For almost 40 years, Marion has enjoyed that uniquely American music, Barbershop, as the home of the Marionaires Barbershop Chorus. According to one its founding members, Duane Kline, the Marionaires has always been a group that welcomes anyone with the desire to sing. In fact, he says, the great thing about a barbershop chorus is that you do not have to be a great singer to join the group. The many voices and four-part harmony allows for a variety of talent and skill levels. In its early years, the chorus numbered less than 20, but today averages 30-35 members. The Marionaires is not a competition chorus, they simply perform to share their music.
The group’s annual concert at the Marion Palace Theatre regularly attracts large crowds and is the major fundraiser for the chorus. While the late April concert is the highlight of each year for the group, the chorus and the several quartets out of the chorus perform throughout Marion County and beyond. By far, the busiest day for the quartets is Valentine’s Day–as many as 30 singing Valentines are delivered on February 14 each year.
The health and vitality of the performing arts in any community are a result of local people with a passion to perform and a genuine love of their craft. Much like the robust local theatre scene in Marion, the presence of the Marionaires Barbershop Chorus provides an ongoing inspiration and training ground for aspiring performers. That inspiration has blossomed in to a proud tradition of barbershop music that can be heard throughout the year and is truly MarionMade!