But as hard as they're all trying, and as good as it sounds, the Heralds of Harmony Barbershop Show Chorus has to keep stopping for the tenors, who are running afoul of the finger-pointing, bionic-eared music director standing before the risers with the scowl of a drill instructor.
This is among the best barbershop choruses in the world, having won Florida district competitions seven times and placed as high as ninth in international competition. The Heralds of Harmony has performed with the Florida Orchestra and in NFL halftime shows. And Saturday, the group will put on two Christmas shows at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
Sweet Rosy O'Grady, Down by the Old Mill Stream, Carolina in the Morning - the songs are part of America's musical heritage, but the barbershop tradition almost died in the 1930s with the ascendancy of radio and movies. In 1938, though, a Tulsa, Okla., tax attorney named O.C. Cash staged a rooftop sing-along with 150 barbershop enthusiasts and attracted the attention of a newspaper reporter. Cash made up the name Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, whose tongue-twisting acronym was a playful poke at New Deal bureaucracies with similarly unwieldy monikers. The story was picked up on the wires. Barbershop-style singing had been saved by a publicity stunt, and men from around the country called up wanting to join Cash's society.