It’s a small world

Published 6:45 pm Friday, July 20, 2018

“There’s so much that we share that it’s time we’re aware, it’s a small world after all.”

How fitting that this year’s annual Barbershop Harmony Society’s convention/contests was held in Orlando, home of the world’s most visited theme park. As in the whole wide world, folks. Fact.

This small world sense of all humankind was made, once again, manifest to me as I passed through airports in Charlotte and Orlando, coming and going.

Friends, we don’t all look alike. We don’t all speak the same language. We don’t all have the same religion, and some have none.

But we all share this time here on this planet. And, this I truly believe: We’re all brothers and sisters.

The “it’s a small world after all” belief was very much in evidence at one of the special, non-contest events. It’s called the “World Harmony Showcase.”

Performing were the Masters of Harmony, a 100-man-plus barbershop chorus from California that has won nine International Chorus Championships.

Then there were the EntertainMen, another mega-chorus, some 90 men ages 21 to 77. They are from Sweden, which now also boasts of having a quartet win the championship just a few years ago.

Taken 4 Granite, 2016 International Quartet champions of Harmony, Inc., a ladies fantastic barbershop foursome, from New Hampshire.

From the British Association of Barbershop Singers (BABS), Portabello Road, these 2017 gold medalists from their association were awesome.

Vocal FX, based in Wellington, New Zealand, many of whom have Maori roots, is a very young men’s chorus, and their singing and choreography (dancing) must be seen to be believed. They say their mission “is to create a brotherhood where young men’s lives are changed for the better through their involvement in singing and performing together.”

Stockholm Syndrome is the 2017 and 2018 SNOBS (Scandinavia) champion. These Swedes are fabulous.

Formed in 1974 in Bristol (UK), Great Western Chorus is beyond wonderful. They like to say they’ve “been delighting audiences with our singing, jigging about and general tomfoolery.” They are a 10-time UK (BABS) national gold medalist chorus.

Lustre is a 2017 Sweet Adelines International Quartet champion. They are the real deal in every way. Amazing talents.

Main Street closed the World Harmony Showcase show. They are 2017 International Quartet Champions. They sing non pareil, and, boy, are they cleverly funny.

There are numerous other countries that have barbershop groups also. Why, a few years ago, I heard the Tokyo Barber Boys. There are others in South Africa, Australia, Germany, to name just a few.

The significance of this is that a passion — a love — for a capella music in the barbershop style transcends any differences, be they racial, ethnic, national, religious or cultural, we may have.

It affirms that “There is just one moon and one golden sun, a smile means friendship to everyone. There’s so much that we share that it’s time we’re aware, it’s a small world after all.”