Arlingtones barbershop quartet (from left) Jim Ruddick, Doug First, Todd Minners, and Bob O'Harrow.
The Arlingtones harmonize to "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," one of the favorite choices for their singing Valentines.
On Valentine's Day, the barbershop chorus offers a singing quartet at your choice of location along with a single rose and a box of chocolates. "Heart of my Heart" and "Sweet Caroline" (changed to Valentine) are popular choices, but there are a number of alternative songs.
Robert Kahrs, a member of the group, says "There are three typical requests. A boss schedules a delivery to the office to thank the employees for their good work. A person arranges a delivery to the workplace of the significant other. Usually they have no idea we are coming and there is an element of embarrassment." Then there is the home visit, often for an elderly person, "which is nice because there is time to stay and visit with them."
Kahrs says their chorus of 19 divides into groups of four, and they usually make a day of it and sing their Valentine's Day selections all day long. The group, now called the Barbershop Harmony Society, was chartered in 1957 and is supported in part by the Arlington VA Cultural Affairs Division of the Arlington Economic Development Commission and the Arlington Commission for the Arts.
Kahrs says they try to deliver the message within two hours of the requested time. The complete package costs $60, although a phone option without the rose and box of candy is also available for $20. "It's a lot of fun."
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