Congratulations class of 2020 50-year members!
This year has been nothing short of a wild ride, but we are glad that we can still honor you on reaching such a wonderful accomplishment. Thank you to all of you who have shared a biography to be presented below, and please watch for your name to be read during our Virtual Awards Gala in September. Thank you for all of your years of smiles and songs, we can't wait to share even more with you in the future!
50-year member profiles are sorted here alphabetically by last name.
50 Year Members: Last Names A - C
I was recruited in 1971 by a college classmate that I sang with at South Dakota State University. I sang tenor for the first 28 years, and then when puberty caught up to me I switched to bass 22 years ago. I served as chapter president for 6 years, IPP for 6 years, Rocky Mountain District (RMD) division 4 area counselor for 4 years, RMD division 4 Vice President for 2 years, chapter Show Chair, and district convention onsite chair 2 years. In my time, I have earned 23 Man of note awards and sung in roughly 12 quartets, 4 registered. I would love to do it all over again.
I began my barbershop experience in Davenport, Iowa, where I joined the Chordbusters chorus. My wife, Kathy, and I have had many unbelievable memories during the past 50 years. I have sung in two quartets, the 7th Encounter, achieving a 3rd place in the Central States District, and after moving to Menomonie, Wisconsin, CHIPS. At that time I joined and competed with the Great Northern Union at several International competitions. Due to a long drive to rehearsals, I became a member of the local Northern Lights chorus and have been a member for 30+ years. I would like to thank our Society for all it has done to support our honored hobby.
I grew up in a barbershop family. My grandfather was a charter member of the Colorado Springs barbershop chapter. My Dad was a barbershopper and my Mother was a Sweet Adeline. I didn’t have a lot of choice about this hobby.
My favorite barbershop picture was given to me for Christmas in 1987: it features two pictures taken by my Dad, a newspaper writer and photographer. In the top half of the frame is a picture of the Bagby Brothers quartet taken in 1952 when I was four years old, singing on the local radio station in Colorado owned by my Dad’s newspaper. In the bottom half of the frame is a picture of the same four boys in 1987 – 35 years later...
Read more about Mike
My brother Jim’s quartet – the Rural Route 4 was on the Grand Junction Colorado show. I was living in San Francisco at the time and Ron and Terry were living in Denver, so we all came to see the show. At the afterglow near the end of their package Jim said “for our next song, Don doesn’t know the tenor, so, with your indulgence, my brother Terry is going to sing the tenor (encouraging applause) - actually, Willard doesn’t know the bass either, so my brother Ron is going to sing bass (suspicious applause) – OK Calvin doesn’t know the lead, so my brother Mike is going to sing lead. (laughter and applause)” We sang OKLAHOMA.
I have a lot of special barbershop memories. When I was dating Sherry in high school, if I brought her home at 3:00 in the morning, her parents didn’t mind because they knew we were at some barbershop function with my parents, and in 1971 when I was 23 , my parents hosted the Sundowners who were on the Oklahoma City show. They rode in our Volkswagon mini bus and I got to sit next to the bass, Doug Smith. In 1994 four Bagbys competed against each other on the same International stage – Dad with his beloved Oklahoma City chapter, Jim as director of the Kansas City Chapter, Terry with the Denver chapter, and Mike with the New Tradition.
Although I did realize my lifetime dream of singing on the International stage, first with the Peninsulaires from the San Francisco Bay area and then with the New Tradition, I never made it to the International stage with a quartet. However, when Chordiac Arrest was looking for a tenor, I took my Chordiac cassette tape and learned the tenor part to all 10 songs (back when I was younger memorizing was easy for me). I auditioned and became a member of the quartet and we began weekly rehearsals and I learned all of their show and afterglow routines. When it became obvious that, while I could sing tenor on tags and a song or two, I was not really a tenor. Then Marty Jahnell, a good friend and a real tenor took my place. However, Lynn Hauldren and Dickie Johnson insisted that since I had worked so hard, I deserved to do a show. They invited Sherry to join us and I wore the bunny slippers and did my one and only show in Florida as tenor for Chordiac Arrest. A couple of weeks later Lynn called me and asked if I wanted to do another Chordiac show. I said “Marty is not going to give up his tenor spot to let me do another show.” Lynn responded “Not Tenor – Baritone.” Lynn was the Empire Carpet Man and had a commercial shoot scheduled for the same day as a Chordiac gig out of state. He made me a baritone learning tape and I learned the baritone part. I already knew all of the routines.
For the next five years, I lived the perfect life. When Lynn had a commercial to shoot or a show with one of his other quartets, he would call me and say “What are you doing on such and such a date?” I was always available. I would review my baritone learning tape, have one rehearsal with the quartet and then head across the country and be a super star for a weekend. Then I would have no weekly rehearsals or any responsibilities for a month or three until Lynn or Dickie called again. When Lynn retired, I became the permanent baritone for another five years. We did a lot of shows! Once we did 9 weekends out of 11, but for the most part we limited our schedule to two shows per month, and I enjoyed every one of them.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
William (Bill) Bay
My name is William (Bill) Bay, fifty year member and the last active charter member of the Cody Choraliers, Leavenworth, Kansas. Over the years, I have filled most of the chapter's offices, been an assistant director, and sang in the chorus and several quartets. My quartets have never won many awards, but we have entertained thousands of people over the years.
I currently belong to the Cody Choraliers, the Heart of America Chapter, and two quartets, Escape! which has two members who are Snow Birds, and Possum Holler Four.
I was just a member of the Great Lakes Chorus for the first few years before finally trying out for a quartet, The Golden Oldies. I was hooked and have been in my present quartet, Shades of Grey, for now my 22nd year. I have been fortunate to be a chapter treasurer, president, and have been honored to be Barbershopper of the Year in my two chapters, Grand Rapids, MI and Punta Gorda, FL.
Now I am in both chapters’ Hall of Fame. The Shades of Grey were District Senior Champions in the Pioneer District. We have had the opportunity to sing for groups in several states. As a chorus member, I have competed in 12 International chorus contests. I traveled to New Zealand and Australia with my chorus. It has been a wonderful experience.
