The Master's Voice: Frank Ortega Attains Hall of Fame

November 8, 2006

Marlin Fors, Nov 13, 2006

In a fitting ceremony last Wednesday, November 8, Frank Ortega was inducted into the Masters of Harmony Hall of Fame. In the 21-year history of the chapter there have been only seven previous recipients - Joe D'Amore, Jack Hines, Dr. Greg Lyne, Bill Roth, Dan Fullerton, Wayne Mendes and Doug Maddox - so it is a unique and prestigious event. I was honored to be one of several former MOH presidents given the opportunity to recount Frank's many years of service to the chorus.

We often hear that a man's work is a reflection of himself. It is clearly true in Frank's case as he has dedicated countless hours in advancing the pursuit of excellence within various Masters’ publications, particularly "The Masters Voice," our glossy offering to the public. While it could be said that our last Hall of Fame recipient (Doug Maddox) was the "face" of the chapter, Frank Ortega has been the "voice" of the Masters. Although Frank is soft-spoken, his influence through the written word is extensive. As editor of The Masters Voice, MasterLink and MasterLine, the MOH has been able to transmit its message of musical excellence across the globe.

But Frank's commitment to the MOH did not stop there. Since joining the MOH in 1988 from the Whittier Chapter and serving on the Board of Directors since 1993 in various capacities, he has been THE source of all MOH information. He was instrumental in the development and/or maintenabce of our Policy and Procedures, Orientation and Craft, and Chapter Assignments manuals, as well as much of our current content on the MOH website. In addition, he keeps track of our master calendar and attendance reports and serves on the Image and Standards Committee, while performing duties as Publications Manager, Flyer/Program Coordinator and Vice President of Communications.

When a new member joins the chapter, we ask that in addition to singing, each man find a job within the chapter and perform it at the same level of excellence we expect in our singing. Frank has consistently performed multiple tasks, all with excellence. Put quite simply, whenever there was a need, Frank would find it and fill it (complete with a written job description). With all this, Frank has been Barbershopper of the Year and has five President's Awards. And he has won all six Masters of Harmony international chorus gold medals.

With Frank's vast knowledge of chapter operations, he has provided invaluable assistance to the chapter leadership during the past decade. He could be counted on to get the job done! I speak for the other past presidents in extending a big "thank you" to Frank for all the able assistance that he provided during our collective presidencies.

On a lighter note, Doug Maddox said in his introduction on Wednesday that Frank Ortega "came from a unique little town – that's 'unique' from the Latin: 'uni,' meaning one, and 'equus,' meaning horse. They say he had a lot of charisma in his early years but lately it’s cleared up." Before Doug and MOH President Kirt Thiesmeyer awarded Frank a fine walnut plaque with his name inscribed and his new HOF name badge, Kirt compared him to one of the ancient stone statues on Easter Island: Sees all, knows all; mysterious, silent, inscrutable – but his influence is all-pervasive.

The MOH will miss Frank's enormous contributions. As his nomination to the Hall of Fame, sent to the Board for unanimous approval, stated: "A worthy successor to the empire over which he presides has probably not been born."

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