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  Tuesday, July 16, 2019
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The Barbershop Harmony 5th international festival of choruses and quartets opens in St. Petersburg on Thursday
English barbers started the tradition of male choral singing, the festival's organizing committee said. Today nobody knows when barbershop music sounded for the first time, however, this style was highly popular in England in the 16th-18th centuries. According to English poet John Milton, most barbers had lutes or cithers and were known as good singers. The Barbershop style, a cappella quartet or choral singing, was revived in the United States in the beginning of the 20th century and is flourishing now. The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quarter Singing in America, an association of amateur singers, formed some decades ago, today comprises over 34,000 people from many countries, including Australia, Ireland, Japan and Saudi Arabia. Barbershop singers and their fans will gather in St. Petersburg for the fifth time already. Choruses and quartets from the U.S. and Russia (St. Petersburg, Yakutsk, Petrozavodsk, Perm and Rostov-on-Don) will participate in the festival. Although barbershop is male singing, four female quartets will perform at the festival as well, the organizing committee said. All in all, five music soirees will be held. Works by Russian and American composers, folk and jazz songs and fragments from popular Broadway musicals and movie soundtracks will be performed. Outdoor concerts will take place in Cappella courts, the Conservatory and Sheremetev Palace, Musical Comedy Theatre and the Pink Pavilion in Pavlovsk. Three master-classes on the arrangement and performance of barbershop harmony style will be held by festival's chief conductor, supervisor of educational programs of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quarter Singing in America, Dr. Gregory K. Lyne. The festival is sponsored by the Russian federal agency for culture and cinematography, St. Petersburg's culture committee and the International Fine Arts Institute (U.S.). The festival will close on August 23
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