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Golden ChordsmenBy MYRON LOVE

Readers who may recall the movie, “The Music Man” may remember how “Professor” Harold Hill persuaded the four town councillors to form a barbershop quartet with the result that the foursome were forever breaking into song.

Winnipeg’s modern-day equivalent – the Winnipeg Golden Chordsmen Chorus - share that propensity to break into song. “We will do shows whenever we’re asked,” says Golden Chordsman member Dr. Morley Bernstein. “We sing at seniors homes and charity events. We participate in the Seniors Music Festival and in competitions with other chapters nationally and internationally.
“We also offer a singing valentine service. For a fee, we will send out a quartet to deliver a rose, chocolates and two songs. There is not as much demand as there used to be. But I would feel good for the whole day afterwards.”
The Winnipeg Golden Chordsmen Chorus, Bernstein reports, is a chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society – which was founded in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the 1930s. The Society now has about 30,000 members with chapters throughout North America and ten other countries worldwide. The Winnipeg chapter – which was founded in 1948 - has 48 members, eight of whom are Jewish.
Among them is Danny Miles, father, Gary. That number also includes Bernstein, Jerry Moscovitch, Bernie Gunn, Norm Silverberg, Earl Golden, Gary Miles, David Petrie and Perry Chochinov. The age range of members goes from 30 to 90.

Bernstein himself was brought into the group 23 years ago by his friend, Martin Gurvey (who has since left Winnipeg). “I have always enjoyed singing,” says Bernstein, a retired orthodontist who has served on the Chordsmen board of directors and produced a couple of the shows himself. “I just needed to find an outlet.”
Bernstein notes that there are 13 traditional songs in the repertoire that every Barbershop Harmony Society knows. “We have been trying to get away somewhat from the traditional songs as we try to attract younger members,” he says. “Our recent shows have included rock and roll, the music of Broadway, a tribute to Al Jolson and Western music.”
Bernstein notes that the Golden Chordsmen’s next public performance is Music of the Night, featuring songs from “Les Mis”, “Cabaret”, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Phantom of the Opera”. The performance is scheduled for Saturday, May 27, at Bethel Mennonite Church on Stafford. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from chorus members, online at eventbrite or by phoning 204 255-4558.
 “We practice 52 weeks a year,” Bernstein says. “I love the group and group singing. They say that singing contributes to a healthier life.”

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