Thrilling! Passionate! Awesome!

The Masters receive praises for performance in Portland

Frank Ortega, Jul 10, 2002

It seems that the machine we all started 15 years ago still has what it takes. I was thrilled to see the Masters run away with another gold medal this year. You all are doing a wonderful job. I hope to see more of you guys in the coming months. Congratulations to you all! Now all you have to do is find a shirt that will hold five gold medals at one time without falling apart.

-Al Morgan, Former MOH member

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I heard the news via the SPEBSQSA website that the Masters of Harmony earned another gold medal in competition at Portland. Wow! It's one thing to win an international championship; it's another thing to win five. But to win when you're expected to win is the toughest thing of all. The Lakers can have their three-peat. What do you call five-for-five? Penta-peat? My best to all of the Masters. You certainly have lived up to your name.

-Dave Zorn, KNX Newsradio Anchor

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Congratulations, Masters!

The Toronto package was innovative and challenging and also performed to perfection. You really had your work cut out for you, and there was no question. The hard work paid off. I can imagine that you all must be exhausted. It is obvious that this medal did not happen by accident. It is really amazing to think that you could pull a group of guys from so many different ways of life, and from such a wide geographical area to commit to such an endeavor. It almost requires that every thing else doesn't count. This should really put Mark Hale on the map of barbershop achievement. He was able to bring it together in one contest cycle and did it convincingly.

-Don Saba, San Diego Sun Harbor Chorus

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Congratulations! I was privileged to listen to the webcast of the chorus contest on Saturday and the quartet finals on Saturday night. I was thrilled when I heard the choruses and even more thrilled when I heard the Masters sing an awesome package. Kudos to Mark Hale for being the best of the best.

-Jack Lee, Former MOH member

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Dear MOH Brothers,

I watched with pride (and a rather tense posture) last Saturday as you gave the performance of your lives. It was arguably the best performed uptune in MOH history and perhaps in International history as well. The ballad was also sung with passion and musicality. Though you may have heard the odd nod to Toronto from an audience member, I think there was no doubt among the vast majority present of your very clean win (every song, every category).

For those of you who have been through this before, it's still the best feeling in the world, isn't it. To those among you who received their first chorus gold medal on Saturday, welcome to the "club." You'll be additionally thrilled to know that this experience and its memory are now a permanent part of your being and will be with you forever. No one can take it away, ever, so savor it. In the next few years as newer singers take their places in your ranks you can look at them knowingly and say, "You have no idea" when they ask what it's like to do what you did last weekend. Like being a parent, it's impossible to describe... you have to experience it. And now you have.

Enjoy your Championship year, and make each performance an opportunity to demonstrate to those present why you were declared World Champions. Do it with every song you sing and every smile on your face. They will expect it ... don't disappoint them.

Congratulations again to each of you (I mean YOU), from the 27 brothers with their fifth shiny Gold Medal to those of you with your first. Know that you are part of the most remarkable singing dynasty in the history of our Society, and with Mark Hale in front of you, you are likely to remain so.

-Bob Lally, MOH Bass Emeritus

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Congratulations on your new gold medals! I heard and watched you on the webcast--you were phenomenal!

IMHO each member of your chorus deserves special recognition, as you have kept your gold string continuous under each of your three directors. Choruses, such as "that big one" in Dallas, The New Tradition, and The Harmonizers that have had the same director at the helm for years should be getting it right time after time. But their membership can't say they've won gold under THREE different (and excellent) directors the way you have. Your set was wonderful; it sounded great and it looked great.

Congrats to Mark and the entire MOH organization. Keep up the first-class work!

-Albert Weiss, Co-Director of the Las Vegas Gamble-Aires Barbershop Chorus

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Just wanted to send along my congratulations to the Masters on winning your 5th International Chorus Championship! It was an awesome performance. The ballad was breathtaking and the uptune was fantastic!

Thank you again for allowing us the time to stop in at your rehearsal to wish you luck.

I hope your championship year is as exciting and rewarding as ours was.

-John Hansen, New Tradition Chorus
2001 International Chorus Champions

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Just wanted to congratulate you all on the job Masters did at contest. You were brilliant! Carrying off Erin's choreo is not always easy, but you MASTERED it! Enjoy your year as reigning champions. See you in Montreal if not before.

-Sharon Towner
Toronto Metro Chorus
Sweet Adelines, International

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Congratulations on the Portland victory! Your hard work and dedication to great barbershop singing paid off. We are so proud of you all.

-Ron Soderwall, Director
Vocal Music Department
Woodbridge High School
Irvine, California

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Dear Masters of Harmony Members,

On behalf of the South Bay Coastliners, I would like to extend our heartiest congratulations to you for your well-earned victory at the Portland Convention 2002. Your performance was outstanding and reflected your tireless efforts and dedication to be the best. With your outstanding director,Mark Hale, and the superb performance of 133 men on the risers, you truly did render an all-out championship performance. Our very best wishes to you.

-Mike Martin, Editor, South Bay Coastliner Herald

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Congratulations on your gold and an amazing performance!

-Shari Bilodeau, a big fan from Maine

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My wife and I "retired" to Nebraska three years ago but as a native son, my heart is still in California.

I just wanted to send my personal congratulations to the Masters of Harmony on their gold medal performance in Portland. It takes a lot of dedication, commitment and discipline to achieve this goal--and to do it consistently as many times as the MOH has is inspiring and awesome (especially when I know that many of the MOHers are active in other chapters also.

"Keep America (and California and the whole world) singing."

