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ART BEAT: Stone Mountain Chorus fall show features new director, international champions

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Special Photo The internationally acclaimed quartet "Storm Front" will be featured during Stone Mountain Chorus' performances Nov. 9 and 10.

The Stone Mountain Chorus is warming up its 55 male voices for the annual fall show which will be performed Nov. 9 and 10 at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. The show will feature two special quartets as well as the stirring barbershop chorus under the direction of a newly appointed Dylan Oxford.

Performances will be held Nov. 9 at 8:30 p.m. and on Nov. 10 at 3 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 in advance and $25 at the door. A special rate of $18 is also available in advance for groups of ten or more, full-time students and seniors 60 years and up.

This production will consist of several parts: two award-winning quartets will be featured and the Stone Mountain Chorus itself will be highlighted in an old fashioned radio show vignette.

SMC spokesperson Mike Walsh describes the radio show as having four different "acts" interspersed with music. There are numerous interesting characters, including a Hispanic limo driver and a key character, "Nick Danger."

"'Nick Danger' is a lot like 'Guy Noir' on PBS," Walsh said. "There is also a 'jingle quartet' that sings the radio station call letters at various times. There is a murder mystery element titled the 'Rotten Spice Caper.' If all goes well, it will be very humorous."

The two featured quartets are international award-winners. "A Mighty Wind" took the bronze medal at the World Championships this past July. "Storm Front" is the 2010 International Quartet Champion.

"'Storm Front' is one of the most hilarious and talented quartets in the barbershop harmony world," Walsh said.

Leading all of this is new Chorus Director Oxford, who was a member of the acclaimed quartet "State Line Grocery," and he sang all over the world with this group, winning the bronze medal at the 2009 International Barbershop Convention and Competition in Anaheim, Calif.

"Dylan is by nature an engineer," Walsh said. "He has brought a strong discipline to the chorus and strong technical aspects. He helps us greatly from a coaching point of view. He is incredibly patient and positive."

As the concert is held during the week of Veteran's Day, there will be a salute to the Armed Forces and to veterans.

"We have a patriotic show-closer," Walsh said. "After our radio show skit and our featured quartets, we will close with a medley of all the different armed forces songs. Then we will hand out American flags to all the veterans in the audience."

The Stone Mountain Chorus is always looking for new members. The group meets each Tuesday evening from 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. at Duluth United Methodist Church at 3208 Duluth Highway. Visitors are always welcomed. The groups seeks men who would enjoy improving their singing and performance skills, and experience the joy and fellowship of barbershop harmony singing.

For more information, visit www.stonemountainchorus.org or call 770-978-8053.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.