Ontario's newest chapter, the Ganaraska Chordsmen, has an ace up their sleeve when it comes to marketing. Every Thursday morning barbershop and a cappella music flood the airwaves of Northumberland County, spreading the barbershop artform to residents starting their days at home or on their commute to work. A weekly radio show, The Acappella Fellas, airs from 7:30 to 8:00am on Northumberland 89.7FM, a community-owned and run station staffed by volunteers.
The Ontario District is one of the seventeen districts of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the world's largest all-male a cappella singing organization, and is the only all-Canadian district. It is committed to serving and supporting its 31 barbershop chapters, over 60 quartets, and over 1200 members throughout Ontario, and it is committed to promoting the Society's mission of bringing men together in fellowship and harmony to enrich lives through singing. Member choruses and quartets are encouraged to perform throughout their communities in support of worthwhile civic, cultural, educational, and charitable endeavors.
For 18 years running, the Capital City Chorus of Ottawa has supported the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club and their summer camp, Camp Smitty. The camp is located on the shores of Mink Lake near Eganville, Ontario, and is primarily a camp for under-privileged children from the Ottawa region.To help mark the 60th anniversary of the Capital City Chorus, members of the chorus carried out a special project this fall at Camp Smitty.
By Waldo Redekop - Ontario District Historian
I had prepared a series of articles for our editor, Michael Black, about Ontario District’s history. Numerous people asked me when I was going to continue (actually it likely was only four but my memory is not what it once was) and I told them I was looking for a 1963 directory to continue. Various people said they had one and would loan it to me but it appears they never found their copy. One fellow had a 1961 directory which I don’t have and he said he would loan that to me. He also had 1962 and 1964 but no 1963 directory. I guess I had better send him another email to remind him about the 1961 directory.
Harmony Ranch was a-buzz on August 12th as 65 barbershoppers parachuted in to participate in the Ontario Quartet Event, representing 12 chapters from across the Ontario District.
Throughout the day, singers rotated around the Ranch to sing with different quartet combinations and an experienced coach at each station. After dinner, each singer was assigned to one of 19 randomly selected quartets to perform in contest to an encouraging audience of Ranch residents and guests. The top four quartets, with top finisher listed first, were comprised of:
Guest article by David Mirhady from the Greater Vancouver Chapter, brother of Alex Mirhady from the Ottawa Chapter.
Planning a European holiday next summer? You could consider including in it a very intense weekend of barbershop singing with a wide range of ages, national backgrounds, and both men and women. I attended the third European Harmony Brigade on the third weekend in June (2017) in Berlin and was really impressed by the talent and friendliness of the participants, the excellence of the organization and the venues, and the setting. The price was pretty reasonable too.
By Waldo Redekop - Ontario District Historian
In 1963 we hosted the international convention in Toronto. I don’t have a copy of the 1963 District Directory, but by 1964 I see we have a number of new chapters.
No longer listed are:
Cornwall - Monday - 8:00. Pres-Ralph Villiers. Dir-Bill Brown.
Welland - Tuesday - 8:30. Pres-Dwight Moffatt. Dir-Norman Fisher.
The Ontario District was well represented at last week's 2017 International Convention in Las Vegas, NV. Three Ontario quartets competed in the quartet contest. 'Shoptimus Prime and Test Drive placed 47th and 40th respectively, with solid performances during the quarter-final round. Yonge Guns became the first Ontario District quartet in over 20 years to advance to the semi-final round, and ended up in 14th place. The last Ontario quartet to place that high in International competition was Rumours in 1985.
Harmony Ranch, the 88-acre private recreation club for members of the Barbershop Harmony Society, has completed a number of upgrades to their facilities. The campground and trailer park is currently putting the finishing touches to a new “Recreation Pad” that will provide a new surface for tennis, pickle ball, dances, and other activities. A new, modern fencing enclosure was erected around the swimming pool, and new boardwalks and sitting areas have been installed on the HR Nature Trail. Last year, the children’s creative playground was upgraded with a new colour and design.