Chapter History

History of the Greater Indianapolis Chapter and Circle City Sound

Overview
Performances
Competition History
Community Involvement

Overview

In 1944, forty-five men gathered in the Claypool Hotel, at the corner of Washington and Illinois Streets in downtown Indianapolis, to organize the first barbershop harmony chapter in Indianapolis. Another chapter was formed in Broad Ripple in 1948, and the two chapters merged in 1955 to form the Greater Indianapolis Chapter. In 1958, the chapter adopted Speed Capital Chorus as the chorus name, changing it to Pride of Indy in 1978, and to Circle City Sound in 2003.

We are part of an international organization known as the Barbershop Harmony Society.  The Barbershop Harmony Society was founded in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1938, as the Society for the Preservation of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA), and currently boasts nearly 25,000 members.

From the beginning, our goal has been to preserve the unique American art form known as Barbershop singing, and to bring that art form to our audiences in the Central Indiana area. Our chapter's mission is to enhance lives by performing with excellence and encouraging singing within our community.

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Performances

Since 1967, the chapter has produced an annual show, with many being held at Clowes Memorial Hall on the Butler University campus. Our annual shows are currently performed at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts, in Carmel, the second Saturday in June.  Our annual Christmas Show is performed in early December, at the Pike High School Performing Arts Center in Indianapolis. 

The chorus has performed with the Indianapolis, Muncie and Bloomington Symphony Orchestras, performed as part of the Walt Disney production at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 1987 Pan Am Games, at the 500 Festival Mayor’s Breakfast, and the 500 Festival Memorial Service. The chorus has also performed with the Four Freshmen, the Louisville Thoroughbreds, Kentucky Vocal Union, the Central Indiana Youth Barbershop Chorus, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, Capital City Chorus (Sweet Adelines), Gem City Chorus (Sweet Adelines), and the Heart of Indiana Chorus (Harmony, Inc).  more

The chorus has performed regularly at several local venues, including: the Indianapolis Artsgarden (Circle Centre Mall, coincidentally located on the same street corner where our chapter was founded), Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center (University of Indianapolis), Warren Performing Arts Center, and the Indiana History Center. We have also performed at the Indiana State Capitol, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Market Square Arena, RCA Dome, Conseco Fieldhouse and the Indiana State Fair. Our chorus and quartets have entertained at the USS Indianapolis Survivors’ Reunion, the Covered Bridge Festival, the Mayoral Inauguration, Carmelfest, and Christmas on the Circle. more

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Competition History

The Greater Indianapolis Chapter has been very active in chorus and quartet competitions at the district (Indiana/Kentucky) and international levels over the years. Our chorus has represented the Cardinal District in the International chorus competition 12 times. Our best finish was sixth place, in San Francisco in 1976. more We also competed in the Buckeye Invitational Chorus Contest in 1989 (its inaugural year) and again in 2002. In the 1989 contest, we won the contest in the Overall Score and Contest Score categories. In July 2010, our Circle City Sound chorus competed with 26 other choruses in the International Chorus competition, which was held in Philadelphia. The chorus returned to the International competition stage in Kansas City in July 2011 and again in Toronto, Ontario in July 2013. Our most recent International appearance was in July 2015 in Pittsburgh.

Quartets comprised of members from the Greater Indianapolis chapter have competed many times since appearing for the first time on the international stage in 1973. The best finish in the regular quartet competition was by Instant Classic, earning 1st place in 2015. The best finish in the collegiate quartet contest was also by Instant Classic, finishing second in 2012. Downstate Express, won the Seniors gold in 2004. more

There are two more connections to quartet gold in the history of our chapter. Huck Sinclair won a gold medal singing baritone with the 1943 champions Four Harmonizers while living in the Illinois district; he later moved to Indianapolis and was a member of the Indianapolis chapter for many years, until his death in 1994 at age 92. Garry Texeira won quartet gold in 2004 singing tenor with Gotcha!, while living in the Far Western District. Garry moved to the Indianapolis area in 2006 and directed our chorus for many years.

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Community Involvement

The Greater Indianapolis Chapter is very active in the community, educating men of all ages in a cappella barbershop singing, and performing at many private and public events. Our chorus and quartets often perform at local parks, churches, nursing homes and hospitals. We work in partnership with Indy Parks, the Indianapolis Public Schools, and local Sweet Adelines and Harmony, Inc., chapters to support the Central Indiana Youth Barbershop Chorus. We are members of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association and the Indianapolis Arts Council, and partipated for many years in the Singing for Life blood drive.

Our chapter has hosted the International Barbershop Convention three times (in 1975, 1997 and 2006). These events have always been highly successful events for the chapter and the Barbershop Harmony Society, bringing upwards of 10,000 visitors to our city and state, as well as 4-part a cappella singing to every street corner in the downtown area at all hours of the day and night.

Each February, the chapter's quartets can be heard throughout the Indianapolis metro area, serenading sweethearts through our very popular Singing Valentines program. This fundraiser for the chapter brings us in contact with people from many different walks of life, and is sure to bring a smile to the recipient and all in earshot of these harmonic expressions of love.

The Greater Indianapolis Chapter, Circle City Sound, has served the citizens of Indianapolis and Central Indiana for over 60 years, and is still going strong. We take the Barbershop Harmony Society's mission very seriously, as we do our part to "Keep the Whole World Singing!"

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