The History of Barbershop Music and GREATER KINGSTON CHORUS
History indicates that around 1890 African Americans started singing four part improvised a cappella armony in the neighborhood barbershops. The distinctive dominant barbershop 7th chord created overtones and musical thrills for both the singer and the listener.
The style of music quickly spread to all barbershops and college glee clubs. The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA) was formed which is now called the Barbershop Harmony Society and welcomes both men and women. On July 13 ,1945 in Tulsa, Oklahoma a group of women lead by Edna Mae Anderson officially created Sweet Adelines International. The first quartet competition was held in 1947.
In 1957 approximately 16 Kingston women started singing barbershop harmony under the guidance of Bill Wightman. These founding members started the chartering process as part of Region 1 and on May 2, 1960 Kingston Choralines chapter received its charter with 31 members on the roster. Faye Dennison is a charter member. Somewhere in the next few years they changed the name to Kingston Chapter. Choruses started to compete internationally in 1973.
The Kingston chapter became part of Region 16 in 1976. In 1995 the name was changed to Greater Kingston Chorus to better reflect the demographics of the membership. The Sweet Adeline International organization is now active in five continents and current membership is about 21,000. Musical Directors: Evelyn Lomax directed 1960-1964. Betty Sorensen directed 1965-1978. Elaine Gain directed the chorus from 1979 – 2011. Paula Allen and Nancy Watson co-directed 2012 – 2016. Andrew Carolan directed 2016-2018. Currently the co-directors are Andria Coward and Sue Marriott.
Accolades: 1965 (Region 1) first place but in those days there was no chorus competition at the international level. 1994 Syracuse, NY first place. 1995 International New Orleans, LA (25th/30). 1999 Syracuse, NY Second place. Score 604. 107 members on the stage. 2000 Syracuse, NY first place. Score 629 (95 on stage), 2001 International Portland, OR. Score 589. 16th/30. 2006 Syracuse, NY 2nd place. Score 617 (wildcard). 2007 International Calgary AB Score 595 (19th/34). 2009 Syracuse, NY third place. Score 621. Qualified for Harmony Classic AA. 2010 Syracuse, NY first place overall and first place AA. Score 626. 2010 International Seattle, WA Harmony Classic. Score 609. 4th/5. 2011 International Houston, TX. Score 579. (26th/33). 2016 Syracuse, NY. Score 606. Qualified for Harmony Classic AA. 2018 International Las Vegas, NV Harmony Classic (4th/5).
GKC’s mission is to share our joy and love of singing harmony. This mission is reflected in our core values, personal and artistic growth, performance, excellence, education and community involvement.