Bob Labig and the rest of Canyon Grand barbershop quartet always know how they’ll spend Valentine’s Day: cheerfully ambushing people like Arlinda Alire. She had no suspicions as she walked in to her’s company’s break room.
“We have a very special valentine for you today!” Labig said, handing her a red rose and card. “Go on and have a seat there.”
As Alire's face got red and her coworkers took photos and video, the four tuxedoed gentlemen started to croon.
Buying a few a capella tunes to celebrate your loved one is a tradition all over the country, but it was a first for Alire. It was the best valentine her husband has ever given her.
“Yeah, it was surprise, shocked,” she said, still beaming. “I didn’t want to cry in front of everybody!”
It’s the kind of reaction Labig loves to see, year after year. The Canyon Grand were one of two quartets from Grand Junction's Bookcliff Barbershop Harmony Chorus that delivered romantic musical gestures on Valentine’s Day. It meant a lot to the nurses they surprised, and the teacher and the deli sandwich maker.
“We know we’re going to make them happy,” he said. “We’re going to be sharing some joy with them and it’s going to be a blessing.”
Sometimes embarrassment does get the best of recipients, including a man who was under a truck at his repair shop when the quartet showed up. Singer Olyn Carlson remembers the guy’s friends had to drag him out on his dolly.
“He laid there the whole time we sang to him, and then he went back under the truck as soon as he could get finished with it,” he said, with a chuckle.
But for the most part, the group said people are touched. And it will matter to more people on the day after, as the foursome offers belated Valentines, too.