Monday, December 17, 2012

Special Youth In Harmony Edition

In case you didn't know, our Youth In Harmony Chairman, Mike Sitter, was very busy last month spreading the knowledge and love of barbershop to area high school students.  This issue of The Bulletin chronicles the events of Thursday, December 13.  I was privileged to attend the visit to Firestone High School and took the videos that are included here.

Con Men quartet wows 
area high school singers

By Mike Sitter, Youth in Harmony Chairman

Current International third-place collegiate bronze medalist and reigning District quartet champion Con Men provided an enormous boost to the Akron Chapter’s Youth in Harmony program. The quartet visited Green, Firestone and Kent Roosevelt high schools on December 13 with Tom Gentry and your reporter.

Con Men’s tenor David Strasser, lead Matthew Hopper, baritone Russell Watterson and bass Brent Suver met as freshman at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio. The quartet members belong to the Greater Central Ohio Chapter and sing with its award winning Alliance chorus. These four talented young men represent barbershop beautifully, and they relate so well with the high school singers. We were privileged and grateful to be able to feature them on our school visits.

The visits helped to cement relations with some of the area’s finest choral programs, and promoted the chapter’s 2013 annual show on April 5-6. Con Men treated choral and musical theatre students to first-rate singing, promoted Singing Buckeyes Harmony Camp, taught tags and mingled gracefully with the young performers. The YIH team encouraged the formation of high school quartets and offered to support them with sheet music, learning tracks and coaching. One of the chapter’s YIH goals is to spawn student quartets who can compete in district contests and perform on chapter shows.

The road show began at Green High School, where choral director Alaina Starr and musical theatre teacher Scott Bantum welcomed the team. Ms. Starr was familiar with the Akron Chapter, as Keyed Up quartet had visited one of her classes a few years ago. About 45 of Green’s choral and drama students spent an hour and a half listening to, and singing for and with Con Men. A lively question and answer session followed. Then the students entertained the barbershoppers with a stirring performance of Without Love from the musical Hairspray.

After the structured presentation, the air was thick with energy and musicality as students, teachers and guests mingled over refreshments. Some of the male students expressed interest in attending Harmony Camp and in forming a quartet. One of the leads in the school’s production of Hairspray regaled the assemblage with a soulful rendition of Mary Had a Baby.

The next stop on the tour was Firestone High School, Akron’s magnet school for the performing arts. Waiting were approximately 70 of Sally Schneider’s male choral students and half a dozen young men from Barbara Bellamy’s choral class at Kenmore High School. Your editor was also there to cover the event and to shoot photos and videos for this bulletin.

After singing a couple of songs and touting Harmony Camp, Con Men taught the young men the Impossible Dream tag. The students’ performance of the tag was so good that it prompted the presenters to ask for an encore performance. Ms. Schneider then showed her chops by carrying the lead part to the Bonnie Jean tag with Con Men. The Q & A session included several questions about the academic and musical lives of the quartet’s members. Con Men seized this opportunity to encourage the students to continue singing throughout their lives regardless what careers they pursue.

What followed was an excellent rendition by Ms. Schneider’s class of the barbershop chart of Jingle Bells and of a beautiful arrangement of White Christmas. Con Men then earned a standing ovation with Taking a Chance on Love to close the session. Ms. Schneider asked Con Men to linger a few minutes to work with her women’s choir, who were polishing a jazz chart of Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. The quartet readily obliged and, predictably, earned new fans.

Kent Roosevelt High School was the final stop of the day. Choral director Corey Fowler hosted as Con Men performed for nearly a hundred choral students in the school’s auditorium. One of the highlights occurred when Con Men called the school’s own barbershop quartet, Tetrad, on stage and taught them the In Lillie’s Eyes tag. After singing the tag once through with Con Men, Tetrad sang it without assistance and nailed it, much to the delight of their peers.

The day climaxed with a lengthy private coaching session as Con Men worked with Tetrad on Darkness on the Delta and Roll, Jordan, Roll. Tetrad plans to compete in the Johnny Appleseed District high school quartet contest in the spring. Judging by their performance and their responsiveness to coaching, they should do very well at contest. If they continue to progress, there is a good chance they will be invited to perform on our annual show in April. Wouldn’t that be a treat for our audience

Thanks, Mike, for all you do.

