The Macomb, Illinois, Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society (formerly known as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America [SPEBSQSA]) was first organized back in the early 1940s. Men from all walks of life got together for the pure joy of singing four-part, unaccompanied harmony. However, the chapter experienced some organizational problems, and attendance began to decline until the chapter dissolved.
Then, in 1968, a renewed interest in barbershop singing emerged in the Macomb area, and soon a reformed chapter was created. The chorus staged its inaugural show in October of that year and has continued to be a presence in the Macomb area for men who like to sing. For years, the chapter staged an annual show and brought in guest quartets to entertain. The chorus even entered competition at the state level and soon became known as one of the best singing small choruses in the state.
More recently, the chapter and Prairieland Chorus have turned their attention to smaller, more frequent performances. For the last 26 years, the chapter has provided a Christmas concert in conjunction with the local ministerial association to support a food pantry. The chorus has staged Habitat for Humanity benefit concerts in Macomb as well as Keokuk and Muscatine, Iowa, raising over $7,000 for the organization. While the chapter has offered Singing Valentines as a fund-raiser, quartets from the chapter offered their services through the American Red Cross as a way to support that organization. In all of these instances, the local chapter chorus and quartets have donated their time and voices to help a variety of organizations provide services for their communities. Even more important, the chapter regularly sponsors music education in our local schools. To date, the chapter has donated over $15,000 to support music educators. We are blessed to be able to use our voices to serve our communities.
Of course, the chorus and quartets regularly perform for churches, civic organizations, and community festivals. While the chapter is working to preserve one of America’s unique musical art forms, our singers also enjoy the pleasure derived from blending voices in four-part harmony. Above all, the chapter wants to preserve and encourage the joy that can come from singing – Everyone in harmony.