May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002 1
Pioneer Make preparations for Flag Day 5
Official publication of the Pioneer District
Ya gotta ask the question!
Bulletin Editor of the Year awarded
Meredith Willson: 100th anniversary
Hi-tech electronic communication
Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of My trip to the Big Easy 18
Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. Pioneer District planning procedure 19
Making its pitch ... 20
Volume 53, Issue 3
Harmony Heritage Chorus, wins district Collegiate
Power Play win spring contests Barbershop Quartet
By Al Bonney
T heir name may have been
an accident, but the singing
we heard from this remark-
able group of Central Michigan
University juniors was no acci-
Scoring 809 points in winning
the college quartet contest, ACCI-
DENTAL CONSONANCE would
have placed sixth in the district
quartet contest had they been eli-
acomb County Chap- In the quartet competition,
gible to compete.
ter’s HARMONY HERI- POWER PLAY — tenor Don
Nicholas Allen explained the
TAGE CHORUS bested a Slamka, lead Mike Slamka, bari
quartet’s name. A voice major
field of 15 to win the Pioneer Dis- Mark Slamka, and bass Jack
hoping to become a vocal per-
trict’s 2002 chorus championship. Slamka — once again earned the
former after a master’s program at
Directed by Carl Dahlke, the cho- honor to represent the district at
a major conservatory, Nick was
rus, with 46 singers on the risers, the International Convention &
browsing through a music history
scored 872 points singing “The Competition in Portland, Ore., in
textbook one day and came across
Church Bells are Ringing for July. This marks the 11th time
the musical term “consonance,”
Mary” and “Get Me to the Church POWER PLAY has won the right to
meaning, of course, “harmony or
on Time.” represent our district. The quartet
agreement among components.”
This was Macomb’s first dis- has finished in fifth place in inter-
This seemed like an apt descrip-
trict championship since it won in national competition the past two
tion for his quartet’s sound. Cou-
1998 under the direction of Jack years, and has been in the top ten
pling his research with predictable
Slamka. four times.
youthful joie de vivre, he couldn’t
Lansing’s C APITOL C ITY POWER PLAY’S overall score
help adding the tongue-in-cheek
CHORDSMEN finished second with was 2,054 points; that was 85.6
descriptor “accidental” and the
782 points, Grosse Pointe’s LAKE- percent of the total points possi-
quartet had a name.
SHORE CHORUS was third with ble. It earned 1,020 points at Fri-
Ben Rodgers, a music educa-
777 points, the HURON VALLEY day night’s semi-finals, singing
tion major, learned about the Pio-
HARMONIZERS was fourth with “I’ve Been Working on the Rail-
neer District and the CBQC con-
762 points, and Holland’s WIND- road” and “Time After Time.”
test at the Michigan Music Educa-
MILL CHORUS was fifth with 736 At the Saturday night finals,
tor’s Convention in Ann Arbor in
(Continued on page 16) (Continued on page 18)
2 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
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Official publication of the Pioneer District, July 5, 2002
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Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc.
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May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour 3
so they can take advantage of
A View from the Top opportunities and learn about re-
sources available to them.
Al Bonney, President The Association was never in-
tended to be a ruling body; it was
formed to be a resource provider to
It’s what we do! help chapters help the guys on the
risers have fun every week. If we
are meeting this objective, we are
W e sing! We have fun sing-
ing! We joined this hobby
to get together on Tuesday nights
of the water while under water his
little feet are thrashing about at a
hundred miles an hour! If we keep
doing a good job. If we aren’t,
then shame on us and we need to
be reminded to get our programs
and make music with a group of the surface stuff simple, the guys back on track.
like-minded men. This is not com- love it. Men take leadership jobs The current district leadership
plicated — like Roger Lewis says, because they know somebody has team is very aware of this impera-
“Singing is to handle the details and they are tive, and we speak of it regularly
life ... the rest is willing to do it. Just don’t let the as we go through the details of the
just details.” details get in the way of having Association business. In my view,
It helps me, fun singing on the risers! there are few issues of greater sig-
when the busi- The Barbershop world grew nificance to our organization today
ness of Barber- quickly after that first meeting at than the issue of supporting fun for
shop seems to the Tulsa Club in 1937. Soon there the guys on the risers every week.
get too compli- were many chapters across the So, let’s get back to what we
cated and con- country. To strengthen what they do – have fun singing ... every
Al Bonney voluted, to re- were doing, chapters formed Asso- week! And for us guys in leader-
member it is all ciations of Barbershop Chapters to ship jobs at every level, don’t get
about the men on the risers singing add some force and resources to confused if what we are doing
every Tuesday night. That is why support fun in Barbershopping. doesn’t add to the fun in chapter
O. C. Cash got the first group to- We call these associations dis- meetings. Maybe it’s time to re-
gether at the Tulsa Club — they tricts. These districts provide sev- think what we are doing!
were all about having fun singing eral resources that chapters can’t
together. do alone:
Today, our chapters have mis- • We convene – The Association
sion statements. The VOCAL MA- plans conventions and gather-
JORITY’S mission might be differ- ings where we can see our fel- Register for the
ent from Traverse City’s, but that’s low Barbershoppers and sing to-
OK. If the mission identifies why gether. International
the men keep coming back every • We compete – The Association
week, and if the chapter leadership organizes competitions and pro- Convention in
is doing what it takes to fulfill the
vides trained judges.
mission — and the men are com- • We educate – The Association
ing back every week — then they brings in coaches and trainers to t’s getting closer! Don’t miss
have a great chapter! The guys are help chapter officers, directors, out. Register today for the
having fun, and I’ll bet their chap- quartets, and singers grow in our International Convention in
ter is growing because of it! hobby. It organizes events like Portland, Oregon, June 30-July
It sounds simple — and it is. COTS and Harmony Round-Up 7, 2002.
There are, however, a lot of details to help, too. To register, call 800-876-
that chapter leadership must go • We communicate – The Asso- 7464 x-8462, or go on-line at
through — kind of like a duck ciation circulates information of www.spebsqsa.org/Portland.
gliding so smoothly across the top interest to chapters and members
4 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
Well, our organization has defi-
Here’s the Society Pitch nitely plateaued in membership.
Yes, and we’ve got some good
Raleigh Bloch, Society Board Member coaches in Ev Nau, Dick Bek, and
others. But we, the chapters, have
to recognize the problem. Then we
Get an Attitude and Look Out!
have to decide to do something
about it, get some coaching, and
S o what are you going to write
about this time?
Oh, hi. I thought I’d write about
things we can do to reach out that
will, in turn, help us.
Yes, but we need to be altruistic
Then we can look back and gig-
Wouldn’t that be fun? So the
some information I picked up from about that effort and not just meas- moral of the story is …
Roger Lewis and from Mike and ure our efforts by “What’s in it for Wait. Wait. Let me tell it. “Get
Don Slamka of POWER PLAY. me?” An excellent example is an Attitude and Look Out.”
Boy, you’re a real name- “United We Sing.” You’ll be hear- There you go again.
dropper, ing a lot about this very soon. I Where?
aren’t you? urge you and your chapter to get
Hey, not involved with this program and
only that, I’ll follow it to the letter. Barbershop
find out if OK. OK. So what did POWER
they read my PLAY or the Slamka’s have to say? notation manual
Mike said, “Get an attitude,”
and Don said, “All organizations
available on the
plateau and then either go up or
So what did Roger have to say?
He said, “Look out!”
get into that. Did they say any more about
Yes, they said when their quar-
T he new Notating Barbershop
Arrangements manual is on
the Web at www.spebsqsa.org/
That’s it? “Look out?” Look tet plateaued, they went to coaches arrangements. The purpose of
out for what? to get them on the move again. this manual is to provide direc-
Well, he didn’t say it quite like Good advice. tion to members of SPEBSQSA,
that. He said something like, However, they felt that the Inc., who are engaged in notating
“Organizations that are focused on quartet’s attitude was key. It had to and editing arrangements either
themselves or inward tend to be- be that the men wanted to do for publication by the Society or
come stagnant and decline, while something about it and only they for inclusion in the list of Legal
organizations that focus on others could make the difference. The Unpublished Arrangements.
or outward become vibrant and coaches could tell them what to To download the free Adobe
grow.” do, but they, the quartet members, Acrobat Reader, go to http://
That’s a whole lot different had to do it. The coaches couldn’t www.adobe.com/products/
from just “Look out!” do it for them. They said, “Then acrobat/readstep.html.