Monday, July 16, 2012

July, 2012

Portland Convention Recap

Quartet Champions

Ringmasters made history in Portland by becoming the very first quartet from a Society affiliate to win the coveted quartet gold medal. Travelling all the way from Stockholm, Sweden, Ringmasters combined fantastic singing with championship-level entertainment to bring back a gold medal for the Society of Nordic Barbershop Singers (SNOBS) Affiliate. Ringmasters is tenor Jakob Stenberg, lead Rasmus Krigström, baritone Emanuel Roll, and bass Martin Wahlgren.

Chorus Champions

Under the direction of Jim Henry, this is the third gold medal for the Ambassadors of Harmony, having already won the coveted gold medal in 2004 and in 2009.

Collegiate Quartet Champions

Lemon Squeezy is tenor Alexander Löfstedt, lead Victor Nilsson, baritone Jonathan von Döbeln, and bass Martin Jangö.  Another gold medal for a Swedish quartet.

(There are videos of the champs later in this issue)

Chapter quartet is Keyed Up 
for new citizens

Keyed Up quartet was delighted to perform as part of the Naturalization Oath Ceremony at Akron’s Main Library auditorium on June 29. The quartet sang four patriotic songs during a program that culminated with 49 people from 30 different countries swearing their allegiance to the United States.

“It was the most moving event I have had the privilege of singing at as part of a quartet,” noted tenor Denny Conrad. “I started choking up several times while singing, as I realized what the lyrics of our songs meant to me and to others in attendance. It was gratifying that many of the new citizens and their family members asked to pose for pictures with the quartet after the ceremony. Several of them voiced an interest in visiting a chapter meeting.”

“It was an honor to share in the joy and pride of our newest citizens,” mused Mike Sitter, who filled in for bass Jim Murfin. “I was thrilled for those who were about to enjoy the rights and freedoms we have known all our lives.”

Keyed Up sang God Bless America, Tom Gentry’s arrangement of So Many Voices Sing America’s Song, America the Beautiful and Star-Spangled Banner.

The International Institute, which promotes immigrant integration, ethnic diversity and international communication, hosted the event. The honorable John R. Adams, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio served as keynote speaker and administered the Oath of Allegiance.  


National Anthem at Canal Park

In what has become an enjoyable, annual tradition, The Derbytown Chorus sang "The Star Spangled Banner" at the Akron Aeros' game on Tuesday, July 3.  The proximity to our nation's birthday and the fireworks display after the game made this occasion a little more special.  

July Birthdays

George Bachmann-7/1
Virgil Koppes-7/4
Larry Steele-7/4
Dan Nichols-7/7
Kirk Roose-7/12
J. C. Ward-7/18
Dick Frank-7/21
Stan Haught-7/21
Gerald Borg-7/23

Recent Rehearsal Guests

Matt McIntyre and Liam Eitman

Liam Eitman and Dan Bishop

Listen To The Gold Medal Winners


Ambassadors of Harmony

Lemon Squeezy


Upcoming Chorus Performances
(look for details at rehearsals and in the High Notes)

July 29-Copley Circle
August 4-Veterans Park in Clinton

Monday, June 18, 2012

June, 2012


Indians Ball Game

(remember, click on any Bulletin picture to enlarge it)

On June 2, we journeyed to Progressive Field in Cleveland to sing the National Anthem before the Indians-Twins game.  The pregame music around the ballpark made it a little difficult to do our usual impromptu concert.  Also, the band playing by the Bob Feller statue prevented our friends and families in section 303 from hearing our on-field singing.  To their credit, the Indians organization sent a nice apology letter regarding this last problem.  The Tribe lost the game, but the post-game fireworks were excellent.  Thanks to all chorus members who participated and for those who cheered us on from the stands.


Spreading The Word About Barbershop

Chapter supports vocal music education

The Akron Chapter made a monetary contribution to the Cuyahoga Falls High School Choral Music Association (CMA) at the school on May 18. Choral Director Jesse Lange and his Choral Elite Ensemble hosted annual show director Mike Sitter, who presented Mr. Lange with a check for $200.

The Elite Ensemble had performed a choral set on the chapter’s 65th annual show, How the West Was Sung, at the high school in March. Lange said the CMA would use the donation to purchase new sheet music for his singers.

