Barbershop Harmony Society



Barbershop Harmony Society
Barbershop Harmony
Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America
DECEMBER 2008– VOL. 64 – NO. 12
Best Wishes for a Joyous Holiday Season
from the Minneapolis Commodores!
The Commodores and the Minnesota Valley Men’s Chorale present Holiday Harmonies and Heartfelt Classics
When the going gets tough, the tough get going! So it
was when the sad albeit anticipated death of
his mother required that our director, Paul
Wigley, withdraw from our Christmas show
with the Minnesota Valley Men's’ Chorale
and on a moment’s notice turn the directorial
reins over to assistant, David Speidel.
Performing with confidence and skill, David,
undaunted, led the Commodores and the
combined choruses at both performances in
further testimony to the good fortune that
brought David and Gary Jacobson to the
Commodores as assistant directors.
Photo by Judy Olson
Sets by the Commodores and the Chorale comprised
the first half. Highlights of the second half
included the usual superb performance by the
Lakeville North High School Now and Then
Singers followed by a magnificent solo in All
Is Well by Chorale [Assistant] director, Randy
Schafer, to open the combined chorus/chorale
portion of the program. During the evening
performance poor Gary Jacobson had to sit
on stage surrounded by the Now and Then
girls as they sang Santa Baby to him. [Tough
luck, Gary, but someone had to do it.]
Thank you, Dave!
In spite of the blustery winter weather about 400 patrons gathered et the Olson Middle School in Bloomington on Saturday, December 6, for the afternoon performance of Holiday Harmonies and Heartfelt Classics.
Pairing in a joint effort with the Minnesota
Valley Men's Chorale was a new experience for the
Commodores as it marked the first time in your editor’s
memory (going back 38 years) that they performed allied with a non-Barbershop singing group.
Minneapolis, Minn. Chapter
Land O’Lakes District, SPEBSQSA
Meetings every Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
House of Prayer Lutheran Church
7625 Chicago Avenue South
Richfield, MN 55423
Chapter Officers
President ……...Mark Ortenburger 952-942-8382
Immed. Past Pres...Terry McClellan 763-780-3484
Marketing/PR V P…Peter Jarnberg 651/7659580
V P Music & Perform...Carl Pinard 612-927-9363
V P Chapter Devel .….Dan Slattery 763-755-2926
Program V P …..……Kevin Huyck 952-322-1241
Secretary………….Bob Ostergaard 952-215-7714
Treasurer …………...John Carlotto 952-925-0886
Board Members
Steve Daniel ……...……………….952-927-0510
Ken Glover…….…………………..763-441-1292
Joe Houser ………………………...612-308-4486
Vern Johnson……………………...763-561-3343
Dick Plaisted (06)…………………763-574-9319
Loren Wuttke……………… ……..952-925-0886
Appointed Staff
Chorus Director ……………………..Paul Wigley
Assistant Chorus Director…….…..Gary Jacobson
Assistant Chorus Director …… …...Doug Miller
Assistant Chorus Director…...…......Dave Speidel
Tenor Section Leader ……………..…Rollie Neve
Lead Section Leaders ……..……...Gary Jacobson
Assistant-Tom Griffiths
Bari Section Leaders ……………….Dave Speidel
Assistant-Pete Villwock
Bass Section Leaders………………..Jim Richards
Assistant-Dave Casperson
2008 Show Chairman ………….…Gary Jacobson
2009 Show Chairman……… …Dr. Hardin Olson
A-Commodears President ………..…Diana Pinard
Assistant Haberdasher………...……Dan Williams
BOTY Party Chairman………..…Dan Krekelberg
Chord-Inator Staff
Editor ……………….…..……Dr. Hardin Olson
Chief Columnist………… ………..Dale Lynch
Senior Columnist…….....….……..Jim Erickson
Artist…………………………..…..Glenn Retter
Heart Fund …………...……………..Dan Slattery
Glows Chairman…………………...Travis Wuttke
Historian ……………………..…Dr. Bob Dykstra
Learning Tapes and CDs...…………….Dan Smith
Librarian ……………………… …. . Bill TeVogt
Marketing …………………...………..Joe Houser
Name Tags …………………………Dick Plaisted
Pay-As-You-Sing ………………...…..Bill Kinkel
Performance Mgr. …………….…...….Bill Kinkel
Polecat Chairman…………….….Dave Casperson
Presentation Chairman ………………..Dan True
Quartet Promotion …………..…Dave Casperson
Roster ……………….……….…Dr. Jim Richards
Service Chairman …………...……….Jack Beaver
Sergeant at Arms ………...…… .Loren Berthilson
Sunshine ………………… …………..Bill Ashley
Swipe Editor ………………………....Bill TeVogt
Uniforms (Dress)……..……......Brooks Bergerson
Uniforms (Casual) ……………..……..Joe Houser
Bulletin Editor
Dr. Hardin Olson
306 13th . Ave. N.