My introduction to the barbershop world was as a spectator at the 1970 Central States Convention in Davenport, Iowa. The music was so great and OH that afterglow in the Blackhawk hotel with quartets singing in every room and hallway. I couldn't get enough. Several months later I stood on the International stage in New Orleans with the Davenport Chordbusters as our director led us to a sixth place finish. Oh boy, is this what it's always going to be like? Nope! My first two quartets had the distinction of placing dead last at two Central States conventions. Ouch! So, get back on the horse. Right?
Through all the years I enjoyed all of the usual barbershop activities. Singing at nursing homes, the Anthem at ball games, Harmony College, district and International conventions, barbershop potlucks, tag singing, and more quartets. You name it. In 1990 A Touch Of Fun quartet had lost their lead to a work conflict and suggested if Dick goes from bari to lead and if I would go from bass to bari we all could give it a try. As you might guess by the quartet name we leaned toward light hearted routines and our lead, Dick Sabbe was absolute magic in front of an audience, tickling funny bones and trading quips with the audience. All this allowed us to be invited to share the barbershop Stage with great guest quartets, singing all over eastern Iowa, western Illinois, and southern Wisconsin.
A Touch Of Fun quartet sang for over 25 years from 1990 to 2016 until some health issues and just old bones caught up. Recently I told Dick that I miss singing with you, Mike, and Terry so much. He said "Stan, don't be sorry it's over. Just be glad that it happened.” So true.
This milestone means a lot to me. I started visiting the Music Man Chorus in Mason City, IA in 1964. I joined the Cedar Rapids, IA, Harmony Hawks in 1967. Since then I have been in several great choruses in the San Francisco area. I have been a competitor on the International Stage seven times with five choruses. I've been the tenor in several quartets through the years. The current Quartet is 'Never To Old 4.’
1962..My Junior year at the University of Hawaii. Saw a new movie called the Music Man and that’s where it all began. I was enthralled by the Buffalo Bills, so much so, that I ordered the music to Lida Rose.. grabbed 3 fraternity brothers…found a gal (to sing the girl’s part)..formed a quartet… and entered the school’s annual singing contest. Called ourselves the Peng Hui Four (name of my fraternity) and took first place in the “Group Singing'' division. Only 8 years later did I discover that a Barbershop chorus actually existed… and in my own backyard! I joined the Aloha Chapter in 1970 and thus began my 50 year journey as a baritone in SPEBSQSA.
As a member, I also served as its president. My 1st registered quartet (one of many) was called the “Aloha Lads”. In 1989 my wife and three children relocated to California where I joined the Sacramento Capitolaires. There I served as a Program VP and received a BOTY award. In 2010…a new “competitive” Chorus was formed in the Sacramento region called the “Voices of California''. That newly chartered chorus was aiming to compete on the “Big Stage” and that goal was very appealing to me. So after many wonderful years with the Capitolaires I decided to “try out” for this new ambitious chorus. There I served as its Secretary and received a BOTY award. It was with the “Voices of California '' that my life long dream of competing on the International Stage finally came true…Toronto 2013, and twice more (so far) after that. It is hard to believe that it’s been 50 plus years, and counting, since that 21 year old college kid sat in a movie theater and heard Barbershop for the first time!
What a wonderful ride it has been- spending every Tuesday evening with your best friends! I’ve had the privilege of doing this with the Burlington, Vermont, chapter for fifty years. Singing Bari with the Green Mountain Chorus is one heck of a fun and rewarding gig. I have filled almost all the officer positions within the chapter, received the chapter’s Barbershopper of the Year award three times, was once a Northeastern District (NED) officer, and belong to the district’s honor society.
Another most enjoyable facet of my Barbershopping life has been as a member of the High Voltage quartet (an electrifying quartet!). The quartet has been in existence for thirty-five years; three of us are original members - we’re all like brothers. What fun this has been - the quartet has performed all over New England, upstate New York and into Quebec, entertaining audiences with wonderful barbershop style music and awful, stolen jokes!
It is difficult to compress 50 years in BHS and more than 60 years of singing into a brief bio, but this ride has been nothing short of a true and amazing blessing starting with my first quartet at age 6, Candy Shop Four! The four of us came out of a hundred kid youth choir in our small town suburb south of Chicago. I sang all through grade and high school, was president of the HS choir, and even sang the national anthem at our graduation. But when I joined SPEBSQSA little did I know just how big of a role it would play in my life that continues till this day and hopefully another decade or two! Thanks mom and dad for your love of music and support from my awesome wife Donna through the years. My mom's last words to me were I Love You… Never Stop Singing.
Along the way I’ve been very fortunate to have sung with some incredibly talented men, but moreover great human beings! The hardware is nice, several district championships (in three voice parts) plus many International contests in both quartets and choruses culminating with a Gold 2018 in Orlando with Vocal Majority! It is the “Brotherhood” and the lifelong friends that have made these 50 years complete! I anxiously await and anticipate how the next “life” chapter will be like, but for sure, it will include singing!
50 Year Members: Last Names D - G
I discovered barbershop singing when I was 22. It was a life changing experience. I had sung in church choirs, folk groups, rock bands, as well as gospel quartets with my father and uncle. I loved to sing and here was a group of men that loved to sing as much as I did! I joined the Society in Peterborough, Ontario, and never looked back. I have been in registered quartets for almost my entire barbershop career. I have had the opportunity to sing in six different chapters. Singing at International a half dozen times with the Scarborough Dukes of Harmony was a highlight, as was touring St. Petersburg, Russia, with Mega-City Chorus an extra special experience.
I had the opportunity to direct the Port Hope Chapter for 18 years, have been the assistant director in four other chapters, and directed two Sweet Adeline choruses. I had the opportunity to be a Contest Administrator for two terms. I also was a CDWI Trainer and Outstanding in Front Trainer. I have had the privilege of being an area counsellor, a Division Vice President, the District Vice President of Music Education in two Districts (ONT & EVG) for a total of ten years, and honoured to have been the President of Ontario District for 2 years.
George Davidson joined the Society in 1970 in Salina, Kansas and then became a member of the Lawrence, KS, Barberhawks. When he moved to Denver, CO, in 1973 he joined Mile-Hi Chapter and has been Music VP and on the Music Team ever since. He has also been a BOD member, Chapter President many times, Webmaster, Singing Valentines Coordinator, and was a Chapter Show Producer for years.
