There has been barbershop quartet
singing in the Shenango Valley for decades. The first organized chapter started
in the 1940's and produced quartets that became popular everywhere they went.
The Sharon Chapter became known for their fine quartets such as "Staff
Masters", "TransFour", and one quartet that went on to national recognition in
the 1950's, "Lytle Brothers". Barbershop singing was in its heyday then, and
the chords flourished for about thirty years. But that chapter began to fade in
the late 60's and by 1972
it was gone.
The Shenango Valley Chapter of the Society for the
Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, Inc.
came on the scene in 1981, when a group of dedicated, four-part harmony lovers
got together and decided it was time to rekindle the flame of barbershop singing
in the Sharon area. However, this time it was to encompass a far larger
geographic region and the name of the performing chorus, the Penn-Ohio Singers,
was chosen to indicate the two-state nature of the group. The Shenango Valley
Chapter received its charter in 1982, the same weekend the Penn-Ohio Singers won
its first competition in Columbus, Ohio. From that group of 26 men, the chapter
had grown to a size of over 60 active members. In 1994, the chorus had placed second
in district contest and were the mic testers at International
contest in Pittsburgh, PA.
Since that rather auspicious beginning, their numbers
have grown as has their reputation for excellence in presenting barbershop music
to its audience. Their professional attitude and presentation have attracted men
from the Shenango Valley, Greenville, Jamestown, Mercer, Grove City, Slippery
Rock, New Castle, Ellwood City, Zelienople, Butler, and a few other locations in
Pennsylvania along with men from the Ohio towns of Youngstown, Boardman, Canfield,
Warren, Hubbard, Cortland, and Poland. Chapter membership is currently about 50 men.
Performing groups include the 20-30 voice chorus, and smaller ensembles ranging anywhere
from 8 to 16 men, and of course our chapter quartet.
The Chapter established the following mission
statement early in its existence and has endeavored to live by it ever since:
"The Penn-Ohio Singers is a superior men's
choral organization whose goal is to strive and be recognized for musical,
performance and competitive excellence."
In addition to their singing, the Penn-Ohio Singers
actively support community-service projects and local charities,
and contribute many man-hours to churches, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and retirement
communities. Beyond that the Chapter actively supports the Harmony Foundation,
whose mission is to preserve our musical legacy through support of vocal music
education in our schools and communities.