Christmas in Four-Part Harmony at the Lyric
It’s 7 p.m. on a Monday night and the richness of four-part harmony begins to echo throughout the Fellowship Hall at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Vestavia Hills. Director Matt Powell leads a warm-up session as Voices of The South begins its rehearsal. The men’s a cappella chorus is an award winning group of about 30 men who meet weekly to enjoy an evening of singing and fellowship. A part of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the group is dedicated to preserving a style of music that is original to the United States. “Barbershop harmony today is not your grandfather’s barbershop,” Chapter President Ed Wharton says. “We do a wide variety of music ranging from the old classic ‘Shine on Me’ to the more recent Leonard Cohen tune ‘Hallelujah’, and all of it is sung in four-part harmony.
The group is hard at work preparing for their annual show “Christmas at the Lyric,” December 17 at 7 p.m. As the name reflects, the performance will be at the recently restored downtown Birmingham Lyric Theatre. The show is predominately a presentation of Christmas music but also contains a sampling of the chorus’ non-Christmas favorites. “Christmas at the Lyric” marks the 17th annual show the chorus has presented. “The show is extra special for us this year with the reopening of the Lyric Theatre as one of the great performance venues in the central Alabama area,” Wharton says. “In January of this year Voices of the South became the first act in 65 years to perform on the stage of the Lyric. Now with having our show there we are honored to be part of its entertainment line-up for 2016.”
Voices of the South stays active throughout the year. “We perform at various events and competitions,” says Powell. “We do a wide variety of music — old, new, secular, religious, patriotic, and of course, Christmas. And, our performances are family friendly. You never have to worry about being embarrassed by the content of our programs.”
Linc Parrott is the chapter’s Vice President of Membership. “We welcome all men of good character to be a part of our organization,” Parrott says. “Our oldest member is 86 years old while our youngest is 15. What we all share is a love of music and a respect for one another.” In addition to singing, Voices of the South supports Wings of Hope Pediatric Foundation, a local charity providing assistance to parents who have terminally ill children. For more information about Voices of the South visit voicesofthesouth.com. To purchase tickets to “Christmas at the Lyric,” go to lyricbham.com/events. †