He has been awarded chapter BOTY a couple of times. He led the merger of Mile-Hi Chapter and Denver Tech Chapter to Denver Mile High/Sound of the Rockies in 2000 and currently serves as Executive Director.
Read more about George
George has served in higher capacities in the district and Society as well. He was a member of the committee that formed the Rocky Mountain District in 1977 and was the Convention Chairman several times. He has also received the district BOTY award and acted as their Webmaster. For the Society, he has been a BOD member and served on several committees. He also represented the BHS at the inauguration of BING!
He has sung tenor, lead, and baritone in competitive quartets and has competed in over 25 chorus contests, travelling the world for 28 years for over 1000 shows. He was the baritone in the 1982 champion, Classic Collection, and was a semifinalist twice singing tenor with NeXus with his son Mike. He has been a part of making five CDs with Classic Collection and one with NeXus.
Currently George is living in Centennial, CO, and is married to Sally. They have three kids and seven grandchildren. He serves as an AIC officer and the webmaster after holding the president position a couple of times and acting as show producer for decades.
I started with the Snow Belters in Oswego, NY. Sang, directed, and competed with them for 14 years. Moved to Schenectady, NY and sang, directed and competed with the Electric City Chorus for 36 years, so far. Competed in lots of quartets, winning most improved with one in the Seneca Land District, and senior champs with one in the Northeastern District as well as NED Mountain Division champs a time or two. Sang with the Big Apple Chorus for a few years and went to International with them once.
I've held a lot of chapter offices and was a Northeastern District officer for a few years. Finally, I was inducted into NEWCANEWENG, the NED Honor Society in 1992.
Read more about Charles
So, all in all, I've had a very satisfying and fun barbershopping run. But all of those wonderful opportunities and experiences are not the reason that I am forever grateful to Bob Carnes for taking me to my first BHS chapter meeting. It's for two other reasons. First, I have grown as a person in phenomenal ways that I'm sure would not have happened otherwise. Second, in 80 years of living, I've gotten to know a lot of men in a lot of different circumstances, but the vast majority of the finest men I have ever known are barbershoppers. And, going forward thanks to Everyone in Harmony, lots of amazing women as well including my oldest daughter, Erin, who sings in the currently 5th best Sweet Adelines chorus in the world, the Scioto Valley Chorus. Thank you to everyone who has helped make the Barbershop Harmony Society the finest organization and source of joy I've ever been associated with.
(Picture Story) In case you're interested, we were competing in the NED Mountain Division contest in 2018. The tenor on the left was a high school senior, the bari on the right was a college junior. We called ourselves The Young and the Ageless. The bass and I, lead, are GE retirees. We had three rehearsals and scored a satisfying 63.5. The boys are now off getting their lives started. I really miss that quartet.
I am thrilled to have reached this Milestone. I truly remember my first meeting at a barbershop rehearsal at St Bartholomew's Church in White Plains, NY. Bob Craig, husband of the great Renee Craig was our director and he subsequently asked me to join and form a quartet with him (as baritone), Steve Delehanty (our lone arranger) and Charles Perske as bass. I had never heard of "Barbershop Singing" even though my father was a barber by profession.
My name is Mitchell “Mike" Frances, III. I am a second generation barbershopper. My dad was a charter member of the Dundalk, MD, "Chorus of the Chesapeake.” I joined in time to be able to sing at the 1971 International convention in New Orleans where with 135 other men we won our second championship. After that I went on to follow in my dad's footsteps to be the MAD stage manager and the chapter equipment manager and truck driver.
I have been awarded the chapter BOTY and the district Hall of Honor. In 1993 I was elected to the District Honor chapter DELASUSQUEHUDMAC. Thank You for 50 years of fun and fellowship.
Wow. What a ball! 50 years of visiting cities throughout North America, stretching a convention into a 3 week holiday. I learned the inside working of the Society when I was EVG district president in 1983-1984, and as IBM in 1985-1986. I sang in many quartets, some fairly good. I sang and am still singing with the Vancouver Thunderbirds, and also took a dual membership with the Greater Vancouver Gentlemen of Fortune for a couple decades, with whom I am now an Alumni member.
I have made some lifelong friends throughout the Society, have seen many changes as the Society tries to keep up to our changing world. Thank you, Barbershop, for helping me to have such a full life.
In 1970, a fellow school teacher who was a barbershopper found that I had sung madrigals in college. At his urging, I dropped in on a meeting of the Boston, MA, barbershop chapter. Boston was known for woodshedding and tag-singing at its meetings, and I found myself singing tags with three other guys almost immediately. I was hooked! I joined the chapter soon after. Shortly thereafter I joined the Attleboro, MA, chapter. While participating in the Harmony Education Program (HEP) for the Northeastern District, I became interested in directing.
Over the years I have directed the Walpole, MA, chapter, the New Bedford, MA, chapter, the NED Bi-Centenniel Chorus, the New Bedford chapter of Sweet Adelines, and Rhode Island Sound and Harmony Heritage chapters of Harmony, Inc. As Director of Rhode Island Sound, I met my future wife, Carol, and we have been happily married for 43 years, despite her being a baritone! I enjoyed singing as a bass in several Northeastern District quartets through the years, including in a production of the Music Man and in a mixed quartet called "Guy and Dolls" with my wife, Carol. I served for a time, as the Assistant Director of the Providence, RI chapter. Currently, a member of both the Barbershop Harmony Society and Harmony, Inc., I have retired from teaching and live in Riverside, RI.
50 Year Member: Last Names H - L
I was first introduced to barbershopping in 1957 after being asked to join a quartet while attending college. During that time, I joined the Waseca, MN, chorus. My second membership was with the Eau Claire, WI, chapter in 1959. After teaching near Madison, WI, for a few years, I moved north to teach in Bloomer, WI, and joined the Dunn County Northern Lights chorus in Colfax, WI, where I have been an active member ever since.
