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Singers Master the Art of Barbershop Singing at MWSU

Students have come from all over the world to Missouri Western to master four-part a cappella harmony.
When you think training camp and Missouri Western State University, the Kansas City Chiefs probably come to mind.

But, this week a different kind of training camp has brought hundreds of men to campus for an intense lesson in barbershop singing.

It's called Harmony University. The students come from all over the world to Missouri Western to master four-part a cappella harmony.

"We've got guys from New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain and Germany," said Paul Wietlisbach, Dean of Harmony University.

Harmony university instructors volunteer their time to teach the basics of the barbershop-style techniques.

"We're watching as he's going through all these students and saying do this and do this and it's the transformation that is incredible," said first-year student Jeff Porter.

It's a sound that might've started in a barbershop, but it's grown into something much more advanced.

"It used to be you thought of four men under a light post singing, but it's not that anymore," said instructor Jim Debusman.

In fact, this type of music has been called the black belt of a cappella singing.

"Once you hear that exciting sound - that lock and ring - there's a certain tingle a certain thing you feel and no matter what your age, you get excited about it," added Debusman.

Harmony University brought more than 430 students to Missouri Western this year. The group has been meeting for about 40 years.
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