Thank you for your interest in Racing City Chorus. We hope our website has been helpful in answering your questions about us. This page offers other information and resources that may be useful to the media.
The Racing City Chorus (RCC) is an affiliate of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS). For many years BHS was known as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. (SPEBSQSA, inc.). Recently the name was updated to BHS. RCC began 1956 when two Saratogians, local optometrist Dr. James Cogan and Adirondack Trust banker Paul Rouillard, ventured to start a local group. RCC was sponsored by the Schenectady Chapter, The Electric City Chorus.
Members Our membership numbers over 40 representing the Capital District, Vermont, Ticonderoga, Cambridge, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Gloversville, Greenwich Latham, and of course, Saratoga Springs. We meet on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 until 10:00 p.m. at the Police Benevolence Assocition Clubhouse at 5 Bliven Way Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
Fund Raising As a non-profit group, we raise funds through dues, grants, charitable donations, Singing Valentines, an annual show performance fees, event singing and other sources to support our chapter. We use the funds raised to pay for expenses, such as sheet music and learning tracks, rehearsal hall rental, director’s stipends, uniforms, coaching, equipment, and contest expenses. RCC also provides support for the International Society’s Young Men in Harmony Program, for a boy’s chorus in Watervliet, and from time to time RCC offers “scholarships” or awards to graduating seniors in Saratoga County Schools who plan on pursuing a college major in music.
Where RCC Sings In the 50+ years RCC has existed, our performances include singing for thousands of people at the Saratoga County Fair, the Washington County Fair, and the old Saratoga Fair at the Race Course. Other venues include “Hats Off to Saratoga,” Barbershop on Broadway on the Streets of Saratoga in July and August, the Final Stretch weekend on Labor Day, the “Victorian Street Walk” on Broadway and the Saratoga First Night Festivities. We sing in parades; the schedule changes from year to year but often includes the Saratoga Elks Flag Day Parade, Pittsfield July 4th Parade, South Glens Falls Holiday Parade and others. We have performed summer shows in Lake Luzerne, Round Lake, Fort Edward and others.
In the past two special events for RCC over the years were touring Europe where we sang in Holland, Austria and Germany, and one time many years ago we were an opening act for Bob Hope.
Quality Singing Continuous improvement in our singing is a priority goal. Hard work pays off and it shows in our contest results. Saratoga is in the Mountain division that is part of the larger Northeastern District. For the last four years, 2016 through 2019 RCC is proud that it has been awarded first place in the division contest. We competed against choruses from the eastern part of New York, MA and VT.
The Northeastern District of BHS includes the northeastern part of the US from Connecticut and upstate New York to as far north as Quebec and Newfoundland. In the more challenging district contest in 2019 we placed 6th place among the 18 competing choruses. We are looking forward to our next Mountain Division contest at Lake George in the spring of 2020.
Travelling Singers Our Northeastern District Contest appearances have taken us to many places including Lake Placid, Boston, Portland, ME; Providence, Hartford, Poughkeepsie, Montreal, Worcester, MA, Burlington, VT. And other chapters have come to Saratoga when RCC hosted the contest in Saratoga in 1999 and again in 2004.
Contest qualification starts at the division level then moves to the district level. If a chorus or quartet wins or scores a qualifying level the ultimate reward is singing at the annual International Convention. RCC performed at International on 7 occasions in the past years. This has allowed RCC to travel and perform in New Orleans, Kansas City, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and most recently to Anaheim, CA in 1999. The International Convention for 2020 is in Los Angeles, Ca.
Music Director RCC has had numerous directors during its history. In January 2011, we were glad to welcome our new director, Rich Gervais.
Youth and Experience RCC has many experienced barbershoppers. Some people think of a barbershop chorus as a bunch of old men singing old songs. Not true with RCC. For example, the RCC encourages young men - under 16 - who have found that Barbershop harmony "rocks".
Singing Valentines The Singing Valentines program is a Barbershop Harmony Society Program that RCC first started in the Capital District about 25 years ago. The program is unique because it truly provides a romantic gift from one loved one to another and at the same time raises funds for RCC. Romantics find out about Singing Valentines from RCC members and on the RCC website around the first of February each year - www. racingcitychorus.org .
Website - And speaking of websites- if you haven't checked out the RCC website at www. racingcitychorus.org - you are missing one of the best in the Society. Everything you want to know about RCC, our schedule and upcoming performances is on the website. Check out the links to the Northeastern District and Barbershop Harmony Society websites. At the BHS website - barbershop.org - you can listen to all kinds of barbershop music - and listen to some great audio files.
Charitable Activities Barbershoppers donate money, time and performances to local charities. They also proudly support the Society’s official charity, Harmony Foundation, Inc. The Foundation's mission is “to be a leading philanthropic force dedicated to perpetuating the barbershop harmony art form for present and future generations to enjoy.” Harmony Foundation coordinates support for special projects such as Directors College scholarships, Harmony Explosion Camps and the Interactive Learning Center/ Museum/Hall of Fame facility in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition, the Foundation’s endowment program helps ensure the legacy of barbershop music.
Part of the Community RCC is a member of The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce - for whom we performed for their annual dinner in the past - and The Saratoga Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Singing For You RCC may be just the right entertainment for your upcoming event. Please contact us if you want to experience the truly unique sound of barbershop.