Besides singing bass in a very active chorus I have served as Chapter President, Music Veep, Board member, and bass section leader. I have competed in chorus and quartet contests at Division level and attended many LOL District schools, as well as being on every chapter show through the years. Fortunately, I was able to sing in two very active local quartets, Hometown Harmony and Sir Arthur’s Court-tet for about 35 years. My wife and I have enjoyed many years of fellowship with the chapter members of the Dunn County chapter family.
Kurt Hoevemeyer was born in Dettingen an der Erms, Germany. He moved to the United States at the age of 21 and resides in Dundee, MI. Kurt started his barbershop career as a bass with the Floral City Chorus in Monroe, Michigan. While with Floral City Chorus, he was twice awarded barbershopper of the year. Kurt is currently singing lead with the State Line Chorus of the Black Swamp chapter in Toledo, Ohio. In the past, he participated 20+ years in the Sunshine chapter when wintering in Clearwater, Florida.
Kurt enjoys participating annually in the International barbershop convention, woodworking in his shop, and gardening.
Rob Hood is a second generation barbershopper. His father Alex was a charter member of the New Westminster chapter (now the Greater Vancouver chapter). Rob is a past chapter President, VP, PVP, BOTY, and show writer/producer. He has served on many division and district boards, sung tenor in many district quartets, and taught script writing, make-up, and show production at Harmony College.
Semi-retired, (now freelance) Rob worked in most aspects of Television Production and taught Broadcast Communications at B.C. Institute of Technology.
Looking back, I can’t imagine it has been 50 years since joining SPEBSQSA. Time flies when you’re having fun! Acapella singing four part harmony has been therapeutic as well as enjoyable over the years and it doesn’t matter if you are young or old when you start. I joined the Santa Ana, CA, chapter in 1970 at age 39 and soon got hooked on singing in quartets as well as the chorus gigs.
As baritone with “The Boys In The Back Room” we sang at weddings, private parties, two days at Disneyland’s 20th Anniversary, a casino bar at Las Vegas, and at any function at the drop of a hat. We were never very competitive (15th place out of 18 at a district contest) but the camaraderie was special; camping, fishing, bowling and any other excuse to get together (with singing of course). Another special experience was singing with the “Buttons and Beaus,” a mixed voice quartet (the tenor was the wife of our lead.)
The Palomar Pacific Chapter (San Diego) has been my home for the past 30 years and I intend to keep singing in chorus and quartets until the good Lord has me join His choir.
If you want to say “music was his life” this would certainly be true about Roger. Coming from a musical family, he sang from elementary school to the time of his death in March 2020. He was a member of the Coastal Chordsmen (formerly Ringmasters Chorus) in Bridgeport, CT, since high school with only a short lapse to attend law school. Roger sang with Three Dads and a Lad which won a Northeastern Novice quartet award and also sang with the Song Peddlers quartet. He held every position in the chapter that was available and became the “treasurer for life” with his accounting skills.
He also was a member for a number of years of the Big Apple Chorus in Manhattan, NY, and was the tenor of the Train Gang, a quartet of Connecticut barbershoppers who would meet at the Fairfield, CT, train station and sing on the train on their way to Manhattan to sing with Big Apple. He also sang in 2 other choral groups as well. Roger attended many International conventions and was a member of the President’s Council. Youth in Harmony was his prime focus to get young people singing.
He is dearly missed by all and is now singing with the chapter eternal. He is survived by his wife of nearly 55 years, 2 daughters and a grandson.
I joined the Lansdale chapter in 1971 and have been with the chapter for all 50 years. For several years, I served as a chapter officer. I was an Area Counselor and chaired the Lansdale Hosting Committee for several Division and MAD conventions and contests. I was a member of the MAD Events Team for a few years. In the mid-70’s, my wife and I hosted three airline charter flights to International conventions in Portland, Kansas City, and San Francisco. Since 1970 in Atlantic City, my wife and I have attended all International conventions except two due to health reasons.
It was in August, 1965 that Ron Leathers and Tom Woodall moved to Charleston to join the faculty at Eastern Illinois University. Ironically, they bought properties that adjoined each other. Tom was an experienced barbershopper eager to continue; Ron had no barbershop experience but a strong desire to learn. After some discussion, the two men decided to see if they could get a chapter going.
It started with quartet singing. It took a while but finally they put a foursome together…they called themselves The Facultones, all EIU faculty members. That is when it all began...
Read more about Ron
They hoped that quartet singing in the community might raise the interest of other men who would like to give it a try. The audiences were very supportive. It took four years to gather enough men to obtain a charter with the SPEBSQSA but that finally happened in July, 1970. It has been a celebration of harmony ever since. The membership has changed over the years and co-founders Ron Leathers and Tom Woodall are the only two originals still involved, but the spirit of a fun-loving, service-minded, musical fellowship continues.
Throughout the fifty years Ron Leathers has maintained a stalwart position of leadership with the Coles County Chorus, every year on the Board of Directors, 10 years as chapter President, and 35 years as Chorus Manager. In addition to the numerous special and ad hoc committees which he served, Ron was the General Chairman of the 1976 Illinois District fall convention and contest which was hosted by the Coles County Chapter on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. He received BOTM and BOTY awards at the chapter level, BOTY at the district regional level, and in 1978 he received the highly respected Illinois District ABE (Award for Barbershop Excellence). Ron is committed to preserving the Coles County Chorus record of public service; they are well known for area and community outreach and philanthropy.
From the very first day of his fifty years, Ron Leathers has sung in a quartet and throughout the years has sung with 24 other men in eight registered, competitive, foursomes and competed in more than 35 contests. Four of his quartets have achieved the ranking of District Finalist, having finished in the Illinois District Top Ten. He has led three novice quartet champions, two in District Contest and one in a regional. His current quartet, “Sentimental Journey” was recently awarded the Illinois District Ed Wilson Quartet Service Award in recognition of significant sustained service to barbershopping excellence in performance and community service. They sing 40-50 performances each year and rarely do they request a fee.
I have been a member of five different chapters including Shawano, WI, Wisconsin Rapids, WI, Pride of the Valley-Appleton WI, Midwest Vocal Express, Greendale, WI, and the FoxValleyaires of Appleton, WI. During that time I served as chapter president for nine years in three different chapters. I sang with Midwest Vocal Express (MVE) in the Little Green Army set in Montreal in 2003 and the Fish set in Indianapolis in 2006, and both sets finished in fifth place. I served as a chapter counselor/advocate for 41 years and have earned 31 “Man of Note” awards.