Hopkins, MN 55343
E – mail: <[email protected]>
(952) 930-9443
Page 2
Board Highlights
Hawaii 6-0 - An Election on the
By Mark Ortenburger, President
We’ve heard quite often about how
important it is for each individual to
make a commitment, every time
he steps on the
risers, to sing
and perform to
the very best of
his capabilities.
Ultimately, our
overall performMark Ortenburger
ance and subsequent enjoyment on the part of our
audience, depends on how each of
us chooses to perform. Everyone,
without exception, is an important
contributor to our overall sound.
Individuals make a difference.
Given the recently concluded election season, or mostly concluded
here in Minnesota as we await the
player-to-be-named-later in the
senatorial race, a brief story from an
election almost 50 years past would
seem appropriate. In the days leading up to the 1960 Nixon/Kennedy
presidential election, there was a
great deal of discussion as to how
the electoral votes would fall
(sound familiar?) given the closeness of the race in a number of key
states. Some prognosticators suggested that Hawaii’s few electoral
votes could potentially be the determining factor and, given their most
westerly time zone, the rest of the
country would be waiting for their
results to be reported.
As the election approached, the
polls in Hawaii indicated that there
could be a very tight presidential
race in the 50th state. A little known
part of the Hawaiian Islands is the
privately-held island of Niihau located some 18 miles off the coast of
Kauai. In contrast to the rest of the
islands, the 254 (in 1960) mostlynative Hawaiian Niihauans have
remained a remote and isolated
Go to Musings, Page 3, Column 1
From the meeting of November
By Bob Ostergard, Secretary
•We will be singing at the Walker
Senior Housing, 37th &
Tuesday, Dec.
9, followed by
chapter meeting.
Bob Ostergaard
Harmony Festival will be Saturday, Feb. 7th,
2009 at HOP.
•Additional performances: Early
Go to Board, Page 10, Column 3
In Memorium
was that quiet Commodore with
the warm smile who along with
his devoted wife, Eunice, initiated the Commodores’ annual
holiday nut sales. (How many
tons of nuts have passed through
the Hamre garage?)
After many long years of fighting a cancer, Bill finally succumbed to the vicious disease on
December 2.
A Commodore since 1977, he
was chosen as the Minneapolis
Chapter’s Barbershopper of the
Year in 1998.
God rest your soul, Bill.
Page 3
“When the saints go marchin’ in…”
Celebrating the life of Joe Houser
With a brightly-polished tuba resting on a chair amidst
them, the Dixiedores, playing Just a Closer Walk With
Thee, opened the celebration of the life of Joe Houser.
The Lord of Life Lutheran
Church in Maple Grove was
the gathering site, on the
morning of November 19, for
the host of celebrants including nearly 70 Commodores
and several other Barbershoppers from the Friday Lunch
Bunch That Meets On Thursday. Patty, Colleen and Larry
from the Moose On Monroe
were there joining Joe’s
friends, long-time customers
and of course his extended
Then it was time for the Commodores (and Lunch
Bunchers), led by Gary Jacobson, to sing I Love To Tell
the Story and the Irish Blessing. A benediction ended
the service and Joe’s casket
was escorted to the narthex by
pallbearers, Dan Cole, Vince
Formosa, Michael Jordan,
and Jay Rasmussen, to the
joyous strains of When the
Saints Go Marching In by the
In true Joe Houser fashion
[albeit not exactly Italian] the
day’s celebration was closed
with a baked-ham dinner. Joe
would have really enjoyed it.
Dear Commodores,
What a wonderful tribute to Joe!
To hear over seventy Barbershoppers singing in his honor. This
was the first time most of our family members had heard the chorus
in person. My heart was filled
with pride and joy. The Commodore family meant so very much
to Joe, but then you all know that.
Nora and son, Joe, led the parade to the front pews.
Following the invocation the
congregation sang How Great
Thou Art. After the scripture
readings the
Four Seasons
quartet sang Something Beautiful.
Remembrances by son, Joe,
daughter, Heather, granddaughter, Bailey, and other
family members followed.
Joe Houser at the 2008 Ladies Night/BOTY Dinner in June.
The noted Southern Gospel/jazz-style singer, Tom Tipton, touched the audience with an uplifting rendition of
His Eye Is On the Sparrow and Pastor Peter Geisendorfer-Lindgren delivered a heartwarming, humor-filled
Musings, from Page 2
Other than weekly
boats to and from the island there
was, and still is to a certain degree,
not a lot of contact with the rest of
the world. On Election Day, Niihau’s voters would vote and, following tabulation, send the results
to Kauai via carrier pigeon.
Since pre-election speculation is
widely practiced everywhere elections are held, there were some in
His memorial service was exactly
what he asked for, a celebration
of his life. When he found out he
had terminal cancer his first
words were "I wouldn't have
changed anything, I lived each day
the best I could."
Joe loved people, to laugh, and to have fun. The Houser
family wishes to express our gratitude for all your loving
Nora and the family
Hawaii who believed that Niihau,
even with their very few votes,
could have an impact on the presidential vote in the 50th State. If you
follow the trail backwards, there
was the rather delightful possibility,
albeit quite remote, that a carrier
pigeon, winging its way across the
waters of the Pacific, could have
been carrying the results of the
1960 U.S. presidential election. As
we all know now, while the election
was close, neither Niihau’s votes
for Hawaii, nor Hawaii’s votes for
the nation determined the election.