Including the Ensemble on our show begins a revival of our chapter’s Youth in Harmony program,” said Sitter, who recently agreed to coordinate the program.

A big Bulletin pat on the back to Mike Sitter for including the YIH program in his busy schedule.  There is more information about this program later in today's Bulletin.

Bob McCullough-6/7
Robin Reid-6/7
Bill Weddington-6/11
Bill Halter-6/18
Don Frame-6/20
Chris Eitman-6/23
Charlie Horning-6/28


Now It's Official

Though Lou Elliott has been with the chorus for a while, at a recent rehearsal, he received his framed membership certificate.  Congratulations, Lou.  It's great to have you singing with us.

Rehearsal Visitors

Chorus member, Chris Eitman, was accompanied to a recent rehearsal by his wife, Sabra and his mother-in-law, Susan Bonnett.


Chapter launches ambitious YIH program

The Akron Chapter’s mission statement says, in part, “We support vocal music education.” Our Youth in Harmony program is the primary vehicle for addressing this task.

New YIH chairman Mike Sitter began the revitalization of the program by including the Cuyahoga Falls High School Choral Elite Ensemble on our 2012 annual show.

“The next step in the process,” Mike said, “is to visit local area high schools and introduce choral students to the barbershop style.” Mike and his YIH team of Scott Giles, Jim Heaton and Tom Gentry began making school visits last month.

On May 21, they visited Akron’s North High School and addressed Richard Eder’s 9th – 12th grade choir. “We were very well received by approximately 30 girls and boys, several of whom speak English as a second language,” said Sitter.

Then, on May 24, the team traveled to Akron’s Kenmore High School, where they visited Barbara Bellamy’s select choir. “About 50 girls and boys responded tremendously,” Sitter noted, “and several students expressed a keen interest in attending Harmony Camp in August.”

The team plans to visit many more schools in the fall. “One of our short-term goals is to include a chorus consisting of quartets from various schools on our 2013 annual show,” Sitter said. “Eventually, we hope to feature high-performing individual quartets on our shows, host local high school quartet contests, and send quartets to district contests.”

For The Good Of The Order
Vocal Spectrum

Upcoming Events

Friday, June 22-Fairlawn Concert
Tuesday, July 3-National Anthem at Canal Park

Watch for details at rehearsals and in the High Notes.

Monday, May 21, 2012

May, 2012

Director of the Year

Our chorus knows that our director, Scott Giles, is a very special and hardworking musician, who devotes tremendous time and effort into making our group the best that it can be.  

Recently, the JAD recognized these same qualities in Scott when he was awarded the Bob Loose Golden Apple Award as the District's Best Director of 2011.

Congratulations to Scott on this well-deserved honor.


Singing In The Sunshine State

As many of you may know, Oscar (Buzz) Fraley, a Chapter member and 54 year member of our Society, winters in Florida.  

As you will soon discover, Buzz was very much involved in barbershop during his latest time down south.

First, Buzz sings with the Hernando Harmonizers, a chorus that represents Hernando County, which is in the west-central section of the state.  Among the other chorus activities, they competed in the Sunshine District Chorus Competition, held in Punta Gorda this past April.  

He also sang with a quartet that starred as the School Board in a performance of "The Music Man" presented by The Stage West Community Playhouse, located in Spring Hill, FL.

(click on the image to enlarge it)

The Weeki Wachi Springs attraction, which is in Hernando County, was the scene of another quartet gig in which Buzz sang.  The quartet delivered a singing Valentine to one of the famous Weeki Wachi mermaids.  I, for one, am more than a little envious of that opportunity.  

It is great to know that one of our own has taken his talents south for the winter and contributed to the enjoyment of barbershop harmony down there as he does with us in Ohio.  Keep up the good work, Buzz, and congratulations on your accomplishments.


2012 Annual Show-The Sequel

On May 5, The Derbytown Chorus performed the main parts of our March show at the beautiful Performing Arts Center in Medina, OH.  Chapter quartets, Gear Shiftin', Summit Chordsmen and Keyed Up also performed to a very appreciative audience.  Guest quartets What's Next and 4 Way Stop added their talents to top off the evening.  An afterglow at Jo Jo's in Medina allowed us to wind down a bit and of course do a little more singing.

Word is that this is an event that may be repeated next year, so watch for future announcements.

(Note:) My apologies to Gear Shiftin'.  I did not get a photo of them at Medina.



Since there were no Bulletin issues in March or April, I will catch up with those birthdays first, then do the current ones.

Dennis Conrad-3/4
Vic Dandrea-3/4
Matt Sherer-3/4
Tom Andrjwski-4/13
Tom Duplaga-3/14
Scott Foltz-3/15
Vic Estafen-3/16
Jack Huggins-3/16
Terry Arman-3/17

David Breen-4/3
Bob Gest-4/3
Oscar Fraley-4/12
Scott Giles-4/12
Ray Stone-4/13
Bryan Waters-4/18
Allen Foltz-4/19
Keith Fuller-4/23
Guyles Clifford-4/29
Jim Heaton-4/30

Charlie Wilson-5/5
Dennis Siwik-5/14
Tom Gentry-5/23
Lou Elliott-5/27
Jim Murfin-5/31


Upcoming Performances

June 2-National Anthem at Progressive Field

June 22-Fairlawn Concert

Check the High Notes for details and updates.

Monday, February 27, 2012

February, 2012

Hall Of Fame Induction

Next month, Akron Chapter member, world-renowned arranger
, and fellow baritone, Tom Gentry, will be inducted in the Barbershop Hall of Fame in Germany. Congratulations, in advance, to Tom. Watch for more details on this story in the March Bulletin.


February Birthdays

Wil Veith- 2/5
Bud Couts- 2/8
Mike Sitter- 2/10
Richard Mull- 2/14
V. Frank Pittman- 2/14
Bill Trumpold- 2/20
John Bracht- 2/21
John Rohal- 2/24
Spike Hudson- 2/26
Rich Gintert- 2/28


2012 Show Songs


Some Of What I've Been Up To Lately

Recently, in an email conversation with Mike Sitter, I talked a little bit about what I had been doing, musically, down here in SW Florida. He suggested putting some of that information in the Bulletin. So, here goes:

Each Tuesday, the choir here at our RV park practices from 2:00-4:00. It's an SATB choir, this is my third year and I sing tenor with this group. ( not too far removed from a barbershop bari part). Other than having fun, our main focus is to prepare some songs for the big park variety show in March. Last year we did medleys from The Music Man and Carousel. This year, it's a medley from The Sound of Music. Then the men are doing "There is Nothing Like A Dame" from South Pacific and the women are doing a very bluesy number called "Men". Our director was a high school vocal instructor for 35 years. He is great to work with, but pushes us enough to get good results.

On Wednesday, the jam sessions that I started in 2010 are held from 3:00-5:00. Musicians from the park come down and we just come up with songs and figure out how to play them. Basically it comes down to picking a key and having at least one person in the group who knows the lyrics. We do a couple of songs for the variety show also and provide accompaniment for some of the other performers. We have 8 regulars now (4 guitars, keyboard, harmonica, baritone ukelele and drums)

I haven't been singing any barbershop here. The baritone ukelele player in our jam band also sings bass in our choir and with the Naples BHS chapter, The Paradise Coastmen. Sue and I attend their show in March each year.

So, I'm keeping my voice in shape and working on the learning tracks for our show too. There is still lots of time to see the sights and relax in the warm weather that we have had this year. Looking forward to seeing all of you sometime in April.

Last Thursday, our jam band provided 2 hours of music for a happy hour (plus 1) at the tiki hut, next to the pool. Here is a sample of that performance. Since half of our musicians are French-Canadians, I found out that baby boomers from Quebec are familiar with Hank Williams Sr. too.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January, 2012

Here is the first of the brief "Florida Issues" of The Bulletin for 2012. This one is a tad late. The schedule down here is fun but quite busy. I'll try to hit the deadline for Feb.

You know what they say. "Changes in latitude, changes in attitude"


Jeff Garber- 1/1
Curtis Paulette- 1/1
Jim Elliott- 1/11
Jim Wolfe- 1/11
Jack Kunklier- 1/12
Stan Martin- 1/14
Bob Horning- 1/18
Larry Bond- 1/21
Bill Kuntz- 1/22
Doug Husser- 1/24


Show Songs