Friday, June 25, 2010

A Barbershopper Who Gives Back

The performing chorus pictured at the top of this blog is the most public face of the MVE.  However, many of the members of the Midwest Vocal Express are involved in what can be considered the purest form of barbershopping – the quartet.  One of those members is John "Bo" Gibson, and he has been barbershopping for a lo-o-o-ng time.

Bo performs regularly with Easy Days at the Harmony Inn the Village in Greendale, WI.  A few weeks ago, he coached a quartet made up of members of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus for their performance with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s recent Americana concert.

Shown are photos of Bo (in the middle) with the quartet at the Monday night rehearsal, the quartet in their ready room and with Maestro Marvin Hamlisch.
Since the quartet appeared nameless, the Maestro made one up for the quartet during the first performance right in front of 2200 people - Below The Town.  It was the humorous opposite to the bluegrass group, Above The Town, that also performed on the program.  The Maestro’s interview schtick before and/or after they sang helped the foursome have even more fun in those brief minutes singing "This Land is Your Land" linked to "America the Beautiful."  Audiences, the Maestro, Lee Erickson (the MSO Chorus director) and management offstage were all beaming every time.

After the performances, the quartet sent out an email about Bo, saying, “His willingness to work with us, his generosity of time, and kindly manner were simply awesome--and it showed in the 3 performances.  Special thanks go to Bo!”

Bo – thanks for all you do for barbershop and the MVE!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

MVE's Appearances at the Barbershop Harmony Society's International Convention & Contest

Each year, always around the 4th of July, the Barbershop Harmony Society holds an International Convention & Contest where between 8,000 and 10,000 barbershop singers and their family members gather to eat, sleep and drink barbershop harmony.

For the past 11 years, the Midwest Vocal Express (MVE) has had the honor and privilege of representing the Land O'Lakes District of the Society at this contest.  Two weeks from now, on Friday July 2, the MVE will make their twelfth appearance.

The contest involves each chorus performing two songs, which are judged across three categories - Singing, Music and Presentation.  Many choruses choose a theme for their performance that links the two songs together for the audience.  The MVE is known worldwide for their “legendary” theatrical presentations.

Below is a list of the MVE's appearances, including year, city and contest set theme, along with links (where available) to photo collections of the perfomance.

1999 - Anaheim, CA - Tin Roof Blues
2000 - Kansas City, KS - County Fair
2001 - Nashville, TN - Tin Roof Blues
2002 - Portland, OR - Waiters on Broadway (5th Place Bronze)
2003 - Montreal, QB - Green Army Men (5th Place Bronze)
2004 - Louisville, KY - New Dads
2005 - Salt Lake City, UT - County Fair
2006 - Indianapolis, IN - Fish (5th Place Bronze)
2007 - Denver, CO - Pinocchio
2008 - Nashville, TN - Penguins
2009 - Anaheim ,CA - Bond
2010 - Philadelphia, PA - ????

Many thanks to Dan Proctor and Lorin May for taking the photos and making them available via Fotki.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

20 Years of Barbershop Excellence

Founded in 1989, Midwest Vocal Express (MVE) male a cappella chorus specializes in “Storytelling through Song,” performing:
  • Traditional barbershop favorites
  • Show tunes
  • Spirituals
  • Popular music
Headquartered in Greendale, WI, and made up of singers from across Southeast Wisconsin, MVE is known locally for the best in family entertainment, and worldwide for their “legendary” theatrical presentations on the Barbershop Harmony Society’s International Contest Stage.

There are over 800 chapters worldwide, and for the 11th consecutive year, Midwest Vocal Express will compete in the Barbershop Harmony Society's International Chorus competition. MVE has has held the 5th Place Bronze Medalist Chorus position three times. 

Under Director Grant Wilson, Midwest Vocal Express thrives on changing the lives of the audience through performance.

We hope you'll visit our web site, "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
With this blog, the Midwest Vocal Express will share our experiences as we continue the musical odyssey started over 20 years ago.