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BEACON Senior News

Bookcliff Barbershop Harmony Chorus: 50 Years Young

Apr 04, 2018 06:48AM ● By Cloie Sandlin

Give your life harmony with the melodies of the men from the Bookcliff Barbershop Harmony Chorus (BBHC), which celebrates 50 years at its spring concert on Saturday, April 7 at the Avalon Theatre.

Fellowship and family

Dennis Kiefer, BBHC music and program vice president, is a charter member and has sung with the chorus since it started in 1968.

“There’s one other member of our chorus who came in during that first year,” said Kiefer, 76. “We’re getting to be relics.”

Kiefer’s mother, Florence, helped start the local Sweet Adelines chorus and his father, Jerome, was persuaded to help start a men’s chorus through the Barbershop Harmony Society. After a couple of years, the men still weren’t moving fast enough.

“[My mom] kept bugging my dad saying, ‘What’s going on with the men? They’re not getting their act together,” Kiefer said.

He said she got tired of waiting so she wrote a letter to the society’s district officers. Within three months they had an organizational meeting and two district officers came over and helped the BBHC get started. Their first show was in June 1968.

“It’s been great to be part of it all this time,” Kiefer said. “It’s truly a fellowship of families and men.”

Celebrating 50 years of song

Singing barbershop harmony has become tradition in Kiefer’s family. His son, Kevin, also sings with the chorus.

“It’s just something we love,” said Kiefer, who sings baritone and bass. BBHC supports and nurtures the barbershop style of a cappella singing for men’s voices.

The spring concert commemorates the chorus’ anniversary with a program that highlights its history and accomplishments. The chorus is particularly proud of the organization’s efforts of reaching out to young men and women and helping them realize the joy of singing. The chorus builds relationships with vocal music programs in the community and invites them to sing in the show.

“We’re there to help them with their program and to give them exposure to the community,” Kiefer said. “They need every dollar they can get.”

This year’s guest choruses include Colorado Mesa University’s Men’s Choir, Grand Junction High School Men’s Choir and women’s octet, and Caprock Academy choirs.

“In 10 years, we’ve given over $22,000 to support local music directly,” Kiefer said. “We do that not only by getting people to our annual show, but also by having sponsors in the community help us with our annual outreach.”

Tickets to “The Bookcliff Barbershop Harmony Chorus—50 Years Young” can be purchased at the Avalon Theatre Box Office or at Tickets are $18 for adults or $12 for students. Shows are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. For information about the Afterglow, call 257-SONG (7664).

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