Masters of Harmony Update -- Summer 2009

Ron Larson, Aug 9, 2009

On May 30, the Masters of Harmony presented their annual spring show, “Together Wherever We Go,” at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. Joining the Masters on stage were 2008 Quartet Gold Medalists OC Times and 2008-2009 Far Western District Quartet Champion Masterpiece. Two weeks later, the Masters tuned up for their upcoming performances at the International Convention with a physically demanding all-day retreat at John Glenn High School.

In 1999, the Masters had accepted the very difficult challenge of hosting the International Convention in Anaheim while also competing in it and ultimately winning the chorus competition. This time the Masters family could focus on hosting duties and “just enjoy” an eagerly anticipated, highly competitive convention--in between three performances as retiring champions. On Thursday morning of convention week, the Masters continued a tradition they started by presenting a Masters Class to a large audience of convention attendees who wanted to learn what the Masters do to achieve continued success. On Friday, our swan song set featured an original song written by Northbrook Director Jay Giallombardo entitled “The Dream Is Carried On.” The song describes how the achievement of lofty goals can inspire others to pursue their own dreams of success and be helped on their journey by those who have “been there” before them. On Saturday, three choruses that have “been there “ many times (20 gold medals between them), combined their considerable talent to produce what some have called the greatest barbershop show of all time. The Ambassadors of Harmony, fresh from their stunning upset of The Vocal Majority, joined the VM and the Masters of Harmony as part of an afternoon vocal extravaganza of gold medal winners that included the Sweet Adelines International Chorus Champion Harborlites and gold medalist quartets Vocal Spectrum, Max Q and OC Times. Each chorus was introduced and generously lauded by a director from one of the other two choruses. It was obvious how much cooperation and mutual respect exists among these three fiercely competitive choruses, and how much each owes at least part of its success to the successes of the other two. Then, the 420 men of the three choruses combined to sing three songs with such harmonic beauty and power that some in the front rows may have felt they were being lifted by sound waves off the main floor into the numbered seats!

Three quartets from the Masters finished in the top 20 (Masterpiece placed 6th; The Edge took 16th; and The Crush finished in 18th place. The Vagrants became the first collegiate quartet champion from the Far Western District.

Special kudos go to Bill Rosica and his team of hard-working volunteers--some from brother and sister choruses in the area, some repeating their roles from the 1999 Convention--for making the Anaheim Convention, according to many attendees, one of the best planned and managed in recent memory.

Just a few days after the completion of the Anaheim Convention, the Westminster Chorus traveled to Wales to take part in an international competition that drew 4,000 choral participants and over 50,000 attendees. Under the direction of Justin Miller (MOH choreography coach and front row performer), Westminster’s 36 men won the prestigious “Choir of the World” Pavarotti Trophy. These talented young men made us all proud as they took barbershop music to new, highly appreciative audiences with stunning success. The Westminster Chorus will surely be a force to be reckoned with at the Philadelphia Convention next summer.

During the convention, the Masters released their new CD entitled “Portrait,” named after the CD finale, “Portrait of My Love Medley.” This CD, as well as any of the other six Masters’ recordings, can be ordered here.

Since the last update, Jake Bailey, Charles Carothers, Nathan Crawford, Mario Rosales and Chasen Tengwall have become members of the Masters of Harmony.

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