Just received the following notice from SPEBSQSA headquarters in
The Ritz, 1991 [SPEBSQSA] international champion, has announced that
the quartet will retire following the 2004 international convention
in Louisville. Interestingly, Louisville is where the quartet won
the international championship.
The Ritz got started like most quartets, for their love of music,
harmony and the barbershop style of singing. As time went by, these
four music educators - Jim Shisler, tenor; Doug 'Nic' Nichol, lead;
D.J. Hiner, baritone; and Ben Ayling, bass - found lots of other
reasons for being. They found that they had four extraordinarily
well matched voices and personalities. They found a warm, unusual
and loving brotherhood. They found themselves improving
musically ... enough so that they had a real shot at our highest
honor, the coveted international quartet championship and the gold
Both before and after their winning performance in 1991, The Ritz
showed its championship colors by being more than a great quartet.
They were, in fact, making their mark as ambassadors of harmony
around the world and throughout our Society as skilled teachers and
coaches, as emissaries of our unique style in schools and colleges,
and as mentors to developing quartets. They were the featured
quartet on the Society's first trip to Russia.
The Ritz will leave a tremendous legacy of accomplishments and
contributions to the Society. As a quartet dedicated to giving of
their time and talents for the betterment of the Society and the
Association of International Champions, they saw a way of doing even
more. They were the first quartet to join the O.C. Cash Founder's
Club at the gold ($100,000) level. Their very generous and leading
donation to Harmony Foundation, the charitable arm of the Society,
set the stage for other quartets to follow.
Having personally known Jim, Nic, D.J. and Ben since the beginning,
it is my honor to say thanks and congratulations for a brilliant
career and to offer my best personal wishes and those of the Society
to them as they begin to wind down.
Whoever it was that said "All good things must come to an end," had
to be thinking about The Ritz. And what a good thing The Ritz has
--Darryl Flinn, Executive Director and friend.
NOTE: The Ritz will continue to accept show dates through June of
2004. The quartet can be reached at Ritzben @ aol.com (close up
P.S.: For those of you who don't know 'em, The Ritz is based in the
Detroit/Toledo area, but they've become known worldwide. Their Web
site is at http://theritz.kordsmen.org/.
member Shoreliner Chorus (http://www.nsn.org/evkhome/bflat)
member New Tradition Chorus (http://www.newtradition.org)
founder Barbershop Harmony Chicagoland (http://www.bbs.singer.as)