Tradition crashes, hopes soar with announcement of banquet speaker
Kirt Thiesmeyer, Nov 8, 2007
The Masters of Harmony broke with tradition in announcing that the prospective keynote speaker and installing officer for the annual awards banquet on January 12 will be the 1985 International Quartet Champion, The New Tradition.
The New Tradition perhaps better known to thousands of barbershoppers as the Marx Brothers’ clones won the gold in 1985. All are experienced international competitors and medalists: tenor John Sherburn (Zeppo in their famous impersonation), lead Dan Jordan (Chico), bari Bob Gray Jr. (Harpo), and bass John Miller (Groucho).
The quartet is in a sense a spin-off of The Grand Tradition, international bronze medalists in 1980, ‘82, and ‘83, of which Dan and Bob were members.
John Miller won the gold in 1979 as the bass of Grandma’s Boys, and John Sherburn sang with the Crown City Good Time Music Co., five-time semifinalists, and the Dapper Dans of Disneyland, among other quartets.
Although the Marx Brothers routine is their best known, the always-entertaining foursome has appeared as leading characters of Star Trek, and as Charlie Chaplin, W. C. Fields and Laurel and Hardy, and other roles.
The quartet retired in 1989, when Sherburn replaced Larry Wright as lead of the 139th Street Quartet. Gray continues as bari of the popular and perennial top ten quartet Saturday Evening Post. Jordan continues as lead of the popular show foursome, The Perfect Gentlemen.
John Miller has the additional distinction of being parent to multiple international chorus champions, Justin and Jon-Michael Miller (both MOH and Westminster) and won his own chorus golds singing with his sons in Portland (2002) and Salt Lake City (2005). He will probably want to hang out in Nashville, too.
The quartet has been instructed that the keynote address and installation of officers are completely under their discretion, and that they may follow any format they wish, from here to Mars. We are extremely happy, and apprehensive, about this departure from the ordinary and predictable. You will be, too.
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