The Desert Aires Barbershop Chorus has several quartets that come from the ranks of the chorus. One of its most humorous quartets is called Time Was, with a name that almost creates expectation of more information to follow. In this case, it is a’cappella four-part harmony singing. Each of its four members has a long history of involvement in this turn of the 20th century music including blues, jazz, and rag time.
The Desert Aires, composed of senior retirees, was born in 1976 in the Sun Cities area, entertaining throughout Arizona with the northwest valley their focal point. With a collective total of close to 2,000 years experience from almost 200 singers over these 45 years, they have won the Arizona A-Plateau championship multiple times. It has been said that they have been around long enough for Moses to sing with them.
In fact, Dave Moses is the lead singer who started his barbershopping hobby in the Dallas, TX chorus as well as one of its competitive quartets. He joined the Desert Aires 11 years ago singing baritone as well as lead, and for a short period was one of its directors.
The tenor, Gene Brandwein, a New Yorker, sings with three quartets as well as the Phoenicians and the Desert Aires, which he joined in 2007. Although not publicly performing, he has a unique four-generation, four-part harmony quartet including himself, his daughter, grandson and great grandson.
The bass, Hugh Ryan, says he started this hobby just 10 year ago with the Desert Aires, and being a snow bird, he also sings with the Cherry Capital Men’s Chorus in Traverse City, MI. Ryan believes that singing this music is his source of life enrichment, and his most memorable experience was singing with 750 students from the Barbershop Harmony Society’s University in 2019.
Hailing from the state of Illinois is the baritone, “Barney” Barnhart, who is also the chorus’ Master of Ceremonies. He started singing this a’cappella four-part harmony music in 1959 with the Sterling-Rock Falls BHS Chapter for a grand total of 62 years experience with seven quartets and the Desert Aires (15 years ago).
This quartet, along with six other quartets in the Desert Aires Barbershop Chorus, will perform in their annual show Feb. 27 in Sun City’s large auditorium.
Editor’s note: Jack McGill is a spokesperson for the Desert Aires Barbershop Chorus.
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