Every Wednesday night, men of all walks and ages gather to sing a cappella. They preform musical styles in barbershop harmonies including Americana, jazz, show tunes, pop and even Disney. It was their innovative work that earned them a spot in the Barbershop Harmony Society’s magazine, The Harmonizer.
Northwest Sound has been around for more than 30 years. Currently, the men’s a cappella chorus has some 65 active members. They produce and preform concerts several times per year nationally and locally at community events, local festivals and private functions. The chorus is part of the Bellevue chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS).
The a cappella chorus uses instructional techniques and materials from the BHS. Their particular style of barbershop is all about harmony in the voices.
According to Northwest Sound’s mission, they believe to be a brotherhood where men of all ages can join together to “provide joy and entertainment and seek to achieve the highest level of artistry.”
It’s the brotherhood part that saw them noticed by the Barbershop Harmony Society. Their magazine, The Harmonizer, was looking to feature a small number of choruses for their innovative work. BHS contacted the men’s chorus to spotlight their three active choruses and their high success recruiting model.
Chris Powell, who has been an active member for eight years now, said the “Sing, Sing, Sing” outreach is the program that has permitted them to gain members.
“We recently took a poll at rehearsal to see how many men joined the chorus through the outreach program, and by a raise of hands, a quarter of the members had joined,” Powell said.
Their “Sing, Sing Sing” outreach program has allowed Northwest Sound to support three separate choruses. The outreach program was designed to offer six free weeks of singing lessons. The outreach program has served more than 200 men and boys throughout an eight-year period. And 40 percent of their current members came through “Sing, Sing, Sing.”
Besides the main a cappella chorus, Northwest Sound supports Classic Sound and Emerald City Sound.
Men interested in the a cappella chorus can also join them every Wednesday at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Bellevue. For more information on Northwest Sound and their upcoming shows, visit their website, northwestsound.org.