Barbershop squires hope to become knights
The Southwest Pride Chorus is ready to give Southwest Oklahoma a show full of laughs, excitement and most importantly the joys of barbershop singing.
This weekend, both Duncan and Lawton will be treated to the vocalists' annual show, "Barbershop Squires With Knightly Desires," which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the chapter's founding.
"Barbershop singing is a different sound altogether," said Larry Campbell, Southwest Pride director. "It's different than what you would find in other places. It's a capella singing that we absolutely love to do. It's a more exciting sound than you would get from your average concert."
The 17-member group will sing "barbershop chestnuts" such as "Step Up and Be a Knight," "I Can Roam," "Here Come Sack-time Alexander," "Up a Lazy River," "Hello, My Baby," "My Favorite Things" and more. The show will be directed by Sandra Pokorny with choreography by former Miss Lawton Amanda Richey. Jan Stratton, formerly of KSWO-TV, will once again serve as the mistress of ceremonies and will narrate the production, written by chorus member Johnny Horn.
"The guy that wrote the whole show came up with the idea years ago, and we decided to finally use it," Campbell said. "The whole idea behind it is about these guys who are all squires and want to become knights so they can get along with the women. They hire a knight to teach them how to make money, joust and fight with swords."
The men of Southwest Pride will combine comedy and music to tell the story of squires "yearning to break the bonds of castle life and enjoy the excitement and pleasure of saving the beautiful princess and slaying the dreaded dragon."
After the intermission, the show will feature "The A Capella Federation," directed by Brian Hogan, which includes vocalists from around the state. The show will conclude with the "Chairmen of the Chord," consisting of Ben Good, tenor; Keith Parrish, lead; Bill Penn, baritone; Don Ward, bass; and the return of the entire Southwest Pride Chorus.
"It's going to be one of those family-oriented performances you could bring anyone to," Campbell said. "We have a wide range of performers our youngest singer is 12 years old, while I'm 77. This is a show intended to get the whole family listening to music and having fun. Our chapter is a little different; we do this as a play and incorporate the music into the storyline. There's a lot of comedy and general entertainment."
Campbell, who has been around since the founding of Southwest Pride, said the group is part of the Barbershop Harmony Society, an international organization dedicated to the United States style of vocal harmonies.