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Haverhill

July 11, 2014

Local barbershop singers to sing at Statue of Liberty

Never before has a barbershop chorus sung at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, according to the Department of the Interior.

Tomorrow, however, visitors will be able to hear the dulcet harmonies of such a chorus — and many of those singing hail from right here in the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire.

President of the Gentlemen Songsters Geoff Bird of Atkinson organized the event, which includes 60 to 75 singers from a variety of barbershop choruses from across the Northeast, calling themselves the Liberty Chorus.

Bird said travel with the Songsters was always on his bucket list. Thus, in pursuit of his big idea for a small trip, Bird made some calls to the Department of the Interior (which manages national parks like the Statue of Liberty and its environs) and arranged the trip.

“They’ve had high school choruses there, (but) never had a barbershop chorus,” he said.

Bird opened the trip to choruses from throughout New England, Nova Scotia and eastern New York, attracting a few dozen singers.

It would have been more, Bird explained, but between vacations and the recent international barbershop chorus championships, a lot of members weren’t able to make it.

Organization for the music was pretty simple, Bird said, despite the fact that the whole chorus isn’t going to get the opportunity to rehearse together before the day of the event.

“What we’ve done is prepared six songs in a patriotic set, and set up a link so people from various choruses could go to the links, pay for the songs — including all the learning tracks — so theoretically everyone should show up knowing the same songs.”

Transportation is less organized. After trying in vain to figure out a way to organize transportation to the city, finally Bird relented. He told the other groups to “just get there,” he said.

“We’re to meet at the flag pole at the Statue at noontime.”

“All the gentlemen will show up wearing the polo (shirts) of their chorus,” he said.

The Gentlemen Songsters have a fairly long, rich history in the area, that began in Lawrence around 1986. The group’s membership hails from across the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire.

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