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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Barbershop Quartet sings way through OC

With contagious joyful smiles that light up the whole room and in full confidence in knowing what to do, the 4 gentlemen get ready for their performance.

Each of them wear a bright red vest, black slacks and bowtie, along with a white collar shirt and a straw skimmer hat to top it off; they then enter the room.

The Orange Empire Chorus prepares for a busy Valentines season with their Barbershop Quartet Singing Valentine.Photo credit: Martin Becerra

Their 1930s look stands out from the crowd as every head slowly turns their way and every eye settles on them. They performed countless times before to where it should be a routine but each one is special and deserves a one of a kind experience for their audience.

It may not be a stage but it’s something better.

In a room filled with about a 100 people, they have their eyes set on singing only to one important person. They walk up to her table as one of them pulls out a pitch pipe and blows it to the key of C. It is time to sing and put on a show that she will always remember.

They are no strangers to receiving a surprised reaction from their audience and as one hands her a rose, while they sing in perfect harmony, she gladly accepts with a smile.

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An OEC barbershop quartet practices handing the rose out at the perfect time during their song.Photo credit: Martin Becerra

Singing Valentine’s and bringing joy to people is what they love to do. They are a Barbershop Quartet of the Orange Empire Chorus (OEC) in Fullerton.

“I’ve always enjoyed barbershop harmony,” said Ron Curlis, who ordered a Singing Valentine from OEC for Pauline Dini. “I have always thought it to be very romantic.”

Dini describes how surprised she was and thanked Curlis for such a romantic gesture in front of the crowd.

“It was a wonderful surprise. You can see how passionate they are about what they do,” Dini said. “It was very nice and generous of them especially since barbershop goes way back.”

OEC is the Fullerton chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society and has been performing Singing Valentine’s within Orange County for over 25 years. The chapter meets every Tuesday at Fullerton Union High School music’s room at 7 p.m.

The OEC Practicing their routines for Singing Valentines.Photo credit: Martin Becerra

The chapter welcomes any man to join but the current age range is about 30 years old up to 80.The rehearsals are more than the just learning songs and making harmonies; it’s brotherhood.

Whoever walks in the room is important to the chapter and make sure it is known by welcoming any first time visitors with a song. Each man is someone special and all come from different professions and walks of life. It is a lively group of men having fun and enjoying each other’s company while singing together according Mac McDougal Vice President of Chapter Development.

The OEC practices the appropriate time to clap in one of their songs.Photo credit: Martin Becerra

Dick Cote comments on what he loves about the chapter.

“It’s more fun than a guy should be allowed to have,” Cote said. “You could be having the worst day but the moment you walk through those doors and are with those guys your attitude changes.”

Barbershop quartets consist of four singers; tenor, lead, baritone and bass. They sing in harmony in which McDougal refers to as the “Magic”.

OEC averages about 200 singing valentines in a span of about 7 days each year. The group wills send about 5 quartets out each day to cover around 6-10 deliveries each day.

Dennis “Woody” Woodson has been a member for 52 years and enjoys the singing valentines and the positive reactions they get. He encourages all men to do something special for their significant other.

“If we can get a lady to cry tears of joy it’s icing on the cake, and makes that guy look good” Woodson said. “Not to mention if we sing at a restaurant it makes all the other men look like cheap S.O.B’s”.

The men pour their hearts into their singing in preparation for their Singing Valentines.Photo credit: Martin Becerra

A singing valentine costs $45 and the barbershop quartet is available to sing Feb. 9-16 and includes sweetheart songs in barbershop harmony, a valentine card and a solitary rose bouquet.

The Orange Empire Chorus can be contacted at 714-871-7675 for preorders.

For a preview of the Singing Quartet, visit

One of the OEC Quartets practices for their upcoming Singing Valentines.Photo credit: Martin Becerra


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