Note: the time given for the performance of the Virginia Gentlemen’s evening show was incorrect in Sunday’s column and is corrected below. Your columnist regrets the error. — MikeA
The Roanoke Valley Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society is looking for a few more good men. Maybe even a lot more good men.
You’re more likely to have heard of this 40-member group by the name the chapter’s chorus performs under, the Virginia Gentlemen.
Bill Clark, the last remaining charter member of the 43-year-old chapter, worries you haven’t heard of them at all.
“We’re one of the best-kept secrets in the Roanoke Valley in terms of men’s opportunities to sing,” he said.
The Virginia Gentlemen’s next concert takes place at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday in the Northside High School auditorium in Roanoke County. In an effort to attract a younger audience to hear their a cappella harmonies, the chapter is offering free admission to everyone under 21.
“We want the next generation to experience our form of singing,” Clark said.
The first half of the show is a one-act musical called “Silver Lining,” which incorporates a sampling from 100 years of barbershop quartet numbers. Written by Christiansburg actress and playwright Joelle Shenk, it spins a nostalgic tale of a group of guys who’ve been meeting for years at the same diner and learn their favorite hangout might close.
The second half consists of a performance by Limelight Quartet, a group whose members hail from Maryland and Pennsylvania who placed fourth overall in the society’s Mid-Atlantic District competition in Ocean City, Md., earlier this month.
Age isn’t a barrier to participating in a barbershop quartet, Clark said. “Our youngest member is 18 years old. We’ve had members as young as 10.”