You’re right. I guess he was you get the giggles.” NOTE: If you do not have
saying that sometimes we are so What did they mean, “the gig- Adobe Acrobat 5.0, and do not
focused on our own problems, we gles”? wish to download it FREE, you
don’t see the possibilities that are On their way back from coach- will need the following two files
out there and what we might do for ing sessions, they would listen to for the complete manual: 1. BBS
others, things that can make our their tapes of the session. They Notation, and 2. Shine on Harvest
organization more interesting to us would hear what the coaches said Moon. You must have Acrobat
and more attractive to others. and then hear themselves perform 3.0 or higher version to download
Roger is right; there are a lot of it. That’s when they would giggle. these files.
May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour 5
Here’s the District Pitch Time to make
Brian Dunckel, Member Services VP preparations for
Let your Barbershop Consider “United We Sing”
S ince 1998, the Society has
been part of the National
Pause for the Pledge of Alle-
giance, held under the aegis of the
National Flag Day Foundation.
I n the first quarter of the year
here in Pioneer, we had 11
chapters grow, four stay the same
that 54 percent of our members
joined the Society because some-
one asked them!
Briefly, the National Pause for the
Pledge of Allegiance takes place
on Flag Day, June 14, at 7:00 p.m.
size, and 15 Sadly, too, in the Jan/Feb Har- EST.
get smaller. monizer, it pointed out the fact Across the country, people
There are that 48 percent of Barbershoppers gather at the appointed hour to re-
many reasons have NEVER received a Man of cite the Pledge of Allegiance. U.S.
for drops in a Note award. I know many of you Barbershoppers have offered their
chapter’s will say I have asked everyone I talent to the observances by per-
numbers: at know; then try those you don’t forming appropriate patriotic mu-
the House of know! That Man of Note award sic.
Delegates may be just one more invitation One approach to your perform-
meeting, we away. ance could very well be the new
Brian Dunckel honored 12 Wouldn’t it be sad to know that “United We Sing” program. If you
deceased you missed that opportunity? have questions about the program,
members. Others have moved Don’t let it happen! Ask those you you can research program infor-
away in retirement or for new jobs know and those you don’t. Never mation at www.UnitedWeSing.
and, sadly, some have just let an opportunity pass by. org. There you will find the
dropped out. “Singing is Life.” It ought to downloadable script with the rec-
The disappointing factor is be more of our life than our mem- ommended songs. Many of the
that, as a district, we are not even bership numbers show. songs are already known by most
keeping up with our losses, let “Teach the Children to chapters, and the music is avail-
alone growing. Rather than point Sing.” Even if that child is as old able from Harmony Marketplace.
the finger of blame at anyone, I as you are, he can “re-capture” Planning for these events is
offer this challenge. Remember some of his youth with harmony. normally handled through the of-
the song, “This Little Light of “Keep the Whole World fice of the mayor or other appro-
Mine”? One of the key phrases of Singing.” Do you really mean it? priate government office. Each
that song is “hide it under a What are you going to do about it? member city of the League of Cit-
bushel? NO, I’m gonna let it Membership growth? Y ies receives a mailing about the
shine!” To me, that’s where many KNOT! observance.
Barbershoppers are falling short. To learn more, visit the Flag
Have you let your Barbershop Day site on the Society Web page
light shine? Do you enjoy this
hobby? Doesn’t everyone else de- Sing … at http://www.spebsqsa.org/
FlagDay/. From there you can also
visit the Website of the National
serve the opportunity to enjoy it as
you have? Society statistics show for life! Flag Day Foundation.
6 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
Public Relating Ya gotta ask
Greg Humbel, Marketing & Public Relations VP By President Al Bonney
Marketing & public relations
A nyone who read the January
issue of the Harmonizer
clearly understands the magnitude
of our membership challenge. This
key to growth challenge is no less real in Pioneer.
Our membership numbers have
M arketing and public rela-
tions will always be a key
component in the growth of our
several Man of Note awards on
their lapel how the were able to do
it, he would tell you that he brings
dropped every year for the past
several years. From all of the re-
search and studies that have gone
hobby. At the Society, district, or up his hobby in his everyday con- on to understand how organiza-
chapter level, versations and thinks nothing of tions like ours builds membership,
we struggle it! one clear and consistent truth
with good Try this: Make 10 personal keeps coming out: “Ya gotta ask
ways to pro- contacts in a day, week, or month. the question!”
mote our love Share your hobby with five of I gave my last Man of Note
for music and them and you will have two peo- award to my wife. She put me onto
to share our ple minimum to bring to your next a guy who was interested because
infatuation guest night. It’s marketing! It’s a SHE got into a discussion with
with this art numbers game. Share your hobby him, heard his sonorous voice, and
form with today! asked if he was a singer!
Greg Humbel everyone we Further, and very simply, dis- Rob Hopkins, our International
meet. We play something “Barbershoppy” EVP, sent me an e-mail about a
need to continually develop new as you meet other people: Use guy he met in an airport who lives
and exciting ways to promote our your MBNA Barbershop credit in Traverse City – he asked the
choruses, quartets, shows, guest card. Wear Barbershop stuff, like question, and now the guy wants to
nights, and charitable mission. your “Singing is life ... the rest is visit our chapter.
Each of us needs to do our part just details” button from Society Now we all know that you have
to get guests to a chapter meeting President Roger Lewis. Eventu- to kiss a lot of frogs before you
or guest night. Each chapter must ally, someone will comment on it, find a prince. But ask the guys who
stay focused on providing an ex- or it will give you an excuse to have 10 or 20 Man of Note
citing chapter meeting with some- bring up the subject. And you can awards; they’ll tell you that they
thing available for each member take it from there whenever you ask the question — a lot!
to enjoy. find a man who likes to sing ... or If you ask the question, you will
I continue to be convinced that his wife! start bringing guests to your chap-
we do a pretty good job of reten- As you move forward to your ter meeting, too.
tion of our members once we get next function or event, ask your- So my challenge is — will
an interested man in the door. self if the membership component YOU go out and start asking the
Your job, if you choose to ac- has been addressed. Ask, what do question to people you meet in
cept it, will be to receive a Man of I do here? stores, gas stations, libraries, and
Note award at least once a year Grow membership! airports? With the resources, tal-
because you shared your excite- ent, and fun that we have in this
ment of your hobby. district, there is no reason in the
I will guarantee you that if you world why our membership num-
ask someone in your chapter with Sing … for life! bers are not going up. I know we
can do it; I hope you will help.
May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour 7
Chapter Coaching How I got hooked
By Guy Hissong, Flint Chapter
Doran McTaggart, Chapter Support/Leadership VP I have enjoyed Barbershop music
most of my adult life. I got
hooked when I found myself tap-
Next spring, will your chapter ing the BUFFALO BILLS from “The
Music Man” so I could listen in
win a plateau award? the car. I also found some Barber-
shop tapes at music stores which
hooked me even more.
E ach April, the chorus contest
score sheet shows winners in
many plateaus. What are these pla-
sist you. To get you on stage, we
will move mountains. What do
you need? Money? Uniforms?
It wasn’t until the spring of
1997 until my in-laws surprised
me by taking me to see the FLINT
teaus and why do we have them? Voice parts? Coaching? Music? ARROWHEAD CHORUS at their
The plateaus group chapters ac- You name it and we’ll get it. I spring show. Talk about hooked!
cording to mean it! Ask and you’ll receive. Can you imagine someone telling
their mem- COTS changes their in-laws to shut up during the
bership. No longer will Christmas activities performance when they asked me
There are keep chapters away from COTS. how I was enjoying it? I just
six pla- Pioneer COTS will be held Janu- wanted to hear everything and not
teaus, and ary 4-5, 2003. It will be at the miss a single thing.
the highest- Holiday Inn Express in Okemos, Then a few days later, my wife,
scoring just southeast of Lansing. From who is a pharmacist, spoke to one
chorus in now on, our COTS will be the first of her customers who was a Flint
Doran McTaggart each pla- weekend of January in Okemos. Chapter member, Ed Wracan. She
teau re- This site will give us room for ex- told Ed, how much I enjoyed the
ceives a plaque for its achieve- pansion. Flint’s Doug Lynn will show. When Ed asked her if I
ment. Many chapters can go home be the new COTS Coordinator and could sing, she responded, “Do
with an award for its efforts. Win- will send COTS information to you have a shower at the chorus
ners of these awards were: every chapter in the fall. hall?”
