Four-part harmony

The Silver Dollar Quartet

Photo By David Robert

Imagine the chagrin—a co-worker has four gentlemen callers waiting at the front desk for her to come to work. They’re dressed nattily, with red sequined vests and cheery smiles. They’re chomping at the bit to croon a Valentine’s tune to our wayward arts editor, Miranda Jesch. The game group was hustled into the office to explain themselves. Turns out some are members of the Silver Dollar Barbershop Quartet: Kevin Dansie, tenor; William Moriarty, baritone; Richard McClain, base; and Lauren House, lead.

So, who are you guys, anyway?

Richard: We are members of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing. There are about 30-40,000 of us across the country. We are members of the Reno Silver Dollar Barbershop Chorus, and this is something we do on Valentine’s Day for lovers.

How much do you get for that?

Lauren: We get from $40-60, depending on the time period. If it’s within a four-hour time period, it’s $40. If it’s within one hour, it’s $50. If it’s exact time, it’s $60. That includes two songs, delivered with a rose and a card to the significant other of the person who is sending the Valentine’s greeting.

When did you get involved with this?

Kevin: I’ve been involved for a little over a year. This is the second year I’ve done this, and it’s just a hoot—seeing the people’s reactions and their red faces. Especially all their co-workers when they come out. We had one last time who was pretty funny. We sang to the woman we were supposed to sing to, and there was another lady there, and after we finished, she stomped away, “I’m going to call my husband right now.”

And how long have you been doing it?

Bill: Thirty-two years. Not all in Reno, all across the country.

You’ve been singing telegrams for 32 years?

Bill: Just barbershop. I’m sort of a pickup. These guys are part of a formal quartet, I’m just filling in as baritone because their baritone couldn’t sing today.

What are your favorite songs to sing?

Richard: We have three songs that are kind of traditional: “I Love You Truly,” “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” and “Story of the Rose,” which is “Heart of my Heart.”

How’s that one go?

Lauren: How does it go?

Yeah, I’m not familiar with it.

Kevin, Bill, Richard, Lauren: Heart of my heart, I love you,

Life would be naught without you.