Chris Arnold has been around barbershop music his entire life. In the same year that Chris was born, his father Ed Arnold joined the Twin City Harmonizers in Kitchener, Ontario. Barbershop music became a part of the household, from listening to stacks of albums during Sunday brunch to late night rehearsals of his father's quartet as Chris tried to fall asleep, in vain, in the next room. It should come as no surprise, then, that Chris developed a love of singing and of barbershop music at a very early age.
Chris joined the Kitchener chorus at the age of 16, which at that time was the minimum age for members. Very quickly Chris' sight-singing skills were recognized as a valuable asset and he was made bass section leader. During his time with the chorus he rose to the ranks of Assistant Director and eventually Director.
Chris' love of vocal music lead him to Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo Ontario where he earned an Honours Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education. This was followed by a Bachelor of Education degree from the Althouse Faculty of Education in London Ontario. During his studies, he continued with his barbershop activities, including directing and quartetting. He also branched out into vocal jazz, becoming a founding member of Minor Infraction, an a cappella jazz combo that earned a place at the National Music Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Chris parlayed his vocal and sight-singing skills into a successful business making learning tracks for barbershop groups, becoming the first person to do this as a full-time job. During the eight years that he ran Quick Start Vocal Productions as his primary venture, he recorded over 800 songs for men's and women's barbershop groups. He has recently returned to producing learning tracks on a regular basis and offers private and group vocal lessons and coaching through his home studio.
Chris has been a successful quartet singer, singing baritone with District Championship quartets Discovery, Contagious, and intrigue. He then switched to bass and won the championship with The Fixx. Between 1995 and 2016 he will have sung on the International stage eleven times, most recently singing bass with his current quartet, Supertonic.
In 1997, Chris became a founding member of the Toronto Northern Lights. As the Associate Director, he helped lead the famous small chorus to a 5th place International Bronze medal, followed by 5 consecutive Silver medals. In 2005, June Dale announced that she would be retiring as Director of MegaCity Chorus, another strong barbershop chorus from Toronto, which she founded. They approached Chris about possibly taking over as director, and the opportunity was too great to miss, in particular because Chris' brother Rob was a member of the chorus! Under his leadership, the chorus competed three times at the International Convention, and in 2008 they were invited to be the featured performers at the 9th Russian Barbershop Festival. This landmark trip included performances in the greatest concert halls in St. Petersburg, where his arrangement of Moscow Nights and a 17-part arrangement of Circle of Life received standing ovations. In 2010 Chris left MegaCity Chorus to pursue a diploma in Video Game Design and Development. About a year after that program was completed, he returned to the Northern Lights for a reunion show, and has been with them ever since. In 2013, he was able to be a part of the chorus that he help to found as they earned their first International Gold Medal in Toronto!
Throughout the years, Chris has served the barbershop society in many ways. In addition to directing, he has taught at numerous schools throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. He was a Certified Music Judge for 9 years. He was one of the first Certified Trainers for the Chorus Directors Workshop Intensive program. He also served on the Ontario District Executive as the Vice President of Music and Performance. In 2001 his coaching efforts were recognized with the Larry Dale Coach of the Year Award. He is also the current Director of the APOC chorus, which comprises members of past Ontario quartet champions.
In October of 2014, Chris earned the designation of Certified Director through the Sweet Adelines International organization, followed by the title of Harmony 500 Director in May of 2017, and is thrilled to be the Musical Director of Grand Harmony Chorus. He also recognizes that none of his accomplishments would be possible without the love and support of his wife Juanita and their children Brianne and Brent. They sacrifice so much so that Chris can share his gifts with the community. Thank You!