Though this has traditionally been aimed at barbershoppers, there are
performance opportunities for all a cappella music. For questions
and/or more information, please visit:
Hundreds of barbershop harmony enthusiasts will return to the shores
of the lake on August 24 - 26 as part of the 53rd Annual Winnipesaukee
Music Festival - "Harmony on the Lake." This unique singing event was
held for 50 years in a joint partnership with the The Barbershop
Harmony Society and residents of Alton and much to the delight of
barbershop harmony fans, was reintroduced to lakes region with the
help of the Alton Centennial Rotary in 2005. The weekend of music and
fun will culminate in a series of barbershop harmony shows on both
Friday and Saturday night.
The all new Friday night event will feature quartets and choruses
performing their best comedic material for some lighthearted fun. The
traditional Saturday Night show will include a fast-paced parade of
the best barbershop quartets and choruses in New England.
The Harmony on the Lake festival will attract barbershop singers, male
and female, from across New England and beyond. Performers of all
ages will gather on the shore at Alton Bay at the Community House and
the town docks beginning Friday afternoon. Four part harmony will be
heard as men and women participate in the joy of singing the old songs
on every street corner and green space in town.
They will also likely gather in small groups practicing a tradition
known as "woodshedding." This stylistic technique is when singers
who do not practice together regularly create four part harmonies on
the spot to a familiar melody. It was an early form of the "jam
session," later made popular by jazz bands and rock 'n rollers.
Barbershop harmony is a style of singing that is uniquely American.
It became popular through the 1890's to the 1920's, before the advent
of radio and television, when public singing was more prevalent as a
pastime in American culture. Since the formation of the Barbershop
Harmony Society in the late 1930's, it has flourished and spread
around the world. Barbershop music features four voices, singing a
cappella or without instruments, performing close harmonies.
On Saturday, local residents will be able to join in the harmony in
several informal and free workshops. Brave souls can even try singing
a song in a quartet or they can participate in a "learn to sing four
part harmony" lesson. There will also be plenty of information about
the musical style and how it has enjoyed a "renaissance" in recent
American musical culture.
For those who enjoy listening, quartets will be entertaining on the
Winnipesaukee Belle, an old Mississippi River paddle wheeler that will
be departing from the Alton Bay Town Dock on Saturday (Times TBA).
There will also be a silent auction and many varieties of food,
including a spectacular southern BBQ right down at the docks. Click
here for a schedule of events. An all you can eat Pot Roast Dinner is
also planned at the school prior to the Saturday Night Show. The
public is invited.
The main event for the weekend is the Saturday Evening Barbershop
Harmony Show, which is held at Prospect Mountain High School, off Rt.
28 just 1 mile south of the Alton Rotary beginning at 7:00 PM. This
show will feature barbershop choruses and quartets from around New
England singing a variety of songs that celebrate the "golden age" of
American songwriting. Selections will include favorites from each
decade of the 20th century.
The featured acts include The Granite Statesmen Barbershop Chorus, the
11-time champions of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada
(Northeastern District, Barbershop Harmony Society). This dynamic,
all-male ensemble recently competed in the 2006 Barbershop Harmony
Society's International Chorus Championship and was ranked 21st in the
world. They will be singing songs by Irving Berlin.
Featured quartets include Reveille, a versatile and entertaining
ensemble from New York City and Our Town, best know for their rich
sound and incredible artistry. Other quartets scheduled to appear
include The Honeymooners and Inside Track.
The festival is being coordinated in a joint partnership by the Alton
Centennial Rotary Club and The Nashua, NH Chapter of the Barbershop
Harmony Society. Proceeds from the event will fund scholarships and
promote music education. Tickets for either the Friday night show or
the Saturday night show are only $20.00 and are available at the new
Profile Bank building on Main St. (Rt. 11) in Alton. They can also be
ordered online by completing the Ticket Order Form or by calling
What are you waiting for! Join in the fun!