Barbershop in Ireland

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

For years, FAM co-Director Michael T Dawson has been singing and coaching barbershop tags. Whether in choral rehearsals, barbershop masterclasses, or simply walking down a busy street, Michael has been known to get everyone singing barbershop tags.

But what is barbershop music? According to the Irish Association of Barbershop Singers (IABS):

This thriving art form includes modern pop, jazz and folk music arranged in the barbershop style of A Cappella four-part harmony. There are dozens of enthusiastic barbershop choruses and quartets located around the country.

During his 3-year doctoral degree in choral conducting, he took his love of this style to the home of barbershop: the United States of America. In California, he has been honing his gestural technique and music pedagogy at the Thornton School of Music in USC, Los Angeles.

This year, Michael will present at the IABS Convention in Killarney, Co. Kerry. Between 4th and 6th October 2019, all of the finest barbershop ensembles in Ireland compete and perform for each other to vie for the prestigious IABS titles.

This roster includes the immensely talented ensembles Lady Barbalade and Blingmasters, directed by Fingal-based conductor, arranger and singer Rebecca Gilbert. Rebecca directs three quartets in total, coaches several others, and works as an educator for IABS.

Blingmasters is a 20-strong chorus of female voices, which won the prize for National Female Chorus at last year's IABS, as well as the trophy for the highest score in performance in the national competitions. Lady Barbalade, a female barbershop quartet, took home the 2018 prize in the National Female Quartet competition.

We will let you all know how both Michael and Rebecca get on at the 30th Annual Convention goes. For more information, please visit http://www.iabsconvention.com/.

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