Shows & Glows

Can’t Buy Me Love

This classic from the Fab Four is not only lively and wise, it is contestable too (though SAI groups should check with a Music judge). But whether for contest or show, this song is a sure winner. “Everybody tells me so!” Tim Waurick’s tracks for women are purely great, and he now has them for men too.

For Good (two soloists)

From the musical Wicked, this song features a heartfelt, intense dialogue between witches Elphaba and Glinda. If your group has two good soloists with medium to high voices, this is the ticket for you. This arrangement, and the sentiments of the song, work just fine for men as well. Tracks for the women’s version have been recorded by Shawn Thomas.

Hit the Road, Jack

This emphatic tune is arranged for four-part women’s voices with male solo. The fellow needs to be either a bass or a low baritone—low in more than one sense of the word? The arrangement is also available in German. That title translates as “Come, Drink Up, Jack.” Fun, eh?

I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire

When well-known barbershopper Darryl Flinn first heard my current quartet, Lock 4, he remarked on what a fine voice our lead, Keith, had and declared him to be the lost Ink Spot. So naturally I went back and arranged Keith’s favorite Ink Spot song. The piece lives more vividly with guitar accompaniment, and there is even a traditional, uh, spot for a bass recitation.
By the way, our quartet’s name has a double meaning. The Ohio & Erie Canal came through Akron back in the day, and of course we barbershoppers love to lock and ring those chords!

I Say a Little Prayer

When I first got involved with the Cleveland Heights High School Barbershoppers, I asked the young women what song they would most like to have arranged. Thinking of the Julia Roberts film “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” they choose this one. This sweet tune is now available to other youth groups, and there is also a version for the grown-ups which is pitched down a little.

Instrument of Peace

Patterned after the inspirational version sung by the Canadian Tenors, this song is purely beautiful. One might think of it as being similar to “Let There Be Peace on Earth” but with more specifics included. Such lyrics as “Where there is darkness, let me bring light” and “Where there Is hatred, let me bring love” show that one person can make a difference in this sometimes perilous world. Right now this chart is exclusive to the Scotianaires, but it will shake loose in a couple of years, so do keep a lookout for it—peacefully, of course. . . .

Lost in the Stars

This is a contestable version of a most powerful song. Judges in the Performance category have assured me that this song does not really function a religious number, but rather as a lament about feeling quite alone. The arrangement is no longer exclusive to the Brothers in Harmony, who sang it most dramatically in International competition.

Mein Bruder macht im Tonfilm die Geräusche

Partly in English and partly in German, this song is, well . . . what it is, is . . . different—and great fun! The English title is “My Brother Makes the Sound Effects for Movies.” The sounds included are a mix of vocal, electronic and mechanical effects. And the piece is contestable too. It could be redone for your group to be all in one language or the other.

My Brother Makes the Sound Effects for Movies

Partly in English and partly in German, this song is, well . . . what it is, is . . . different—and great fun! The sounds included are a mix of vocal, electronic and mechanical effects. And it is contestable too. It could be redone for your group to be all in one language or the other. The German title is “Mein Bruder macht im Tonfilm die Geräusche.”

New Old Songs Medley

This one is rather tough to describe. For one thing, it does not exist yet—at least not in a completed form. The gag is pairing the lyrics from songs by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and so on with the melodies of much older songs. Some examples of the latter are “Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland,” “After the Ball” and “I Got Rhythm.” The hope is to pleasantly scramble your audiences’ brain waves (maybe you own also). If you are interested in this weird concept, do give me a holler.

Nowhere to Go but Up

From the movie Mary Poppins Returns, this delightful song will take you on a natural high. You won’t be flying a kite—you will soar over the town, maybe even heading to the moon. This arrangement is fine for contests using the BHS judging system but might be more suitable for shows in the Sweet Adelines world. Commissioned by the Hunterdon Harmonizers, this piece is exclusive to them for a while longer.

Pokarekare Ana

This gem of a Maori love song was originally arranged for The Ritz, who won quartet gold in 1991. They sang it with great success on a trip to New Zealand. The Musical Island Boys, our champ in 2014, picked up on it too, as have many other groups in that country. The lyrics are about half in English, but no worries, for Polynesian words are easy to sound out.

Something Inside So Strong

Arranged to help the Dutch Association of Barbershop Singers (DABS) celebrate its 20th anniversary, this song is as strong as it gets. It has been used for protest and inspiration by a wide variety of oppressed groups, though anyone can relate to its powerful, uplifting message. A mixed version is now available.

Stairway to Heaven

What? You don’t have a Led Zeppelin song in your repertoire? Well, isn’t it high time you got one? The answer is, maybe. For one thing, this arrangement requires an extra soloist or two, making it better suited to a chorus than quartet. Also, many of the tricky instrumental effects are reproduced vocally, making this piece very . . . not easy. But if your group can pull it off, your audiences are bound to go bonkers!

Steam Heat

From the 1954 Broadway musical The Pajama Game, this tune is hot. No, it’s hotter than hot! The Cleveland Heights High School Women Barbershoppers debuted this sultry song with great success at the Midwinter Convention, but is just fine for the grownups as well. The piece is probably not suitable for SAI contests, but it is great for shows. And don’t forget to wear your black derbies. . . .

We Rise Again

This song of resilience and hope was composed by Leon Dubinsky, a songwriter from Sydney, Nova Scotia, for a 1984 stage musical titled The Rise and Follies of Cape Breton. The Rankin Family’s 1993 rendition popularized the song across Canada. The message of this song is certainly fitting for the time we live in. So lift your audience’s hearts, and your own, with this soaring song.

You Walk with Me

This beautiful tempo ballad comes from the Broadway musical version of The Full Monty. At first hearing, I assumed it was a religious piece. While “You Walk with Me” certainly can be sung that way, in the musical it is sung by two people who love each other. Do yourself a favor and look this song up, whether through a preview from me or simply online.