rockford barbershop chorus

By: Rhonda Mix

A large crowd gathered at the Community Complex of Boone County building June 14 to watch the Greater Rockford Barbershop Chorus perform an entertaining and harmonious repertoire of songs.
The Barbershop Chorus performed as a large group, in quartets and with individual vocal demonstrations. Memorable songs of the evening included renditions of “I’m Sitting On Top of the World,” “Under the Boardwalk,” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” among others.
A quartet consisting of all Belvidere residents also sang a beautiful collection of gospel songs as well an emotional rendition of “Hallelujah.”
The lively and whimsical concert was hosted by the Boone County Arts Council’s Concerts in the Park series.
“We brought the Rockford Barbershop Chorus out because they are fantastic local talent,” said arts council board member, Jean Twyning.
The Greater Rockford Barbershop Chorus was founded in 1948 and has written and produced an annual show since its inception. It is one of 900 chapters of The Barbershop Society – a group of 33,000 members which was founded in 1938 in Tulsa, Oklahoma – worldwide. The Rockford chapter has more than 30 members.
Barbershop music consists of the blended sounds of four-part harmonies – tenor, lead, baritone and bass. Rockford Barbershop Chorus bass section leader Fred Gahl says the group performs six to eight times per year and diligently rehearses every Monday night at Rockford’s Westminster Presbyterian Church.
“We have a wonderful, diverse group of guys that are fun to be with every Monday,” Gahl said, adding that being a part of the group helps him escape from other demands of life, and he finds singing relaxing.
“There is a certain pleasure you get from harmony well sung,” he says. “Watching one of our shows is a unique and pleasurable experience.”
The group will put on its annual show Oct. 3 at the Tebala Events Center in Rockford. The show involves more than seven months of preparation and will feature songs from 1900 through the 1980s. The group or select quartets also can be hired out throughout the year for special events and Valentine’s Day surprises.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Boone County Arts Council summer concerts, which are typically held on the Baltic Mill State at Belvidere Park.
“We offer a variety and types of music that people don’t always see nowadays” says Boone County Arts Council board member, Gary Tate. “These concerts provide a little bit of live culture.”
Upcoming shows featuring various performers will take place June 21 and 28, and July 5, 12 and 19.
For information, visit or call 815-544-6242.
For more information on the Rockford Barbershop Chorus, visit



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