While Randy Burford was working behind the desk at the post office, ready to help the long line of people, four men wearing flashy blue and orange suits walked in and sang the words, “I’ll be loving you always” to him.
His wife, Tamara, sent members of the Barbergators Chorus to serenade him with a Singing Valentine. Burford stood silently and smiled while they sang in a four-part a cappella harmony style.
After the first song, the patient crowd applauded. Girls giggled and whispered while guys had sheepish looks on their faces.
From Saturday to Monday, the quartet traveled around Gainesville to perform about 20 serenades for $50 each. The quartet also gave them a flower, a Valentine’s Day card with a message and an instant picture, which the recipients get to keep.
Wayne McCormack, a member of Barbergators since November, said he thinks this type of valentine is particularly special and unique.
“It’s like old-fashioned romance,” McCormack said. “Just like fashion trends with retro things, this is a way to bring it back.”
The money goes toward sponsoring the Barbergators activities, costumes, competitions, leadership and other training for the group leaders and for music, said Dick Moyer, a member of the Barbergators and a UF professor.
The group is part of the Barbershop Harmony Society and was chartered at UF in 1973 to celebrate harmony in the barbershop style while making lasting friendships.
Although the group sings throughout the year, the Singing Valentine serenading is one of the most important annual events.
Tamara Herchel was another unsuspecting recipient. She was working at the Alachua County Visitors & Convention Bureau office when the quartet arrived.
She immediately started giggling and covering up her shocked expression with her hands.
Flanked by co-workers who came out to see what all the commotion was about, the group serenaded her with two love songs from her husband.
“I just tried to memorize that moment,” Herchel said.