Of course this was unknown at the
time these votes were cast and I’m
sure that all voters on Niihau felt a
great deal of pride as they chose to
participate in a process knowing
that they were contributing to something that was much larger than any
one individual, island, or state.
As a singer, you choose to be an
individual who makes a difference.
Reflections on 2008…
By Paul Wigley, Director
It’s getting to
that time of year
that we all look
back and reflect
on the highs and
lows of the past
year- in our personal lives, in
our work lives,
in our spiritual
lives, and in our
Paul Wigley
social lives.
always feel so blessed to say I have
a healthy, happy and loving family,
and I have a job that allows me to
make music and pass on a passion
for music to young people. I am
also fortunate to understand and
believe that there is a power that is
much greater than all of us, and I
am also lucky to have a social life
Page 4
that includes the Minneapolis Commodores.
The past year for the Commodores
has included terrific high points,
and it’s even more exciting to look
at the year ahead, and realize it will
be even better! We had a fun, successful, and entertaining annual
show. We had a great fall district
contest performance. Because of
our great depth of musical directors,
I was able to listen to each of the
Commodores in an individual minilesson. We had a successful Youth
In Harmony event. But most of all,
we continued our tradition of caring
for each other, welcoming new
members, and greeting each other
every Tuesday with a smile and
We should all be proud of the
many-faceted approach that the
Minneapolis Commodores have
taken as a barbershop chapter. I
can’t think of a chapter that has better balance. Balance of friendship
and social time, balance of youth
encouragement and activities, balance of musical performancessinging at contest, and putting on an
entertaining annual show. And the
number one aspect of the Commodores that I am so proud of is (drum
roll, please….) our inclusion of
singers. We don’t have a strict attendance policy, we don’t have
qualification for men to get on the
contest risers, and we don’t have
taping auditions. And guess what?
We STILL are 25th in the world,
and we are going to the International Barbershop Chorus contest!!
This success is the result of your
music team having tremendous
faith in you! We trust that you will
have words, notes, choreography,
vocal color, breath support, facial
Go to Reflections, Page 9 , Col. 3
Chord Candy #59
By Dr. Jim Richards, Der Tagmeister
A good friend, Jack Baird, is a long time Barbershopper from the Chicago area, an early Illinois
District quartet Champion (“The Barbersharps”), a great wood-shedder and a prolific arranger.
He is a great believer of the concept of forming a new quartet every year with other members of
his own Oak Lawn Chapter and competing in contests with great regularity as a way of supporting
and encouraging quartet singing. Occasionally, for recreational purposes Jack would stray from
the classic barbershop art form and create some thoroughly enjoyable “tiddlies.” This delicious
bit of Chord Candy is not a tag but rather the first two lines of a song. It is not Barbershop primarily because the melody is sung by the tenor. Enjoy the lyric and the neat chord surprises.
Dr. Jim Richards
I Just Don’t Get It!
By Bob Dykstra,, Historian ad hoc
I just don’t get it. We belong to the
Barbershop Harmony
which has as its
stated purpose “to
harmony in the Barbershop style.”
We hold a sophisticated series of
division, district,
Dr. Bob Dykstra
and international
contests to choose annually the very
best Barbershop quartet and chorus.
We raise lots of money to support
activities which introduce Barbershop harmony to young men. We
sponsor competitions to select a
Collegiate Barbershop Quartet
Champion and a Youth Barbershop
Chorus Champion. Yet we appear
to be ashamed of our affiliation
with the Barbershop society or Barbershop music.
More and more society choruses
and quartets, for example, are advertising themselves as a cappella
singing groups with secondary (at
best) mention of their being affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony
Society. One need only examine
chapter-show announcements and
show flyers to discern this trend.
Choruses are increasingly trumpeted as “one of the finest” a cappella singing groups in the area,
state, country, or world, but one
often searches in vain for any reference to these choruses as Barber-
Page 5
shop choruses.
Quartet business cards reflect the
same trend. For example, the January/February 2008 issue of the Pitch
Piper includes business card advertising from four of the top five
quartets who competed in the 2007
Land O’Lakes District Barbershop
Quartet Contest. Not one of these
LOL medalist quartets included the
word Barbershop on their cards.
But now for the kicker. Our own
beloved chapter which certainly
deserves mention as one of the
iconic chapters in the Barbershop
Harmony Society nee the Society
for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. appears to be
falling into the same trap. I recently picked up a copy of the local
edition of “Tidbits” which claims
over four million readers nationwide and found an advertisement
seeking members for the
“Commodores who are an exciting
All Male A Cappella Singing
Group (emphasis in the original)
that puts on several local shows and
competes locally and internationally.”
Why are we backing away from
calling our chapter chorus a Barbershop chorus?? Why are many other
choruses and quartets doing the
same thing? Why are so many of
us turning our back on our musical
heritage, yet raising all sorts of
money through the Harmony Foundation to insure that Barbershop
harmony survives for the benefit of
future generations?
