This week, I traveled to Madison Wisconsin on business.  During a google search I found the Capitol Chordsmen (http://www.capitolchordsmen.org/wrd/)who rehearse out of a Methodist church on the North East of Madison.  After emailing I was invited along and I went to the rehearsal on the 14th of March (believe me a lot better than a hotel room).  What I found were a bunch of lads not unlike ourselves who came together to make music.   This is a very mature chorus having been founded in June 1945.  It is vibrant with 20 to 30 members maintaining the group made up of people in their 20's and up. After some bubbling and warm ups, they broke into a song for my benefit to warm the pipes more.  It was, you guessed it, Wild Irish Rose.  We then launched into a session of learning their current song.  It is an intro classic barbershop piece called "Harmony" under the guidance of there practically flying with enthusiasm director, Joshua. A male equivalent of Linda who sung in the Sweet Adalines. Afterwards they engaged in an interesting exercise piece they called the barber polecat.  Its a program where 13 common polecats are identified and the idea was to become proficient in these songs for singouts.  A person volunteers to be "judged" and then a quartets is formed at random where they sing the pole cat and the person is judged.  You could sing them in any of the 4 parts so you would have people who were successful with all 4 parts.  If successful you get a star on a leader board.   This was done in a very positive way with people practically leaping off the seat to join the quartet.  Excellent quartet training which results in them having a high number of quartets for competitions. Another thing they did was to create a tag line for the 4 parts and again quarteted it on the spot.   This was the only thing I was brave enough to try :-)   It was nice to travel halfway around the world and meet a group of people from all walks of life who reflect us in Ireland.  It is a proof that no matter what your background or where you live we are all united in Harmony. Matthew