A while back, we ran a story in LiveWire about the revival of interchapter visitations
Inter-Chapter visits bring Barbershoppers together! -- Many members recall with the great fondness the once common practice of chapters visiting each other's rehearsals. This well-loved tradition has been popping up in more Districts over the past several years... here are two recent examples!
In response to our request for more stories like this, Far Western District Hall of Famer John Krizek shared this fond remembrance:
You ask about experiences with multi-chapter visitations. Such shared experiences on a regular basis used to be the norm-- in spite of some chorus directors who didn't want to give up any contest rehearsal time.
Back in the late '60's - early '70's we had in Northern California something called the Association of Bay Area Chapters (ABAC) which was patterned after a similar Chicagoland association, and included eight or nine chapters. We put on picnics, golf tournaments, campouts, Logopedics Spectaculars (old timers will know), and wound up hosting the 1976 International convention in San Francisco, which set an attendance record that stood for the next decade.
One time we put on a mystery visitation, where nobody knew the ultimate destination until arrival that night. A few carloads of guys from the Peninsula Chapter drove from Palo Alto down to a parking lot in San Jose, where we met guys from the San Jose Chapter. We were picked up by an Alameda County School District bus (that's in the East Bay) containing guys from the Eden-Hayward Chapter, who had rented the bus. The bus also contained a keg of beer on the back seat. All the windows were taped shut with newspapers, so nobody but the driver could see out.
The bus headed out. Nobody knew (well, except for a couple of us) that the visitation was to promote the creation of a new chapter in Salinas, several miles south of San Jose. We would be met there by guys from Monterey and other barbershoppers from the mid-coast area. This was before Interstate 101 connected those places, and the road was a busy four-lane highway.
As happens when beer is mixed with jolly good fellows, it became necessary for the bus to make a pit stop. With no gas station in sight, one of our locals directed the bus driver to a rural side road, where we pulled up under a big oak tree, and a long line of guys lined up along the roadside to relieve themselves.
About that time, a highway patrol car came down the road. We all tucked it in as fast as we could and hastened back aboard the bus. Our leader went out to talk to the patrolman. Here was a school bus from Alameda-- rather far from its home turf-- with the windows taped shut, on a country road well south of San Jose, and a long line of adult males answering nature's call. What kind of citation were we in for?
"What'd he say, what he'd say?" we asked when our leader got back aboard.
"He said, it's sure a funny place for this bus!"
We wound up that night with a couple hundred barbershoppers in Salinas for a wonderful night of harmony. And probably more than a few of us bleary-eyed at work the next day-- but with smiles our co-workers probably couldn't understand.