I just don’t get it!
Here We Come!
By David Speidel, Ass’t Director
Well we knew it was gonna be
close – but my
gosh! I think that
much of the success we had in
achi eving
scores in district
were based on a
strategy for the
presentation that
Dave Speidel
allowed us to be
more consistent
with the singing and music. That
isn’t always an easy task. What was
really cool was how everyone in the
group ‘grew’ with their own ability
to perform visually – especially
with their faces and bodies. I don’t
think the group as a whole would
have come close to that level a few
years ago. So think about this. We
scored low A-level scores in presentation and we are going to do this
same package in Anaheim. What
can we do to make it better? I
firmly believe that we can bring
those scores up another notch. Certainly we’ll add some more scenery
to dress things up a bit, but that isn’t what gives us the final number
on the paper. The 81 or 82 score
for presentation means that we had
about 80% involvement and believability for about 80% of the time. It
means that each individual has to
find the moments in his performance where there was a let down or
where his expressions needed to
be more in line with those
Go to Speidel, Page 8, Column 3
November Reenlistments
On Veterans (nee Armistice) Day, the morning of November 11, 27 Commodores gathered at the Fridley Senior Center to sing the National Anthem
and God Bless America for the assembled veterans, families and friends. The
guest speaker was Chris Sauro, a Viet Nam veteran and author of the book
The Twins Platoon, a chronicle of the Marine platoon sworn in at a Twins
game in 1967, most of whom fought and some died in Viet Nam.
Larry Daby………………...18yrs.
Bill Kinkel………………...19yrs.
Brook Bergersen…...……...27yrs.
Neal Mortson……………...30yrs.
John Bergseth……….…….37yrs.
Georgia Grind
A Road Bus Named Desire
By Jim Erickson, Buss me Baritone
OK! I have been warned that what
happens on the
bus, stays on the
bus! So, I reveal
only under great
duress and with a
bit of scandalous
pleasure. First,
bus I’m talkJim Erickson
ing about is the
large diesel we
hired to transport several members
of the Commodores to their glory at
the district contest. And, the trip
started off quite well. Before departing, I personally affixed the
“Baritones On Board” bumper
stickers to the rear bumper. They
not only told of the precious cargo
to be carried by the bus, but they
also helped keep the bumper attached to the bus, not completely
evident of being capable to stay put
on its own, much less protect our
rear from oncoming, hell-bent-forleather leads.
Next, an impromptu quartet was
assembled to fulfill a last minute
request, probably our departure
having fired a need in the manager
of the House of Prayer operations
(the name of the church where we
have our weekly rehearsals) to hear
a tag. He had never really knowingly heard a “tag” before. And, he
apparently had some spiritual future
vision of an impending disaster as
he insisted that we perform a tag
right then and there, whatever one
of those tag things was. I was the
last to join Dave Wall, tenor, and
Rod Vink, bass, for the hastily assembled quartet, having had to deboard the bus. The man-of-theminute lead, Glen Aronson,
hummed the baritone part to me,
while I, having never heard the proposed tag before, struggled to absorb it over the smell of the diesel,
the roar of the bus. (Others can
forego reading the next few words,
Page 6
but leads – note the similarity to the
showbiz expression, “the smell of
the grease paint, the roar of the
crowd) We began the tag, I put on
my best “I know this part” face, and
we sang to the beaming satisfaction
of the manager, as he pulled out his
hanky and wiped tears from his
eyes at the end. [Which end?] Then
to the farewell-waving of the white
hanky, the Busmen quartet, as we
decided to call ourselves, reboarded
the bus to seek our fortune in Appleton. (Listen to hear the soothing,
diesel-inspired harmony of the Busmen on future trips)
Before the bus headed out of the
parking lot, our driver gave us a
few simple directions. One was that
June 28-July 5, 2009
there was a wastebasket on board.
Another was that there were bathroom facilities on the bus, but that
nothing was to be deposited in the
fixture. Confused as to what purpose the toilet would serve if nothing was to be deposited in it, we
listened attentively (particularly me,
as I had just ingested about a gallon
of coffee) as he explained that if the
need was urgent, anyone could
clamber to the front of the bus
(everyone knowing why) and whisper in his ear while holding up one
finger or two, whereupon the driver
would pull off the road at the next
convenient stop, whatever that
means. Nature sometimes leaves
very little cushion between
“convenient” and “stop immediately” before I do something I haven’t done since I was a one-yearold.”
The rest of the trip over was fairly
uneventful except for the fog that
surrounded Rib Mountain in Wausau and construction hazard courses
we encountered from time to time.
Oh sure, you could have navigated
the obstacles in a Yugo without
having to use your free hand to hold
the door from serendipitously flying
open. For a small vehicle, easy. For
a behemoth the size of Noah’s Ark,
however, no turn was loose enough,
no ramp close to being accessible.
But we made it with only a minimum of “convenient” stops.
