By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Barbershop Harmony Society is holding its championships in Pittsburgh this week.

The competition includes everything from barbershop quartets in full costume, like the “Sound of Illinois,” featuring a touch of Gershwin – to more traditional groups like the “Circle City of Sound” from Indianapolis

But the big competition is between two groups that tied for the international award in 2007: the “Westminster Chorus” from California, which went for songs from popular musicals, and the “Ambassadors of Harmony” which, at one point, threw off their tuxedos to try a little hip-hop. They added to the show by distributing wristbands to the audience, which started flashing at the end of the performance.

“We saw a lot of fireworks today,” said Society spokesman Brian Lynch. “We saw dancing, we saw flipping, lights flashing. It’s quite a spectacle when a barbershop group pulls it all off.”

For Pittsburgh, the convention added up to more than 5,000 singers — quartets and choruses — plus their families and fans spending the week — and their money — in the city.

But for the singers, it’s all about the competition and camaraderie.

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