Tuesday 18 June 2019

Barbershop Quartet return to Sligo for 10-year anniversary

It's ten years since '4 in a bar' first stepped on stage as a barbershop quartet.

Their first outing together was in Sligo, where the annual convention happened to be taking place that particular year.

Fast forward a decade and the group are still going strong.

As part of their ten year anniversary, they will be returning to Sligo. 4 in a Bar present 'Christmas a Cappella' - a seasonal concert of vocal harmony music from ancient to modern times, with guest performers the Sligo Gospel Choir at Sligo Presbyterian Church on December 21st.

A portion of the ticket money will go towards the church's restoration fund.

Paul McGough explained how this gig came about: "We were hoping to organise a concert event to reach new audiences so my wife and I visited the area recently and we just loved it. We climbed Knocknarea and we just really enjoyed it.

"I went around on the Sunday morning just having a look around and I saw people going into the Presbyterian Church and I got chatting to someone there and told them what we were hoping to do.

"It's a lovely intimate venue."

The group are from all around Ireland, and have been operating in similar circles for years, mainly thanks to their careers as singers. Although barbershop singing is somewhat different from what they would be more accustomed to.

"We are all full-time musicians, there are only a few places where you can find a full-time salary, particularly in Dublin. You can get plenty of freelance work as a soloist. We all kept bumping into each other over the years because music is a small industry really.

"I didn't know much about barbershop singing so I was looking online. We eased our way into it. We had to learn the style, it took us years to learn it.

"We love it now though. People always ask us if the cathedral style that we're used to benefits our barbershop singing and it did surprise that it did benefit us.

"We are gradually becoming more comfortable doing it, we're sort of seeing music in a whole different light. You can feel a bit silly sometimes, we're not born into the culture of the gospel choir but you find a way to learn it."

Tickets for this event are €20 and are available from

Paul promises a special night for concert-goers.

"The first half of our concert will be mainly classical stuff but the second half we will have a bit of fun and let our hair down."

Sligo Champion