Now next came registration. I didn’t put much stock in the rumor, but
I had been told there were certain
Barbershoppers who were out to get
me at the contest. They were ready
to teach me to shorten my articles,
stop picking on every part but the
baritones, and one, in particular,
(name rhymes with lover) said that
although he makes it a determined
practice of “skipping” my articles,
he knows he wouldn’t get anything
out of them anyway, even if he did
read them. I generally don’t drink
Starbucks coffee, but that doesn’t
mean they don’t make a good brew.
But, I progress.
To elude those who might try to
intimidate me, I requested the registration folks to come up with some
clever device to protect me. I left it
to them as I assumed they had more
experience in such matters. Upon
registering, I found that their plan
was to change the name appearing
on my nametag. I would now be
incognito as my pin-on tag identified me as “Tim” Erickson. I said
quietly upon seeing what the plan
was, “Do you think this will work?”
They assured me it would and, by
golly, they were right. Not a single
lead, bass or tenor even came close
to accosting me. And baritones?
They are just too good a group to
even consider such skullduggery.
So I was able to move about freely
without inhibition having realized
those other parts wouldn’t grasp the
deception until too late.
The competition went well, except
Go to Grind, Page 10, Column 1
Quartet Quaffs
Where did those masked men go
you ask? Well,
we just jointly
joined jocularly
together and juxtaposed the judges
jump-start jovially
and joyously back
to the friendly environs of the Twin
Rollie Neve
Cities to continue
our quest for genuine giantjingling-ringing chords (I wonder if
I’m having a relapse of my trip to
Baritonia). You have to admit that
having a retired airline pilot, a lead
would you believe, driving us
home, gave us comfort with the
warm feelings of safety he conveyed as the master of the controls
(Can you expect anything less?
After all, he never wore a parachute
when he piloted his airplanes).
Page 7
To Tell the Story. The sermon dealing with Jesus as “The Anchor”
tied in effectively with I Love to
Tell the Story and was well received
by the nearly 80 worshippers assembled. Their’s is a warm and
loving congregation in a small
country-type church located on the
top of a hill . Our two final songs
were Wonderful Words of Life and
Something Beautiful.
May the sights and sounds of this
remarkable service always remain a
special blessing to the entire Houser
Fellowship and light refreshments
completed a delightful Sunday
morning in the presence of the
Lord. We are, as I’m sure all Commodores are, thankful that we have
been gifted by the Lord to sing. It
is our pleasure to use this gift to
glorify Him on these days.
We are quickly approaching a new
year. The year 2008 was a good one
and we accomplished several
things. We had a
great and financially-successful
show; we increased our membership; and we
qualified for the
Dan Slattery
big dance in Anaheim.
things should be the start for us to
improve even more in 2009.
So this fearsome foursome swept
into the halls of Bethany Lutheran
Church in Minneapolis five days
later and titillated the 45 assembled
male senior citizens with the exciting sounds of our senior brand of
Barbershop harmony. It was quite a
lively group (they were quite animated with My Bonnie which led us
to believe that Geritol and Viagra
take a back seat to the invigorating
Barbershop sevenths that energize
the circulatory system (maybe our
editor might find this kind of elixir
a boon to reviving his medical practice – but then I speculate).
Saturday, November 15, found the
Four Seasons in St. Peter, Minnesota, answering a contact from the
Appleton convention to provide
entertainment for the benefit and
celebration for baby Emma Walsh
to offset the massive medical costs
involved in keeping her alive and
thriving after weighing just 1lb, 6oz
and measuring 12.5 inches after a
premature birth. Trinity Lutheran
Church was full of volunteers and
patrons supporting this benefit, and
in concert with the proceedings we
added Barbershop harmony to complete the picture. We were privileged to be a part of this event and
to add, in some small measure, our
support. Baby Walsh is improving
and the prognosis is positive. There
still is a long road of recovery and
medical expense ahead.
It took a little over two weeks for us
to settle down and resume our more
sophisticated roles as the vocal enhancement to the Sunday service at
the First Presbyterian Church in
Maple Plain. Here again, Barbershop shone, as old hymns seemed
newer as the overtone series sailed
up to the heavens. This Little Light
of Mine and Gloryland Way
opened the service. For the offering
there was Jesus, There’s Something About that Name, followed by
time with the children and I Love
The Lord gives and the Lord takes.
In an expressively beautiful service
on November 19 we were honored
to be a part of the going home of
our beloved Joe Houser. To join
with the Commodores in remembering Joe will be a special remembrance for us. Joe was an example
for all of us, overcoming the trials
of life and giving so much of himself for the Commodores. We miss
you, Joe. Our prayers for comfort
and supplication go out to Nora and
the entire family.
Rollie Neve for Dan, Rich and Tom
Slattery’s Slant
By Dan Slattery, VP Chap. Devel.
Starting with the show in March,
we need to get behind the plan as
we did with our contest set, and just
believe that we ”ARE GOOD” and
we can shine if we really want to.
