Portsmen bring doo-wop groove to their fall concert

The Portsmen Barbershop Chorus will present "Doo Wop at the Barbershop" on Saturday, Nov. 9. (Courtesy)

Get ready for an upbeat afternoon full of 1950s doo-wop hits — like you’ve never heard them before.

The Portsmen Barbershop Chorus will be offering up energetic renditions of hits like “My Girl,” “In the Still of the Night,” “Sh-Boom” and more, sung in barbershop style.

“One of our members has wanted to do doo-wop stuff for a long time,” director Bill Litz said.

It’s not a typical selection for the Stockton-based barbershop group, but the choir members are having a blast learning the new style.

“If you listen to regular doo-wop, it’s pretty simple,” Litz said. “But the arrangements we have have some nice things in them.”

The songs have been arranged — translated, in a way — from the simple style of the 1950s R&B trend to make room for the flourishes and many voices of a barbershop chorus.

First developed in the 1940s by young African-American musicians in New York and other large East Coast cities, doo-wop took off in the ’50s and into the ’60s.

While doo-wop and barbershop were both created with multiple voices in mind, transforming the Portsmen into a “doo-wop barbershop” group was a little trickier than expected.

“The doo-wop, we thought it would be a little easier, putting it together, but it’s a different style than we’re used to,” Litz said.

The chorus also had less rehearsal time than they usually do ahead of their annual Fall Show, due to some late competitions in October.

Still, they’re excited to share their music with local music lovers.

“We were really happy with the way things were going this past week,” Litz said.

They’ll end the show with some patriotic songs in a tribute to Veterans Day.

The Portsmen hope that the community will come out to enjoy “Doo-Wop at the Barbershop.”

“It’s good family entertainment. It’s good wholesome stuff,” Litz said.

The Portsmen will also be appearing at the upcoming Festival of Trees at Micke Grove Park on Dec. 7 and 8.

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