Famed countertenor Terry Barber gives his non-profit, Artists for a Cause, a St. Louis home | St. Louis Public Radio

Famed countertenor Terry Barber gives his non-profit, Artists for a Cause, a St. Louis home

Oct 12, 2016

Terry Barber is a  countertenor who performed for years with the vocal group Chanticleer and has worked with Grammy-winning artists like Madonna, Jewel, Chaka Khan and more. Recently, he moved to St. Louis from Florida, bringing along his non-profit, called Artists for a Cause, in order to be closer to family. That also means that St. Louisans are treated to a few more local concerts from Barber than they were before.

Barber founded Artists for a Cause in 2009 in order to help visual and performing artists use their talents to help their community. Its St. Louis home will have a “grand unveiling” on Oct. 20 in the .ZACK building, an arts incubator in Grand Center funded by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, but won’t open officially until January 2017.

“Since Artists for a Cause has had intention of starting programming here, some of the biggest and best arts organizations in St. Louis have thrown their doors open for us,” Barber said. “In some bigger cities, you might see an organization as a competitor or ‘who are you and what do you want?’ That hasn’t been my experience here.”

The organization offers development opportunities for students and paid opportunities for artists to help make their community better.

Barber got the idea for the non-profit after he lost his mother to cancer when she was in her 50s and Barber was about to release his first solo album.

“I gave the proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” Barber said. “I recognized the struggles that artists had wanting to make a difference in the community. I wanted to make it easier for visual and performing artists to get tools to put art out there in an impactful way.”

Barber will do that through school programs, therapeutic arts programs and contemporary dance concerts for food banks in the area. You can see a full list of the organization’s programming here.

Barber is a countertenor, one of the rarest forms of singing voice, when men sing comfortably, in a classical context, in the range women sing in.

“That begs the question: Why do we want men to sing in the range of women?” Barber said. “The answer is not quite hysterical, but historical: Before the Classical period, men and women weren’t often allowed to share the stage.”

In moving to St. Louis, Barber is also able to share his voice in more local concerts. On Friday, Oct. 14, for example he will perform at the Ethical Society in a program called “Vignettes.”

Related Events

What: "Vignettes" - A Cultural Hear & Taste Experience
When: Friday, Oct. 14 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63117
More information.

What: Artists For A Cause St. Louis Grand Unveiling 
When: Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: .ZACK, 3224 Locust Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103
More information.

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