Then in July, out in California, we
have the chance to attain an even
higher level of achievement if we
make the effort. Let’s keep believing in the package; it’s a good one,
and we can take it to new and
higher levels. It all depends on us as
Next, let’s spread the news about
our hobby. This hobby of Barbershop is one of the best kept secrets
around. Is it that we don’t want to
tell anyone about the good thing
we have? I hope not, because we
could use some additional singers.
The Minneapolis Commodores are
one of the finest choruses around
bar none. We are a family. We care,
for each other and it shows, especially at a sad situation like a funeral. The output of caring is overwhelming. We care for each other.
Go to Slant, Page 9, Column 2
Page 8
YIH Festival scheduled
By Dave Casperson, YIH Chairman
Now that we have a date, location,
clinician and guest quartet established, we are in
full preparationmode for our 2nd
Annual Youth In
Harmony Festival. Once again,
I'll be depending
on a reliable crew
of volunteers to
assist with our
Dave Casperson
event. Also, please
mark the date in
your calendar as a Commodores
Date: Saturday, February 7, 2009
Location: HOP Lutheran Church
(our rehearsal venue)
Clinician: Paul Wigley
By Dr. Hardin Olson, Editor
Elsewhere in this issue [Page 5],
Dr. Bob Dykstra questions the
seemingly (and painfully obvious)
schizoid direction of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
His is a most elegant expression of some of my
thoughts about the Society
particularly since the advent of its new leadership
a few years ago.
What is happening to our
traditions? The revised
name, Barbershop Harmony Society, although
otherwise appropriate, says nothing
about preservation of our art form.
Guest Quartet: X-Factor
This is a great opportunity for the
Commodores to provide a positive
experience for young male singers.
By exposing them to a different
type of harmony than what they are
accustomed to singing, we hope to
enhance their music education experience.
Here is what Phillip Brown, Hopkins H.S. Choral Director, said after our festival this past February:
The Minneapolis Commodores men's [YIH] festival
was a fantastic jolt of musical energy for our men's chorus during the winter. From
the literature selection to the
quality of instruction provided; it was a great day for
everyone in attendance.
mony Marketplace catalog, its editors tout the introduction of a new
with another new logo, at least emblazoned with a barber pole, a classic quartet, and the letters
S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. (What do those
letters stand for again?). What, I ask
you, would be wrong with offering
some merchandise with the old lyre
logo and, by the way, why can’t our
50-year members opt for a pin with
the lyre logo? It would
mean so much more to
The age limit for the
Youth In Harmony chorus
competition has been extended
to 30 years.
Now when you are my
age a 30 year-old might
be considered a youth.
Sure, this day and age teenagers are
growing beards but let’s think twice
about what we are doing. After all,
what does a young boy really think
when he joins a youths’ chorus replete with adult men?
The new logo which I will always
consider an abomination, is nothing
more than a recycled version of one
discarded by our sister society with
no graphic reference to traditional
Barbershop or music in general
(not even a five-lined staff).
On Page 11 of the 2008 Fall Har-
When I joined the Society in 1971 I
seem to recall we had upwards of
33,000 members. Now we are down
to 28,000. Certainly this reflects a
My hope is that we can reach double the number of kids for our 2nd
annual event. I will be posting a list
of schools to which I'll be sending
invitations during an upcoming rehearsal. Once you review this list,
please let me know if I have accidentally omitted any schools where
you would like me to send an invitation.
I also think that we can all get as
much out of this event as the boys
who attend it. We all know what it
was like the first time we rang a
barbershop chord - we'll be providing that moment for many boys on
that day. Together we can make this
another great event!
loss of our old-timers, might I say
traditionalists, but it also begs the
question what has been done in the
last few years to effectively stem the
The salient question remains:Is our
beloved Society doomed to go the
way of Walt Kelly’s Pogo who
years ago said, “We have met the
enemy and they are us!”
Speidel erom Page 5
around him. As we stand out in
front we will certainly try to find
those moments and make the
needed recommendations to the
respective individuals.
This opportunity presented before
us will certainly give us the motivation to continually improve in all
areas of our artistic performance.
More importantly, you now know
how it feels to perform at this level.
The ultimate satisfaction for someone in my position will come when
I see the same amount of emotional
involvement for all of our music. I
urge everyone to make the effort on
their own for every song. It ultimately will lead to greater personal
satisfaction and improve your own
performance confidence.
Page 9
Gotta Keep Singing
By Hardin Olson, 2009 Show Chair
Now that the pressure of our Christmas program is over we can turn
our attention to our 2009 annual
show. March 21 is only a little more
than three months away and there is
much to be done.
However, a major objective for the
upcoming show is to minimize the
amount of new material to be
learned and to that end, all of the
show’s chorus repertoire, with one
exception, has been selected from
past programs, most more recent
than others. The corollary to the
above is that we will have time to
polish our music rather than spending all of our time learning it. The
chorus list is as follows:
Happened to the Old
•Sitting On Top of the World
•Hello, Mary Lou
•I Love To Tell the Story
•Beach Boys Medley
•Meet Me In Rose Time, Rosie
•Time After Time
•Minstrel Montage
•Bare Necessities
•When You Wish Upon a Star
The theme harkens back to the days
of the Parade of Quartets but with
chorus numbers interspersed. There
will be little time for dialogue and
with the exception of our contest set
in the second half, no production
numbers. In the next few weeks you
will be introduced to the plan of the
show as we prepare in earnest for
another Barbershop miracle.
So, as March approaches your main
task is to got off the paper and start
polishing like the Karate Kid, “Wax
on! Wax off!” I would encourage
(Implore?) you to spend at least a
few minutes daily on your music.
Furthermore, if we all are going to
get to Anaheim, each Commodore
must make every effort to bring in
at least one sponsorship.
If we all work hard we will all be
able to play hard in Anaheim.
Gerald (Gerry) Gould, long-time
Barbershopper, quartet man
and Commodore,
passed away on November 18,
12/12 Ed Bearse
12/14 David Casperson
12/19 Steve Daniel
12/19 Ken Knutson
12/19 Larry Lundby
12/21 Judi Jarnberg
12/21 Doc Olson (75)
12/21 Lawrence Smalley*
12/22 Rollie Neve
12/24 John Bergseth
12/24 Jim Scheller (70)
12/28 Terry Jean St. Martin
12/29 Chuck McKown
12/29 Ebie Richards
12/29 Bonnie Vink
12/30 Faye Daby
*Commodore South
It is a good bet that on Tuesday
evenings, Gerry is riding his Goldwing to his new rehearsal site.
Slant from Page 7
Guys, I know we have people we
come in contact with from time to
time that we can ask to join us. We
just have to ask them. The job of
membership is everyone’s job.
I hope you all feel how GREAT it
is to be a COMMODORE. The
Commodores mean a lot of different things to different people. For
some the Commodores are a way of
life, a large family of sincere and
caring friends When untoward
events occur it very often is the
friendship and caring of the Commodores and their families that do
so much to see us through the difficult times.
Gentleman, the Commodores have
so much to be proud of. Lets share
our hobby with others and
them the chance to have the same
experiences we have been enjoying.
I’m been heard many times saying,
Paul & Becky Wigley
Clair F. & Cala Nassen
Denny & Jane Rolloff
Ken & Judy Knutson
Lloyd & Barbara Collings
Larry & Cathy Lundby (45)
Robert & Jean Spong
Reflections from Page 4
expression, etc, ready for performance level. And what a joy it is
when you guys prove that we are
right…that you WILL deliver great
music when opportunities arise.
The Minneapolis Chapter is comprised of amateur singers. You all
know that the root word of amateur
basically translates as to love. We
are singing because we love it.
Thank goodness that the Commodores realize there is no greater
power than love…and that also applies when it comes to singing.
Keep singing for the love of it;
dedicate yourself to giving as much
to that love of singing as you can.
It’s been a great year, and we all
feel the excitement that the coming
year is also going to bring. It is
truly great to be a Commodoreyear in and year out.
Page 10
Grind from Page 6
gust, these Commodores (mostly
basses) were craning their necks to
see out the windows, too.
for the unannounced computer error. We had actually scored ten
points higher, but due to the computer operator malfunction, we received the lower score. The judge
who made the error spoke glowingly of our performance, but when
someone pointed out the difference
in scoring, he tried to cover by saying the decision on the field, stands,
and besides, he apprehensively
croaked, there was someone in the
chorus who didn’t have a proper
costume because his shoes were too
new! Did he ever consider that
some kindly stockbroker had just
become a hobo, but really couldn’t
part with his $1200 pair of shoes?
So, that hobo-come-lately got down
to the bare necessities of which
shoes are likely one, and those
shoes just happened to be pretty
darn nice. Perhaps, considering the
economic times, this judge needed
to adjust his horizons a bit. In my
case, I had a perspiration-wicking
T-shirt which the judge did not
point out and I can only assume he
realized that maybe some hobos
even jog, or at least, sweat a bit regardless of how carefree. And,
which one of us couldn’t use a bit
of wicking once in a while, anyway?
The return trip led us on many side
trips, again due to construction, but
the time passed rather quickly as
several of us chose to sing through
all, and I mean all, of the songs we
could come up with while being
jostled over the rear axle of the behemoth which colored the songs
with a synchronized vibrato with
each bump in the road. We sang all
the way to the crossroads of Hwy
29 and Interstate 94 in Wisconsin.
Missing the turnoff to 94, we ended
up in the parking lot of a business
establishment named, “Pure Pleasure.” I won’t go into detail but
when we realized where the bus had
taken us, cheers went up from everyone on the bus, except those
whose wives had accompanied
them. Though they feigned dis-
I thought I heard, over the roar of
the idling diesel, someone from
within the Pure Pleasure shout,
“Girls, you won’t believe this, but a
whole busload of prosperous looking men just drove in the parking
lot and it looks like they are big
spenders.” The men on the bus all
thought the considerate bus driver
had made a “convenience” stop to
end all “convenience” stops and
cheered accordingly. But---it was
short-lived. He had found his mistaken non-turn and was now maneuvering the bus over parking bars
and around floodlights to beat a
hasty retreat back to the interstate.
