A ceramic rendition of Michigan by Cathy Harmon, both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas. I would need to move the Upper Peninsula over to the west for that to be an accurate map, but hard to hold the full Mitten State in one hand (even if it’s shaped like a hand.)

This summer, I had some serious wonderlust. I had a seemingly relentless desire to to travel and explore. And I did a whole lot of that over the summer months, particularly in my state of Michigan.

Then we arrived collectively at Labor Day weekend, and I just felt something shift. I had planned one more day trip, but I thought, “No, I just want to stay home.” And since then, I’ve felt something different. My exploration has become even more local, not only including time outside (though still that, yes) but experiences with new people.

And all of this is a prelude to tell you about the silly, wonderful experience I had last week.

I was about to finish my work day when I asked myself, “What do I want to do tonight?” My town and my county often have a lot of events going on, so I consulted a local publication that shares daily events. Oh, I’m going to THAT, I decided, as soon as I saw it on the page.

So you guessed it! (just kidding, you’d never guess this) That is how I spent the evening connecting with and singing alongside a barbershop harmony group. Renee’s random rendezvous with Boomers who barbershop.

The name of the group is The Huron Valley Harmonizers, and these singers are so nice. So welcoming! Anyone can come sing with them. You just bop right into the rehearsal, and they’ll welcome you kindly, give you sheet music, and bring you along fully with the experience. We sang some pieces and practiced some tags. And I learned this is a thing: This group and many other groups will go to barbershop conferences where you just learn tags — harmonic endings to songs, often with big glissando slides that will end in lovely, bright major chords.

I had so much fun!

I found myself reflecting on this: Within our towns and local settings, place is a living, breathing experience that is changing all the time. That’s true in the people just like it is in the seasons. And even if we’ve been there for a while, we are re-placed all the time. We are communitied in new ways continually based on who arrives and who is new to us, even if they, like we, have been here a long time.

I like that. (In your imagination, hear those three words as a tag).

Renee Roederer

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