Harmonizers Evoke ‘Cheers And Tears’ On Valentine’s Day

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February 07, 2019
By SHELBY MERTENS
Daily News-Record  2/7/19
 
HARRISONBURG — Tom Pearce, a member of the Harrisonburg Harmonizers, a barbershop-style men’s chorus, has serenaded unsuspecting women and men on Valentine’s Day in some of the most unusual places.
Once, a wife ordered the group to sing to her husband at his workplace — a construction site — while he was in an earth mover. Another year, Pearce sang at the edge of the swimming pool at the Staunton-Augusta YMCA, and also to a judge in Staunton.
“We’ve also done these in hospitals — in hospital lobbies and hospital rooms — doctor’s offices, dental offices, real estate offices,” said Pearce, the chapter secretary and former president of the Harrisonburg Harmonizers. “We did one last year in the auditorium at Turner Ashby High School where they were having a student assembly. There were 200 to 300 students in there, and we had an order for one of the teachers who was speaking.”
A quartet of men, donning red blazers and bow ties, will show up to wherever your valentine may be, whether it’s a workplace, restaurant, school or home. They usually sing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” or “Heart of My Heart” a cappella. Every now and then, the quartet will take a song request.
“We also give the recipient of the valentine a rose and a card with a message on it from the person who ordered it, and some candy kisses,” Pearce said.
The Harrisonburg Harmonizers, the local chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, have delivered singing valentines since its inception in 2009. The men sing four-part harmonies from the 1900 to 1930s era. A barbershop harmony consists of a lead who sings the melody, along with a tenor, a baritone and a bass.
The nonprofit has grown to 29 members and performs 12 times a year. The singing valentines is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
The Harmonizers charge $50 for a singing valentine within a certain time window, or $60 for an exact time.
This year, the Harrisonburg Harmonizers are also singing valentines on the day before and the day after Valentine’s Day. Pearce said they don’t deliver the singing valentines over a three-day span every year.
Traveling as far as Waynesboro and Woodstock, each quartet performs up to 20 day.
“We’ve been doing about 50 valentines a year,” he said.
The joy and happiness expressed on the surprised person’s face is the reason the chorus delivers the singing valentines year after year.
“We call it ‘cheers and tears’ — both of these will happen,” Pearce said. “It’s not unusual that the recipient of it will shed a tear. Usually the co-workers are really getting a kick out of it.”
A singing valentine can be ordered by calling 540-342-8272, emailing harrisonburgharmonizers@gmail.com or through its website, www.harrisonburgharmonizers.com. Orders are accepted the day of.