There in Our Hearts - Thank you, Bill!

When Bill Stauffer stepped into the role of Music Director three years ago, his heartfelt passion and artistic energy made an immediate impact on the chorus. In his first official contest appearance with Voices of Gotham at the 2015 Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) chorus contest, Bill directed the chorus in one of our most memorable contest sets, which earned its highest placement (6th!) and score to date.

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Voices of Gotham Competes in Nashville

In early July, Voices of Gotham traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to compete against the best barbershop choruses in the world in the Barbershop Harmony Society’s annual International Convention and Competition. This year we placed 10th against one of the deepest field of competitors in recent memory. Additionally, the Nashville quartet contest included VoG members both seasoned and new to the International Competition.

Voices of Gotham’s contest set included “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory arranged by our in-house arranger Matt Gallagher, and a “Get Your Happy Days On” medley of “Get Happy,” “Happy Days are Here Again,” and “Shaking the Blues Away.” We were fortunate enough to be one of the final competitors of the day, so the Bridgestone Arena was almost completely packed when we took the stage.

In addition to VoG’s performance in the chorus competition, VoG members Brian Lindvall and Nick Gordon both competed in the quartet contest in their respective quartets, Frank the Dog and Quorum. Brian’s quartet, Frank the Dog, placed 28th, and Nick’s quartet, Quorum, made it all the way to the final round, finishing 7th.

While we had much to celebrate on our own, we were extremely proud to represent the Mid-Atlantic District in Nashville. This year our district fielded fours choruses and six quartets—more groups than any other district in the Barbershop Harmony Society. Being a part of such a competitive district is key to our continued success as a chorus and organization. We're looking forward to competing again in September at the Mid-Atlantic District competition, and for future performances in the Greater New York City.

Many thanks to the Barbershop Harmony Society, the Mid-Atlantic District, and most of all, our friends, families, and fans for their continued support throughout the year. (Photo credit Barbershop Harmony Society / Lorin May)

Many thanks to the Barbershop Harmony Society, the Mid-Atlantic District, and most of all, our friends, families, and fans for their continued support throughout the year. (Photo credit Barbershop Harmony Society / Lorin May)

Introducing Give in the Seventh

By Nemo Ashong, VoG President

The last two years have been an exciting time of growth and change for Voices of Gotham. We released our first studio album, we placed 6th place at the International Barbershop Chorus Competition in Pittsburgh under our new director Bill Stauffer, and we hosted our “Lock and Ring” symposium on barbershop arranging and the history of the style.

As you might expect, putting together these events and projects takes a great deal of work from our members, and it also takes a considerable amount of money. This year we’ve launched an exciting new donation program: GIVE IN THE SEVENTH. This new program allows our friends, families, and fans provide continued support our programs with a regular donation starting at only $7 per month.

Beyond supporting special programs such as seminars and recordings, GIVE IN THE SEVENTH donations will underwrite our operating expenses such as rehearsal space, transportation costs, and the commissioning of arrangements. Most importantly, these regular donations will enable the continued existence of Voices of Gotham, which has proven to be a source of friendship and community for many of our members who had recently moved into one of the most expensive cities in the world.

This sentiment was expressed by one of our longtime members Braden Lynk to our membership when he was explaining why he became a GIVE IN THE SEVENTH supporter:

Personally, I give back not just because I benefit directly from being a part of this group, but because I want to make sure this group is here for others like me who come to the city with no friends, family, or connections. Voices of Gotham is a large part of what has made me who I am today and I want that opportunity to exist for others in the future—without cost prohibitive barriers to entry. As we've advanced as an organization, our expenses have logically increased as we are now in a new tier. But I don't want us to lose our inclusiveness and our accessibility to those brand new to the city and to the style. It's what makes VoG truly a family.

If you’re a fan of Voices of Gotham, or a friend to one of our members, you know how important the chorus is to us, and as Braden so eloquently put it, we want to make sure this experience continues to exist for others. Please visit our GIVE IN THE SEVENTH donation page to help support our community and continuing activities.

David Wright: A Conversation

Arrangers' Lab chair Jude Thomas speaks with barbershop arranger and mathematician Dr. David Wright about the past, present, and future of barbershop a cappella singing in this exclusive interview. David is our honored guest for our weekend symposium Lock and Ring: A History of Barbershop A Cappella Music on March 19-20, 2016. Learn more about Lock and Ring at our website: http://www.voicesofgotham.org/lock-and-ring

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Voices of Gotham Announced as 2015 Recipient of Barbershop Harmony Society Innovation Grant Award

The Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) announced on Friday, July 17, 2015 that Voices of Gotham Men’s A Cappella Chorus (VoG) has been awarded a BHS Outreach Grants Program - Innovation Grant, underwritten by Harmony Foundation, Inc. The award was given in support of VoG’s ongoing Arrangers’ Lab program, VoG’s resident studio of experienced and novice composers dedicated to the creation of new music in the barbershop harmony and contemporary a cappella styles.

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Arrangers' Lab: Year One

In 2013 Voices of Gotham’s set at the International Chorus Competition included two new charts arranged either in part, or completely, by members of the chapter. The songs were Fastball’s “The Way” (arranged by Josh Ehrlich), and the “New York Medley” (arranged by Adam BockJosh Ehrlich, and others). Although VoG has a strong tradition of using in-house arrangers and arrangements, the experience of a complete set of homegrown arrangements, and the discussions and development of those arrangements in the lead up to contest, brought out the idea of creating a place for the emerging culture of arrangers in our ranks.

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Producing Voices of Gotham's Debut Album

My earliest musical memories involve a turntable and a series of great old barbershop albums. My dad, the late Fred Gallagher (still my all-time favorite Baritone), played the Four Renegades, the Schmitt Brothers, the Oriole Four on what seemed to be an endless loop. Most often, though, it was the powerful sound of the Boston Common that filled our home. I would later come to love the recordings of the Bluegrass Student Union, the Louisville Thoroughbreds, the Four Rascals, the Vocal Majority and many others; but I always come back the recordings of the Common. They never feel fussy, over-produced, slick, or artificial. The listener gets a from-the-heart delivery, unparalleled blend, and even the rare note error—reminding us just how close to a live performance their albums could bring us.

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Getting Your Chorus or Quartet Videos up on the Web Legally

Rumor has it that there is a grace period of sorts where intellectual property rights are waived when posting videos on the web. After all, everybody does it all the time, don’t they? For years, people believed that as long as a video clip or sound file was under a certain number of seconds it could be used without securing permission of the copyright holder. That is entirely bogus.

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A New Barbershopper in a New City

June 20, 2013, 10:20 AM: My plane’s wheels touched down on the runway at JFK airport. After several hours in the air and an overnight layover at MSP airport in Minneapolis/St. Paul, I had arrived in New York City, my new home. After disembarking from the aircraft and gathering my luggage, I found my way to a car and caught a ride to the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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