NEW GLASGOW — Let me call you sweetheart …

A quartet of county men will be starting some people’s Valentine’s Day off on a high note by spreading the love with singing valentines. The Vocal Chords are a local barbershop quartet that comes together on Valentine’s Day to have a day of fun singing for others and raising money for charity.

The tradition of delivering singing valentines is one that has been going on for quite some time in Pictou County. Although members of this particular group change from year to year, this year making the rounds and harmonizing will be Art Bingham, Peter Townsend, Brian Bowden and Bob Morse.

“Our little Vocal Chords group has been together for a year and a half,” said Bingham. Although as a quartet they usually focus on gospel, each year for Valentine’s Day they sing in a vaudeville barbershop quartet style.

Along with being serenaded by either the song The Story of the Rose (Heart of My Heart) or Let Me Call You My Sweetheart, the quartet will also give your sweetheart a fresh cut rose and some chocolates. For those looking to send a singing valentine, the price is $25, a cost that hasn’t changed since the 80s; all you have to do it call the valentine hotline at 902-752-0263.

“It’s also a good gift for a senior parent in a nursing home because they know all the songs,” said Townsend. He mentioned that the group enjoys singing in places such as nursing homes or businesses because everyone likes to come watch and enjoy the music along with the person the telegram is sent to.

“What we get out of it is money for charity, but we also have fun,” Bingham said. “You meet a bunch of people and have a ton of fun.”

Each year after all the money is counted up at the end of the day, the quartet splits the money evenly among the men and they all donate it to a charity of their choice. It usually equals out to be about $150 donated to a charity from each man. The quartet advises that anyone interested in sending a serenade should call the valentine hotline to book the singing valentine soon as they have sold out in previous years.


The Vocal Chords from left, Peter Townsend, Brian Bowden, Art Bingham and Bob Morse are ready to to sing a few tunes on Valentines Day for your sweetheart, with all the proceeds going to charity. (Brimicombe photo)

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Heather Brimicombe
Heather Brimicombe is a Pictou County native and graduate from the University of King's College in Halifax with a Bachelor of Journalism Honours degree as well as a combined major in Sustainability. She has previously won a Canadian Communities Newspapers award for a multimedia feature and was part of a team nominated for a Canadian Association of Journalism data award in the investigative category. Photography, art, sports and outdoor activities are all hobbies of hers as well as crafting, and baking.