Four-part harmony is the activity of choice when members of the Pioneer District Barbershop Harmony Society meet for their conventions.
However, when organizers choose a location, they do want to have other options for their 500-plus members. That’s why Grand Rapids is one of their favorite places to gather.
“It's a wonderful city to visit,” said James O’Dell, director of marketing for the Pioneer District. “There's lots of activities for our folks to do. They do a great job hosting it for us.”
The district meets twice a year for classes and competitions for the various choruses and quartets.
“There will literally be people here this weekend that haven't missed one of these in forty years,” past district president Doug Weaver said at a recent convention.
“They're always here. They have a great time. They sing for the competition. If you go to the lobby tonight, they'll be singing 'til 6 o'clock in the morning. It's just a fun weekend all the way around.”
Organizers say awareness of the barbershop singing style is growing. There are 800 choruses around the country and it’s expanded internationally, too.
Want to see a sample? Check out the video.