Something to sing about
The directors of the Talk of Tulsa Show Chorus describe their female barbershoppers’ recent accolades and the group’s continuing focus on educating and entertaining.
Patty and Frank Friedemann led the Talk of Tulsa Show Chorus to a first-place win in the barbershop choir’s region of the Sweet Adelines International Competition.
Frank and Patty Friedemann direct the Talk of Tulsa Show Chorus, an award-winning, all-female group that sings barbershop-style, a cappella harmony.
Over the past 40 years, the talented couple have performed and competed with a variety of internationally acclaimed choruses. They founded the Talk of Tulsa in 2000 and three years later chartered it with Sweet Adelines International, the Tulsa-based, 27,000-member women’s barbershop singing organization.
Since chartering, the Talk of Tulsa has medaled in the small-chorus division of the Sweet Adelines International Competition consecutively every year.
The Friedemanns also led the 41-member group to a first-place finish at a recent regional Sweet Adelines competition, qualifying it to compete at the international competition in Honolulu, Hawaii, in November 2013.
Here, the Friedemanns discuss the team’s triumph as well as their experiences in the barbershop music community.
How they prepared for the win: Our team last year decided to take on a new direction. … We went on a recruiting push. We are competitors, but winning was not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal was to get to the mid-size chorus level and grow. We actually achieved our goal and brought on 16 brand-new singers who didn’t know anything about barbershop music at all.
How they feel about the win: Winning wasn’t even in our thought processes when we started. It’s a really neat thing to take a chorus and say, all we want to do is go and be as great as we can musically, and not even think about any aspect of winning, but all of a sudden, there it is, and we won. The reward is that the convention will be in Hawaii. About 40 choruses have won their regions all over the world, and we’ll be competing with those choruses.
The objective of the Talk of Tulsa: The purpose of our chorus is really educational. Since we both have such a passion for singing and performing, the Talk of Tulsa gives us an opportunity to have that passion and be able to express ourselves musically to the community, and that’s what it’s all about. We want to teach this art form (barbershopping) to as many people that love to sing as we can.
What is “barbershopping”? Barbershopping is actually a cappella singing done in four parts: tenor, lead, baritone and bass. It started back in the late 1800s when men would go and get their hair cut and get a shave, and while they were waiting around, they would start singing. It’s very entertaining and very exciting to listen to. We do patriotic music, some religious music, jazz, big bands, doo-wop — all genres in music but in barbershop style.
What makes barbershopping unique to Tulsa: The barbershopping society was started here in Tulsa in 1938 by Rupert Hall and OC Cash, who were oilmen. Then, in 1945, the women decided to get on board, and they decided to start their own organization … Sweet Adelines International. Both of these organizations were started here in Tulsa, making Tulsa a very unique city to barbershop music.
How the Talk of Tulsa benefits the community: It’s very unique how this kind of singing brings so many people from so many cultures together. Because of the positive nature of this organization, we watch women be able to take the positive motivation that we offer them into every little part of their lives, and it gives them confidence; it brings a lot of great attributes.
Where the public can hear the chorus perform: We work three hours of rehearsal every Monday night from 7-10 p.m. … The public can come to the Union PAC (Performing Arts Center) on Nov. 17, 2012, at 7:30 p.m., and we’ll be performing with The Troublemakers and Union Harmony high school choruses.