In the district capacity I served as the LOL District President in 2011-2012, received the LOL District Barbershopper of the Year award in 2015, and was added to the LOL District Hall of Fame in 2017. I was part of the Cots/Leadership faculty for 25 years and served on the Society CSLT Committee for four years, helping to develop the curriculum for leadership classes. Additionally I served as chair of the search committee for the Society CEO in 2011.
50 Year members: Last names m - p
During 1961 I, Ron Madill received my barbershop membership with the Sarnia Ontario, Canada, chapter “The Bluewater Chordsmen.” In 1963 I became the tenor with the “Chordial Four” quartet, which began a 53-year exciting, rewarding, and interesting singing hobby.
During 1969 I moved 50 miles away to Mount Brydges, a new location and a new career, and needed more time. I dropped out of chorus singing from 1969 until January 1981, joining the St. Thomas Chapter- “The Elginaires.” I still continued to sing with my Chordial Four group which now had a larger area to perform...
Read more about Ron
While I was with St. Thomas I was tenor with quartet “Melody Magic” (5 years), “We Four” (5 years), “Cross Country Four” (5 years) and “Back in Time” (19 years). The St. Thomas chapter closed and I sang with London “Forest City Fire” chorus for two interesting years, and then Strathroy “Vocal Federation” for almost two years. At present in 2019-2020, I am only singing with a quartet “Hickory Junction” and we are performing locally on occasion.
My “Chordial Four” quartet was able to perform from 1963 until we lost our lead Mel Murphy during 2016. During the “Chordial Four” years we had a 4-seater bicycle that we used, a “Cub Cadet” with a Model T body on it, and four large, orange pumpkins on stage one Sarnia show. During 1995, 8 of us traveled to Ireland for two weeks and Scotland for one week, performing in all sorts of venues 96 times. What a fantastic holiday. We produced a long play record and then cassettes (Chordial Four), and then produced CDs with “Back in Time” which turned out well.
During my barbershop years I was able to attend Harmony College three times, once as a barbershopper then twice in two different quartets, being “coached” during the third time, a fantastic experience! I believe every barbershopper should sing in a quartet, attend Harmony University at least once, and belong to a performing chorus. Of course, this isn’t possible for everyone, but a rewarding experience.
I have attended quartet schools with Bob Johnson, Joe Liles, Dave Stevens, several “COT Schools,” several conventions (both District and International), helped raise funds for Harmonize for Speech and other charities, all from quartet performances.
Now I am registering for my 50th year. The “Chordial Four” purchased a quarter page in the 75th Anniversay of the Barbershop Society “Harmonizer Magazine” January-April, page 64 and I questioned the man if there were any other quartets with “50 years all the same four individuals.” He couldn’t recall any!
I have had a very interesting and rewarding experience in every way as a barbershopper. Hoping to get back singing after this terrible COVID-10 virus.
James (Jim) Mallett
As I reflect on 50 years of barbershopping I recall, with fond memories, singing with the International champion chorus The Dapper Dans of Harmony of Livingston, NJ, for most of 30 years, and competing in Mid Atlantic division and district contests with them and quartets. I’m thankful for three other guys that got me to the top 20 International finish twice (The Custom Gentlemen) in the 1970s and twice in the low 40s (The Right Stuff) in the 1990s. But Hey We WERE THERE! A short stint singing with the Easternaires was a huge treat during the 70s also.
Attending over 40 International conventions was a big part of my life as my wife Anne and I heard many wonderful quartets and choruses and made many lasting friendships along with being “members” of The Purdy Corral. We also became members of The Presidents Council of Harmony Foundation International.
Now living in North Carolina and a member of the Cape Fear Chordsmen for the past 20 years, new wonderful friendships have been made, and although I’m not as active as I used to be, I cherish these new friends.
Thank you to my wife and great companion, my good friend Ed Waesche (RIP), the SPEBSQSA, Harmony Foundations, and too many others to name here!!
My interest in singing barbershop harmony actually began about five years before I joined SPEBSQSA, INC. One night my fiancé and I decided to go to the drive-in to see the “Music Man.” During one of the performances of the Buffalo Bills I mentioned to her that someday I wanted to do that.
As I said, about five years later I saw this small ad by the Buffalo, NY, chapter inviting interested parties to come hear their concert at a local mall. As they say, the rest is history.
I have sung in at least five organized quartets, directed three choruses, and sang in two of them which won many Seneca Land District contests and made several appearances on the International contest stage. I have also held most major offices in two chapters, Amherst, NY, and East Aurora, NY. (The two chapters merged back in the ‘80’s.) As bulletin editor for the Amherst, NY, chapter, my newsletter finished fifth in International competition. Recent years have seen my participation diminish, but my love for the hobby still exists. In the past I also served on the Finance Committee of the Harmony Foundation for an extended period of time.
Shortly after joining the Newark OH chapter, in 1967, I found myself involved in the chapter administration. Before leaving eight years later I had served in nearly all chapter leadership positions including two terms as chapter president.
After a two-year absence from singing, due to business demands, I joined the Singing Buckeye Chorus. I was extremely active during my 38+ years as a Buckeye. I ran all of the chairs including chapter president for two terms. I was a guiding force behind the Buckeye Invitational Festival with over 10 years as General Chairman. I was a long-time member of the Sage Lake Roundup (a social barbershop group which meets each Sept. in northern Michigan). I was named the Buckeye Chapter Barbershopper of the Year (only awarded to an individual once) and the ultimate chapter award the naming to the Buckeye Chapter Hall of Fame.
I also served many years in the administrative circle of Johnny Appleseed District. I started as an area counselor and advanced to Divisional Vice President. Illness prevented my advancement to the District Presidency. I was also in the first class of Chapter Counselors, highly trained administrator/leadership types specially trained by Kenosha, to assist chapters in solving problems (or electing to involve International).
Chronic health problems have permanently ended my singing days, but I count my years as a barbershopper and the skills, experiences and friends that I have gained through BHS as the most valued of my life.
