FILE - In this Sept. 30, 1961 file photo, three members of the Sentiment-Gentlemen Quartet, standing from left, barber Ancel Cochran, florist Jack Goza and insurance salesman George Roth sing in an Atlanta barber shop while Abner Cohen receives a shave. After 80 years of being a male-only organization, the Barbershop Harmony Society announced Wednesday that women will be allowed to join the a Capella singing organization.
The organization, which is based in Nashville, Tennessee, said in a statement on its website that membership to the society is open to everyone, effective immediately. (AP Photo, File)

Barbershop Harmony Society to integrate women after 80 years

June 20, 2018 - 4:15 pm
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — After 80 years of being a male-only organization, the Barbershop Harmony Society has announced that women will be allowed to join the a capella singing organization.

The organization, which is based in Nashville, Tennessee, says in a statement Wednesday on its website that membership to the society is open to everyone, effective immediately.

But the statement also says that its local chapters will get to decide how to integrate, or whether, to integrate their singing groups, such as keeping male-only choruses, or having female-only choruses or mixed groups.

In 2009, women were allowed to participate in the organization as associates, but couldn't join chapters or quartets. CEO Skipp Kropp said in a statement that preserving male singing groups and welcoming women into the organization were "compatible ideas."

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