Upon the realization that this exciting stop was being bypassed and
was not a sanctioned trip stop anyway, the bus got very quiet. The
next hour or so was spent in quiet
mutterings and growling, with
every essence of any pleasure being
sucked right out of the bus. Even
the inhalation of diesel fumes did
not seem to help. Back at the parking lot, we sullenly deboarded the
bus, grabbed our bags and trudged
to our cars.
I’m sure as the days go by we will
remember only the better parts of
the trip, the camaraderie, and the
onstage thrills. But it’s hard to forget the possibilities at the Pure
Pleasure. Just think of all those
women who would like to have
heard a busload of handsome harmonizers.
And, as a Commodore, what could
have been more pure pleasure than
singing to them?
Editor’s Note: This piece was submitted days prior to last month’s
deadline. For some unaccountable
reason its text was deleted from the
November edition.
It is interesting to note that there
was only one complainer regarding
the omission. For now I will let you
speculate on his identity.
Harmony Foundation
Youth In Harmony
(Our Future…)
Board from Page 2
May - Elk River; June - Fundraiser with Hilltop (GNU).
•The Music Committee recommended that the chorus not participate in the spring contest at Stillwater but that we encourage attendance to support other choruses and
•Any of you that have black 3 ring
binders used for past Christmas
shows - please bring to next rehearsal.
• All Youth In Harmony program
participants will be given a voucher
for one ticket to the Annual Show.
•Quartetting 101, under the direction of Gary Jacobson will begin
on Tuesday, Dec. 16th, 6:30 to
7:45. All chorus members are invited to attend. These sessions will
be for those interested in gaining
experience singing in a quartet or a
larger group. Music will be Barberpole Cats, tags, etc. The purpose
is not to form members into a specific quartet. If that happens it will
be at your initiative.
•A Compensation Committee to
review chapter salaries and bonuses was established. Carl Pinard, Ken Glover, Bob Ostergaard and Mark Ortenburger, exofficio, will serve on this committee.
• Our thanks to three members who
are completing their terms on the
Steve Daniel, Dick
Plaisted and Bill TeVogt.
•The next board meeting will be
January 15, 2009
The Gay Nineties
Page 11
The Roadrunners
Benson Hall-Bethel University
March 21, 2009
3:00 & 7:30 p.m.
Group & Student rates
Benefiting the University of
Minnesota’s Rasmussen
Cardiovascular Research Center
and the
Barbershop Harmony Society’s
Youth In Harmony program
Special guests, 2008 bronze medalists,
Old School
The Commodore Chorus
Special Edition
Four Seasons
Easy Listenin’
Three Good-looking Guys
Keep the Whole World
The Sounds of Renown
Non-Profit Organization
U.S. Postage Paid
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis Chapter of SPEBSQSA
Dr.Hardin Olson, Bulletin Editor
306 13th. Ave. N.
Hopkins, MN 55343
Neither shared with the Girl
Scouts nor dumped by the
Sweet Adelines.
House of Prayer Lutheran Church
7625 Chicago Ave. S.
Richfield, MN 55423
Chapter Level
Chapter Quartets
EASY LISTENIN'………………….….10/01/03
Dan Slattery…………………..…. 763/755-2926
Rollie Neve…………………...……..952/470-2129
FRIENDS………………………..(mixed group)
Doug Miller…………………...….952/447-8265
GOOD NEWS!……………………..….04/30/03
Rod Johnson………………..…....507/645-5750
Rod Johnson………………..…....507/645-5750
7TH HEAVEN……..…….…….(mixed quartet)
Jim Foy………….……………….763/571-0829
SOUNDS of RENOWN………… ….….(VLQ)
Luther Romo……………………...763/421-7704
December 6, Christmas Show, 3:00
and 7:30 p.m., Olson Middle School,
December 9, Christmas Singout,
Walker Home, Minneapolis
December 16, Quartet Singing 101,
Weekly classes begin, 6:45-7:45 p..m.
February 7, 200, Commodores’ Youth
In Harmony program, HOP Lutheran
March 19, 2009, 2009 Show techrehearsal, Bethel Great Hall
March 21, 2009, 2009 Annual Show,
Bethel Great Hall
March 27, 2009, 10,000 lakes Division Contest, Stillwater
Barbershopper Of The Year
Peter Jarnberg
Commodores and others *
contributing to this issue
Dave Casperson
Bob Dykstra
Jim Erickson
Rollie Neve
Hardin Olson
Bob Ostergaard
Mark Ortenburger
Jim Richards
Dan Slattery
Dave Speidel
Paul Wigley
District Level
Jan. 9-10, 2009, LOL—2009 COTS,
UW Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin
May 1-2, 2009, LOL District Spring
Prelims.,Stevens Point, Wisc.
Jan. 25-Feb. 1, 2009 Midwinter Convention, Pasadena, California
June 28-July 5, 2009 International
Convention, Anaheim, California
International Level
All copy without a byline is the
handiwork of your aged editor.
He is at various and unpredictable times not always responsible.
Please! Please! Humor him with
your timely, monthly prose.

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