In June, 1970, I attended the St. Charles chapter’s (now the Ambassadors of Harmony) annual show. Having had some exposure to barbershop in my high school glee club, I requested an audition. (I actually thought it was a men’s municipal chorus!)
The rest is history! I stayed with St. Charles until 2003. I was with them when they became an area power in the early 1980’s, then a district power, having won their first district title in 1988, then their first International bronze medal in 1994.
I transferred to the Florissant, Mo., chapter in 2003. During my 50 years I attended 25 Inernationals, 10 as a participant with seven bronze medals. I sang lead for the 50 years, but no quartets! For a time I was Bulletin Editor for St. Charles, and Program VP for the Florissant Chapter. Happy 50 years.
I joined the barbershop society in September 1970, the fall of my senior year in high school. I began singing in the Greensboro, NC chapter of the Dixie District. While in the Dixie District I won two district quartet championships, and competed at International three times, achieving quarterfinalist status with Main Street U.S.A. in 1976 and semifinalist status (twice – 1978 and 1979) with Male Order Music Company. I am a founding member of the Research Triangle Park Chapter, and sang with them at the 1980 International competition, where we finished 6th with only 35 men on stage.
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A job change led me to the Mid-Atlantic District in 1980, where I began singing with the Alexandria Harmonizers, competing with them at International several times. I also began singing in Vaudeville, which won the district championship in 1981. We also won three bronze medals at Internationals in 1982, ’83 and ’84 (A fifth and 2 thirds).
Another job change took me to the Sunshine District, where I sang in The Sidekicks, winning a district championship in 1986 and a bronze medal (fourth) at the 1989 International convention. I also helped found the Winter Park Chapter in 1987 and am still singing with them today. In 1993, my quartet Backbeat won the district championship. Further, Backbeat became an international bronze medalist (fifth) at the 1995 international competition. I competed at International in 2009 with Attraction! and achieved quarterfinalist status. I won a sixth district quartet championship with Flashback in 2012. We also competed at International in 2011 and achieved quarterfinalist status.
I was very honored to be elected to the Sunshine District Hall of Fame in 2019.
I joined the Lorain, Ohio, (now Lorain & Elyria) chorus and shortly after I became the lead in "Since You Insist." Following that, we formed "The Firelands Four,” obtaining 5th in JAD during our 17 years together. I became the Assistant Chorus Director in 1975. After competing in numerous contests with several quartets, I decided to try the Seniors' Competition. "Over Easy" was formed in 2007 and won a Gold Medal at Midwinter Convention in Las Vegas in 2011. I sang lead with Glenn Sierbert, Mark Hannum and Al Reese (deceased). Every August, we get together for the Middle Bass Bash weekend, with Chris Foisy filling in. My goal is to one day qualify again for Midwinter. I would like to thank my fellow barbershoppers for their support through the years, especially Darryl Flinn and Cynthia Hansen. I also had a lot of support from my wife, Millie, and family.
I began my Barbershop adventure – SPEBSQSA in the Evergreen District with the New Westminster Chorus, “The Gentlemen of Fortune” from British Columbia, Canada, in 1970. My wife saw a small ad in the local newspaper seeking men who might be interested in singing barbershop. She said I should go and see what it was about.
The chorus was singing in a mall and when they finished they asked if anyone was interested in finding out more. We walked into a Barbershop and I sat in the Barber Chair and I sang with a quartet. Little did my wife know that her simple suggestion would create a monster...
Read more about Larry
In 1982 I had my first taste of the International competition stage when we competed in Pittsburg. In May of 1990 the chorus made a trip to New York City where we sang on the stage of Carnegie Hall. What an opportunity! During this time I had the honor of having Charlie Metzger as my director and Marty Lovick as a member of the chorus.
In 1991 we left Canada and moved to Orlando, Florida, to be near our grandson. I transferred from the Evergreen District to the Sunshine District and became a member of the Orlando Orange Blossom Chorus. Joe Connelly was a member and Director of the Chorus. At this time the chorus owned their own building where we had our weekly meetings. It was called Melody Manor. Melody Manor was not only where we rehearsed, but the site of many a fun and exciting events where we would gather as a group.
In April of 1993 my wife Carol and I participated in a tour through Milan, St. Tropez, Monte Carlo, Rome, Venice, and Switzerland with Keepsake. What better way to see Europe than traveling with an International barbershop quartet; Joe Connelly, Tony DeRosa, Roger Ross, and Don Banick kept the tour fun. Singing on the steps of the Vatican is a memory never to be replaced.
In 2001 our new home became Honolulu, Hawaii. Our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson relocated and so did we. This meant a new Barbershop chapter. Aloha to the Sounds of Aloha Chapter. The Aloha spirit was alive in that chapter; Sing outs, great weekly afterglows, potlucks and just great all round people. I am still in contact with this group of men and when I get to see them they still make me feel like Ohana.
In 2014, following the International competition in Las Vegas I just stayed. My family had relocated to Las Vegas in 2012. The Silver Statesmen Chorus is where I will celebrate my 50th year with this organization.
I have sang in quartets, been Barbershopper of the Month and Barbershopper of the Year for a chapter, have held board positions from President to Member at large in The Gentlemen of Fortune, The Orange Blossom Chorus, and the Sounds of Aloha. I’ve moved risers, picked visitors up to attend chorus practice, and driven them back to their hotels. I’ve organized after show Afterglows and hospitality suites. During some travels I was fortunate to travel to New Zealand with the Sounds of Aloha and we toured and sang. I visited Japan with my son-in-law and got on the bullet train and went to a chorus chapter meeting, and before all of that was our trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Harmony Hall.
In 50 years I’ve done all that I could to “Keep The Whole World Singing.”
Many years ago I was asked what appealed to me about barbershopping. My feelings have not changed. It’s a men’s organization where the members don’t want to know where you work or how much money you make. All they want you to do is sing.
