Harmonizing through generations
Nevada Appeal Community/Features Editor
When the Chorus of the Comstock sings their tight barbershop-style harmonies Friday and Saturday, it’s not just about music.
“It’s all about the kids,” said chorus president Rook Wetzel.
The a cappella chorus – whose members tend to be closer to retirement than high school – have gathered a talented assembly of groups to perform in “Barbershop Through the Ages: An Experience in A Cappella Harmony” at 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday at the Carson City Community Center.
The concert is a fundraiser to offset operating expenses for the chorus, a chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society for the past 25 years, and to fund the Youth In Harmony program at Carson High School.
After last year’s concert, the chorus donated $500 to the school program.
“We hope to double it this year,” Wetzel said.
Through years of budget cuts, students and teachers are in constant fundraising mode, Wetzel explained.
“We’d rather have the kids singing more rather than fundraising. They do enough of that.”
Several choral groups from the high school will also perform at the Barbershop Through the Ages concert. In addition, the award-winning collegiate barbershop quartet from Las Vegas, Let It Ride, will sing as well as 3rd Try, whose members consist of current and former Carson High students.
Following Saturday’s concert, the chorus will host an “afterglow” pizza party.
“We highly encourage young people to attend the Saturday show and afterglow to sing with the guest quartets and experience the joy of the close harmony sound,” Wetzel said, who said last year’s afterglow helped stimulate interest in the high school’s music programs, especially among the male students.
Last year, there were 52 choral students with 12 boys participating. This year there are 92 students and 50 boys, according to Wetzel.
“There’s some good stuff going on at that high school,” he added, commending Carson High School choir director Susan Sonnemaker for her work with the music students.
Besides helping with the operations of the high school choral department, the Chorus of the Comstock fundraisers last year helped send five students to a camp to learn how to be conductors. This year they hope to send a group to an international competition in January.
Chorus of the Comstock has been a registered chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society for more than 25 years. It’s directed by Jim Crowley, who has been a member of the society since 1966.
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