Masters of Harmony Update - Spring 2009

Ron Larson, Apr 30, 2009

Spring is a season for new growth, new possibilities and new opportunities, and indeed, it has brought all of those to the Masters of Harmony family.

On January 31, the Masters performed their Nashville contest set at the 2009 International Midwinter Convention in Pasadenaís historic Civic Auditorium. OC Times and the Masters were the final performers at the convention and the large audience that stayed late into Saturday night showered the performances of both reigning champions with enthusiastic, sustained applause.

On February 21, the Masters once again provided logistical and coaching support for the 9th Annual Young Menís Harmony Festival, held on the campus of Orange Coast College. This all-day clinic helps support choral music education in local schools. Over 200 young men ranging in age from 14 to 18, representing 24 schools located in five Southern California counties, took part in this unique festival. Four schools were attending for the first time an indication that word is spreading about how much fun this event is. Ken Potter, Justin Miller and Alan Gordon joined Mark Freedkin as clinicians and directors during the daylong events. That evening, the attendees got a chance to put what they learned on display by themselves, witness performances by four high school quartets, OC Times, The Crush, and Masterpiece, then join the Masters on stage for the concert finale. Feedback from the students, parents, and teachers involved in the festival has been overwhelmingly positive. Much of the success of this festival is due to the many hours of tireless effort put in by Mark Freedkin during the year to promote and organize the festival, now a model for similar programs throughout the country. In the nine years of this event, just over 1,900 students from 97 different schools have participated in one or more of the festivals. Some of the chords rung in the classrooms and halls of Orange Coast College on festival days will undoubtedly inspire some of these young men to seek opportunities to ring more chords at barbershop chapters around the country. Indeed, some of them will have found a hobby they can share with family and friends for the rest of their lives.

On March 28, the Masters assembled at the Citrus College recording studio for a recording session designed to add the final songs for a CD to be released at the 2009 International Convention in Anaheim. In the sound booth were Glen Glancy and Bill Lightner of Omni Recording, who have recorded all of the Masters CDs, and who are to music recording what Erin Howden is to choreography. Fortunately, the often-grueling recording sessions went so well that no Sunday session was necessary, much to the relief of all in attendance!

On April 27, twenty-three Masters men met at a Westminster bowling alley for an evening of fun, fellowship and pizza, away from the rigors of Wednesday evenings on the risers. Kudos go to Scott Hansen for organizing and promoting the event, and to Glenn Hennessy, who had the eveningís top score. Some of the participants were bowling for the first time and others struggled to recover long unused bowling muscle memory. While strikes and spares were in short supply, there was an ample supply of enthusiastic high fives when they occurred and for other efforts deemed worthy.

Since the last report, Rob Campbell, Johnathan Littlefield, Kevin Price and Josh Szolomayer have become members of the Masters of Harmony.

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