorus issued a statement in support of Black Lives Matter:
Our Moment Now
Bay Area Showcase Chorus decries the continued mistreatment and killing of black Americans. We denounce the systemic racism, injustice and inequality that pervades American society. We believe that to remain silent is not an option. We say without reservation that Black Lives Matter.
We acknowledge that barbershop harmony originated in black culture, and that organizations like ours have excluded people of color from participation until 1966. This is an embarrassing history we cannot deny, but from which we can continue to move forward.
Our parent organization, Sweet Adelines International, recently took the historic step to identify and retire songs that use racial slurs or stereotypes or arise from a racist origin. We support this important step on the road to racial equality in the barbershop world.
Our chorus is committed to actionable steps we can take now:
This is only the beginning. We will share our progress as we continue to listen and learn. Our harmonies are as vibrant as the individuals who sing with us. Together we will make a difference!