LAFLIN — Audiences may enjoy listening to barbershop harmony, Frank Tunney said, but nobody enjoys it more than those who sing it.
“You have to experience it and be in the middle of it to understand,” he said. “When your voice is combined with those other voices, it’s kind of unbelievable.”
In an effort to help other men experience the fun of a capella singing, the Wyoming Valley Barbershop Harmony Chorus, which counts Tunney, of Scranton, as its secretary, is offering a series of free singing lessons.
The “Ready, Set, Sing” program will be offered at 7 p.m. Mondays Aug. 1 through Sept. 12 at the Irene Raeder Community Center, Wesley Village campus, in Pittston.
“Pretty much anyone can sing,” Tunney said.”We’re going to extract that out of you, to help you hear a note and match that note and be able to get the most out of your voice.”
Teens are welcome to join the all-male group, as are older men, and it is not necessary to be able to read music.
“You can be 15, you can be 55, you can be 85,” said Justin Davis, of Plymouth, who will conduct the “Ready, Set, Sing” program.
Conductor Davis, who is a junior majoring in music education at Marywood University, will prepare the singers to perform “The Banana Boat Song,” which many people remember for its “Day-O” refrain.
Before they start singing about working all night on a drink of rum, singers will warm up with light stretching, breathing exercises and a “brain warm-up.”
Davis explained tongue twisters can make your brain limber, offering “bubble gum, double bubble gum, triple double bubble gum” as an example.
“It’s a great group of men,” chorus member Jim Maxwell, of Bear Creek, said. “There’s so much camaraderie and support.”
At the end of six weeks, he said, the “Ready, Set, Sing” participants will be ready to perform for family and friends, and they will be welcome to join the group.
“But,” he said, “there’s no pressure to join.”
To register, call 570-507-7664.
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT