"War Horses of the Chorus" Series, No. 2: Ron Andreas

Kirt Thiesmeyer, Jun 11, 2007

(No. 2 in an erratic series preserving the history of the Masters of Harmony and highlighting the contributions of illustrious members most in need of preservation.)

Ron Andreas, that handsome, bright-eyed, smiley fellow at the stage left end of the front row horseshoe, usually sporting a hockey or football jersey, carries six international chorus championship medals on his chest or in a dresser drawer, leading immediately to the question, "Why this greed for gold?"

Ron joined the Masters in 1988 and has been in the front row for nearly 20 years. [You’d think he’d get out of his rut! - Ed.] He has always sung bass, which helps that section with their macho image.

A California native, Ron is a detective lieutenant for the Alhambra Police Department and sometimes hides behind facial hair when he is incognito. He holds a master’s degree in leadership and management and has taken advanced courses in music and marketing. He served as sergeant-at-arms for the chorus, but stepped down when he discovered how much yelling the job required. He has been known to give lectures to the Alhambra PD and the MOH Board on leadership skills, and to the chorus at large on riser discipline.

Married to the former Bonney Averill (perennial MOH Sweetheart, cue master and 1991 Alice Blue Gown Award winner), Ron makes his home in an undisclosed location. Acknowledging the public concern about corruption in some other police departments, Ron sings: “YES . . . we-have-no . . . corruption!”

War Horse Interview – conducted in a holding cell at the back of the spanking-clean Alhambra Police Station, where the reflection from the one-way glass kept us wondering who might be watching. We protested that we had already been Mirandized quite enough, thank you. The interview began with the overweening question that everyone has been dying to ask:

Masters of Harmony: When you were sergeant-at-arms for the chorus, why did you never pack heat at rehearsals?
Ron Andreas: The temptation to pop somebody for talking or flatting would have been too great.

MOH: You chase bad guys for a living. Is that fulfilling?
RA: When we catch ‘em. But I tell all perps: If you run, you’ll only go to jail tired.

MOH: “Andreas”; that sounds vaguely Greek.
RA: It’s German.

MOH: Are you any kin to Haedtler, Ernsberger, Thiesmeyer, Kliewer, Reich, Schleier, Henry Kissinger or the Katzenjammer Kids?
RA: Distant relatives.

MOH: How distant?
RA: Monkeys, probably.

MOH: What is your operating philosophy as a policeman?
RA: If you think there’s good in everybody, you haven’t met everybody.

MOH: We understand you are trained to take care of yourself pretty well in a dangerous situation. Give us an example.
RA: I was almost mugged once. A guy came at me with a knife and I had to disarm him. I knew it wasn’t a professional job, though.

MOH: How so?
RA: There was butter on the knife.

MOH: How about difficult cases?
RA: One time I arrested a mime.

MOH: What was the problem?
RA: I felt silly telling him he had the right to remain silent.

MOH: We ask each of our interview subjects, who is your greatest barbershop hero, and why?
RA: It has to be Doug Price – because he’s never concerned about being mugged.

MOH: We assume that your wife Bonney and your toddler son John are the highlights of your life.
RA: Yes. We’d like to have a daughter, too, someday.

MOH: Did you ever consider that no one is going to be brave enough to date a cop’s daughter till she’s at least 25?
RA: That’s fine by me.

MOH: You give the impression of being a really nice guy, friendly and open, not a hard-bitten police detective.
RA: Just try cutting in front of me at the supermarket.

MOH: What do you have to say to your many fans and admirers?
RA: The world is full of winners and losers. Here’s hoping you’re one of them.

Ron Andreas has been a board member-at-large, currently holds the Etiquette chair at Masters University, and sits on the Image & Standards Committee. He is our fanfare coordinator, the assistant front row captain, and the chorus’s eloquent voice of welcome or farewell to our show audiences. Ron received the Larry Ajer Memorial Award in 2006 for outstanding visual performance.

If you think you might be stretching some of the chapter’s rules, better give him a wide berth!

[Any similarity between the foregoing names and actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The MOH interviewer assumes no responsibility for accuracy and, in fact, denies that he was even present, being occupied with other weighty matters several miles distant. Had this been a real interview, I would doubtless still be in that holding room.]

Next exciting, unsuspecting and imaginary interviewee – Gene Clements!

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