50 year members: last names Q - S
In 1970 John was invited by a neighbor to attend a barbershop meeting in Andover, MA. He was immediately hooked and never looked back. John sang in several choruses and quartets over the years. Most notably, he competed on the International stage 11 times with the Narragansett Bay Chorus, and served as its president for three years. John sang with the mixed quartet, "P's & Q's" for ten years in the '90's (long before "Everyone In Harmony"!), with his wife and another 50-year Society member and his wife. They performed all over the East coast from Maine to Florida, and competed at the Buckeye Invitational quartet contest where they finished third and were voted Audience Favorites. Although not currently singing with a BHS group, John now sings bass in Centertonix, a 15-voice mixed a cappella group on Cape Cod.
Originally I sang with the Davenport, Iowa, chapter's Chordbusters chorus, placing sixth at International with them. I am now a member of the DesMoines, Iowa, chapter's Harmony Delegation chorus. I have also sung in four registered quartets and many other unregistered ones.
Over the years I have held most chapter offices and served on various committees, most recently helping with choreography.
In my senior year in High School the Frederick Catoctones put on a 30 minute assembly to educate students on that great American artform. The next year in Community College I recognized the Athletic Director as a Catoctone member. He invited me to rehearsal, and I was hooked. Staying afterwards to sing tags, a gun-ho lead by the name of Tony Marchetti, introduced himself, complimented my musical ear and bass voice. He said he was forming a quartet with Ed & Kevin and needed a Bass and asked if I could meet the next evening. Well that was my first quartet (Fredericktowne 4) and I have sung in a registered quartet every year up to this day.
Currently I sing with Chordians of the Galaxy. I have served my Chapter in every board position and committee position under the sun. I studied and practiced judged in the Interpretation Category, and when invited to take my final exam, I declined. I have directed 2 men's choruses and one Sweet Adelines Chorus.
Now at age 67 my wife and I are considering wintering in a warmer climate that has a good barbershop chapter. I will repeat what has been stated by many barbershoppers before, and that is..... Barbershopping is much more than a hobby, it's a way of life.
Joe has held every possible leadership position in the Savannah Chapter and has also sung in a number of Chapter Quartets, namely Tybee Lighthouse, Three GI's And A Joe, Coastal Chordsmen, Tune Peddlers (registered) and Fully Invested (registered). Joe also served as Area Coordinator of Dixie District and Music Director of Sound of Savannah (SAI) and Moon River Chorus (HI). For fifty years Joe has been a frontline Director or Assistant Music Director of our Chorus.
A cross country traveler, Joe and his wife Honey have attended every Society International Convention since 1991, befriending many of the Society leaders and arrangers over the years. In a recent conversation, Tom Gentry asked me up front: "How's Joe?" as Joe has long been the Face of Savannah Chapter to the Society for decades.
As a kid Joe scooped ice cream at Leopold's and remains a good friend of fellow Benedictine Military Academy graduate Stratton Leopold. Among Joe's ice cream customers was a guy who always ordered Tutti Frutti cones - Savannah's own Johnny Mercer.
Savannah Chapter celebrates Joe's many years of service to our Chapter with deep gratitude! On many occasions Joe kept our Chapter afloat by his selfless dedication to keeping the whole world singing!
Gary served as a Certified Judge in the Stage Presence and Presentation Categories for 32 years and judged in every district as well as four International contests during that time. He was a Harmony College/University faculty member for 22 years and served on music school faculties in 13 districts. He also was a COTS faculty member for over 20 years. Gary was a quartet and chorus coach and sang in seven registered quartets. He emceed many chapter shows, district events and two International contests as well as authoring numerous Harmonizer articles.
He was a BHS staff member for nearly 20 years and served as the first Executive Director of Harmony Foundation. He and his wife Ruth are now retired in the Minneapolis area and enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and traveling. Gary currently performs around the country as President Franklin D. Roosevelt. www.fdrlives.com
Hello fellow Barbershoppers, my name is Cliff Steinkamp. It is not hard for me to realize I have been a barbershopper for 50 years. I started singing with my dad, Lloyd Steinkamp, when I was just eight or nine years old. In those days, I was not able to join barbershop until I was 16 years old, nothing like it is today. Waiting to be 16 to get my driver’s license in Arizona, and my Barbershop membership card at the same time. Wow, what a year! I was lucky to be singing with the Phoenix chorus, The Phoenicians when they won their first international in 1972. My dad Lloyd worked for the SPEBSQSA, (known then as the Society), for many years as a field representative. His job was to start and help chapters throughout the society. He traveled for many years doing this.
This picture says it all for me. Family and Barbershop! My dad Lloyd, myself, my brother Gary, and my brother Lloyd Jr., at a family gathering singing and drinking and just having fun. I sang with The Sunburst Express Quartet for many years. Still a member of the Westchester Golden Chordsman Chapter, but have been inactive for a while. I am honored to be recognized and appreciate all the friends I have made over the 50 years. God Bless you all.
Don Stothard tried to join the Society in the early ‘60s as a teenager, but he was told he wasn’t “old enough.” How times have changed! After graduating college, however, he joined the Rochester, NY, Chapter (SLD) where he has been a member for 50 years. Several of his “barbershop brothers” encouraged him to pursue his interest in the judging program. He has now capped off a very successful judging career, retiring from the C&J Program in 2019 after more than 31 years as a Certified Judge in the Sound, Singing and Contest Administrator Categories. He continues to serve as the Vice President for Contest and Judging (DRCJ) for the Seneca Land District.
Read more about Don
Don is most proud of having had the honor of being selected to judge six International contests. One of the highlights of his judging career includes the 1999 International Chorus Contest in Anaheim where his seat in the judging area was directly in front of honorary inductee Dick Van Dyke—affording Don the unique opportunity to occasionally chat with the celebrity.
Along with his wife, Lynne, Don has served as Convention Chair for SLD’s conventions for many years. They also “co-chaired” Harmony Holiday, an annual January event held at Grossinger’s (in the Catskills) and (later) in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania where barbershoppers from NED, MAD, and SLD would gather for a winter weekend of great fellowship, top notch entertainment, woodshedding, and endless food. Lynne’s support and involvement over the years have been invaluable; none of this would have been possible without her.
Don is a five-time Seneca Land District Quartet Champion and has, over the years, competed multiple times on the International stage with both regular and senior quartets and choruses. He also sang in a popular Rochester area doo-wop group for over twenty-five years.
