Today Sonny Til would have been 89 years old. Sonny was born August 18, 1928. Sadly, not everyone knows the name Sonny Til, though visitors to our website probably do. …
Why We Do What We Do and Why We’re Unique:
Rhythm & Blues Vocal Harmony and Doo Wop Music is one of the least documented, least respected and least understood of all the American musical art forms. Over the past 45 years we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing literally hundreds of vocal group singers. Many became our close friends. Tragically, many of those singers are no longer with us. The task of preserving their legacy has fallen on the select few serious researchers who had the foresight to document these artists’ stories over the past several decades.
This website has grown to become a valuable source for information on the history of vocal harmony groups. Our WHAT’S NEW page covers the latest news in this field. From our ARTICLES page you’ll be able to browse through numerous articles written by us about our music’s history, You’ll also be able to access back issues of our free email newsletter. Our EVENTS CALENDAR page lists upcoming Classic Urban Harmony Events including multimedia presentations, concerts and exhibits along with other events important to group harmony fans.
The Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter:
We have a free email newsletter covering the latest in vocal group harmony happenings that we send out whenever we have enough to report on (usually every month or two). To subscribe, visit our CONTACT page and send your name and email.
Classic Urban Harmony Multimedia Presentations – What We Offer:
Classic Urban Harmony LLC offers a number of live multimedia presentations, based on the history of Rhythm & Blues, early (1950’s) Rock & Roll, Doo Wop, Soul, Spiritual and Gospel vocal group music. All presentations consist of 60 or 90 minute PowerPoint talks containing rare photographs of singers, record labels, sheet music and memorabilia from the Classic Urban Harmony Archives as well as song and video clips. Many photos are unpublished and come from the singers themselves or were taken by us. Presentations include anecdotes direct from the singers. Our multimedia presentations are meant to educate as well as entertain. We help our audiences learn the stories behind the songs they grew up with as well as the singers who sang those songs.
We offer our presentations for a modest fee to libraries, museums, historical societies, active adult and retirement communities, senior centers, churches, colleges and corporate functions in New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania. We are also available to talk at music conventions, educational forums and on themed cruise ships, worldwide.
Exhibits for Museums and Libraries:
Music memorabilia items from our CUH Archives are available for loan to library displays and museum exhibits. We will design, set up and serve as curators for professional exhibits of all sizes. Our archives contain tens of thousands of items, including rare photos, recordings, songbooks, sheet music, posters, books, magazines and much more. Since designing, labeling and setting up such exhibits requires considerable knowledge and labor (in addition to an inexhaustible supply of valuable display items) we do charge for this service. Our fees vary according to exhibit size, location and length of display time, but are generally quite reasonable. Exhibit fees can often be packaged with curators talks and/or one or more of our multimedia presentations.
Booking Acappella and Doo Wop Groups:
Part of our business involves lining up gigs for a number of area’s finer acappella and doo wop vocal groups. If you’re looking for an acappella group for a community event or concert in the New Jersey area, we can usually match your needs and budget to one of a couple dozen reliable and entertaining acappella groups that we work with. See our BOOK A GROUP page.
Producing and Emceeing Doo Wop and Acappella Concerts:
We are experienced in producing and emceeing concerts featuring doo wop, r&b and gospel vocal groups, especially acappella concerts. Our concerts have taken place in venues of all sizes, from small nightclubs to 700-seat theaters. For details of upcoming and past concerts, see our EVENTS CALENDAR and CONCERTS Pages.
Researching and Writing Articles and Books:
One of our primary activities is researching and writing articles to document and preserve the history of r&b, gospel, doo wop and soul vocal harmony. We are always looking to contact singers in these fields whose stories have not been told. Our articles regularly appear in Echoes of the Past magazine as well as this website and occasionally in local newspapers and other publications. See the ARTICLES Page for recent articles. We’re also currently writing a book on Asbury Park’s African American Music Legacy (1880 – 1980). We expect to piublish in late 2017.
Consulting for Film Documentaries, Books and Recordings:
Our expertise in the field of American popular music has led us to consult for and sometimes appear in film and television documentaries and promotional pieces. We are cited in the credits of countless books and album liner notes. We also write liner notes for CD’s. See our CONSULTANT Page for details.
Serving as Advisors and Consultants to Projects that Preserve Music History:
We are actively serving as advisors and/or consultants to worthwhile projects like the Asbury Park African American Music Heritage Project and the Asbury Angels Foundation. See our CONSULTANT Page for details.
Review of Books, CD’s and DVD’s:
We stay current on the many books and recordings in our field. When we come across books or recordings we like, we post reviews on our REVIEWS Page, along with links to Amazon or other sites where readers can obtain copies if interested.