Plateau 1 - (20-29) - Michiana Metro Send-Off Show June 14 Well, Ed picked me up the fol-
Plateau 2 - (30-39) - Saginaw-Bay The Send-Off Show will again be lowing Tuesday night; I was to-
Plateau 3 - (40-49) - Huron Valley held at the Caboto Club in Win- tally in awe. I was scared at first,
Plateau 4 - (50-75) - Pontiac- dsor. Tickets have been distributed but the guys made me feel at
Waterford to 15 chapters close to the Canada- home and in no time were teach-
Plateau 5 - (76-99) - Lansing U. S. border. The doors open at ing me to ring chords and let
Plateau 6 - (100 +) - (none) 6:30 p.m.; the famous pasta dinner loose. Hooked again!
The 2002 District Chorus Cham- is at 7:45 p.m.; and the super show It wasn’t until 2000 when I was
pion is Macomb’s HARMONY follows dinner. asked to do Singing Valentines
HERITAGE CHORUS. Next spring, Eight choruses and a massed did I have the nerve to sing in a
will your chapter win a plateau chorus of 300 men will sing. Our quartet. Really hooked!
award? Pioneer representatives, POWER And, of course, each time we
Only half of our Pioneer chap- PLAY, ACCIDENTAL CONSONANCE sing at nursing homes and hospi-
ters entered the contest. For those (college quartet winners), and the tals and see the looks on the faces
chapters who haven’t experienced GREAT LAKES CHORUS will also and smiles as we sing, now that’s
the joy of singing in the contest for perform. All this for only $16.00. getting majorly hooked.
a number of years, plan to do so Call me at 519-948-0637 for tick- Barbershopping — Oh, what a
now. Your chapter coach can as- ets. See you there. life!
8 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
they think they are? My voice is
Take Note good enough and I shouldn’t be
expected to try to make it better. It
was good enough to be born with,
Gene Hanover, Chorus Director Development VP so it’s good enough for this. Right?
Then we send them to Harmony
The secret life of your director
College/Directors College or Har-
mony Round-Up, hoping that
someone will tell them the way
H ave you ever thought, “Gee, I
wonder what new and excit-
ing things our director has come up
sister directors out there, I am go-
ing to give you some information
that will make you raise your
that the real world works, and it
just makes things worse. They
come home with all that enthusi-
with for our rehearsal this week” “poos” and open your throat with asm and stuff that only a sadist
or “I think I will call the director of fright! could invent! Does it never end?
my chorus and ask if there is any- Did you know that we all have Of course it does. When we lose
thing that I can do to make his job this contest to see which director our director because we refuse to
a little easier can inflict the greatest pain on our at least try these things to help our
this week”? members? That’s right. We are in singing get better. Or when we al-
We all constant contact with each other to low them to conduct the whole
know that cho- create these drills to make you night without a break. Do you
rus director has think that we are nuts and should know that the number one reason
an easy job. It be put away for a long time. Why, directors leave choruses is that
takes little time just the other day I heard a conver- they feel that their work is in vain
or thought. sation between the director of and just simply give up?
Right? I mean Kalamazoo and Michiana Metro The average director puts in
Gene Hanover all he does is that, well, made me shudder. three hours of work each and every
get in front of They talked about meter, pulse, day, I said day, to prepare for your
the chorus each week and do the and making the breathing in a song three- to four-hour weekly re-
same thing week in and week out. the most important part of the hearsal, only to find that he cannot
How hard can it be? song. They even discussed what work on the things that he would
It’s a fairly safe bet that the exercises to do to get the point like.
leads will sing out of tune, just like across. Then they talked about us- As members we can come and
last week. The basses will be a lit- ing your head, chest, and mixed go as we like and think nothing of
tle flat and forever late coming in tones while singing. it. You say, “I’m not having fun”
throughout every song, just like Then they turned to singing in or “I don’t need to warm up” or “I
last week. The tenors could never tune! I mean, really! What is that? don’t need to work on my notes
sing a high third if their lives de- Come on, what does that have to and words outside of rehearsal.”
pended on it, just like last week. do with singing Barbershop? We Well, guess what. The directors
And the baritones, well, that’s just just want to sing and what comes out there need to have fun, too!
too easy, just like last week. So, all out is what you get. We couldn’t They don’t like warm-ups either!
he or she has to do is give the same care less about putting that music They would rather not have to go
old dialog, just like last week. stuff in the song. Right? over the notes and words as well,
What about those supposed vo- They even had the nerve to talk but they know that they have to if
cal exercises and drills that they about how, along with other hob- things are to get better. Our cho-
come up with — bubbling, oo’ing, bies, we do our best to learn more ruses are like our children. We
loo’ing, scerasping, endless about them so we can get better. want what is best for them and
scales — and those dumb “ear We take tennis lessons, bowling want them to be the best that they
training” exercises never end. lessons, piano lessons, and the real can be.
Well, at the risk of getting in biggie, golf lessons, but would we
big trouble with my brother and ever take a voice lesson. Who do (Continued on page 9)
May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour 9
Yours 4 A Song Take note
(Continued from page 8)
Dan Bezaire, Music & Performance VP If you don’t have a director,
look internally and figure out what
Extra effort to improve you have to change to get a good
one and keep him. You see, any-
results in better performances one who is a director knows that
directing a chorus takes lots of
time, and that we have to commit
usicians, like golfers, writ- many opportunities as possible so
ourselves for that long haul.
ers, or anyone else inter- that we can raise the musicality of
If you have a director, you had
ested in improvement, are con- the district. Some of the projects
better start looking at the same
stantly seeking ways to become underway, or in the planning
things and helping him or her out
better. Barbershoppers in Pioneer stages:
so you don’t lose him. Then train
are no differ- Coaches’ Directory – With this
others to help him out and give
ent; they have database — perhaps attached to
him a break now and then. We
shown that the Pioneer Website — choruses
lose far too many good directors
they are very and quartets can locate a coach
every year for dumb, simple rea-
interested in who can work with them.
sons that are fixable.
taking steps Bush League – This year we are
Remember that chapters with-
to become incorporating a quartet coaching
out good directors usually go un-
better singers clinic along with the traditional
der. Chapters with poor, underde-
and perform- contest. Up to 16 quartets can be
veloped, or disinterested directors
ers. accommodated. (September)
never grow. Do all you can to en-
For example, for two succes- Harmony Round-Up – Barber-
sure that your chapter does not be-
sive weekends in late February shop classes, quartet coaching,
come a statistic.
and early March, many of our YMIH. (May)
Be on time, warm up with the
choruses took advantage of our Standing Ovation – Enhancing
rest of the chorus, learn your notes
chorus coaching days. At those entertainment value.
and words, take an occasional
sessions — one in Gaylord and Take advantage of these pro-
voice lesson, encourage you direc-
one in East Lansing — a total of grams. You will hear the differ-
tor, and start to enjoy the better
12 choruses spent an hour with ence!
singing that is guaranteed to come
each of three different coaches. If
from your chorus.
nothing else, all of these groups
Who knows, you may even be
came away with tools to work
with to improve our craft. The
Bad e-mail addresses able to get into a quartet as a by-
T he recent bankruptcy of the product of your learning! Now,
comments from those events were
“@home” e-mail provider that would really be a shame. Or
overwhelmingly positive, proving
has caused numerous e-mail ad- would it?
that the singers of Pioneer are
dresses in the Society database to Happy singing!
willing to put out extra effort to
improve. be incorrect. This was brought to
I believe the spring contest in their attention after a request for
Lansing bears this out. The level quartets was sent out to a person
of performance was very high and in the Bay Area in California. “Quartet singers
many of the competitors were Please use the Members Only make better chorus
among the participants of the site on the Society Web page to
update your personal or quartet
We are trying to provide as information. Dr. Greg Lyne
10 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
Young Men in Harmony Bulletin Editor of
the Year awarded
Dave Anderson, District VP By District Bulletin Contest
It’s time for action!
Coordinator Elbert Ford
W e had a very good Bulletin
Editor of the Year (BETY)
Y our YMIH Team has been
very busy since the last is-
sue of the Troubadour. Our booth
district has awarded them $1,000,
so they have a shortfall. They are
also just returning from a singing
contest this past year in Pioneer.
The entrants were judged on three
consecutive issues with a mini-
at the MSVMA (Michigan tour in China, so their coffers are mum requirement of eight issues
Schools Vocal Music Association) pretty empty. published in 2001. The awards
Convention in Ann Arbor was Now comes the request for were presented at the district
very successful. Many music “action” on your part. I am setting spring convention. There were
teachers were exposed to using up a fund drive for contributions four entries — the highest in four
Barbershop as a means to increas- from individuals and from chap- years — with two of them being
ing male interest in their classes. ters to help these guys make the first-timers.
