Frequently asked questions

What style of music do we sing?
Our style is called "Barbershop".  It is four part harmony and is sung without instruments, although we sometimes do use instruments when we are learning new songs. All our songs are arranged so that ordinary folk with ordinary voices and a basic musical ability can sing them. 

Isn’t Barbershop singing really just for quartets?
Its true that quartets are the most commonly recognised form of barbershop singing and every chorus nurtures as many as possible. Singing in a quartet is not only exciting and rewarding, it is tremendous fun. However, not all men aspire to reach that level with the extra effort and commitment it requires. Most of our singers simply enjoy that particular thrill of contributing their voice to the full, rich sound of a larger group as they produce  those exciting, well tuned chords that are the essence of Barbershop singing.
 
How long have you been going?
Hills Harmony Chorus began in mid 1996 and our sound has been maturing and improving steadily ever since. We've achieved pleasing successes at both local and National level, details of which can be found on our Awards page.

Although Barbershop singing  in its current form began in USA in 1945, or thereabouts, it first appeared in Australia in the late 1980s. There are currently about 35 choruses across the country with over 900 singers involved.

What sort of songs do you sing?
It is true that many of the songs we sing are from many years ago, but this is mainly because that was a period when songs were written so that the ordinary person in the street could sing them.  Not too high, not too low. Songs by more recent artists, such as the Beatles, Beach Boys, Elton John, Everly Brothers, Billy Joel etc are now becoming more and more accessible to barbershop arrangers.

It is important to remember that breaches of copyright laws allow for stiff penalties, and we can only sing a song once permission is granted. Unfortunately, this permission is not always easy to obtain. Nevertheless, we do have thousands of songs from which to choose.

Who are you associated with?
Because we happen to rehearse in a church building and our name is somewhat similar to a very prominent religious organisation in the same district, people frequently assume we are in some way connected to that church, or to some other religious group.  Please note we are a completely independent group of singers and we simply have a commercial arrangement with the Kellyville Anglican Church to hire their premises each week.

The only association with whom we have links is Barbershop Harmony Australia, which in turn is associated with the world co-ordinating body in USA.

Who else sings Barbershop Music?
Barbershop singing is enjoyed by many thousands of men in what is the largest singing association in the world. It is popular in USA, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Scandinavia, South Africa and other countries, and is continuing to grow here in Australia. 

Is there anything for female singers?
There certainly is. A parallel movement, known as the “Sweet Adelines”, sings similar music and have similar aims. There are several ladies’ choruses in Sydney and we will happily direct any enquiries from ladies to a nearby group.

And if I was interested in singing with you.......
Where can I get more information? We have a separate page with lots more information  but first, here are some more answers to some common questions

Do I have to be able to read music?
No!  You do need to be able to sing in tune and to learn your part, and to be able to follow the directions of the leader. If you can read music then so much the better, but the vast majority of our singers cannot read music. We use several different methods to help the singers learn. These include computer-based music programs, audio files, sheet music, group teaching sessions etc.  You do need a normal sense of rhythm. Oh, and a  sense of humour doesn’t go astray, either.
 
Do I need to have a good voice?
What exactly is a “good” voice? We just need ordinary voices without affectation such as vibrato, tremolo. etc. Opera singers we aren’t.  Our Music is written for ordinary voices, so no matter if your voice is high, or low or somewhere in between, there's a place in the music where you'll feel comfortable.

What if I haven't sung before, or not for a very long time?
We'll give you every help we can, including choosing the best part for you, and will help you improve your technique. We're practicing and improving our techniques all the time. The main things needed are the ability to sing in tune, to be able to learn your part, and to follow the directions of the leader. We will teach you how to sing.

 
How often do you rehearse?
We meet at 7:30pm each Thursday in the gym of the Kellyville Anglican Church, 45 President Road, Kellyville, and we're done by about 10:00pm, when we have a little supper.
 
What costs are involved?
As you would expect, we do have various ongoing expenses.  We need to purchase our sheet music and training tracks and, of course, pay the appropriate Copyright fees. We also need to hire the hall, pay for coaching sessions, costumes, Public Liability and other insurances as well as our registration with State and National bodies. We also occasionally sponsor extra tuition  and travel costs for members seeking additional education. It all works out around $8 per week. Oh, and we kick in 50 cents every now and then for tea, coffee and biscuits too.

For more information, go to the "Become a Member?" page