Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a singing telegram

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a singing telegram

The Harmonic Tides Quartet. Photo by Chris Beattie

They’re back! Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Harbormen, the local choral group affiliated with the national Barbershop Harmony Society, will be available in groups of four to sing in homes, offices, restaurants, hospitals, schools and more for the romantically inclined.

“A great home video memory,” as one satisfied customer said, not to mention a good Instagram story with each quartet in bright red blazers and bowties.

Love songs have great histories and each has its own way of getting to the heart. Some evoke longing, others celebrate the object of affection. “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” one of the songs that the Harbormen quartets sing to Valentines, was written in 1910 by Leo Friedman and Beth Slater Whitson. It went on to be recorded by Bing Crosby, the Mills Brothers, Pat Boone and was sung every year for decades by Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard on Mother’s Day. Bette Midler sang the song in “The Rose” and Shirley McLaine sang it in “Downton Abbey.”  It even ended up on the recent TV hit, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”

Quartet members include scientists, salesmen, engineers, an air traffic controller, a chef, author and policeman, among others.

Fred Conway, a retired math teacher with the group since 1966, has sung in all kinds of situations.  “I remember showing up at an overcrowded bowling alley to deliver our songs to a bowler, and trudging through eight inches of snow to sing to a secretary and her audience of fifty amused colleagues.”

Herb Mordkoff, another member, remembers being hired to sing with his quartet to a waitress in a diner near MacArthur Airport one year, then being hired to return when her husband proposed. “Not a dry eye in the whole diner,” he said. A year and a half later, his quartet was singing for the couples’ child’s first birthday party.  

The package for $75 includes two songs, a box of chocolates, personalized card and a signature rose.  To book a quartet for a singing Valentine or any occasion, call 631-644-0129 or email [email protected] A portion of the proceeds go to the Good Shepherd Hospice in Port Jefferson.