The program session that was held trip and represent us. The details The contest was won by Elbert
by Bill Rashleigh and POWER have not been finalized at this Ford. He is in his fifth year of
PLAY was a hit; they’ve already time, but you should hear more publishing The Chorister in the
begun planning for another ses- through the PioNet on this. Any Traverse City Chapter and has
sion in January 2003. checks should made out to placed first for the third year in a
It was at this convention that “Pioneer District” and mailed to row, amassing the highest point
we had our first contact with our me at: Dave Anderson, 39043 total ever in the Pioneer District in
New College Quartet Champions, Cadborough Dr., Clinton Twp., this contest.
ACCIDENTAL CONSONANCE. Two MI 48043. Let’s all work together Last year, he also placed fifth
young music majors from Central and give these four young singers in international competition and
Michigan University kept coming an experience to remember. won the Dick Girvin Most Im-
back to our booth to sing tags; we By the time that you get this, A proved Bulletin award as well.
then found out about their quartet, CAPPELLA BLAST! 2002 will He was followed closely by
coached by Dr. David Gillingham. be history. Many people have Robert Rancilio of the Grosse
You might remember him from worked very hard to make this a Pointe Chapter with his publica-
1993 Ditrict Champions, FULL quality event for our young men. tion, The Pitch Pipe. He has been
CHORD PRESS. The quartet then Please thank Bob Wisdom for an editor for only two years, but
did an outstanding job in the dis- handling registrations and other has taken advantage of the men-
trict competition. According to the jobs, and thank Ken and Vicki toring program offered by
numbers provided by Jim Styer, Gibson and their staff for the great PROBE.
ACCIDENTAL CONSONANCE is teaching job. Also, thank the Bob says, “Bulletin editorship
ranked sixth of all college quartets many chapters that helped sponsor can be an exciting part of being a
qualified, based on scores from all students and get teachers enthused Barbershopper. In addition to the
of the districts. about attending. obvious benefit of getting to know
The quartet has asked for some In closing, remember to keep in what’s going on in the chapter’s
monetary help to get to Portland contact with those music teachers nooks and crannies, I feel I play a
to compete. The cost for airfare is and help set things up for when supportive role in the health of the
about $1,200, hotel rooms $1,000, they return in the fall. Please re- chapter by providing information
$500 for all events tickets, plus member to help the college guys on such topics as singing tech-
some food money. Their total cost going to Portland by sending in a niques.”
can get into the $3,500 range. The donation … do it today.
(Continued on page 11)
May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour 11
The Judge’s Corner Bulletin Editor of the
Ed Fritzen, Contest & Judging VP (Continued from page 10)
They were followed by John
If you accomplished a goal, Cowlishaw of Pontiac-Waterford
Chapter with Smoke Signals, and
you’re a winner!
Art Lane of Holland Chapter with
his publication, The Windmill
I think I’ve finally recovered
from another fantastic weekend
of Barbershopping in Pioneer. I
I would like to challenge all of
the competitors and would-be
competitors in Pioneer to set some
John took over Smoke Signals
in May 2001. Since then, he has
published an issue a month for
hope all of you goal for the next contest. Let me eight months. He was in Nashville
enjoyed the know what it is, and tell me how in 2001 for international, and at-
spring conven- you did. I will then use this space tended the PROBE meeting that
tion as much as to publicly recognize and cele- first morning. As you can see, it is
I did. Con- brate your achievements. Perhaps his first entry also.
gratulations to this type of thinking could lead to Art Lane is a former weekly
our interna- greater participation by our mem- newspaper editor in Saugatuck,
tional quartet bers in our contests. Wouldn’t that He became editor of The Windmill
representatives, be great? Blade about 11 years ago. The
Ed Fritzen POWER PLAY, That brings me to another as- Blade has ranked second in the
and to our new pect of the contests and conven- district and competed internation-
district chorus champs, the HAR- tions. The Pioneer District Board ally several times, gaining high
MONY HERITAGE CHORUS. They is looking at ways to improve all marks for grammar and style.
both were clearly the cream of the aspects of our conventions. The Society’s organization of
crop last weekend. If you have any ideas on what Public Relations Officers and Bul-
However … were they the only you’d like to see or do at a con- letin Editors (PROBE) named Art
winners? Not by a long shot; for vention, please forward them to 1988 Public Relations Officer of
every man who appeared with a me. Don’t be shy. If there’s some- the Year for a single event for in-
quartet or a chorus on that stage thing you don’t like about our formation and promotion sur-
was a winner. conventions, now’s the time to rounding the chapter’s singing ex-
Sure, POWER PLAY and the speak up. cursion to the Netherlands.
HARMONY HERITAGE CHORUS We want to host conventions I would encourage each chapter
scored the most points in their re- that appeal to all members of our to publish a bulletin and send in
spective contests, but there were district. You’ll be hearing more three issues for judging. A chapter
many other just as significant suc- about this in the coming months. bulletin does an invaluable ser-
cesses in Lansing. How about Finally, I’d like to congratulate vice — disseminating information
Holland’s 5th-place finish, or even Don Kill, Al Fisk, and Neil Nu- to its membership.
more impressive, the 6th-place gent, who have been accepted into I would like to congratulate all
finish of Michiana Metro? the judging program as applicants of the contestants in the BETY
Both choruses came away win- and who have been invited to at- contest and encourage any other
ners, as did everyone who accom- tend Candidate School this sum- editors to jump in. The help re-
plished a goal — even if the goal mer. Way to go! ceived from the judges and
was only to improve a little over Hope to see you all at Harmony through the mentoring program is
the last contest. And isn’t that Round-Up. immeasurable!
what competing is all about?
12 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
Quartets Champions Association Take me out to
Dennis Gore, PR & Communications the ball game … in
T he Pioneer District Quartet
(QCA) met following the district
tapes and music to the mem-
bers. This is earlier than any
QCA chorus preparation in the
T he Portland AAA ball team, the
Portland Beavers (farm team
for San Diego), has a game Tuesday
quartet prelims on Friday night, past. night, July 2. A package price of
April 26. The meeting included a • The tentative show planned is to $24 includes a one-hour buffet and
social hour where discussions be one hour with a focus on ticket to the game against the Fresno
about the competition took place. quartets. The QCA chorus will
The members received music learn two new songs per year
and learning tapes for songs that and rotate repertoire.
will be performed by the QCA • Check out the calendar of re-
chorus in the fall. BobWinters has hearsals on the QCA Website.
coordinated this effort and it is
now well under way. At the end of
• Russ Seely (Pioneer QCA Presi-
the meeting, those present read
dent) named Secretary of AH-
through some of the songs di-
SOW Organization -- WAY TO
rected by Mike Slamka, Al Fisk,
and QCA President Russ Seely.
Thirty-nine QCA members • The QCA wishes POWER PLAY
were in attendance. Russ reviewed all the luck in the world as they
the Steering Committee’s plans carry the Pioneer banner into
and introduced each of the com- the fray in Portland. Give ’em
mittee leaders to furnish the group hell, lads!
with some ideas for the future. • We are also proud of our other
competing active district
QCA activities champs, PHILATOGA TOWNSHIP, Grizzlies. PGE Park is conveniently
A QCA Web page has been estab- WJBC, and FOUR MAN FISHIN’ located on the MAX train route
lished. It is still under construc- TACKLE CHOIR. Great singing, within the “fareless square” area. A
tion; however, you can view the guys! Barbershop quartet will sing the Na-
rough site at http://www.geocities. tional Anthem.
com/t6237dg/index.htm. When a If you have any comments or sug- The all-you-can-eat buffet is tra-
permanent host site is established, gestions, please send an e-mail to ditional ballpark fare and includes
we will publish the URL. firstname.lastname@example.org. hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburg-
Calendar of activities: ers, baked beans, Frito Lays, Pepsi
• May 17-19, Mini-HEP school at beverages, and cookies. The buffet
MSU. QCA will meet Friday runs from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Game
night. time is 7:05 p.m.
• Summer 2002, date and location
Music For tickets, call Eben Yager,
group sales and marketing manager,
• Oct. 18-20, Battle Creek. QCA For the common things of every day, at 503-553-5427 or e-mail to
God gave us speech in the common way. email@example.com. Tickets will
show Friday night after quartet And He gave to the poet words to reveal, be held at the Will Call window and
contest. The deeper things we think and feel …
will be available starting at 5:30
QCA show But for heights and depths no word
p.m. (Gates open at 6:00 p.m.).
