Barbershoppers Welcome the Oak Ridge Boys

The Barbershop Harmony Society opened its arms to four harmonizers of a different vocal stripe Thursday (July 3) when it inducted the Oak Ridge Boys as honorary members. The welcoming ceremony took place at Nashville’s Sommet Center, where the Society is holding its 70th annual convention. “We’re honored to be in your presence — some of the finest singers in the world,” said tenor Joe Bonsall, after he and his fellow Oaks, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban, were presented BHS certificates. “It is harmony that’s most important,” he continued, “singing in harmony, living in harmony. We’ve even brought in a pitch pipe.” With that, the four sang an a cappella version of the old hymn, “Life Is Like a Mountain Railway.” After the prolonged applause died down, Bonsall said, “OK, just a little of this one — ’cause it’s the law.” Again at the sound of the pitch pipe, the Oaks began belting out a snippet from their 1981 Grammy winner, “Elvira,” that included Sterban’s room-shaking “Oom papa mau mau.”