By Ron Larson, Staff Writer
The Masters of Harmony concluded their stellar 2017 International Championship year in Orlando with a swan song set that received thunderous applause from the deeply appreciative 2018 Orlando International Convention audience. After witnessing some of the highest scoring chorus performances ever seen at an International Contest, the MOH has set its sights on an even bigger challenge – hosting and competing in the 2020 International Convention in Los Angeles. In Orlando, The Vocal Majority won with a score just one point off its highest score ever, and the top nine choruses scored over 90%! Needless to say, the bar has been raised for all contestants in future contests!
Many Masters singers have discovered that one of the best ways to fine-tune choral singing skills is by singing in demanding recording sessions. Thanks to the efforts of John Loftus, his St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California, known for excellent acoustics, became the studio for the first three of a series of recording sessions. Each session focused just on several songs. The Stephen Schwartz medley that was the centerpiece of the Orlando swan song set will be on the new CD along with other songs in the current repertoire. It should be released some time next year.
Realizing that many members are not natural sales people, Sean Sherrodd is encouraging members to promote MOH activities by using two popular social media platforms–Instagram and Facebook. The MOH site on Instagram (Instagram@masters_of_harmony) currently has 1200 followers and the Facebook site (https://www.facebook.com/MastersofHarmony) currently has 4,700 followers. Visuals on both sites are updated regularly, so we invite you to give us a visit!
Masters members took an active part in many of the activities of this year’s Fall Convention in Fresno. The District Board meeting included MOH members Craig Hughes (President), Board members Bill Rosica (EVP), Rich Owen (Treasurer), Craig Ewing (VP Music & Performance), Brett Littlefield (VP Contests & Judging), and Jeremy Loper (Membership Recruitment & Education). MOH members handling important convention tasks included Craig Hughes and Alan Gordon (MCs), Chris Peterson (Singing Judge), Kent Richardson (Contest Administrator), and Sharon Ernsberger (Stage Manager). Dallas Halvorson and his father Larry were part of Capitol Ring, the quartet contest winner, and MOH Director Justin Miller led Westminster to the chorus title. MOH members sang in four of the 25 competing quartets, eight of the 19 competing choruses and directed three of them (Craig Ewing, Royce Ferguson, Justin Miller). The Convention dedicatee was Dave Briner, one of the Society's finest arrangers. The MOH family extends hearty congratulations to all who took part in this very successful convention!
Barbershoppers who enjoy quartet singing may want to take a look at the Harmony Brigade Extreme Quartetting program (www.Harmonybrigade.org). It offers a unique opportunity to form quartets with like-minded singers from other parts of the country or beyond. MOH BMAL Jim Schumacher recently took part in such a contest in Reno. It featured 33 randomly-assigned competing quartets. The finalists did not learn which pre-learned songs they would be singing until just before going on stage! Jim’s group included a bass from Hong Kong, a bari from Texas, and a tenor just moving to Panama . . .and it won the contest! For a 10-minute video of Jim’s experience at the Reno contest, visit his posting at (https://youtu.be/_xJdtg5pi8w).
On October 10, the following members were chosen as leaders of the Masters of Harmony: President–Joe D’Amore, Secretary–Maurice Freleaux, Treasurer–Skip Farrar, VP Chapter Development–Sean Sherrodd, VP Music & Performance–Dave Tautkus, VP Operations–Foster Howlett, VP Public Relations–Larry Icenogle, Board Members-at-Large–Hugh Brown, Jeff Harmon, Bob Hartwig, Justin McQueen, Lucas Purcell, Ed Schackman, Robert Shelton.
It is with great sadness that the Masters of Harmony learned of the passing of former member, Lisle Leete. Lisle was a professional sound engineer at NBC and tirelessly used his experience to enhance MOH performances. His kind, easygoing nature and infectious smile endeared him to many in the MOH family. Rest in peace, Brother Lisle.
Since the last issue of Westunes, Sam Quiroz was welcomed into membership