By Ron Larson, Staff Writer
From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 to December 2021, the Masters of Harmony did not perform as a chorus. In-person rehearsals for two scheduled live Christmas shows did not resume until June 2021. To help keep the chorus name brand alive in La Mirada territory still new to the MOH, several chapter quartets performed gratis in the local area. Three Great Singers (Eric Emmons, Bart Halberstadt, Mark Travis, Larry Icenogle) performed the Star-Spangled Banner at a November 2nd meeting of the La Mirada Chamber of Commerce. Chapter quartet Six Feet Off Bass (Willie Daw, Eric Emmons, Leonard Jenkins, Mark Travis) represented the MOH at the City of La Mirada's annual Chili Holiday event at Splash!, the city's regional aquatics center. Another chapter foursome, Soundwave (Joe D'Amore, Adam Marangakis, Tom Moore, Peter Trist) represented the MOH at the city's "Salute to Veterans" at the La Mirada Theater on November 8.
On the following day, the Masters of Harmony performed at Artesia's Well Foursquare Church, a church attended by associate pastor and MOH member Kevin Perales. Though the setting and the audience were much smaller than the one in Cardiff, the audience response to the Masters of Harmony performance was also enthusiastic.
In 2020, this event was held as a no-cost virtual affair, a necessity because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 event required attendees to follow current government protocols for large indoor gatherings. It drew 110 attendees to this year's location, The Garden Room in La Habra. A silent auction of donated items saw every item get sold. The keynote speaker, via videotape, was Kevin Keller. A BHS Hall of Famer, teacher, and longtime Music judge, Kevin urged attendees not to be nostalgic for "The Good Old Days." He said, "We are IN them, and making them, right now! Enjoy them." MOH member and FWD President Bill Rosica proceeded to install the 2022 Masters of Harmony board of directors.
In a very trying year, 2021 chapter awards were presented to some of those who did the most to help the MOH weather the storms.
• Doug Maddox Master of Harmony Award – Larry Icenogle
• President's Award – Marcia D'Amore, Skip Farrar, Grant Goldstein, Alan Gordon, Craig Hughes, Bill Niemand, John Yost
• Director's Award – Jeremy Loper, Justin McQueen, Dr. Chris Peterson, Lucas Purcell
• Distinguished Service Award – Joe D'Amore
• Jeff Baker Award (Quartet of the Year) – Six Feet Off Bass (Willie Daw, Eric Emmons, Leonard Jensen, Mark Travis)
In his closing remarks to the attendees, MOH Director Alan Gordon pointed the chorus in the direction he intends to lead the MOH in 2022. He called on the chorus to pursue "Perfection through Simplicity." To Alan that means "Don't try to make it happen, sing the vowel, keep your instrument aligned, don't out-sing your resonance, listen." He explained "Performance through Passion" thusly; "What the best groups do is find passion in a vowel, in a chord, in a rhythmic pattern, in the music. They find that passion on January 5th as much as they do on July 8th.")
Masters members provided many hours of volunteer help at the midwinter convention they co-hosted with the Pasadena Chapter. Among them are: MOH President Craig Hughes, who coordinated convention activities from his Covid isolation location, and Past MOH President Joe D'Amore, whose problem-solving expertise even included tracking down missing performers; Committee Chairman Leonard Jensen and his assistant Roxanne Wilson Jensen; Mark Travis, whose volunteering skills were put to good use throughout the event; to Masters members who set up and took down the risers provided by the Masters of Harmony and Harborlites choruses, served as transportation drivers, registration desk crew, theater ushers and badge checkers, backstage crew, and food providers for the judges and administrators. Thanks to all who gave their time and effort to bring live barbershop music to the appreciative convention attendees!
The Masters of Harmony welcomed Ed Fuller (bass) and Beau Jakeman (tenor) into membership. Ronan Hill (bari) reinstated his membership after an eight-year absence. There are currently two candidates in the auditions process.