Monday, June 8, 2009

June, 2009 #1

It Was A Beautiful Day For Baseball
And For Singin

The chorus' singing of The National Anthem at Progressive Field was one important part of a day of fun. Some barbershoppers met early on Sunday, May 31 for breakfast. Then chapter members and their families and friends began arriving at the ballpark. The venue at Gate A had a lot of activity and loud music. It was decided to move our pre-game singing to the area outside Gate C. This turned out to be a good choice.

We positioned ourselves near the Bob Feller statue and entertained a very appreciative crowd for about 30 minutes. Some people just gathered at our location and others listened while they waited in line for admission to Progressive Field. The time seemed to pass quickly and we just had time to get in KTWWS before heading back to the Gate A area to wait for our escort onto the field.

Very soon, but not before we worked in a couple more songs, we began our journey through the tunnels and then out onto the field. No need to worry about whether or not we were warmed up. The first pitch was thrown, the color guard took their place and then we were introduced. (Our first pitch was an "E")

What a feeling! Surrounded by your friends, singing
the anthem of our country in front of tens of thousands of people. It's just not something that happens everyday.

The fans showed their appreciation as we left the field and the reviews from those back in section 304 were very positive. And to top it all off, the Indians won the game over the Yankees in the ninth inning. Maybe we were a good luck talisman. Should we suggest that the controversial Chief Wahoo be replaced by a barberpole logo? Slider looks more like an old fashioned shaving brush than an Indian anyway.

A huge thank you to all who made this perfor
mance possible and to those who sang. It really was a wonderful day and great publicity for our chorus and barbershopping in general.

For anyone who missed the videos that have been emailed and for those of you who are readers of the bulletin but not on our mailing list, here they are again.

Congratulations, Jack
Though he has been a member for a while now, Jack Kunklier (left) officially received his membership materials at our June 2 rehearsal. Jack is shown here with Charles "Rip" Wilson, who brought Jack into the barbershop fold. Applause to both men.

Getting To Know Us

The mystery chorus member this month has been a resident of northeast Ohio for his entire life, living in Kent for the past 22 years. He has been a chorus member and a barbershopper for 5 years. He is married and has two children.

He spent his first 5 years on a farm that was ver
y near to where his German ancestors settled around 1832. Before starting school, his family moved to another farm that was about 25 miles away. This location would be home until a couple of years after high school graduation.

Early music exposure included listening to country
music on the radio in the barn while cows were being milked. There is no evidence that the music made the animals produce more milk, but they seemed to enjoy the sound as much as the humans did.

When school started, this young man had to walk a bit to get to the school bus stop. His best friend, of the same age, lived a quarter mile farther from the bus stop. So each school day morning, the friend would walk to meet our future barbershopper and they would continue together for another mile or so. This was in all kinds of weather. And rumor has it that it was uphill both ways.

With a lot of time on their hands while they walked, what else could they do but sing. They got pretty good at two part harmony on country and gospel songs as well as rock and roll tunes from the radio. Mothers always knew when the boys were coming home because they could hear the singing from at least a half mile away.

Our mystery man became a member of the high school band at age 10, playing cornet. During his eight years in this group, the band received a Superior rating at State Contest each year. Other musical activities inclu
ded forming an acapella quartet to sing a couple of songs at the school prom and being in a four piece band that played songs from the 1940's. Possibly the smallest big band on record.

While working on a degree from Kent State University, he met his future wife. In the summers, to pay for college, jobs included making school lockers at Berger Div. of Republic Steel in Canton, working at a ceramic tile plant in East Sparta and helping to produce sausages and lunch meats at Sugardale, Inc.

Teaching and marriage followed college. Musical activities continued in the form of church choirs, and several different country music and classic rock bands.

Traveling has always been a part of this man's life. He and his wife spent six weeks on the road from Ohio to California and back, living in
a two-person tent. Husband and wife repeated this trip 13 years later in a pop-up tent trailer with two children. Since retirement arrived in 2004, the word is that the camping these days is not quite so primitive.

Barbershop Glossary

Aspirate- Breathy The sound of unvocalized breath passing over the vocal chords.

Chest Voice- A term related to imagery, not reality
. The feeling of sympathetic vibrations in the chest.

Exhalation- Breathing out. In singing, it is the act of m
anaging the release of breath needed for the length of a phrase.

Resonators- Any of the parts and cavities of t
he vocal instrument that acoustically reinforce sound. Principal resonators are the throat and the mouth, with sympathetic vibrations in the upper chest and nasal area.

Tremolo- Excessively wide or fast vibrato that leads to a loss of a distinct sense of central pitch. Usually caused by poor breath su
pport and a faulty control of the singing muscles.

