Music: Chordiality in Washington

Once upon a time, back in the Gay 90s, a barbershop was a place where mustachioed blades could hang out and sing together in mellow harmony. What happened? The mudpack and the facial, the manicure, new-fangled tonics, lotions and powders, whirring electrical scalp treatments—and the barbershop quartet became a sentimental memory. Then, in 1938, a song-happy Tulsa tax attorney (and baritone) named Owen C. Cash organized the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America. Amateur singers flocked to join the society (25,000 members in 615 chapters in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!