- What do Bing Crosby, Groucho Marx and Harry S. Truman have in
common? At one time, they were all members of the Barbershop
Harmony Society, said Gary Pratt, a member of the Midwest Vocal
The group will
perform “A Night to Remember” on May 11 with a portion of
proceeds going to Safe Babies Healthy Families, a Waukesha-based
nonprofit organization, whose mission is to break the cycle of
child abuse, neglect and poverty by empowering new parents with
education, support and the resources necessary to create a healthy
and positive environment for children in southeastern Wisconsin.
The event at
Pewaukee High School will feature award-winning live a cappella
music by the Midwest Vocal Express chorus and their special
guests, 2012 Sweet Adeline champions Martini!, said Randy Will, a
member of Midwest Vocal Express and the vice president of
always tuned in to creating family-friendly entertainment, and we
wanted to give props to all the moms this year,” Will said.
“Our show falls on Mother’s Day weekend, so this just all fits
Will said the
group consists of four parts in barbershop a cappella harmony,
lead, bass, tenor and baritone.
experience live, close harmony, a cappella music - not a scripted
TV ‘reality’ show,” Will said. “They’ll experience a
gamut of emotions, listening to exciting arrangements of doo-wop,
the Beatles, Billy Joel, stirring renditions of American
spirituals and a rousing tribute to our members of the
the group in 1999, Will said he’s experienced many special
moments - too many to enumerate.
the most rewarding aspect of our mission of storytelling through
song is audiences telling us how their lives changed in some way
through our performance - evoking memories, creating new ones,
eliciting laughter - or perhaps even tears,” he said. “This is
a really, really special group, like a family unto itself.”
Pratt, one of
a dozen or so members from Waukesha County, said the Midwest Vocal
Express’s goal is to change lives through song. Part of its
stated mission statement is “A cappella entertainment
excellence,” which is demonstrated with regular high ranking in
international contests and well-attended Christmas and spring
concerts, as well as invitations to sing the national anthem at
the Brewers and Wave games, and to sing for the national heroes at
the Honor Flights which leave from Milwaukee, he explained.
the expenses of custom arrangements, sets, guest conductors and
other expenses, fundraising is always a challenge for a group like
this,” he said. “This is why we hope to pack the Pewaukee
auditorium for both performances (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) on May
while Midwest Vocal Express is a part of the Barbershop Harmony
Society, their musical portfolio extends well beyond the
traditional barbershop genre.
spring show, ‘A Night to Remember,’ we are performing
arrangements of a Beatles tune, some doo-wop, a Billy Joel
classic, and an absolutely incredible arrangement of ‘This is
the Moment,’ which is guaranteed to raise goosebumps.”
attracting new members is always a challenge and a goal. The group
let the music directors of Waukesha County high schools know about
this opportunity for their students to experience an outlet for
their musical talents once they graduate from the high school
“We hope at
least a few men who enjoy our performance on May 11 will consider
being a part of our group,” he said. “We also hope some of the
women in the audience will enjoy the performance by our guest
quartet and consider joining the Sweet Adelines.”
At a glance
Midwest Vocal Express
Night to Remember” spring concert to benefit Safe Babies Healthy
Pewaukee High School Theater, 510 Lake St.
When: 2 p.m.
and 7:30 p.m. shows May 11
and $21 for general admission and $25 for reserved
more information about the Midwest Vocal Express,to buy tickets
online or learn about how to be a part of the group, call
888-240-4426 or visit www.mve.org.