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October 20, 2003

Battle Creek Inquirer

If the wide-open mouths, raised eyebrows and swaying motions weren't enough, the message on buttons worn by members of the Cereal City Chorus explained it all -- "Singing is life...the rest is just details." The local men were among more than 800 a cappella singers spending the weekend in downtown Battle Creek for a chance to turn their hobby into some serious competition.

The Pioneer District of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc., held its fall conference and competitions at W.K. Kellogg Auditorium and McCamly Plaza Hotel. The district includes barbershop singing groups from all over Michigan, along with Sault. Ste. Marie and Windsor, Canada.

"You're never mad at anyone when you're singing," said Roger Lewis, group member and president of the international society.

Barbershop singers are known for singing a cappella in a particular tone called seventh chord and a nostalgic mix of oldies songs. But the singers are quick to debunk popular stereotypes.

"The image is old guys that just came out of a bar, red and white-striped jackets, straw hats and not the best singing," said 32-year-old Don Slamka, a member of the 2003 international champion quartet, Power Play. "But I started when I was 12 and my whole family sings." More

Posted by acapnews at October 20, 2003 11:32 AM

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