Northborough’s Women of Note choral group ready to compete


Northborough’s Women of Note choral group ready to compete
Members of the choral group Women of Note limber up prior to a recent practice session. (Photo/Cindy Zomar)

NORTHBOROUGH – Standing outside the Baptist Churches of New England Hall in Northborough on a Monday evening, the melodious sounds of four-part a cappella harmony can be heard through the windows. 

Every week, a group of 20 to 30 women from all over the area join together to sing, laugh, dance and share a camaraderie based on the love of singing. Women of Note – the local chapter of Harmony, Incorporated – is an award-winning competitive chorus. Women of Note has once again qualified for an international event which will be held in Grand Rapids, Mich. from Nov. 8 through 11 this year. 

In 1990, Women of Note became part of Harmony, Incorporated, an international non-profit devoted to engaging women in fellowship, education, and barbershop harmony. This group is part of their Area 2 chapter, encompassing Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Montreal City, Canada. 

The Area Quartet Promotion Chairperson Ashley Lang shared some details of the competition. 

“We have five quartets who will compete Thursday and Saturday, while Friday the 10 will be for the whole chorus. One of our quartets, Intonations, is ranked number one going into the competition!” said Lang.

Besides the actual competitions at the Michigan event, there will be classes given by some of the best singing instructors from around the world and a huge international chorus will perform. New board members will be elected for Harmony, Inc. as well. 

“We have been practicing here in Northborough for about a year, with members coming from maybe 20 towns, including as far as Nashua, New Hampshire,” continued Lang. 

Although the group boasts several music teachers, active and retired, most of the women have not had any professional voice lessons. They come from a wide range of backgrounds with one common interest – singing in harmony. 

Northborough’s Women of Note choral group ready to compete
Women of Note, singing a cappella harmony in the barbershop style, will compete in Michigan in November. (Photo/Courtesy Women of Note)

Practices are a social event for many and start off with a little dancing to loosen up the whole body. Some physical exercise and stretches led by a yoga enthusiast are next, and then everyone finds their place on the risers to start the vocal warmups prior to the rehearsal of their latest numbers. 

“A cappella harmony in the style of barbershop has four specific sounds,” explained Lang. 

The leads carry the melody for the most part, and have strong, clear voices. Those who sing tenor sing a few notes above the leads, without overshadowing them. Next come the baritones, singing in a middle range but harmonizing and blending either above or below the melody. The bass parts are for those with naturally low voices and almost have a melody of their own, often injecting humor into the arrangement.  

Women of Note, or the individual quartets, can be hired to sing at private parties, corporate events, fundraisers, nursing homes, offices, schools, etc.  Singing valentines are available in February as well. 

“Our four-part harmony valentines are a delightful alternative to candy or flowers,” mentioned Lang.   

Practices are open to the public, and the group is always looking for additional members. Experience is not necessary, and they will help newcomers to find which of the four parts would suit them best. 

More information can be found on their website, 

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