It's a bird! No, it's a plane! Wait, it's a group of barbershoppers?

Members of the Barbershop Harmony Society's Savannah chapter, the 13th Colony Sound, are going way out of their way April 11 to celebrate the society's 75th anniversary.

As in up, that is - all the way to the seventh-floor terrace of the Hyatt Regency Savannah to sing a few good old songs.

"I hope we all come down," says Robert Kearns, vice president of music and performance for the 13th Colony Sound.

"Fortunately, that seventh-floor terrace does not face the river, so I don't think anyone will jump."

The chapter will perform on the terrace to recreate a special event.

On April 11, 1938, 40 men gathered atop The Tulsa Club in Oklahoma to sing songs and start the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, or the SPEBSQSA.

It's unlikely anyone human will be able to see or hear the concert.

Fortunately, the singers will bring it down to Earth.

"We looked around town for an appropriate roof terrace just as the boys did in Tulsa, and the Hyatt came right to mind," Kearns says. "We intend to perform in the lobby and lounge of the hotel from 8:30 to 10 p.m. We could be singing on our way into the place."

The terrace isn't very large, but it will hold the local chapter and some guests of the Hilton Head chapter.

"We'll be about 25 to 30 guys," Kearns says.

All members are dedicated to the cause of singing barbershop harmony.

"It relaxes us," Kearns says.

"It's appealing to guys of all ages," he says. "We have high school students and fellows in their 90s.

"Everybody enjoys singing a song and bringing the world into harmony."

Early members of the SPEBSQSA chose that name as a joke.

"They picked that acronym because the WPA and all the federal agencies were coming into existence," Kearns says. "It was done in a mocking fashion to come up with a non-governmental acronym people would not forget.

"About 10 years ago, they decided to do business as the Barbershop Harmony Society," he says. "That reflects the international growth of the hobby.

"There are chapters on every continent except Antarctica," Kearns says. "There might be one there, but I have no plans to go and check that out."

The 13th Colony Sound was chartered in 1970 with the mission "Keep The Whole World Singing!" and has about 30 members.

"We are proud to bring our singing to every hospital and nursing home in the area, because singing lifts spirits, and that's what everybody needs," says charter member Richard Towns.

"Music is still the language of the soul and cheerful to anybody in any state of existence," Kearns says. "We take pride in that."

Charter member Joe Ryan is proud of the chapter's projects with youth.

"Our efforts to have young men continue the barbershop style of singing has evolved into an award-winning youth chorus, Savannah Storm, which has already sung in several International Youth Festivals," he says.

The society hosts competitions, and the preliminary rounds have started. The chapter has high hopes for Savannah Storm.

"The winner from the Carolina District Collegiate Quartet Competition will go to Toronto in July," Kearns says. "These kids are good.

"Four are present or former students of Savannah Arts Academy," he says. "We hope to see those boys on the stage of the international competition, which occurs in early July."

In October, the 13th Colony Sound presented a comedic presentation, "Witness for the Defense."

"I'm sure we'll do something in November," Kearns says. "It's certainly a tradition worth carrying on for a new generation or two."

The Barbershop Harmony Society has more than 24,000 members around the world. A reflection of the society's international scope is the fact that the current championship quartet, the Ringmasters, hails from Sweden.

"It's not your old grandfather's mustache and straw hat any more," Kearns says. "We sing some really exciting a capella music."

The point of it all is enjoyment for the listeners and singers alike.

"We have a lot of fun doing what we're doing," Kearns says. "It beats watching 'Dancing With the Stars.'"


What: The 13th Colony Sound

When: 8:30-10 p.m. April 11

Where: Hyatt Regency Savannah, 2 W. Bay St.

Cost: Free