The Barbershop Harmony Society, officially the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. (S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A), was founded in 1938, on a hotel rooftop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Two men, Owen C. Cash and Rupert Hall, invited a number of friends to meet there for a songfest. The resulting rucus attracted the attention of a local newpaper reporter and the story went viral (in today's terminology)! Soon there were similar events in other cities and the two men established the new Society's interesting name, meant to lampoon the federal bureacracy naming conventions of he day. An original American art form was revived. It spawned many popular singing groups, remains vibrant today, and has attracted thousands of men of all ages and stripes to fully express their musical talents. The Society was long headquartered in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but relocated to Nashville, Tennessee in 2007. Learn more at Wikipedia
The Prescott Chapter
In Prescott, it took a little longer. In 1953, Bill Oeize found 22 men who desired to "ring a few chords", and the Yavapai County Chapter was chartered by the S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. in 1956. It lasted only two years. In 1972, a group was formed by Bill Esmire and chartered by the Society in 1974. The new chapter, known as the Prescottones, prospered and grew in the 1980s to have members from ages 14 to 86, and hosted several Society District events right here in Prescott. The chorus decided to change its name in 1996, when we became the High Mountain Chordsmen. We have always been a small chapter in a relatively small community, yet well over a hundred men have joined with their friends here over the years, singing for fun and fellowship, performing in the chorus and on the risers, and in numerous Barbershop quartets. All for personal enjoyment and for the great community we all called home!
To browse Sam Stimple's scrapbook depicting our history, visit the History Gallery