HARMO-ssourian Tuesday July 29 2003
- Ypsilanti brings 30% of chapter to HCDC!
Jeff Woodruff, director of the Ypsilanti Motor City Metro Chapter, has known
some hard times.
"We were the powerhouse a few years ago, an international competitor under
director Bob Whitledge," said Woodruff, telling a familiar tale. "But a lot
of guys left when Bob moved on, and we haven't ever recovered. Once a large
chorus; now, we're not even large enough to compete at our Pioneer District
competition. I became director after losing about 4 or 5 directors and
inherited about 5 singing members."
Desperate times called for desperate measures. "I placed an ad in the Talent
Wanted section of a local alternative newspaper inviting vocal musicians to
audition for a vocal ensemble."
Brandon Mattson answered the ad and has been hooked ever since. Brandon has
managed to bring in 4 new members in the last 2 years, including
friend-of-a-friend Aaron Wolf. All three are here this week - meaning 30% of
the ten active members are taking a step up in their barbershopping skills.
This fits the chapter's philosophy: "Build the individual singer, build the
"Because we only have 10 singers, there can be no learners in our chorus,"
said Woodruff. "Everyone sings in a quartet at least once each week,
sometimes more to give everyone a chance. No one refuses; as guests come in
they don't know any different. Our guests sing in quartets the first day
they visit. We stop what we are doing to teach them a simple song or at
least a tag and they are asked to sing before the night is over. We are
building a chorus of men who love to sing in quartets and chorus," said
Woodruff. "Isn't that what it's all about?"
Here comes 2004. and Louisville!
Dave Duncan reminds us it's time to turn our attention to next year and the
week of 27 JUNE to 04 JULY, 2004. "More than 500 volunteers helped to make
the Montreal convention the success that it was, and now it's our turn to
show what Louisville and Cardinal District hospitality is all about. Things
are already beginning to heat up. There are about 2500 people already
registered to attend, and the local Convention and Visitors Bureau has
logged hundreds of calls about hotel accommodations and local attractions
(You can call them for information but the hotels won't be available for
bookings until publication of the MARCH/APRIL issue of the Harmonizer in
Drop off a registration form in the HCDC office, or register online at
www.spebsqsa.org/lousiville , or email Louisville2004@... for more
in depth information.
Singing Valentines creates SureFire! quartet
SureFire, from the Kansas City Heart of America chorus) demonstrates an
important chapter benefit of Singing Valentines. A two-day stint of
deliveries birthed a quartet that has in 18 months reached third place
finish at the CSD Fall contest in 2002, and in a few weeks heads to
Columbus, Ohio to participate in the Buckeye Invitational.
This is SureFire's first trip to Harmony College, and judging by day one,
probably not its last. While fortunate to receive regular coaching from the
redoubtable Jim Bagby, Harmony College offers intensive ongoing coaching
from "stars" in a number of areas.
"We want to keep improving and hope our audiences enjoy hearing barbershop
as much as we enjoy performing it," said lead Mike Neff. Baritone Grant
Hunget said "I really like the ice cream. Oh, and who is this Don Kahl guy?"
Back in the saddle again
by Gary Stamm
After nearly twenty years on the Society staff, and 21 Harmony Colleges, I
find myself this year as one of the volunteer faculty members. Friends have
been asking what I am doing professionally these days.
I am the Executive Director of Main Stay Therapeutic Riding Program, Inc. As
the name implies, Main Stay provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons to
physically, developmentally and emotionally handicapped young people. The
beautiful forty-acre farm owned by Main Stay where the lessons take place is
in rural Richmond, Illinois about twenty-five miles southwest of Kenosha (or
50 miles northwest of Chicago.) Approximately 80 students ride each year and
the program owns 10 horses. There are four instructors and five additional
My career with the Society and Harmony Foundation was a great experience. In
nearly 20 years on the staff I made hundreds of friends and had some
unforgettable opportunities. I am also very proud of my accomplishments for
the organization, including establishing the audio-video program, overseeing
some pioneering marketing research that is once again seeing light and
establishing a functional foundation operation.
I wish the best of luck to new Foundation Executive Director Clarke
Caldwell. I also thank my dear friends who stayed in contact with me and
offered their encouragement and support these past nine months. I look
forward to serving the Society as a Certified Judge, a COTS instructor and
in whatever capacity presents itself-and, of course, singing.
Nine ways to sing with your kids (or grand kids) everyday
by Brian Lync, proud singing daddy of Jack and Katie
Spend enough time away at Harmony College, and your kids might forget who
you are. Bring back something they can treasure: a dad (or granddad) who
shares music with his kids everyday.
Two important messages we hear again and again these days:
. We need to encourage youth to sing
. Kids need parents who are deeply engaged with them.
What could possibly be better than singing with your kids? And yet. how
hard, in a culture of music produced professionally, absorbed passively.
Sing a morning song.
"Oh! What A Beautiful Morning", "It's A Good Day", "On A Wonderful Day Like
Today" -- the list is endless. Come in to your child's room with a happy
song on your lips and start the day with a cheerful wakeup.
Pick the fun classics, with accompanying picture books.
Peter and Wolf, of course, and the Magic Flute, both of which have good
picture book edition, which adds a reading element to reinforce the music.
Another Lynch family favorite: The Remarkable Farkle McBride by John Lithgow
(of TV and film fame, but also a fun singer for kids.)
Sing in the car -- your kids' songs don't have to drive you crazy.
Thanks to cheap CD burners, you can make up your own mixes of favorites from
your family compact disc library. (If these are recordings you have
purchased legitimately, making your own personal-use mixes is legal under
the home use provisions of the copyright law.) Try American standards of
Berlin, Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers etc. sung in nice, clean settings by Ella
Fitzgerald, Michael Feinstein, Harry Connick, Jr. Mandy Patinkin, and
Take them to elementary & middle school concerts.
Show them other kids who like to sing. Most little ones want to do what the
bigger kids can do. Plus, you can teach them how to behave in the audience,
in a setting where slips and outbursts will be less disturbing to others (or
at least not unexpected.)
Sing patriotic and religious songs at meals, prayer time, etc
Make a ritual of it. Kids thrive on ritual and routine, and musical
affirmations of faith in God and country certainly fit that bill.
Watch kids' shows and movies, get the CD, and transfer what they already
understand into active listening and participation.
Accepting the fact that they will watch TV, turn it to your advantage by
encouraging active imagination through Theater of the mind. Get soundtracks
to play in the car, and challenge your child to describe the action
associated with the music. Toy Story I & II have wonderful soundtracks of
intelligent, melodic music.
Watch "The Music Man" and other classics of musical theater.
"Ah, there's nothing like a brass band. When I hear them peckhorns..." Share
the pageantry, energy and fun of Meredith Willson's classic, and identify
the instruments as they pass in parade. It makes listening to the music in
the car all the more fun.
Always say thank you.
"I sure love making music with you, buddy. Making music makes me feel good."
Sing a lullaby.
End the night with happy songs. Ritual and repetition are reassuring. We do
a happy dance very night ("Sunday, Monday, happy dance, Tuesday Wednesday,
happy dance") to remind ourselves to not fuss and go right to sleep.