• Bob Winters provided learning could reach,
God gave us music, the soul’s own speech.
May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour 13
Meredith Willson: 100th In Memoriam
anniversary of his birth
M eredith Willson was born in Mason City,
Iowa, on May 8, 1902. He grew up there and,
after graduating from high school, attended what is
Art Schulze, a 60-year member of SPEBSQSA,
passed away in March. A member of the Frank
now the Julliard School of Music in New York. Thorne Chapter in recent years, Art was a former
During World War II, Willson was the director of member of the old Detroit #1 Chapter and of the De-
Armed Forces Radio, which led him to a successful troit-Oakland Chapter.
career as a composer, performer, and director of mu- He was past historian of the Pioneer District, a
sic programming for many popular shows. He wrote past president of Detroit #1 Chapter, and one of the
symphonies and many hit songs, including “It’s Be- last surviving members of the old DETROIT METRO-
ginning to Look Like Christmas” and “May the Good POLITAN CHORUS.
Lord Bless and Keep You.” From Larry King
His most fa-
mous works were
Molly Brown” and 2002 International
Convention Web site
“The Music Man,”
which was inspired
by his childhood
experiences in Ma-
son City and pro- T he Greater Portland Vocal Gentry, hosts of the
2002 International Convention, invite you to
visit their updated convention Web site: http://
duced the popular
march, “76 Trom- www.vocalgentry.org/portland/.
The Music Man
Square in the heart
of Mason City is
the future home of
the Meredith Will-
son Museum. The
square will contain
a turn-of-the-century “River City” indoor streetscape
complete with the Candy Kitchen” and “Pleazol” bil-
liard parlor, a children’s exploratorium, a conserva-
tory of music education, a reunion meeting hall, and a You’ll find information on:
theater. A grand opening is planned on the anniver- • Tourism — what to see and do around Portland,
sary of his 100th birthday, May 8, 2002. Oregon, and southwest Washington
• Convention events — including a preliminary
“Barbershop quartet singing is four • Getting around town on MAX light rail system
guys tasting the holy essence of • Where to park your camper/RV
four individual mechanisms com- • Camping in Oregon
• The West Coast Amtrak Woodshedder’s Caboose
ing into complete agreement.”
• Travel deals for Barbershoppers to Portland
Meredith Willson • Post-convention cruise with GAS HOUSE GANG
14 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
In Memoriam Pioneer District as well as back-
stage chairman and sound techni-
From Greg Humbel: I’ll always be
thankful for Jim being there for
cian for district contests. Huron Valley. His talents and soft
Jim Stephens He was recognized as Barber- approach to teaching was unbeliv-
shopper of the Year at Detroit #1 able.
1931-2002 (1979) and Huron Valley (1976,
From Jim Ryan: Jim was actually
J im Stephens was born in Lans-
ing, the oldest of three children
of Harper and Ellen Stephens. He
1983, 1988, & 1995), and was
elected to the Pioneer District Hall
of Fame (1991). Jim also received
my first contact when I moved to
Michigan. He was so warm and
an Outstanding Accomplishment friendly that it just seemed natural
grew up there and attended Lans- to come sing for him at Wayne.
ing Eastern High School. In 1949, Award in 1979 from Detroit #1
Chapter and a Commendable Ser- Jim constantly encouraged me to
Jim enrolled at Michigan State reach for the higher goal and
University, earning bachelor’s and vice Award in 1991 from Detroit-
Oakland Chapter. coached several of the quartets I
master’s degrees in music. had the privilege to sing with over
Jim devoted his whole life to the past 10 years. Of all the things
music. Like his father and grandfa- I will miss about him, it was that
ther before him, he was a public warm smile and genuine love he
school music teacher. He spent 31 had for Barbershop.
years teaching in Southgate,
Michigan. During those years, he From Keith Opal: Jim was very
touched the lives of hundreds of dedicated, a marvelous teacher,
students, many of whom have kept and a great friend. My most vivid
in contact with him. During his memory came after he had an acci-
teaching tenure, he also directed dent which broke both of his legs.
church choirs, which fulfilled his Even though he couldn’t stand, he
spiritual needs. still showed up for rehearsals, sat
Barbershop harmony was an- in a chair, and directed and taught
other important part of Jim’s musi- music.
cal life. While still in high school, From Dick Reinholt: Jim had a
he formed a quartet called the AT- way of bringing out the best in an
MOSPHERES (Jack Frucci was in individual. He helped many a Bar-
this quartet). In the 1980s, he sang bershopper. He had the mental
lead in the SOUND AMBASSADORS. In 2001, he was selected Bar- strength of 10 men. He always
His senior quartets included THE bershopper of the Year in Tucson, gave and very seldom ever asked
PRESIDENT’S MEN (1991), PRIME Arizona, where he had resided for for anything, except that each man
TIME (1992), OLD BONES (1993), the past few years. In addition to do the best he was capable of.
RARE VINTAGE (1994), VOCAL serving as vocal coach for the
TUCSON SUNSHINE CHORUS, he From Lynne Peirce: I remember
GENTRY (1995), and CHORDINARY sitting in the waiting room while
GUYS (2001 in Tucson). He di- coached their chapter quartets and
continued to share his expertise in my husband, Tom, was undergoing
rected the JACKSONAIRES, DE- heart bypass surgery. Jim walked
TROIT #1, WAYNE RENAISSANCE, sound reinforcement for chapter
shows and area performances. in. Tom was not currently active in
and HURON VALLEY HARMONIZ- his chapter and I didn’t even know
ERS over his many years in the De- From Paul Ludwig, Tucson Chap- Jim knew about Tom’s illness. Jim
troit area. ter: This diminutive man was in- stayed the entire time, not leaving
In addition, he devoted many deed a musical giant. I can’t begin until Tom’s surgery was over and
hours to arranging music, teaching to tell you how much he helped me he was out of danger. It was the
vocal exercises, providing individ- to be a better musician. He had a first time I think I fully understood
ual voice lessons, and coaching way of instructing that did not em- the power and love of the Barber-
choruses and quartets. He spent 10 barrass me or injure my pride as a shop family.
years as music educator for the director.
May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour 15
2002 CARA Hi-tech electronic communication
nominees By Pioneer District Secretary
ments to any one e-mail within a
more workable range.
T he Contemporary A Cappella
Recording Award nominees
have been announced for 2002:
W e have now completed
our first district conven-
The second “glitch” was that
most chapters did not print out
the documents and have their
tion at which notices and other
Best Barbershop album: convention documents were dis- delegates bring the documents to
MILLENNIUM - “Millennium” tributed electronically by e-mail the House of Delegates Meeting.
CRYSTAL CLEAR - “Lucky Day” and e-mail attachment to all dis- Delegates arrived expecting to
RIPTIDE - “Wonderful Life” trict officers, selected committee have documents available for dis-
AMBASSADORS OF HARMONY - chairmen, and chapters. I should tribution at the meeting. For the
“Applause” say we have “successfully” com- fall convention, we will put major
pleted that first district conven- emphasis on “print-out-and-
Best Barbershop song:
tion using only electronic com- bring-with-you.”
