There is so much entertainment offered around the Lake Erie Islands region that many folks are unaware that about 100 Barbershop Quartet singers will gather on Middle Bass Island and South Bass Islands for a weekend every August. This great tradition dates back over 70 years!
This year’s free events are on Friday, Aug. 11 at Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island and Saturday, Aug. 12 on Middle Bass Island.
The barbershop quartets kick off their Put-in-Bay shows on Friday afternoon at Perry Cave, Heineman Winery, The Goat, Joe’s Bar and various other venues downtown. On Friday at 7 p.m. an astounding 15 barbershop quartets will perform at Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church, 620 Catawba Ave., Put-In-Bay.
The fundraiser for The Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center is designed to finish in time to allow barbershop quartet lovers to head back to the mainland on the 9 p.m. run of the Miller Ferry.
“The islands aren’t just for young party people. There’s good family entertainment on the islands, as well,” said Jim “Curly” Wilson of the Middle Bass Barbershop Committee. “Sometimes you’ve got to look for it, and our free barbershop quartets are a very special part of this.”
Eight barbershop quartets will perform at the Historic Lonz Wine Cellar, a new new tradition begun by Rusty Cates of the Genuine Replacement Parts barbershop quartet. Middle Bass Island is accessible via the Miller Ferry from its Catawba Dock or from Put-in-Bay via the Sonny S shuttle ferry.
Both the Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church and Lonz Wine Cellar offer great acoustics. They ask that audiences refrain from unnecessary conversation to allow everyone to experience the best four-part harmony sound possible.
Deacon Jim O’Donnell and Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church have been lauded for their support, as well as Jane Wolnic of Island Grind at Press House at Lonz Winery.