A question: Is singing contemporary music important?
As most of you know, we barbershop singers have a bunch of traditional songs that we like to sing together, called the Barberpole Cat songs. This tradition was formed many years ago, when these songs, written in the early 1900s, were perhaps a little more contemporary.
Nowadays, these Barberpole Cat songs are still fun to sing, but in a different way than they were in 1950. They are less relevant, and certainly seem to have less appeal amongst both our members, and the people to whom we perform.
Barbershop Harmony Australia has linked its strategic direction with three simplistic directives – Engage, Educate, and Enjoy.
As an organisation, we strive to engage our communities, aspiring to become leaders in the music scene, educating members and non-members alike, and sharing our enjoyment of our wonderful artform. And we are always looking for ways to make what we do more contemporary, more relevant and more appealing to our members and all of the members of our wider community.
We’d like to challenge the outdated perception of barbershop as simply being “four old guys in boater hats singing My Wild Irish Rose”. While this image will forever be an important part of our history, we wish to show an updated, more contemporary side of what we do.
So, your Association is now demonstrating its strong commitment to enabling the creation and performance of high quality contemporary music in the barbershop style.
As an Association, we have an opportunity to expand and improve upon our existing repertoire. We have the opportunity to champion Australian music. We have an opportunity to work with our local arrangers and composers to commission and licence new music that can communicate the best of Australian barbershop and provide us with arrangements into the future.
The grand plan is that eventually we can all have updated and more contemporary repertoire that we can all share, which will become our new Australian Barber Pole Cat series. As such, Barbershop Harmony Australia is proud to be able to provide all of you with a gift – our first in this new series of contemporary Australian songs.
The song we have chosen is “Throw Your Arms Around Me” by the Australian band Hunters & Collectors. Like all good songs, this is a story about love; capturing the intensity of one man’s relationship with a woman he was very much in love with, while at the same time portraying its fleeting nature, with lyrics including “And we may never meet again, so shed your skin and let’s get started…”.
The arranger we selected to begin this series is the very gifted Alex Morris, and we have also provided you with learning tracks for the song to help out. The copyright licencing is already paid for, and you can perform it wherever you like – as a chorus or as a quartet. This song will be featured at our upcoming Festival in Hobart in September, where it will be used for many different events, and no doubt will be heard being sung throughout the venue well into the night.
The sheet music and learning tracks for Throw Your Arms Around Me has been uploaded to the members section of our website. It's ready for you to learn and you can access it here.
We hope you enjoy this new arrangement and we look forward to hearing it performed all over our wide brown land.
Note : To access the sheet music and learning tracks for this great new song go to the BHA website https://www.barbershop.org.au
Log into the members area using your user name and password > Click on the "Songs" tab under the Members Tab >click on the Song title "Throw your arms around me"