Barbershop Harmony Society

Nashville, United States

Barbershop Harmony Society

The Barbershop Harmony Society, legally and historically named the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. (SPEBSQSA), is the first of several organizations to promote and preserve barbershop music as an art form. Founded by Owen C. Cash and Rupert I. Hall in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1938, the organization quickly grew, promoting barbershop harmony among men of all ages. As of 2014, just under 23,000 men in the United States and Canada were members of this organization whose focus is on a cappella music. The international headquarters was in Kenosha, Wisconsin for fifty years before moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 2007. In June 2018, the society announced it would allow women to join as full members.

A parallel women's singing organization, Sweet Adelines International (SAI) was founded in 1945. A second women's barbershop harmony organization, Harmony, Incorporated, broke from SAI in 1959 over an issue of racial exclusion, with SAI (like SPEBSQSA and many other organizations) being white-only at that time; SPEBSQSA officially lifted the requirement in 1963. Several international affiliate organizations, in countries around the world, add their own flavor to the signature sound of barbershop harmony.



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