I started singing barbershop in 1969 during my senior year in high school as a step out group from the madrigal ensemble. We went on to Eastern Michigan University and continued performing. I was a vocal music education major. A barbershopper that worked at the university contacted our tenor and told us of the society. In 1971 we went to a rehearsal of the Wayne Chapter. I sat down and the first song they sang was Alexander's Ragtime Band. WOW! I was hooked.
Over the next few years I was named their Baritone Section Leader, Recording Secretary, and then an Assistant Musical Director. In 1976, I was named the Musical Director of the Wayne Chapter that lasted for the next 10 years. We won the district championship in 1976, 1979, 1982 and 1985.
Read more about Steve
During my tenure as director, Wayne represented Pioneer in 1979 in Minneapolis (placing 12th), in 1980 in Salt Lake City (placing 14th) and in 1984 in St. Louis (placing 12th) and qualifying them for 1985 in Minneapolis. The 1980 trip was also my honeymoon. My wife will not let me forget that I owe her for that!
I continued singing in quartets, joining Crosstown Exchange in the late 1970s placing as high as 2nd missing first place by 2 points. For the past nineteen years I've been baritone of Night Shift.
In 1986, shortly after the merger of Detroit #1 and the Oakland County Chapters, I agreed to serve as the Musical Director for the newly formed Detroit-Oakland Chapter. We have been district champions multiple times. We are also the longest running annual show in the society (Detroit #1 chapter) having our first Parade of Quartets in 1940. Other than a brief break from directing to help support a growing family (surprise, we had twins) I've been directing ever since. I guess that's been 42 years total.
In the mid 1990s I created the first web site and served as the webmaster for the Pioneer District, a labor of love growing from teaching a web coding class to 7th graders.
In 2010 I was honored to join the ranks of the Pioneer District Hall of Fame. I sit on that list among many very important people. I'm humbled to be with them.
I sure do miss my friends. Zoom meetings aren't the same. One of these years they are going to figure me out. I've always said I'm not the best but I am durable. I keep doing this because these are my friends.
A quote from my email tag line: Use what talents you possess; for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best. Words to sing by!
50 year members: last names t - z
I have sang with four quartets, most notably Vintage Years for 17 years. We have had several hundred performances and sang for over 7000 elementary and high school students. We competed at three International Senior Quartet Competitions. With the Greater St Paul Area Chapter I have been awarded Barbershopper of the Year and received the Outstanding Contributions Award. I also prepared and arranged for printing of our annual show program for 25 years, and edited and published the chapter bulletin Overtones for 13 years.
I have also participated in the Land O' Lakes District as the Communications Chairman, PROBE Contest Coordinator, Chairman for Chapter Achievement Awards Program, and COTS faculty (Bulletin Editors Class Instructor). I was the Editor of our district publication PitchPiper for 17 years and was awarded Barbershopper of the Year and inducted into the Hall of Fame. At the International level I was President PROBE and Vice President PROBE for Bulletin Editors,
Bulletin Editor Contest Judge, Category Specialist, and PROBE Hall of Honor. I also earned two time International Bulletin Editor of the Year (IBETY), two time second Place IBETY, published the daily newsletter during 1985 International Convention in Minneapolis, and published the daily newsletter at Harmony College for 9 years.
NOTE: The caricature was one of several (12 or more) Harmony College faculty that were drawn by one of the food service people on large foam core sheets and displayed in the cafeteria.
My first experience with barbershop was going to the Demoinaires Shows in Des Moines, IA, as a 10-year-old boy. I was amazed with what I was hearing and seeing. My dad would take our family to KRNT Theater year after year.
When I graduated from high school (1971) I went to school in Des Moines, sought out the Demoinaires, and decided to audition. Jerry Pike was the musical director at that time and the audition took place with me (the prospective member) sitting in a barber chair! That was pretty memorable!
Read more about Randy
After a change in my plans I went back home to Colo, IA. Soon thereafter I auditioned for the Community Theater in Marshalltown, IA - the production was The Music Man (how about that!) I was cast as Marcellus Washburn (Harold Hill's sidekick.) Needless to say, a couple guys from the Marshalltones Chorus auditioned for the quartet and we were off!
Many, many rehearsals and often one of the quartet members would be absent, and of course I was excited to fill in - great fun!! Many tags were sung during the 5 months of rehearsal and productions. (The first production in Marshalltown where the show was completely sold out a couple weeks before opening.)
In 1973 I joined my first quartet, Them Four Guys. The quartet included the bass from the school board quartet and Harold Hill from the musical. I sang tenor at that time, a few years later our bass was replaced by me and we added a different tenor.
Many quartets later - Them Four Guys, Missouri Valley Music Company (multiple International appearances), Sound Legacy (1992 CSD Champion - multiple International appearances), Chord Blanche, Vocal Choice, Two State Four, Paradigm and now Good Ol' Boys (CSD Senior Champion) has given me more joy than I deserve! I have met more people than I could ever imagine and it is amazing how the friendships endure even though you might only see these friends once a year!
My chorus experience started with Demoinaires, Marshalltones (became musical director), Demoinaires as musical director. The Demoinaires became The Pride of Iowa (I retired a few years ago) and the chorus recently became Harmony Delegation. I also was the musical director for Harmony Central Chorus SAI.
Barbershopping has been very, very good to me and my family! My father in law (Harold Parry) was very active in the Demoinaires (although he wasn't my father-in-law during the time I was a Demoinaires member.) A couple years after Music Man I auditioned and was cast as Nicely Johnson in the musical Guys and Dolls. After my singing audition the choreographer came up to me and accused me of being a barbershopper! I confessed and a couple years later Harold became my father-in-law. Carolyn, son Chad, daughter Stephanie, and daughter Tiffany and I have been barbershopping together for 44 years!
My greatest memory is singing in a quartet during A Pride of Iowa show on stage with my son (Chad) and grandson (Tristan). Thank you, Bob Uy, for singing with us!
Warren, Ohio was my first chorus, followed by Canton, then Youngstown, then Alexandria, Virginia, and now back in Canton. While in Alexandria, the chorus won gold for the first time and sang their first time at the Kennedy Center Honors.
Barbershop harmony helped me to create and experience many "breathless moments".