The Heart of Harmony Chorus was formed way back in 2006 by Jack Ryback and a few other Milwaukee area barbershop singers. Their goal was to create a chorus that strived for musical excellence, while also having fun singing and performing in the Milwaukee area. Shortly after, more members joined the HOH, as the chorus increased in size, they began making a name for themselves, winning awards at district contents.
The HOH officially became a part of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (SQEBSQA) and held the first rehearsal on August 22nd, 2006. Over the years the Heart of Harmony Chorus (HOH) has made many achievements including first place chorus in the Land O Lakes District Division One and achieves as high as third place in the entire District.
The HOH is a fun loving good singing group and guests are welcome anytime. The chapter membership has gone through some ups and downs, but we’ve always managed to keep a ringing chords and creating harmony.
To accomplish its vision, the West Allis Chapter shall enhance the lives of all individuals with whom they come in contact as they share their love of a capella singing, founded in the barbershop harmony style, through both education of singers, young and old, and superior performances honed by their commitment to excellence in competition.
The West Allis Chapter is to be a widley recognized, ever-growing fraternity of singers drawn together by their love of the four-part, a capella, close harmony style of vocal music, and their passion to perpetuate that art form as they share it with people of all ages throughout the world.
Join us Tuesday nights – 7:00pm
St. Aloysius Parish – Gonzaga Hall
92nd Street, Just off Greenfield Ave.
*No Experience Necessary!
Steven Joyal, Music Director
Steven Joyal is best known around southeastern Wisconsin as a Choral Conductor and Music Teacher. He currently serves as Conductor of the Racine Dairy Statesmen and the West Allis Heart of Harmony, two area barbershop choruses. In addition, he is the Coordinator for Traditional Music and organist at Atonement Lutheran Church in Muskego and he teaches K-8 music at St. Matthias and St. Gregory the Great Schools in Milwaukee.
Previously, he has been employed by the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District as an elementary music specialist and high school choral conductor, concluding his career there as Director of Choirs at both West Allis Central and Nathan Hale High Schools. He has also been Music Director and Conductor of the Bach Chamber Choir of Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Conservatory Children’s Chorus, the Suburban Singers, the Milwaukee Liederkranz, the Milwaukee Damenchor, and a member of the Artistic Staff of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus and the Milwaukee Children’s Choir, along with several other chorus and church positions.
Mr. Joyal studied choral conducting under Morris Hayes at UW-Eau Claire, where he received a BME in Voice and Piano, and with Margaret Hawkins at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, from which he received a MM-Choral Conducting. His choirs have appeared with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Manhattan Philharmonic Orchestra (in both Avery Fisher and Carnegie Halls), the MYSO Senior Symphony, John Denver, Maureen McGovern, and Andy Williams, and with such acclaimed conductors as Kenneth Schermerhorn, Lukas Foss, Zdenek Macal, John Rutter, Margaret Hawkins, and Margery Deutsch. In addition, he has coached as a conductor with Robert Page, Roger Wagner, Paul Salamunovich, and John Rutter and as a singer with Gerard Souzay.
Learn more about your singing, your voice, and how to use it… perform in shows, contests, or just entertain your family and friends.
We are a fun group who gather to share our love of a capella singing. We sing a wide variety of show tunes, patriotic, spiritual, and popular songs, all in close harmony. We work to develop our abilities and our craft in a weekly rehearsal, and we perform several times per year throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.
The Heart of Harmony Chorus rehearses at 7:00pm ever Tuesday evening at St. Aloysius’s Gonzaga Hall located just off of 92nd and Greenfield in West Allis. Anyone of all ages and experience levels are welcome.
What Is Barbershop?
Put simply, barbershop vocal harmony is a style of acappella singing, which means we sing without being accompanied by instruments.
How is it different from my church choir?
Most church choirs are accompanied by a musical instrument, whether it’s an organ, guitar, or piano there is usually some sort of instrumental accompaniment.
There are four voice parts in barbershop; bass, baritone, lead, and tenor. When each voice part is sung together a chord is rung.
That’s barbershop in a nutshell… for a more advanced explanation, we consult wikipedia:
“[barbershop is] characterized by consonant four-part cords for every melody note in predominantly homophonic texture.”
Traditionally, barbershop music is sung in the form of a barbershop quartet. Four vocalists who sing in one of those four voice parts, ringing cords together. Barbershop can also be sung in “choir-like” group with more than one singer representing a different voice part.
Well known quartets such as Max Q, or Vocal Spectrums, and choruses like The Vocal Majority, and the Heart of Harmony are all descendants of other well known groups; The Buffalo Bills and The Dapper Dans.
Barbershop singing goes back to as early as 1882 when African-American men would gather informally and sing. Later, barbershops were a gathering place, or community center for young men. To pass the time, the men gathered there would sing spirituals together, and this eventually moved out to the street to entertain the neighbors.
Barbershop was originally popular from around 1900 to 1919, and then saw a revival in 1938 when a man named Owen C. Cash worked to save the art form for future generations. Cash would go on to form the “Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America”, also known by its abbreviation “S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A.” This grew into the Barbershop Harmony Society as it is known as today.
The Barbershop Harmony Society has grown to have over 23,000 members across North America, with over 80,000 members worldwide. In 2018 the Barbershop Harmony Society opened up it’s membership to anyone who would like to sing, regardless of gender. Ringing in a new era known as “Everyone in Harmony”.
As the original name promises, the Barbershop Harmony Society reaches out through programs like Youth in Harmony, and the Harmony Foundation, as well as spending over $1 million annually in order to bring the gift of harmony into people’s lives of the younger generations in; in order to preserve it’s heritage. For more information visit www.barbershop.org.
Formed in 2006, we are a young but rapidly-growing organization. We sing many different styles of music – mostly in close, four-part harmony – but all in a fun, entertaining, family-oriented style.
We have performed at several Milwaukee-area venues for public and private shows, special events, nursing homes and patriotic celebrations. We are also the official West Allis Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, an international association with 30,000+ members. We are also proud members of the West Allis business community, and members of the West Allis and West Milwaukee Chambers of Commerce.
This is our hobby, and our shared passion, which means we’re not doing this to make money. In fact, we are organized as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization. One of our major efforts is to provide free concerts at West Allis and Milwaukee-area nursing homes, assisted living and senior centers. Another is to provide free vocal clinics and coaching at area schools. Still another is to provide low- or no-cost tickets for people to attend our public shows.
In order to do that, we need to cover our expenses, which include the costs of sheet music, arranger fees, music copyrights, uniforms and our professional director. Our members pay dues, we charge admission to our shows and we raise what we can through raffles and other small fundraisers. But it’s not enough to cover our expenses, so here is where we hope you can help.
Would you consider becoming a sponsor of the Heart of Harmony?
With your help, we can do these things, and help people experience the joy of music.
Your sponsorship will be generously recognized at all of our concerts and shows, in our marketing/promotional materials and on our web site (www.hohchorus.org). West Allis and the Milwaukee area will know that your contribution has helped to make our community a better place to live. Also, because we are a nonprofit charitable organization, your sponsorship is tax deductible.
Please consider a sponsorship of any amount. Contact us, at 888-464-4748 to discuss your support of the Heart of Harmony or donate here.