PHILHARMONIX - “This Little
munication because it went well The third “glitch,” and one
Piggy Went To Market”
with only a which the
MILLENNIUM - “Jezebel”
few minor district
AMBASSADORS OF HARMONY -
“My Honey’s Lovin’ Arms”
The first control, is
RIPTIDE - “Fit As A Fiddle/For
“glitch” to the fact
Me & My Gal” medley.
be cor- that some
rected is to chapter e-
have past mail con-
Tribute to Jim Stephens district tact per-
presidents sons ap-
A tribute to Jim Stephens will be parently
included in one of the group mail-
held on Saturday, June 15, 2002, did not communicate to the chap-
ing lists. Your district secretary
at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran ter officers and chapter member-
neglected (shame on him!) to for-
Church, 1400 W. Stadium Blvd., ship the information that was be-
ward convention documents to
Ann Arbor, Michigan. The cele- ing sent to them.
those who served us so well in
bration of Jim’s life will be from These are not private commu-
the past. Also to be added are our
7:30-10:00 p.m. nications for the e-mail contact.
district historian, our COTS coor-
Participating throughout the The persons who have been des-
dinator, and some additional
evening will be several Pioneer ignated as the chapter e-mail con-
District and Sweet Adeline quar- tact have the responsibility to see
Thus far we’ve received no
tets. The GENTLEMEN SONG- that the information the district is
complaints concerning reception
STERS, the HURON VALLEY HAR- communicating does indeed get
from any of the groups. However,
MONIZERS, and the RENAISSANCE to the chapter officers and the
some attached documents only
CHORUS will be performing as membership.
partially printed. I believe the
well. A dialog on the PioNet con-
problem may have been the fact
Refreshments will be pro- cerning glitches and complaints
that at times eight or 10 docu-
vided. would be helpful. We need to
ments were attached to one e-
Donations will be accepted to know what the problems are so
mail. I will try to eliminate that
Harmony Foundation. Contact we can seek solutions quickly. If
problem for the fall convention
Dick Reinholt at 734-761-2958 you prefer not to respond on the
by spreading the number of at-
or e-mail at RReinholt@comcast. PioNet, e-mail me personally at
tachments over several e-mails
when necessary to keep attach-
16 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
Harmony Heritage Chorus,
Power Play win spring
(Continued from page 1)
the foursome scored 1,034 points
singing “Sunshine of Your Smile”
and “Takin’ a Chance on Love.”
2001 Pioneer District Cham-
pion Quartet Philatoga Township
finished second with 1,756 points.
The foursome — tenor Tom
1. Great Quartet Contest
2. Quartet Coaching
3. Saturday Night Show of Shows
After 55 years of serving up the Pioneer District a great quartet
POWER PLAY: (l to r) Tenor Don activity, the Gaylord Chapter has teamed up with the Pioneer
Slamka, lead Mike Slamka, bass District to provide coaching by certified judges to the quartets
Jack Slamka, and bari Mark involved in the weekend. The partnership allowed the use of
Slamka. district grant monies to be used for this event.
For more information on how to get your team on the bus to
McCoy, lead Larry Reinhart, bari this event, contact Hank Hedges at 989-731-1169, or
Gary Nitz, and bass Phil HHedges@i2k.com.
Haines — sang “Shanghai,” “With
a Song in My Heart,” “Kiss Her
Goodbye for Me,” and “Tin Roof
Finishing third was WJBC —
tenor Bruce LaMarte, lead Craig
Book your next trip
Pollard, bari Brian Kaufman, and
bass Doug Morgan — scoring through Harmony Travel
1,732 points. It sang “Jeepers
Creepers,” “I’m Alone Because I
Love You,” “There’ll Be No New
Tunes on This Old Piano,” and H armony Travel was created
to provide memorable travel
experiences for Society members,
Thorn at 1-800-876-7464 x-8489
for more specifics.
Also, Harmony Travel works
“Oh, How I Miss You Tonight.” with TravelEx for air transporta-
WJBC was district champion in families, and friends. Current
tours include a post Portland con- tion needs. Call 1-800-882-0499
1999. and ask for Shelley.
vention Alaskan cruise. Call Doug
May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour 17
(517) 351-9587 (517) 482-0365
The Patch Chords
THE HARMONY HOUNDS Music and Mirth
CONTACT: ROGER LEWIS
Bus. (616) 979-4343 — Res. (616) 965-5714 (517) 521-3218 (517) 321-3941
Your business card could be here
PO Box 322
Bridgman MI 49106
reaching more than 1,300 Barbershoppers
616-465-4428 for only 15¢ a day!
1998 Pioneer District Quartet Champions Call Gary Simon at
Raleigh A Registered Barbershop Quartet Kerry
Hooked on Harmony
Neil 231-882-4835 or
Ever growing … Or nothing else matters!
18 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
many old-time Pioneer District
Barbershoppers: Dr. David Gil- My trip to the
(Continued from page 1) lingham, music director at CMU.
Dr. Gillingham is ACCIDENTAL
January. Ben explained that Bar- CONSONANCE’S coach and mentor.
By John Baker,
bershop is only a part of their No stranger to Barbershopping,
Grand Rapids Chapter
overall repertoire. While they love he sang with and coached Jamie
the “consonant” sound of the Bar- Carey years ago when Jamie was
bershop style, they also perform coming through CMU and begin-
vocal jazz, do-wop, and even some ning the first of his championship-
R ecently I had the pleasure to
spend some time with the
MARDI GRAS CHORUS. This came
classical selec- level quartets. about when my company had its
tions. ACCIDENTAL annual sales meeting in New Or-
Steven Shaw, CONSONANCE’ S leans. This meeting was going to
an instrumental coaching re- take me away from my normal
music major sources would meeting with my quartet, SILHOU-
heading for a help explain the ETTE, and the GREAT LAKES CHO-
teaching career quality of their RUS.
in music, told performance on My first step was to locate a
about the Ar- Saturday night nearby chapter in New Orleans us-
tReach program of the conven- ing the SPEBSQSA home page. I
they participate tion! e-mailed the president of the
in. ArtReach is The young Greater New Orleans Chapter,
an outreach pro- ACCIDENTAL CONSONANCE: (Left to men won a Mervin Ginsburg. I wrote him that
gram for elemen- right) Bari Jeff Malecki, bass Ben $1,000 stipend I would be in the area and asked if
tary schools in Rodgers, lead Nicholas Allen, and from the Soci- I would be able to sit in on one of
the Mt. Pleasant tenor Steven Shaw. ety to defray its rehearsals.
area. their expenses Well, it didn’t take long before
Contributing to the music part to participate in the College Bar- I got a phone call from Mervin.
of the program, ACCIDENTAL CON- bershop Quartet Contest in Port- Not only was I welcomed, he said
SONANCE sings regularly in the land, Ore., in July, sponsored by he would pick me up at my hotel.
schools. They want to mentor male MBNA Bank. Based on their sing- Two gentlemen pulled up and
singing, show the kids that singing ing Saturday night, I am confident asked if I was John Baker. Mervin
is fun for big kids, too, and support they will be proud representatives introduced himself and Beryl
the music education programs al- of our district. Laufer, their chapter membership
ready in place in the schools. And because they are all jun- VP.
Jeff Malecki, also a music ma- iors, we will certainly hear them Mervin showed me some points
jor with an instrumental bent, re- again next year!
minded us of a name familiar to (Continued on page 19)
7498 Dunross Dr.
Portage, MI 49002
May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour 19
My trip to the Big Easy
(Continued from page 18)
The Pioneer District planning process
By Pioneer District President and additions and approval for
of interest as we traveled to Al Bonney both the work plan and the
Delgado Community College, thorough planning process is budget.
where they rehearsed. a key ingredient to our run- 5. The final step of the process is
When we got to their rehearsal ning this business of Barbershop- to intertwine Society-level
hall, I was greeted by several of ping efficiently, effectively, and goals that require district ac-
their members. Mervin introduced professionally. It appears lengthy tion with district-level goals
me to Mark Vile, their musical di- and involved, but if you under- that have been approved by
rector, and gave me a guest book. stand it, you may be better pre- the HOD. This happens at the
He then placed me with the basses. pared to participate in and use the National Leadership Forum in
That’s where I meet Sherman process. Let me outline how it early November in Racine,
Platt, Board member and singer goes: Wis., where all of the district
with the RAMPART STREET IR- 1. The process begins in March leadership teams meet with the
REGULARS. Sherman told me that I when the Society gathers in- Society Board and committee
had picked a good night to come. formation for its “planning chairs, and finalize the plans
They were expecting some Sweet guidance,” a document that for every level in the Society.
Ads and a guest quartet. outlines the major themes for This ensures that everyone’s
We then began rehearsing. work that is to be undertaken needs are met and all of the
Sherman pointed out that the mu- in the NEXT year. Once com- bases are covered.
sic we were singing came from a pleted in May or June, it is cir- 6. By the end of the year, the fi-
member of their chorus, Einar culated to all of the district nal plan is typed and circu-
Pedersen. presidents for consideration in lated to all interested parties
During the break, Beryl an- the district planning process. and posted on the district
nounced to his chapter members 2. At the same time, districts Website. A reporting schedule
that they had two guests visiting should be communicating with is published to ensure that
that night, but no chance of mem- their members’ chapters to so- regular status reports circulate
bership additions — a gentleman licit input for district-level is- throughout the organization.
from the Louisville T HOR- sues that the chapters consider These status reports are pro-
OUGHBREDS and me. important undertakings. vided to all chapter representa-
Then the quartet, HEYDAY, ar- 3. Armed with the above two tives at each House of Dele-
rived. They were Southwest Dis- pieces of information, the Dis- gates in April and October.
trict 2000 champs and 2001 Inter- trict Leadership Team meets I would welcome any suggestions
national semifinalists. What a in August to review and update or comments on this process. I es-
treat! They did their show package the five-year plan, write the pecially welcome input into what
for us. next year’s draft work plan, should be in the plan as well as
Chapter member Larry Moran, and draft a budget that will what you think about how the plan
who lived near my hotel, drove me support the work plan. is being implemented. The District
back. It took me awhile to get to 4. In October, the Team intro- Leadership Team exists to serve
sleep that night. duces the draft work plan and the district membership, and these
So, gentlemen, if you’re ever in budget at the House of Dele- plans outline how that mission
New Orleans, give the MARDI gates, seeking its comments will be carried out.
