Who we are
If you’re looking for a bunch of Broadway stars or Park Avenue elite who are “puttin’ on the Ritz,” well, you’re going to be disappointed (a little). We are people of all genders who look a lot like you. We all share a common passion: We love to sing a cappella.
The Chorus forms the Manhattan Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), which was an all-male organization until 2020. When the BHS became co-ed, so did the Big Apple Chorus.
We are a constant “work in progress,” always striving to improve.
Meet the Chorus
We are blue collar and white collar people, students and retirees, with a diversity that mirrors the great City our chorus so proudly represents – New York! We're led by a music director who is a professionally trained music teacher.
Every Monday this seemingly-incongruous group gathers in Manhattan to make beautiful music together. We sing for the joy of performing our beautiful and moving music for our appreciative audiences.
Our members hail from the boroughs of New York City, from New Jersey and Long Island, and from as far away as Allentown, PA.
New singers are always welcome. The key to the success and longevity of the Big Apple Chorus is its non-exclusivity! If you like to sing and can sing in tune, you can probably find a place on the risers in the Big Apple Chorus.
Visit and sing with us for a few rehearsals. If it turns out you're a good fit, you can join us by singing a simple song in a quartet for our director. We'll even help you practice.
Maurice Debar, Director
Maurice comes to the Big Apple Chorus with lots of experience. He has a BS and MS in Music Education and has spent his 33 years of public school career teaching instrumental music. But his love of singing in four-part harmony spans four decades.
He has directed the Whaler's Chorus out in Southampton, the Twin Shores Chorus in Suffolk and presently directs the Long Island Harmonizers Chorus in Nassau County. He joined the Big Apple Chorus in its second year of existence. Along the way, he has earned credentials as a certified barbershop director from the Barbershop Harmony Society and certification as a NYSSMA piano judge. Maurice sings bass in the Just Ducky Quartet.
We're not sure that Maurice could find the time to do all of this if he were not retired from teaching! His wife welcomes having him out the house so she can have the remote to herself on the nights he's out singing. He has embarrassed his three children by practicing his singing in the car -- they welcomed the relief when they went off to college! Maurice believes that singing keeps you young and is good for the soul.
When it was established in 1983, no one could have imagined that the Big Apple Chorus was going to make the kind of impact that would propel it through over 35 years of extraordinary musical performances.
The Big Apple Chorus has brought its unique interpretation of the barbershop harmony style to such great performing venues as:
Carnegie Hall (both in many of its own concerts and as special guests with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops Orchestra)
Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall
Radio City Music Hall
New York City’s fabled Beacon Theater
Shea and Giants Stadiums
The Central Park Band Shell
The historic Salvation Army Theatre
The South Street Seaport as part of its world-famous “Singing Christmas Tree”.
The Chorus has also been heard across the length and breadth of North America, performing in cities such as St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Hartford, in Washington DC’s Constitution Hall, Bridgeport, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Miami, Providence, Columbus, Atlanta, Denver, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, and Calgary and Montréal.
In 2001 the Big Apple Chorus traveled overseas appearing at the invitation of the Russian Government in St. Petersburg, where it not only performed in concert, but conducted Master Classes for Russian choral groups, chorus directors, composers, and musicians. The chorus’ trip to Russia provided it with a unique opportunity to build a cultural bridge between the US and Russia through the original American musical style called "barbershop" harmony.
The Big Apple Chorus has become a precious musical resource in New York City’s cultural scene. It has repeatedly demonstrated over its lifetime that you can combine barbershop harmony and New York Style, with a most entertaining result.