-Alexander Edwards (formerly of Apple Valley, California Chapter; now with Hastings, Nebraska Chapter)

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To: Bernard Priceman
President of The Masters of Harmony

Bernard,

I am not sure if any of you realize just how wonderful your championship performance was. I was sitting amongst former district quartet champs, current district officers, and a mix of other very qualified "well-knowns" in our district. When Toronto finished their set, the mumbling started from these guys about how the MOH was in trouble and that they could be knocked off by such a clean performance. Toronto was indeed quite excellent. The music was interpreted very well and the dynamics were just excellent.

I had been lucky enough to visit your last rehearsal the Wednesday before international and knew what to expect. I told the others around me to sit down and shut up because the MOH would blow them away with this performance. They doubted me until you began the ballad. "Song Of The South" was incredible. It had everything a winning ballad should have. Being a bass, I was absolutely blown away by the control of the bass section as they crescendoed and decrescendoed as a section. They set the artistic tone for the ballad and the rest of the chorus used it to their advantage. I was impressed at how much passion you added to the performance since the rehearsal I saw. When you finished the ballad, the crowd around me sighed loudly and then applauded vigorously. At that point I couldn't help but slide forward in my seat anticipating what I knew was to come.

"Here Comes The Showboat" was sensational! That was the best designed and performed uptune I have ever seen. It had everything. Dynamics, passion, entertainment, stellar singing, a brilliant quartet, juggling, banjo playing, dancing, total commitment from each performer, and so much more. Everyone around me was astonished at the point in the song when the chorus takes the piece back from the quartet with such excitement and authority. I could feel them all jerk forward when that happened. Then as you finished the song we were all literally yanked out of our chairs into a spontaneous standing ovation by what we had seen.

Frankly, Toronto never stood a chance at all! My unbelieving friends in the audience quickly agreed that the MOH had done it again. Your performance left no doubt as to which chorus had won. The only surprise for me was that the difference in scores wasn't much larger.

On behalf of my brothers in Pacific Sound, I would like to congratulate the Masters on winning another much-deserved championship. We would also like to thank you for creating an opportunity for us and other smaller choruses like us to have a chance to represent this great district at the international competition level. Some day we will return the favor (Ha!). We will give it our best to be worthy to represent the FWD.

Please share with our brothers in the MOH how much we appreciate that they share what they know with their brother barbershoppers. So much of our success relates directly to the many things we have learned from our brothers who are or have been in the MOH, and to the help we have received from your members on a more direct basis. So many other choruses in the FWD can say the same thing. You continue to be the benchmark for the Society on how a chapter and a chorus should be run.

In harmony,

Rick Davis
President, Rincon Beach Chapter
Pacific Sound Chorus

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To Bernard Priceman, Mark Hale and my dear friends, the Masters of Harmony,

WOW! How do I begin to put into words how truly happy I am for all of you. You so deserved this reward and honor after all of the hours and hours of commitment, dedication and hard work each of you invested as individuals and as a unit.

It goes without saying that I was sitting on the edge of my seat as they announced you over the Web cast. I was so sad that I wasn't there, but so thankful to have had the opportunity to at least watch and listen. Five minutes before you went on, my doorbell rang and I was greeted by the most beautiful arrangement of roses. I was so very touched that you would be so thoughtful and kind, and needless to say, the Kleenex entered the scene. I sat here with my Masters t-shirt and my roses and witnessed the grandest display of barbershop that I can recall. You reached out to your audience and gave them a gift that they will never forget. If you reached me like that over my blurry monitor at home, I can only begin to imagine how you lit up that auditorium of people who erupted to their feet with thanks and appreciation for the experience you created for them!!

You all are rightful recipients of that gold medal. Your director, your administration, your music team, Wayne (Mendes) and his visual team, your costume people and each of you individually invested only the highest quality of effort, and I know you are aware of how blessed you are as a chorus to have each other.

A coach simply provides a toolbox and a road map. It is you, the performer, that makes the music and the performance live. Thank you for inviting me to be part of your journey this past year. I feel very blessed to have crossed paths with you and to have had the opportunity and the honor to work with such a fine, talented and musical group of men!

Congratulations and enjoy your well-earned victory as you continue on what I am certain will be a road full of many future successes.

Love to all of you, your friend,

Erin Howden

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What a great chorus contest! Hearty congratulations to the Masters of Harmony for a TERRIFIC performance which was well worthy of an amazing 5th gold medal.

John Mallett
Toronto Northern Lights

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To Mark Hale and the Masters of Harmony:

I arrived back here from vacation yesterday morning. (According to the airline today, my suitcase will arrive tomorrow!) I had a wonderful vacation everywhere I went, but Portland was magnificent. Everything else pales in comparison. It was marvelous to meet former friends and to be greeted by all with such warmth and love. But moving and all as that was, this was nothing compared with the effect of your singing on me.

Even at this distance I find it very hard to find words to express the profound impact the ballad had on me when I first heard it on the Thursday morning and then on Friday afternoon. (Yet even on Friday morning, although the rehearsal was not going as well as hoped, I could not resist mouthing the words and then on Saturday during the performance I was just tense enough to be resistant to letting go completely.) The effect on me was that I felt as if I was taken control of and brought into a world beyond time, one in which I was being moved, coaxed and pushed to experience a new depth of emotion. And then when it seemed as if I would burst at the intensity of that 'false ending,' I was brought back and ever so gently put down on the earth again. The judges among others may have thought the uptune to be the better of the two, but with that kind of reaction it's no wonder that for me it was the ballad that stood out.

Congratulations to all who made the victory so memorable! You're the best of the best. All my traveling was worth it just to be with you for those few days and the privilege and joy of it could only have been surpassed by the privilege of singing with you again. As a former member unable to forget my own peak experience of singing with the chorus, I may have thought that my going to be with the Masters in Portland was to some degree a trip to pick up my heart. But now it looks as if I will have to try that again!

Fergus Clarke, Bari
Jerusalem

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