Pioneer District Header2000 Spring Contest Happenings
as reported by Jim Styer and others from the Pionet Listserv

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Date:    Mon, 1 May 2000 21:33:13 -0400
From:    jimstyer@HOME.COM
Subject: Conv: Chorus report

     Balanced sound brought the Great Lakes Chorus another district
championship at the spring convention in Battle Creek.
     The Grand Rapids chorus succeeds Lansing as district champ, and also
will represent the district at international competition this summer.
     The 39 men were led by Jamie Carrey, who answered the call for "Help!"
and stepped in temporarily after the recent resignation of Ann Jarchow.
Carrey had been Lansing's director until last year.
     Grand Rapids scored 869 points, the same as last fall.
     Contest highlights also included two other choruses directed by women
and two non-competing choruses.

     With a solid sound from the first note, the Huron Valley Harmonizers,
directed by Lynne Peirce, continued its strong march upward in music and
membership to place second, just 57 points behind Grand Rapids.
     The next major duty for the chorus will be to represent the district in
the first small-chorus competition at the Buckeye Invitational in August in
Columbus, Ohio.
      Huron Valley placed seventh last spring with 22 men, fourth in the
fall with 23 men and second this time with 34 men. Its score in these
contests has risen from 704 to 758 to 812.
     When a well-wisher congratulated Peirce, she hugged him. "I didn't have
anything to do with it," he responded. "I know," she said; "I'm just happy."

     In its first competition in exactly 10 years, Saginaw-Bay's Harbor
Sounds chorus placed fifth with 20 men on stage. The chorus scored 740, nine
points less than it did when it placed eighth with 26 men under the name of
the Timberland Chordsmen.
    The chorus was led by Nan Wardin, who also directs the Sweet Adelines'
Auburn Chorus. She said the chapter decided to compete only about 10 weeks
earlier and called on her.
     Other top placements this spring were Kalamazoo at third and Grosse
Pointe at fourth. The second- through fifth-place choruses were also the
champions in their respective plateaus, which are based on chapter membership.
    Society board member Don Challman of the Land 'O Lakes District told the
convention committee that he was quite pleased with the performances of the
small choruses.

     In what may be the largest chorus in the history of the Pioneer
District stage, the Joe Barbershopper Chorus opened the competition as
mike-testers with about 105 men.
     The chorus, directed by Lansing's Jeff Gougeon, included some 50 men
from Lansing and about 20 from Rochester. All competing and non-competing
barbershoppers are invited to join the chorus and rehearse for an hour
beforehand. Helped by dual memberships, the chorus was announced as
representing the Pioneer, Illinois, Land 'O Lakes, Sunshine and Dixie districts.
      Its rendition of "Nellie" and "From the First Hello" received a
standing ovation from all the judges.

     The first father-son-grandson chorus brought 27 men and boys to the
stage . . . and sentimental tears to the eyes of several of the singers and
     The chorus included three grandsons, ranging in age from 11 years to
seven months.
      Jack Slamka, the dad of Power Play, led the first number. During much
of it, babe-in-arms Dylan Slamka was held by son Mark and entertained
himself by pulling on son Mike's jacket lapel.
     When Mike took over directing for the second number, "Singing Here with
Dad," Jack sang with the chorus and the youngster turned his attention to
Jack's tie.


Date:    Mon, 1 May 2000 22:40:31 -0400
From:    jimstyer@HOME.COM
Subject: Conv: College scores, report

Privately Funded from Hillsdale College again won the right
to represent the Pioneer District in the international college
quartet contest this summer at the internation convention.

The quartet scored 693 singing "Mistakes" and "Hello, Mary Lou."
The score was significantly higher than the 604 it earned last
spring in its first district competition, singing "Sweet Adeline"
and "Love/Eyes Medley". In international competition last summer,
the quartet placed 18th with those same songs.

A quartet from Alma College, Dis-Chords, was scheduled to compete
but could not make it to the competition in time because of
transportation problems.

