Singers have day jobs but spend their spare time searching for that perfect harmony.
This weekend Philadelphia is ringing in four-part harmony. An international competition of Barbershop Quartet singers is at the convention center. 50 qualifying teams are singing in elimination rounds, and Saturday night the champion with be determined.
This Quartet is called Frank The Dog. The name is an inside joke that tenor singer Tim Knapp says doesn’t mean much but it’s fun. He says the quartet’s wacky sense of humor is part of Frank the Dog’s stage act.
“A lot of people come up and meet us afterward – they always say, ‘we can tell you like each other.’ That’s not always the case. There are some really good quartets that don’t get along with each other.”
Not every song can be arranged in the Barbershop style – it has to be able to support very particular harmonic parts.
When those parts work, they give Mike Feyrer goosebumps. He’s the baritone in the group 2nd Generation, but what really chokes him up is the fact that he is competing on an international level with his two sons – aged 30 and 38.
“It’s hard for me to talk about. It’s emotional. I can’t describe it – it’s phenomenal. I don’t know how many dads have had this experience where they go this far with their kids, and their kids still want to be with you!”
Feyrer has been singing barbershop for 25 years, but like almost all the competitors, he has a regular job as a dispatcher for a trucking company.