Bill Weddington- 6/11
Don Jones- 6/13
Hal Moses- 6/14
Bill Halter- 6/18

The Songs We Sing
(Chattanooga Choo Choo)

(we are testing a format in the paragraph below. If you are interested in finding out about any of the terms printed in blue, just click and you shall receive more information, courtesy of Wikipedia. Just click the "back" arrow on your browser to return to the bulletin page)

Chattanooga Choo Choo" is a big-band/swing song which was featured in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade, which starred Sonja Henie, John Payne, Glenn Miller and his orchestra, The Modernaires, Milton Berle and Joan Davis. It was performed in the film as an extended production number, featuring vocals by Tex Beneke, Paula Kelly, and the Modernaires followed by a production number showcasing Dorothy Dandridge and an acrobatic dance sequence by The Nicholas Brothers. This was the #1 song across the United States on December 7, 1941. The Glenn Miller recording, RCA Bluebird B-11230-B, was no.1 for nine weeks on the Billboard Best Sellers chart.

The 78-rpm commercial version of the song was recorded on May 7, 1941 for RCA Victor's Bluebird label and became the first to be certified a gold disc on February 10, 1942, for sales of 1,200,000. The transcription of this award ceremony can be heard on the first of three volumes of RCA's "Legendary Performer" compilations on Glenn released by RCA in the 1970s. In the early 1990s a two-channel recording of a portion of the Sun Valley Serenade soundtrack was discovered, allowing reconstruction of a true-stereo version of the film performance.

In 1996, the 1941 recording of "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra on Bluebird, B-11230-B, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The song was written by the team of Mack Gordon and Harry Warren while traveling on the Southern Railway's "Birmingham Special" train. The song tells the story of travelling from New York City to Chattanooga. However, the inspiration for the song was a small, wood-burning steam locomotive of the 2-6-0 type which belonged to the Cincinnati Southern Railroad, which is now part of the Norfolk Southern Railway system. That train is now a museum artifact (see below). From 1880, most trains bound for America's South passed through the southeastern Tennessee city of Chattanooga, often on to the super-hub of Atlanta. The Chattanooga Choo Choo did not refer to any particular train, though some[who?] have incorrectly asserted that it referred to Louisville and Nashville's Dixie Flyer or the Southern Railway's Crescent Limited.

Barbershop News

Champs in Hollywood

The Dapper Dans barbershop quartet has been performing at Disneyland in Anaheim, California since 1959; making this year their 50th anniversary in show business. To commemorate this milestone, and because the Dans have touched so many lives for so many years, the Barbershop Harmony Society will present the Dans with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The presentation takes place on July 4 at 7:15 pm during the Quartet Finals Session in front of a packed house at Anaheim’s Honda Center. Members of the Dapper Dans from around the world will be invited on stage to share in the celebration. The presentation will conclude with a special performance by the Anaheim Dappers.

Several of the Dapper Dans are members of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Adding a unique touch to their performances, the Dapper Dans use Deagan Organ Chimes as part of their act. Each of the eight chimes has three octaves of a single note, comprising a C scale. The Organ Chimes were made by the J.C. Deagan Company in Chicago, IL around 1901.



A sampling of highlights from news articles, on-air programming and interviews
with some of our more famous “alumni”

Notes from the press…

The Orange County Register Monday, August 21, 2006
Like rock stars of harmony, chorus is big hit at the internationals.
By Lori Basheda
Costa Mesa - They're like a cross between pop heartthrob Justin Timberlake and Disneyland's Main Street-strolling Dapper Dans. And in this topsy-turvy world we live in, it should come as no surprise that a lot of girls are going for that combo.
Yes, the Westminster (barbershop) Chorus has groupies. Hundreds of groupies. Groupies who are under the age of 50…

Washington Post Feb. 7, 2007
John Kelly, columnist
Barbershop singing, a quintessentially American form of close harmony, is like aural
honey…The sound sets the air vibrating and tickles the ear like a cat tongue licking your cheek.

…and from some of our celebrity honorary members and current members

Opera star Sherrill Milnes, currently on faculty at Northwestern University
“Barbershop is very sharp, clean and exciting. There is a lot of muscle in that kind of harmony.”

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Jimmy Merchant, currently a member of the Barbershop
Harmony Society’s Salisbury, Maryland, chapter
“You guys have taken American street corner harmony a step further and it is amazing to me what you can do with your sound.”

Broadway actor, touring company “Phantom” and barbershop harmony gold medalist Gary Mauer
“Hearing barbershop harmony somehow makes me feel whole…Even now, no matter what role I’m playing, I think deep down inside me I’m subconsciously still trying to sing like (quartet gold medalist) Ted Bradshaw.”

Grammy-award-winning vocalist Bill Gaither
“I have been a fan for years. The Buffalo Bills recording of ‘Lida Rose’ was my first encounter with barbershop back in the mid-1950s, and I said, ‘Hey, there’s something different about this four-part harmony, let me figure this out.’ I don’t think I ever got it figured out, but it’s good!”

For The Good Of The Order