Ambassadors of harmony: Local chorus is winning and inspiring

On July 8, they won the international barbershop chorus champions.

On July 8 in Nashville, the St. Louis a cappella group Ambassadors of Harmony sang “Top of the World”. After conquering 28 other choruses at the 2016 Barbershop Harmony Society International, the Ambassadors were literally on top of the world, capturing the group’s fourth international championship since 2004.

“We love winning,” said music director Jim Henry. “We don’t always win, but it’s always more fun to win.”

The Ambassadors believe music has the power to bring people together, recently has made a conscious effort to become more diverse. The 135 singers are 18 to 85, different races and professions.

“It brings people together no matter what color they are, no matter what socio economic strata they’re in, it doesn’t matter,” said Henry. “We consider ourselves Ambassadors of Harmony in every sense of the word.

The Ambassadors also give back, working to make sure arts education thrives. This week Henry worked with more than 100 local high school singers at the 4th Acappellooza Summer at the University of Missouri St. Louis, where Henry is head of choral studies.

“It’s astounding what they’ve accomplished in four days,” said Henry about the teen singers from all over the St. Louis region. “The Ambassadors of Harmony and UMSL are both committed to trying to keep music education alive, to keep students interested in singing, any music making.”

Friday at 7 p.m. at UMSL’s Touhill Center, is a free concert by the Acappellooza students, and the Ambassadors of Harmony. High schooler Jake McKie, an Acappellooza participant, is also one of the youngest members of the Ambassadors.

“The most amazing thing is that a young kid like myself is surrounded by these great men, great role models,” said McKie.

Men who have a common cause: a beautiful noise.

“To see the power of that, how inspirational that is, how healing that can be, and how it can bring people together,” said Henry.


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