Barbershop Chorus Celebrates Hollywood Harmonies

SOCORRO, N.M. April 30, 2011 – Hooray for the New MexiChords, one of the premier barbershop choruses in the Southwest, as they bring their specialized blend of harmonic melodies to town for a two-act concert that plays homage to Hollywood show tunes.

The New MexiChords' Program

Act I

Chances Are (from “Chances Are” 1989)

Shine On Harvest Moon (from “Shine On Harvest Moon” 1944)

Just In Time (from “Bells Are Ringing” 1960)

River of No Return (from “River of No Return” 1954)

It Had To Be You (from “Casablanca” 1942)

Music Man Medley (from “The Music Man” 1962)

I Dream of Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair (from “I Dream of Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair” 1952)

Lullaby In Ragtime (from “The Five Pennies” 1959)

When You Wish Upon A Star (from “Pinocchio” 1940)

Once In Love With Amy (from “Where's Charley?” 1952)

Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans (from “New Orleans” 1947)

Accentuate the Positive (from “Here Come the Waves” 1944)

White Christmas (from both “Holiday Inn” 1942 and “White Christmas” 1954)

You’ve Got A Friend In Me (from “Toy Story” 1995)

If I Were A Rich Man (from “Fiddler On the Roof” 1964)

Over the Rainbow (from “The Wizard of Oz” 1939)

Act II

Various Selections

Hooray for Hollywood (Reprise) (from “Hollywood Hotel” 1937)

God Bless America (from Irving Berlin’s “This Is the Army” 1943)

The New MexiChords and several subsets of the main group will perform sing-along favorites in “Hooray for Hollywood, Celebrating Decades of Harmony in Hollywood Films,” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 6, at Macey Center on the New Mexico Tech campus.

You won’t want to miss this one – it’s free to all!

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The New MexiChords in concert in 2010

Established in 1952, the New MexiChords is one of the oldest and largest men’s barbershop choruses in the Rocky Mountain District of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Barbershop vocal harmony is a style of a cappella, or unaccompanied vocal music, characterized by four-part chords for every melody note. Each of the four parts has its own role: the lead sings the melody, the tenor harmonizes above the melody, the bass sings the lowest harmonizing notes, and the baritone completes the chord, usually below the lead.

“Barbershop music features songs with understandable lyrics and sing-along melodies,” said Ronna Kalish, PAS Director.

“The May 6 concert opens with ‘Hooray for Hollywood,’ from the 1937 movie, ‘Hollywood Hotel;’” said Kalish. “‘Over the Rainbow’ from 1939’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’ closes the first act,” she said.

In between, are “It Had To Be You,” from “Casablanca” (1942), lyrics by Max Stein, who also wrote the score for “Gone With the Wind” in 1939; “When You Wish upon a Star,” written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Walt Disney’s adaptation of “Pinocchio,”1940; and “Shine on Harvest Moon,” a pop standard debuted in 1908 by the Ziegfeld Follies.

Composer Irving Berlin joins the New MexiChords’ repertoire with “White Christmas” from both 1942’s “Holiday Inn” and “White Christmas” in 1954. The version sung by Bing Crosby ranks as the best-selling single of all time, released on vinyl, long before the MP3 generation.

According to online sources, Berlin stayed up all night to write the song poolside, and told his secretary to grab her pen and write down the lyrics. “I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written – heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written!,” he was alleged to have said.

Another Berlin song on the program is “God Bless America” from the 1943 film, “This is the Army,” the evening finale.

The New MexiChords have performed with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and Music Theater Southwest, among others. They stage an annual show in the spring, and their Christmas concerts are well attended.

The mens’ chorus also competes each fall for the right to represent the Rocky Mountain District in international competition.

The chorus rehearses at 7 p.m. every Tuesday at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 2626 Arizona NE, Albuquerque, and welcome guests interested in learning more about their unique vocal style.

As an added treat, Tech Club – Club Macey will host a social in Macey Center from 5 to 7:30 p.m., featuring Shepherd’s Pie. The club presents a social hour for people 21 and over. There is a $5 cover charge for non-members.

As an aside, a version of Shepherd’s Pie, a humble meat-and-mashed-potato dish, dates back to the late 18th century, when the potato was introduced as a vegetable even the poor could afford.

Further, Shepherd’s pie is mentioned in the song, “You Make it all Worthwhile,” by The Kinks, written by Ray Davies and published by Davray Music Ltd.

You mustn't blame yourself like you do,
It’s gonna’ make a nervous wreck out of you,

So wipe your nose and dry your eyes,
What's the point of cracking up all because of shepherd’s pie?

-- NMT --

By Valerie Kimble/For New Mexico Tech