NEW GLASGOW – They look sharp, don’t sing flat and will do anything but get you into treble.
If you’re looking to leave your sweetheart on a high note, look no further than a Valentine’s Day barbershop quartet.
The group, composed of four singing enthusiasts, is offering a sweet deal on Feb. 14. For $25, the quartet will sing two songs to a loved one wherever they happen to be, provide a Valentine’s Day card and give a single, red rose.
“Barbershop singing on Valentine’s Day is one of those great North American traditions,” said Art Bingham, the group’s bass singer. “Anyone can go to the store and get roses, chocolates, or other gifts but we’re offering the chance to really sweep your sweetheart off his or her feet.”
These four men have had a song in their hearts for over 40 years with most of them singing since their teens. According to Bingham, getting a group together to sing on Valentine’s Day has depended on whether or not singers are available, healthy or alive.
Wade Smith of Hopewell, the tenor of the quartet, said the barbershop tradition is not as big as it used to be.
“Barbershopping in Pictou County used to be quite popular in its day, but it’s become quite a rare thing nowadays.”
This is why Bob Morse, the group’s baritone, believes that it’s a special event to sing songs of love to that special someone.
“It’s the ultimate romantic gesture, isn’t it?”
This quartet has assembled themselves since 1991 to sing on Valentine’s Day. Although the membership has changed over the years, their one mission to make people feel loved and extra special has not.
Brian Bowden of New Glasgow, the lead of the group, said the quartet enjoys seeing the smiling faces of people on the street, at work or at home as they sing away.
“For us, this isn’t a work day. It’s so much fun and we get a real kick out of it.”
The group will take all the money earned from the performances and will be donating it to the charity of their choice.
Three years ago, they had a profit of $650.
The lasting effects of this singing Valentine’s Day gift can’t be underestimated. Bingham recalls one instance in which the group was asked to sing by a high school boy to his high school sweetheart.
“The principal knew we were coming, so other students and classes, teacher and staff, gathered round to see the spectacle,” he recalled.
When Bingham started courses at NSCC Pictou Campus some years later he came across that same girl, who recognized him instantly.
“I spoke with her for a little while and came to find out that her and the boy who asked us to sing to her are married.”
Adults and kids of all ages interested in availing themselves of this barbershop quartet’s services on Feb. 14 can call Art Bingham at 752-0263. Requests will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
From left: Wade Smith, Brian Bowden, Art Bingham and Bob Morse revel in the romance and tradition of the barbershop quartet. For $25, the group will sing two songs to a loved one and provide a card and rose on Valentine’s Day. JOHN BRANNEN – THE NEWS