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About the choir

San Francisco’s Conspiracy of Beards is a 30 member male choir that performs dynamic, original, a cappella arrangements of the poetic songs of Leonard Cohen.

Well dressed in suits, ties, and the occasional fedora, the choir brings an energized live choral music experience out of churches and tabernacles and into the taverns, art houses, and theaters of the Bay Area and beyond. Transforming Cohen’s lyrics and simple melodies into complex 4- and 5-part harmonies, and with a wide variety of small ensemble and full choir pieces, Conspiracy of Beards achieves a sound that is both robust and tender. Drawing on influences ranging from jazz and gospel to barbershop and doo-wop, the unique arrangements that choir members create capture all of the emotion and humor of Leonard Cohen’s original music and inspire audiences to ponder common human experiences like romance, heartbreak, politics, sex, longing, and spirituality.

Formed in 2003 through the inspiration of the late San Francisco performance artist Peter Kadyk, his brother Patrick Kadyk, along with friend and composer Daryl Henline, gathered a small group of friends to learn and sing a couple of Leonard Cohen songs as a tribute. Since then the choir, still directed by Daryl Henline, has grown to over 30 members.

Conspiracy of Beards has become an integral part of the San Francisco music scene with performances at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, The Jewish Music Festival, Cafe Du Nord, Great American Music Hall, San Francisco City Hall, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as well as dozens of bars, bookstores, galleries, hospices, and various other community centers. The choir has also been featured on several radio programs including NPR’s “West Coast Live,” “The California Report,” “Weekend Edition,” KQED, KFOG, KPFA, WFMU, and on PBS television.

As a non-profit organization (501c-3) and with a commitment to contributing to civic progress, Conspiracy of Beards also performs in support of many charities, fundraisers, and other non-profits

Peter Kadyk

The concept of a men’s group singing Leonard Cohen songs came from Peter Kadyk, a multimedia artist who passed away in 2001. Kadyk, whom friends describe as a “visionary” artist, never got around to realizing his Cohen choir. But after his death, his wife, Anah, asked his brother Patrick and director Daryl Henline to organize the group as a tribute for an event in June 2003. Originally conceived as a one-time performance, comprised of 8 or 9 guys singing just 2 or 3 songs, the choir immediately gained a momentum and continued well past everyone’s expectations. After that first show, an employee of City Lights Bookstore asked the Beards to play an in-store event. Word of mouth spread fast, and the chorus quickly went from a one-time experiment to a practicing group within a few months. In the beginning, the members of the choir had all been friends with Peter Kadyk. But eventually newcomers were drawn to the Leonard Cohen project and the Beards became a bona fide singing group in its own right.

Performances

  • 12 Galaxies
  • A.Muse Gallery
  • Adobe Bookstore
  • Amnesia
  • Anna’s Jazz Island (Berkeley)
  • Artist Television Access
  • Atlas Cafe
  • Bowery Poetry Club (Manhattan)
  • Box Theatre (Manhattan)
  • Brick & Mortar
  • Bruno’s
  • Cafe Du Nord
  • The Chapel
  • City Lights Bookstore
  • Clarion Alley Block Party
  • Cloud City (Manhattan)
  • Comet Tavern (Seattle)
  • Contemporary Jewish Museum
  • counterPULSE
  • The Dance Palace (Pt. Reyes)
  • DROM (Manhattan)
  • Eagle Tavern
  • Echoplex, (Los Angeles)
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • El Valenciano
  • Freight & Salvage
  • Fellow Barber Shop
  • [ Freespace ]
  • Glasslands Gallery (Manhattan)
  • Great American Music Hall
  • Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
  • Henry Miller Library (Big Sur)
  • Henry Ohlhoff Recovery House
  • Heritage Hall (Vancouver)
  • Highline Ballroom (Manhattan)
  • The Independent
  • Jack Hanley Gallery
  • Jewish Community Center
  • The Jewish Music Festival
  • Johansson Projects Gallery (Oakland)
  • Kaiser Permanente Hospital
  • Kuumbwa Jazz (Santa Cruz)
  • The LAB
  • Laguna Honda Hospice
  • Live Worms Gallery
  • LoBot Gallery (Oakland)
  • The Make-Out Room
  • Marin Headlands Center for the Arts (Marin Co.)
  • Mills College (Oakland)
  • Moes Books
  • The Mint (Los Angeles)
  • New Era Art Bar
  • The New Parish
  • Oakland Museum
  • Palo Alto Art Center
  • Project Artaud Theater
  • Public Works SF
  • The Riptide
  • The Rite Spot
  • San Francisco City Hall
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • San Francisco Zen Center
  • St. Cyprians Church
  • Saint Rocke (Hermosa Beach)
  • Southern Exposure
  • The Starry Plough (Berkeley)
  • Swedish American Hall
  • Throckmorton Theatre (Mill Valley)
  • Viracocha
  • The Vogue Theatre

as well as being featured on:

  • KALW
  • KFOG
  • KPFA
  • KWMR
  • KQED Spark
  • KQED’s The California Report
  • NPR’s Weekend Edition
  • NPR’s West Coast Live
  • WFMU (New Jersey)

and at numerous private events and various other locales too numerous to list (or even remember)

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