GRAS CHORUS a call.
Or attend any chorus rehearsal
when you’re out of town. They’re “Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch
as easy as an e-mail away.
And spread the fellowship of of boring dates by which bills must be paid.”
harmony. It’s a great experience. Frank Zappa
20 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
Making its pitch for Barbershop quartets
The following article was written mother ship has been here in pered from the 1890s through the
by Dennis McCann and appeared Kenosha, where a staff of more 1920s, in vaudeville, the Chautau-
in the February 17, 2002, edition than 40 coordinates competitions, qua circuit, and minstrel shows
of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. archives sheet music, conducts (with both black and white quar-
It is excerpted here with permis- charitable programs and, not least, tets). Interest rose and fell through
sion. runs Harmony College, the annual the years but barbershop music
summer school for 600 barber- outlasted all of those. SPEBSQSA
enosha: Hel-lo, HEL-lo,
shoppers who wear red and blue was formed in 1938 when Tulsa
beanies — with propellers — in tax attorney O.C. Cash invited a
Can you tell where I am?
singing contests. handful of other lovers of harmony
Of chorus you can. I’m at the
Beyond that, Harmony Hall is to a songfest on the roof garden of
home of barbershop music in
home to the Heritage Hall Mu- the Tulsa Club.
America, and a more harmonious
seum of Barbershop Harmony, ‘Perfect’ acronym
way of getting here would be hard
where I learned that Harry Truman Cash was said to have a flair for
was a barbershopper, as was Bing publicity, and the Society’s awk-
One moment I was in a barber’s
Crosby. ward acronym was fodder for writ-
chair near my house, which gave
me an idea, and so an hour later I How cool is that? ers. With word of mouth and help-
was at Harmony Hall in Kenosha, Uh, remember the beanies? Not ful publicity, the Society grew.
the palatial lakeside headquarters very. But Heritage Hall is as much When competition was introduced
of the world’s largest all-male about preservation of the Society’s in 1939 at the first convention of
singing society, the Society for the story as the Society is about pre- such quartets, The BARTLESVILLE
Preservation and Encouragement serving quartet singing, which BARFLIES won the Society’s first
of Barbershop Quartet Singing in brings us to the obvious question. championship — and $50.
America, a name only slightly Did it actually begin in the barber- The museum has artifacts from
longer than its acronym — SPEB- shop? throughout the years, but I was
SQSA. Even the society advises African-American roots most interested in a display on the
against pronouncing SPEBSQSA No, though it certainly was sung “The Family Schmitt” of Two Riv-
as a word. there in its early days, as it was on ers, from which came the famous
In a world in which teen tarts, street corners, in minstrel shows SCHMITT BROTHERS QUARTET.
randy rappers and country sex kit- and other stages. What is known as Fran, Joe, Paul, and Jim were four
tens sell records by the gazillions, barbershop singing, according to of the 17 children of German im-
barbershop music flies well under the society, actually has its roots in migrants Henry and Anna Schmitt,
the radar, but the blend of tenor, African-American music as early and were rather new to harmonic
lead, baritone and bass has been as the 1870s, when black quartets singing when they went to the so-
around for more than a century. such as THE AMERICAN FOUR and ciety’s 1951 championship in
While like many other organiza- THE HAMTOWN STUDENTS helped Toledo.
tions it is searching for ways to at- to establish the improvisational na- It was 100 degrees and the
tract new members to an aging ture of four-part harmony. Such Schmitt boys were last of 40
base, the Society still claims nearly quartets could at times be found groups to sing, so they sat around
34,000 members in more than 825 singing at such spots as Joe in their underwear for eight hours,
chapters in the United States and Sarpy’s Cut Rate Shaving Parlor in lest their costumes wrinkle in the
Canada, with affiliated organiza- St. Louis, or in Jacksonville, Fla., steamy conditions. And when they
tions around the world. where one black historian noted did take the stage, they nailed
“every barbershop seemed to have “Hello, Hello, Hello,” “I Love the
Keeping 40 people busy
And since 1958 the Society’s its own quartet.” (Continued on page 21)
Such music especially pros-
May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour 21
Chapters By Hank Hedges
Gaylord Rides into spring in style
in Action Some 25 members of the HARMONIE MEISTERS CHO-
RUS and over 20 friends of Barbershopping boarded a
chartered bus and sang into Lansing for the 2002
Windsor spring convention. Joined by other members who
By Bill Strong came earlier, we arrived just in time to fill the back
row risers with yellow shirts and have the eminent
The time sure flies when you’re having fun, and so Steve Sutherland try to teach us the highly complex
this article may seem a little outdated, considering and powerful dance routines of the JOE BARBERSHOP
that some of the events took place a while back. First, CHORUS.
our annual show, “Barbershop Classics,” took place The real story of this journey was that this was the
in April and was a huge success. It featured quartets first district convention to which over 60 percent of
CORNERSTONE, FERMATA NOWHERE, Windsor’s own our chapter had attended. What a blast! The contests,
BORDER CROSSING, along with our SUN PARLOUR the new friends, tag singing, and the up-front view of
CHORUS. Many thanks go to Show Chairman Andy our fine district organization were true eye openers.
McCann and his helpers. Besides, the district gained at least 14 new expert
Our district competitors, BORDER CROSSING and judges to call on! Seriously, we highly recommend
the SUN PARLOUR CHORUS, both did well. We did using busing as the way to and from conventions held
ourselves real proud. Rest assured we’ll be back in away from the past southern state locations (like 2004
the fall and hopefully improve upon our scores. Bot- spring convention and 2002 Bush League in Gay-
tom line — we had fun. lord). Interested chapter organizers can contact Jim
Chapterwise, we continue to roll along. One of the Quin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
more pleasing aspects is not only our numbers but,
more importantly, the number of quartets that are try-
ing to get organized within our chapter. Not unusual Muskegon
to get to chapter meetings a little early and hear a By Frank Scott
couple of quartets practicing in the back room. Keep Chorus Manager Tom Porritt has booked our chorus
it up, guys. That’s what its all about. Maybe they’ll be and float for three parades and two summer concerts.
on stage some day. The chorus is learning new music for our 62nd annual
(Continued on page 22)
Making its pitch for barbershop quartets Architectural beauty
(Continued from page 20) If you are more a fan of architecture than harmonic
singing, Harmony Hall is worth a visit in its own
Way You Roll Your Eyes,” and “The Sandman” to right. It was originally the mansion home of Walter
advance to the next round and, a day later, the cham- H. Alford, an early automotive industry titan. Not bad
pionship. for a house the Society acquired for back taxes of
Two thousand fans were said to have greeted them $75,000.
when they returned to Two Rivers (so not everyone You might say — at least I will — they got it for a
was a sibling) and a career was launched. The quartet song.
did 110 performances that year, including “The Ed Harmony Hall is open free to the public year
Sullivan Show” and Arthur Godfrey’s radio program. ’round, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to
Over the next 35 years, they did 2,857 shows, trav- 5:00 p.m. For more information, call (262) 653-8440
eled 2 million miles, and recorded seven albums be- or visit www.spebsqsa.org.
fore Joe died in 1985. The brothers had earlier agreed
never to replace a member, so the singing Schmitts
22 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
year as we bring together POWER PLAY and FOUR
Chapters MAN FISHIN’ TACKLE CHOIR.
Finally, it saddens me to report that, for the first
in Action time since its inception in 1990, we don’t have a re-
cipient of the Bill Butler Quartet Coaching Scholar-
ship Fund this year. This fund was created in 1990 to
(Continued from page 21) support quartets and quartet coaches with scholar-
show in September. Featured quartets will be WJBC ships at Harmony Round-Up. We had been able to
and the PATCH CHORDS. send at least one district quartet or quartet coach to
John Tyler, VP of chapter development, has ob- our district mini-HEP every year from 1990 through
tained a date for the chapter to sponsor a “Party in the 2001. Currently, we have $100 in the fund. So we are
Park” for August 16. These parties take place in soliciting contributions in hopes of reviving this
Hackley Park in downtown Muskegon on most Friday scholarship next year.
evenings during the summer.
