The Masters of Harmony was chartered on October 1, 1985, as the Foothill Cities Chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. (SPEBSQSA). The purpose of forming was to pursue musical excellence, with every member expected to be an active participant in the chorus and its related activities. (For a detailed account of the founding of the chapter, a list of the Charter Members, the events leading up to the move to Santa Fe Springs and the appointment of Dr. Greg Lyne as music director, see The Founding of the Masters of Harmony.
In less than one year after moving to the City of Santa Fe Springs, the Masters of Harmony won the Far Western District chorus contest in October 1988, and in July 1989 went on to gain a fourth-place medal at the international contest held in Kansas City, Missouri. The following year, in July of 1990 in San Francisco, the chorus achieved the ultimate honor in barbershopping by winning the international chorus championship. In July of 1993, when the chorus was next eligible to compete, it again won the international championship – this time in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Three years later, in July of 1996 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the MOH achieved its third international chorus championship.
In the late summer of 1996, after more than eight and a half years at the helm, Dr. Greg Lyne resigned as music director to assume, effective early 1997, the position of Director of Music Education and Services at the Barbershop Society’s headquarters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jack Pinto, one of the original members of the BSQ quartet and former director of the Hunterdon Harmonizers of Easton, Pennsylvania, briefly served as the Masters of Harmony’s music director in the spring of 1997. A search for a new permanent director was begun that summer, with Jeff Oxley from Dallas, Texas (bass of the international quartet champion The Rapscallions , Acoustix , and subsequently MaxQ ), being appointed effective January 1, 1998.
Later in 1998, after more than 10 years of abiding loyalty and support from the City of Santa Fe Springs, the chapter officially changed its name from the Foothill Cities Chapter to that of the Santa Fe Springs Chapter.
At the 1999 international competition in Anaheim, which was also hosted by the chapter, the Masters of Harmony won their fourth consecutive chorus championship. Jeff Oxley, who had continued to live in Texas, resigned shortly thereafter and Brett Littlefield (chapter member and bass of the 1996 quartet champion, Nightlife) was named the interim director. Brett remained in that position until April 1, 2000, when Mark Hale was appointed the new music director. In 2001 Mark himself became an international quartet champion, singing lead with Michigan Jake. Success at the international level continued for the Masters of Harmony, with consecutive victories in 2002 (Portland), 2005 (Salt Lake City), 2008 (Nashville), and 2011 (Kansas City).
In early 2012, Mark Hale announced that he would retire as the MOH director following the chorus’s performances as reigning champion at the July 2012 international convention in Portland, Oregon. At an emotional Recognition Luncheon, held just before the final performance, it was announced that Mark was inducted into the Masters of Harmony Hall of Fame.
A Director Search Committee had been formed several months earlier, with the hope that a new director could be appointed soon after the convention. On August 20, 2012, the chapter board formally approved Justin Miller as the new director of the Masters of Harmony, and he began with the chorus two days later. In addition to previously being an active member of the MOH, Justin had led the nearby Westminster Chorus to a championship in 2010.
For a full description of each of the international championships, see the Chorus Championships.
For a detailed chronology of the chapter’s activities since its founding, see Chronology of Chapter Events. A listing of the elected leaders through the years can be found in Boards of Directors. A large number of past and present chapter members have also been district and international quartet champions. See A Chorus of Quartet Champions.
For biographical information about each of the chorus’s primary directors (Greg Lyne, Jeff Oxley, Mark Hale, and Justin Miller), see Chorus Directors.
- Terry Blumenthal
- Gary Ahlfeldt
- Joe D’Amore
- Paul Laemmle
- Dan Fullerton
- Chuck Leavitt
- Bob Lally
- Lance Trossevin
- Marlin Fors
- Bernard Priceman
- Ken Custer (through July 2006)
- Kirt Thiesmeyer
- Bill Rosica
- Ron Andreas
- Rob Menaker
- Jackson Niebrugee
- Joe D’Amore