Sweet Harmony

For the first time in 69 years, the Barbershop Harmony Society International Convention is taking place in Denver. And this is no wimpy two-day celebration of song: The harmonizing starts today and continues through Sunday, July 8, making for almost a full week of performances, contests and sing-alongs.

"People should be aware that there's going to be a lot of singing going on," notes media-relations manager Julie Siepler. "It's all a cappella, and it stems from way back, with a blend of African-American musical devices thrown in with some European hymn singing. So it's truly an American art form."

Attendees should also take note of the rules for listening in on a contest performance. "We've opened up a limited number of seats in the venue for the public," explains Siepler, "and there are certain rules for the audience, as well. They can't move around while an act is on stage, and when a competitor is on stage, no one will be allowed into the auditorium." It's serious stuff, but with a competition of this scale, who can blame them for being strict?

For a more relaxed vibe, check out the multiple Grammy Award-winning jazz sextet Take 6, whose members will raise their voices tonight at the Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle; tickets are $25 to $75. Other highlights include a MegaSing on Thursday, July 5, in Civic Center Park, which is free and open to the public, as well as an opportunity on Saturday, July 7, for barbershop enthusiasts to sing with some of their favorite champion quartets at the Adam's Mark Hotel, 1550 Court Place. Visit www.barbershop.org for ticket information and a full program schedule.