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Century-old singing style brings men together for friendship and fun

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LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) -

On most any Monday evening on Lexington's Main Street, you may hear music that takes you back in time by about 100 years coming from the choir room of the Lexington Baptist Church.

"I just sat there and listened to the sound and was mesmerized, wow!" said Mike Weaver.

Lexington's Main Street Harmonizers have an empty chair just waiting for a guy like you, along with your voice.

"If you love music, you love music," said Johnny Nash. "I love music."

Maybe you sing in the shower, but not like this, and never this stuff.

"Can you sing happy birthday?" asked Nash. "If you can sing happy birthday, you can sing this."

Okay, you'd like to try, but maybe you share Mike Weaver's problem.

"I can't read music," he said. "I don't know how to sing or anything and they bought me up and said, stand with this guy and sing his part."

And now here he is, harmonizing for the past 15 years.

You recognize it. The harmonies of barbershop music. It all started in these places back in the late 1800's.  But it wasn't the barbers doing the singing.  They were cutting hair. It was the patrons -- whether they were there for a haircut or not. The barber shop was the social gathering place for men.
 
Norman Rockwell painted the image that still holds today in our minds. But this is more than four guys. And the music is more than songs from old.

Brian Wilson with the Beach Boys arranged harmonies similar to barbershop style.

"Once you hear it and get the feeling for it, it's really fun to sing," said Director Keith Phemister.

These guys sing at various functions, but it's the one-off gigs that are a real treat.
Like the thoughtful guy who had the harmonizers serenade his wife for Valentine's Day
rather than go the card and candy route.

"There are a lot of love songs," said Phemister. "We still try to keep those in the repertory."

"I'd say half of it is social," said Weaver. "I think there's as much camaraderie where a bunch of guys get together, we sing and we enjoy ourselves. I'm a cut up, you can tell when I'm in there rehearsing."

"If you like to sing and if you can carry a tune, we would like you to come try us out," said Phemister. "Come hear what our sound is all about."

They're a bunch of guys breaking out in song and friendship and ready to welcome you whether you can read music or not.

The group meets in the choir room of Lexington Baptist Church on Main Street in Lexington at 7 p.m. Mondays. For more information call 083-776-2305 or click here.

Attached to this story is a video demonstrating how people who don't know how to read music can learn to sing barbershop harmony.

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