The world's 10th-best barbershop chorus, according to the folks who rate such things, can be found in Fremont, Neb.
You probably wouldn't get much argument on that from the many fans of the Pathfinder Chorus, the roughly 110-member group of male singers that has been in these parts since 1972. Hundreds of people flock to its holiday concerts and other events, said chorus spokesman T.J. DiBacco, a member since 2010.
The chorus also participates in singing competitions in this country and elsewhere. It received its ranking from the International Barbershop Harmony Society.
For the past five years, the Pathfinders have donated proceeds from a free-will offering at its holiday concert in Omaha to The World-Herald's Goodfellows. Last year's collection raised $5,344.17 for the charity, which provides emergency assistance and holiday meal certificates for needy people in the community.
The group also performs a holiday concert in Fremont, with proceeds going to the Salvation Army.
The group is doing it again this year. The Omaha concert for Goodfellows will be Dec. 14 at St. Andrew United Methodist Church. The Fremont program is that afternoon at Fremont High School.
The concerts get larger every year, DiBacco said.
The Pathfinders looked around at charities to assist before settling on Goodfellows.
“Their purpose in serving people who have a one-time need really appealed to our sense of helping those who really need the help,” the spokesman said.
DiBacco, who has a degree in music from the University of Wyoming, knew he loved barbershop singing after hearing a quartet, The Acoustics, perform at Lincoln's Lied Center. The group sang a cappella (as do all barbershoppers) and did a number without the sound system.
The pure harmony amazed him.
“It's a moving thing when you are in the middle of it,” he said. “I was thinking, 'Excuse me, how did they do that?' ”
The Pathfinders will sing traditional carols such as “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger,” and some songs you might not hear at other concerts, such as The Beach Boys' “Little St. Nick” and a number performed in Gregorian chant.
The group has members from a 20,000-square-mile area in eastern Nebraska, as well as South Dakota and Iowa.