Real Men Go to the Opera — and To Sim's Barbershop

Tony-tromboneAnthony "Tony" Giles, a tuba and base trombone player from Manhattan, has led an interesting life. And today his life is going to get even more interesting. 

He's at Sim’s Barber Shop in Guilderland, NY, getting his first shave with hot towels and aromatherapy. All this from owner Greg Zorian — a third-generation barber who has grown his business in recent years to other locations. It's a traditional barber shop that provides an alternative to contemporary women’s salons and fast-service mall hair cutters.
The new Sim’s at 20 Mall on Route 20 in Guilderland offers hot lathers and a school to help customers select the proper products and razors for their skin. Sims began as one shop in 1936 has since grown to four locations in the Northeast.

"We help customers get the right products so they get a good shave and protect their skin," Greg says.

From under a hot towel, I hear Tony say, "This feels very indulgent. Why haven’t I done this before?"

Sims I've known Tony for a long time. He grew up in Detroit and at the age of 14 found himself studying bass trombone and loving it. “My band director in school was an aspiring conductor as well as a base trombone player. He taught me an appreciation of the trombone, but more important an appreciation of orchestral music and literature. It was both alluring and challenging.” 

Like many kids, his life would be influenced by an adult who was willing to support Tony’s dream. Orchestral music was intriguing to a young man with no background in music and with a dream to study trombone at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.  In 1993, he realized his dream and received a Masters in trombone performance. Tony’s talent and love of music has taken him from the Tommy Dorsey Big Band to Aretha Franklin and also a European orchestral tour.

Tony shares that only 13% of CD sales today are for classical music, and even a smaller percentage of people attend an opera or a symphony each year. However, these events can be highly enriching and rewarding.

He has some helpful hints on how to maximize one's experience at these concerts.
  • Get dressed up. This is still one of those  places you can wear a tuxedo.
  • Read up on the opera or symphony or get a CD of what you will be hearing. This will also make it more fun and make sense. 
  • If you’re really serious, you might brush up on your Italian so you can impress your date. 
  • Applaud at the appropriate times: after an aria (Italian for song), at the end of the overture and after the opera opens.
  • Don’t forget to order champagne during the intermission and go to the atrium to people watch and enjoy the splendor of the evening.
The art of chivalry, gentlemanliness and culture is on the rise — if you've noticed what content is becoming more popular on the Web these days. Of course, these values never went away — and never should!

For more on the topic, visit The Art of Manliness. If you're in the Northeast, don't forget to drop in on a Sim's Barbershop near you.

And why not take in an opera or symphony this weekend?

(Pictures: Tony playing the trombone; Greg shaving a customer at his shop in Guilderland, NY)


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