Marlin Fors: A Decade of Devotion

Joe D-Amore, Nov 8, 2011

It’s interesting how things work out, isn’t it? Some say that turnabout is fair play. For me, the events that have led me to the point of writing this article have me wondering, “What in the world was I thinking?”

Right around this time in 2001, I remember having pressured one Marlin Fors into taking over for me as VP-Music & Performance for the chapter. I remember doing this with the utmost confidence that Marlin could not only do the job, but that he would make a positive difference for the chapter in this role. Of course, I wasn’t thinking at the time that he would serve as VP Mu&P for 10 years.

TEN years, guys. That’s 120 months or approximately 3,650 days (not counting those dastardly leap years). That’s longer than many people keep a job they actually get paid to do.

But I think I speak for the entire organization when I say I’m glad he did.

To say that Marlin has made that positive difference for the chapter I hoped would be an understatement, and it is. In fact, Marlin made such a difference that he was elected to the esteemed Masters of Harmony Hall of Fame in 2009, becoming its ninth member. But, I thought it might be interesting for us to get a glimpse at some of the “little things” that have occurred during Marlin’s leadership as VP Mu&P. I’ll readily admit that I’ve probably missed something along the way.

Since Marlin took the reigns as VP-Music & Performance for the Masters of Harmony:

  • 4 chapter presidents have served (Bernard “King” Priceman, Ken “General” Custer, Kirt “Barrister” Thiesmeyer, and Bill “Road Warrior” Rosica)
  • 1 Music Director (Mark “I’m Going to Do This Until I Get It Right” Hale) has led us to 10 chorus championships
    • 3 Divisional Chorus Championships, Far Western District
    • 3 District Chorus Championships, Far Western District
    • 4 International Chorus Championships
  • 17 Masters of Harmony quartets have become champions:
    • 3 Super Senior
    • 2 Senior
    • 2 International College
    • 7 Far Western District
    • 1 Evergreen District
    • 2 International
  • The chorus has performed 116 times
  • 180 new or former members have auditioned and become active members of the chorus
  • 420 men from 3 different current and past international chorus champions sang together in perhaps the most inspirational performance ever during the Harmony Foundation show at the 2009 International Convention in Anaheim
I could go on, but I think we get the point.

Some might question the “wonderful-ness” of all of this. After all, I’m just listing a bunch of “things” that happened to have occurred within a finite span of time; correct? This type of stuff could’ve happened to any organization under the leadership of any dude at any time, right? Not a chance.

These accomplishments serve as evidence of what people can do within an organizational structure where leadership is strong, clear of purpose, fearless of the labor required, and dedicated to achieving a stated goal.

Although Marlin didn’t “make” these things happen, he did provide the leadership stability for a complex and over-achieving organization whose lofty goals and purpose serve as a beacon of inspiration to others who dare to dream of what is possible. It takes a strong hand on the tiller to keep a ship on course. Marlin’s fingerprints are all over the tiller of the Good Ship MOH.

Marlin has – beyond a shadow of a doubt – exceeded all expectations in his role of VP Music & Performance for the Masters of Harmony. We are a better organization for his inspiration, fortitude, unwavering dedication, and heartfelt commitment. The Masters of Harmony are in his debt and we will miss him in this role. This goes double for the guy who gets to replace him.

Now what? What will I do to follow that act? As a quartet singer, I learned many years ago the truth to the following saying regarding an imminent performance: It’s not a good idea to follow kid acts, dog acts, or (this one applies to the topic at hand) a guy who is willing to give his heart and soul, for as long as it takes, to help others realize their dreams . . . like Marlin.

In an attempt to answer my own question, I’ll just say, “I don’t know.” What I can assure you of is that I’ll keep Marlin’s cell phone number on speed dial.

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