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Valentine’s Day: Let me call you sweetheart, barbershop style

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Cathy Dobson

Nothing says “I love you” like a barbershop quartet showing up in your bedroom with an early morning singing Valentine.

“That was funny,” recalls baritone Ian Crosbie, who has been delivering singing Valentines with his fellow Bluewater Chordsmen for 15 years.

“We had a morning booking at a house where a husband wanted us to sing to his wife,” he recalls.  “She had no idea and was still in bed.

“He asked us to go up to the bedroom. She ran past us, down the hall to the bathroom, shut the door and wouldn’t come out.

The quartet had no choice but to sing their Valentine love songs in the hallway.

“She talked to us through the door but she wouldn’t open it.  And she thanked us for coming,” a laughing Crosbie said.

Lead singer Ted Stewart remembers a similar incident with his quartet.  Singing Valentines is such a popular tradition in Sarnia that the Bluewater Chordsmen often have two and even three quartets deliver them on Feb. 14.

Crosbie’s foursome is called the Resolution Quartet.  Stewart’s is the Riverside Quartet.

“We were taken by the husband into a bedroom too,” Stewart chuckled.  “The wife had worked all night and he wanted us to sing to her before she went to bed.

“She put the covers over her head most of the time but she was a good sport about it.”

Crosbie and Stewart hasten to add bedroom serenades are not the norm. Most quartets deliver their Valentine songs in restaurants over romantic dinners, at homes, or in the workplace.

“We delivered one to a police officer and his girlfriend once and sang, ‘Heart of My Heart’, then ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart’ and Elvis’ ‘Aura Lea’ and ‘Love Me Tender.’

“The lady was so appreciative; she emailed the next day to say our singing Valentine encouraged him to propose.”

Not all Valentines are for couples, Crosbie added.

“We did a very touching one that a daughter who lived out west sent to her mother.

“We arrived, delivered a long-stem rose, a card and three songs. When the mother opened the card and saw it was from her daughter, she started to cry.

“Then she called her right away.”

The Bluewater Chordsmen, who are celebrating their 70th anniversary, usually delivery 30 to 60 singing Valentines each February.

The service is a fundraiser for their favourite causes, including local high school music programs.

Singing Valentines cost $50 and will be available on Friday Feb. 13 and Saturday, Feb. 14, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. both days.

“It’s always a blast. I love to do them,” said Crosbie, who is a director with the Bluewater Chordsmen.

Bookings can be made anywhere in Sarnia-Lambton by calling Crosbie at 519-339-9450.

What’s going on in Sarnia that’s culturally significant?  If you want to pitch an idea, call Cathy Dobson at 226-932-0985 or email [email protected]

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