We’re inviting all members of neighboring chap- Flint
ters to attend and enjoy this event. Call John at 231-
755-3088 for more information. By Guy Hissong
Hello, fellow chord ringers. The ARROWHEAD CHO-
RUS once again had a great time at the wonderful
Detroit-Oakland spring convention. It’s always nice to see so many
By Tom Uicker fellow Barbershoppers and hear them sing.
First of all, let me invite you to the “Return of the Jim Massey is giving us some excellent tips and
Jug” Night on Friday, June 7. The party will be held coaching on woodshedding. This will definitely get
at Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church hall, some of those guys interested who thought they
29123 W. 6 Mile Road in Livonia, Mich. The doors couldn’t do it.
open at 7:00 p.m., with the food served at 8:00. We We are presently gearing up for our show that will
expect POWER PLAY to be there as well as many other be held on June 1, “Happy Daze.” Show times are
quartets and choruses. 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at Grand Blanc High School.
Second, we appreciate all the thanks and well- See our Web site at http://community.mlive.com/cc/
wishes resulting from our recent hosting of the district flintbarbershop for a map to the auditorium. Special
spring convention. We discovered the void in hosting guest quartets will be CROSSFIRE and the lovely
chapters at the same time we won the district chorus Sweet Adeline’s TALK OF THE TOWN. We hope to see
championship. We were glad to be able to step up and you there.
lend our experience in filling this void.
It was also nice to attend a district convention Monroe North
without the stress of competition. We had four or five
members who had not been to a convention previ- By Chris Berry
ously. For them and their spouses to get involved with Since the beginning of the year, much has hap-
so many other chapter members working toward a pened — some good and some not. Our membership
common goal brings a spirit that is hard to attain in was on the decline, we cancelled our show, we got a
other activities of the chapter. new director, and we brought in a new board of direc-
We wish all the best for Kalamazoo, hosting this tors. All of this would ordinarily be cause for alarm,
fall, and Huron Valley, hosting next spring. And for but the chapter members have pulled together to put
other chapters that haven’t taken the opportunity to the chapter back on its feet and move forward.
host a district convention, we would encourage you to As a chapter, we’ve set two goals for ourselves
seriously look at doing so in the future. this year. The first is to reach a membership goal of
Third, we will be performing at the Nardin Park 25 by the end of the year, and the second is to have at
Concert Series on Wednesday, July 17, in Farmington least 12 performances this year.
Hills. And we will have a whole new show ready for Easy goals you would think, but not so with 13
next February. We are going with local talent next members at the time the goals were set. Since Janu-
May/June/July 2002 Pioneer Troubadour 23
ary, we’ve raised our membership to 18 and will have Another evening highlight was the presentation by
had five performances by the end of May! We are set- Chris Miller of the Pontiac-Waterford Honorary “Big
ting up a dinner show for September and are in the Chief” trophy to Russ Seely for Russ’s many contri-
process of creating a committee for next year’s show. butions to our singing society.
We’re coming back strong and invite anyone inter-
ested in singing with us to stop on down. Grosse Pointe
By Nick Piccione
Pontiac-Waterford The Grosse Pointe Chapter keeps moving up the lad-
By John Cowlishaw der at district competition. At Lansing this spring, our
Our BIG CHIEF CHORUS sang to a 9th-place finish at LAKESHORE CHORUS captured a very respectible third
the district spring convention. We scored 667 points place … only five points out of second … Wow!
singing “Let’s Get Away From It All” and “If I Had Russ Seely worked his magic by wringing out
the Last Dream Left in the World.” It was not quite every last drop of emotion and quality sound from his
what we’d hoped for, given the growth (to 61 mem- “meatheads” as he directed “I’ve Found My Sweet-
bers, putting 44 on stage) and improvement we’ve ex- heart, Sally.” Steve Pauling directed his very special
perienced in recent months. But it’s always exciting rendition of “Get Out and Get Under the Moon.”
to be out on the stage. Amazingly, they scored almost identical total points.
We’ve benefited from the coaching of Linda Lid- Thanks, Russ and Steve, for giving us that most
dicoatt (half-funded by a Michigan Council of the wonderful gift of making us proud of ourselves.
Arts mini-grant) and from the Pioneer District Chorus Our chapter newsletter, the Pitch Pipe, has become
Coaching Clinic on the Michigan State University so exceptional in substance, readability, layout, repro-
campus March 2, of which 35 of our guys attended duction, and general overall quality that it has been
despite the snow. recognized by the Pioneer District as an award win-
Our senior quartet, SUNNYSIDE, sang in two school ner. Therefore, the Grosse Pointe spotlight falls on
programs in the Florida Keys that raised nearly our inimitable and talented Pitch Pipe editor, Bob
$2,000 for the schools, one in Sugar Loaf Key and the Rancilio. Rather than go on about Bob’s many abili-
other in Marathon Key. They also spent Friday, April ties, I’d just like to say:
12, at Clarkston Elementary School as part of Festival Any writer of particular note,
USA. Lyle Howard joined Dick Johnson, Roger Is remembered by the things that he wrote.
Holm, and Smitty Smith to conduct classes in Barber- Bringing news to the guys is his mission,
shop harmony for the kids (kindergarten through fifth Although quite hard to fill all those pages,
grade). Dick brought a large collage of BBS memora- Bobby does it for love, not for wages.
bilia. What a wonderful educational experience for We can’t wait to see each new edition!
the kids! And Dick says it was “superfine, super-
satisfying!” for the quartet.
Five chapters attended this year’s woodshed con-
test, and Bill Pascher awarded the Bennington Trophy
for best chapter attendance and participation to Harmony College is a solid
Grosse Pointe. The SILVER DOMES (John Wearing,
Russ Seely, John Wade, and Gene Bulka) were the week of solid Barbershop
judges at Pontiac-Waterford’s 46th Annual Wood-
shed Contest. They judged the singing of 18 quartets
(72 singers) and their ability to join together in har-
H armony College is one of the great experi-
ences of membership in the Society. It’s held
each year at Missouri Western State College in St.
mony. Joseph, Mo. Dates this year are July 28 to August
THE FOUR HOOTS — lead Frank Fortier (Grosse 4. (See the ad on the back cover of the March/April
Pointe), tenor Fred McFadyen (Macomb), bari Mike issue of The Harmonizer.)
Profitt (Grosse Pointe), and bass Bob Wisdom (Motor For more information or to register, call 800-
City Metro) won the contest. 876-7464 x-8551, or on-line at email@example.com.
24 Pioneer Troubadour May/June/July 2002
Wayne Chapter, SPEBSQSA, Inc.
36500 Ann Arbor Trail NON-PROFIT ORG.
U. S. POSTAGE
Livonia MI 48150
Last week when I went to my LIVONIA, MI
bank, I asked the teller to check PERMIT NO. 1034
my balance. She leaned over and
Never fry bacon in the nude!
It doesn’t matter what tempera-
ture the room is; it’s always room
Marriage is the process of find-
ing out what kind of man your Postmaster: Dated material – Please RUSH!
wife would have preferred. An official publication of the Pioneer District Association of Chapters of the Society for the
Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc.
May 10 - Holland Show.
May 11 - Macomb Show. michigan council for
arts and cultural affairs
May 17-19 - Harmony Round-Up at MSU. Contact Dan
May 19 - Hillsdale Show.
June 1-2 - Flint Show.
June 7 - Return of the Jug Night. Contact Tom Uicker: 248-
June 7-8 - Traverse City Show.
June 14 - Windsor Send-Off. Contact Doran McTaggart:
June 15 - Jim Stephens Tribute. See page 15.
June 30-July 7 - International Convention, Portland, Ore.
July 28-Aug. 4 - Harmony College, Missouri Western State
College, St. Joseph, Mo.
Sept. 14 - Huron Valley Show.
Sept. 27-28 - Gaylord Bush League. Contact Hank
Sept. 28 - Muskegon Show.
Oct. 18-20 - Pioneer District Convention & Competition,
Battle Creek, Mich.
Note: All chapter show activities must be cleared
through Pioneer District Secretary Marvin Skupski
(contact information on page 2).