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2024 Hall of Fame honors four legends

2024 Hall of Fame honors four legends

By recommendation of the Hall of Fame committee, the Barbershop Harmony Society Board of Directors has voted to induct four honorees as the class of 2024. The awards will be presented at the BHS 2024 International Convention in Cleveland.

Hall of fame 2024

Steve Armstrong

A Barbershopper since 1976, Steve Armstrong has been a frontline director for most of his time. He started the Toronto Northern Lights Chorus and served as its director or co-director from its inception through winning numerous medals and ultimately the International championship. This is a chorus that many emulated as it showed that a small chorus could achieve top honors. They provided visionary and ground-breaking performances from the dramatic to the hilarious. He arranged much of their music as well. His musicianship was ever present in their delivery.

In addition to directing TNL he had previously directed the East York Barbershoppers and Scarborough Dukes of Harmony at the International level. For all of this, in 2019 he was awarded the Joe Liles Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in leadership.

Steve was certified as an Arrangement Judge in 1987 and as a Music Judge has served continuously since the category inception. He had been on a number of Board of Reviews and ultimately served as Category Specialist. Most recently he has been the Chair of Contest and Judging beginning in 2020. Steve’s leadership, patience, and vision was vital in navigating all of the issues the Society faced during the pandemic, coming out even stronger on the other side.

As C&J navigates using new software to more effectively manage contests, Steve’s leadership and vision as well as his technical skills has been crucial in ensuring the integrity of our contests. Steve’s leadership has created the ability for competitors to have more options during their contest feedback sessions as well. Steve continues to serve tirelessly on behalf of all of us.

Aaron Dale

Rarely in the history of our Barbershop Harmony Society does someone completely alter how we think about the barbershop style. Aaron Dale is one of those few.

Over the past two decades, quartets and choruses at the highest levels across the world have sought out his musical ideas. His keen sense of rhythm and ability to express that changed how music with backbeat could be sung in the barbershop style. Weaving his innovative ideas into the musical texture of an arrangement has positively impacted the musicality of all singers performing his arrangements. Today, our entire Society sings backbeat and swing better as a result. In 2020, he was recognized as part of the inaugural class of recipients of the BHS Lifetime Achievement Award for Arrangers.

In addition to this, his leadership as director of Kentucky Vocal Union blazed a new trail for small choruses, providing some of the most innovative performances we have witnessed in chorus competition.

In addition to teaching and coaching, Aaron also served as a judge and as a District Representative for Contest and Judging for his district for a number of years.

Tom Gentry

A member of the Barbershop Harmony Society since 1969, Tom Gentry’s lifetime of contributions are numerous. Having been certified as an Arrangement judge in 1979, he has the distinction of the most years of service with 44 years as a certified judge, judging in both the Arrangement and Music categories. As a judge he was on Boards of Review and a past Category Specialist.

Tom was a fixture as a faculty member at Harmony College/University for decades, having taught over a dozen different classes. He worked at Harmony Hall as a Music Specialist for 7 years. His work with publishing houses led to favorable relationships in getting music published for all singers. In addition, Tom chaired the Music Publications Committee for a number of years, in addition to being a director, quartet singer, and coach.

Tom’s two largest contributions to the society are in the world of arranging and working with other barbershop organizations. Although Tom has arranged music for medalist-level groups, his body of work provides every Barbershopper musically interesting songs to perform. All of his music is accessible to and singable by all levels of singer. In 2020, he was recognized as part of the inaugural class of recipients of the BHS Lifetime Achievement Award for Arrangers.

He has been a long-time mentor with Harmony, Inc, as well as nearly every affiliate organization throughout the barbershop world. His contributions throughout the barbershop world are enormous. Every Barbershopper in the past 50 years has been directly impacted by Tom.

Clay Hine

Clay Hine has been a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society since 1978. He has sung baritone in multiple quartets throughout his history, including the finalist quartet Category Four, medalist quartet A Mighty Wind, and the 1999 International Championship Quartet, FRED.

Clay was one of the driving forces in helping redefine how comedy could be portrayed at the highest levels of both quartet and chorus competition, thus influencing future comedy quartets.

A successful chorus director, Clay has appeared in the BHS International Chorus Contest for over 30 years as a director or co-director with Big Chicken Chorus, Atlanta Vocal Project and Heralds of Harmony, medaling with Big Chicken and Heralds of Harmony.

He has been involved in Contest and Judging since the early 1990s as an Arrangement Judge and Music Judge, and has been a member of the Music Category Board of Review.

Clay is a prolific arranger, having his charts sung by numerous quartets and choruses in all barbershop societies. In 2020, he was recognized as part of the inaugural class of recipients of the BHS Lifetime Achievement Award for Arrangers.

He is a teacher and coach at the highest of levels and his insight is sought out by many, not only in BHS but other barbershop organizations. He is a recent recipient of the Joe Liles Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in leadership. His contributions and impact to BHS at his chapter, district, and International levels are significant.

About the Barbershop Harmony Society Hall of Fame

The Barbershop Harmony Society Hall of Fame was established as a means of bestowing Society recognition and honor to members and quartets — living or in memoriam — for exceptional contributions that have enhanced the barbershop experience for the Society.

Any living or deceased Society member, Society staff member, or quartet, with the exception of the current Society President or any current Hall of Fame committee member, is eligible for nomination.

Honorees are selected by a majority vote of the committee, and there is no maximum or minimum limit on the number of inductees in a given year.

The award criteria used by the committee fall into general categories of music and administration/leadership. In music, judging, arranging, composing, chorus directing, coaching and singing are important. In administration/leadership, service as an officer, advisor, and in planning, writing or editing are considered.