Privately Funded's score detail from the official score sheet is:

    SONGS                               MUS PRE SNG   TOTAL SCORE

 1 Privately Funded    Mistakes         100 107 130        693
                       Hello, Mary Lou  109 114 133


Date:    Mon, 1 May 2000 22:40:24 -0400
From:    jimstyer@HOME.COM
Subject: Conv: Quartet scores, report: Out-of-district

(Scores at bottom)

   Excalibur, from the Hilltop Chapter, scored a convincing 2049
points (double panel) to qualify to represent the Land 'O Lakes
District in international competition this summer.
   Also going to Kansas City will be Sharper Image from the
Illinois District.
   They were among four out-of-district quartets to compete for
qualifying points during the Pioneer District spring contest.
   Quartets need 1824 points this year to qualify by score.
   Excalibur had the top score, but with only three points more
than Power Play, which qualified on home ground with a 2046 score.
   Power Play led by 4 points in the semifinals, Excalibur
by 7 points in the finals.
   Excalibur's score was 53 points ahead of its numbers in the
spring 1999 contest (using double-panel comparisons). The LOL
prelims are next weekend.
   Power Play scored 30 more points than it did in last spring's
   Sharper Image scored 1880, compared with 1960 last spring
in its district. Its score ranked it third on the Pioneer
District score sheet.
   Quartet baritone is Kirk Wood of PawPaw, a member of Genuine
Blend, 1994 Pioneer District champion, and former director of
Battle Creek's Cereal City Chorus.
   Last summer in international competition, Excalibur placed
sixth, Power Play seventh and Sharper Image 22nd.
   The other two out-of-district quartets singing in Pioneer did
not score enough in the weekend's semifinals to make the cut.
Those quartets were:
   -- The Highwaymen from Barrie and Scarborough in the Ontario
District. The quartet would have placed 4th in the ONT contest.
Two of the quartetters hold dual membership in Pioneer, lead Mark
in the Macomb Chapter and bass Mike McClary in Grosse Pointe.
   -- 2Bad 4U from Columbus, Ohio, in the Johnny Appleseed District.
The quartet would have placed 13th in the JAD contest.

Below are the complete scores of the out-of-district quartets,
separated from the Pioneer District scores. I've added
quartet members' names.

--jim styer, PIO convention PR--

Date:    Mon, 1 May 2000 22:53:11 -0400
From:    jimstyer@HOME.COM
Subject: Conv: PR awards

     The Pioneer District has honored three barbershoppers for their work in
chapter public relations and marketing in 1999.
     First-place Public Relations Officer of the Year (PROTY) awards went to:
     -- Jack W. Oonk of Holland for a single effort, a fund-raising campaign
to expand usage of the chapter's theater building as a community arts facility.
     -- Paul Smith of Flint for various activities in promoting the chapter
throughout the year.
     Darrell Richmond of Huron Valley earned second place in the year-around
     The awards were presented Friday at the district spring convention. All
three also will be entered in the international PR contest.
     All three entrants did excellent jobs and were well-qualified as
entrants, the judges said. Judges were Joyce Ryan, long-time
editor/publisher of the Battle Creek Shopper-News, a community news weekly;
Doug Pearson, district VP for marketing who works in the PR field; and Roger
Lewis, Society Executive VP, whose barbershop and professional careers have
included writing and marketing.

     Oonk, 70, a newspaper and marketing retiree who also is part of an
extended barbershop family, was nominated by Art Lane, last year's winner of
a district and international PR award.
     "It is more than public relations," Lane wrote about Oonk. "It is . . .
the actual leadership of having a good idea, working out the details,
getting other people to help and seeing it through. We are fortunate to have
a man like Jack who can inspire the chapter to work and make it fun, and he
has been doing it on projects big and small for 50 years."
     Oonk, a 50-year Society member, conceived and supervised a
multi-facetted "Preservation Through Performance" program to raise funds to
develop the Park Theatre downtown - which the chapter had purchased - as a
performance center for the whole community.
     By the end of 1999, more than $40,000 was raised. Now, with part of
that as seed money, a professional fund-raiser has been hired to help reach
a goal that has been doubled to $1 million. The chapter is continuing to
refurbish the theater and plan more shows.

     A recently retired General Motors engineer, Smith has been a
barbershopper for 10 years, has 15 Men of Note awards, was Flint chapter
president for two years, and has been PR chairman for more than a year.
     His nomination for the award was submitted by Ed Wracan, chapter
president, and John Noteware, musical director.
His activities during 1999 included promotion of the annual show, an open
house, a chicken dinner fund-raiser and a series of Christmas appearances.
In addition to promoting activities in 10 newspapers and the electronic
media, he designed and produced ads, fliers, mailers, ticket mail-order
forms, a show program cover and a media fax form.
     And looking toward the future, he compiled a three-page document to
guide successor PR chairmen.

     Richmond, a retiree who joined the chapter seven years ago, formalized
his interest in barbershop promotion upon volunteering two years ago as
chapter development vice president.
     He organized a team that has planned several shows and guest nights,
based on plans and timelines Richmond developed.
Results have included several articles in five newspapers, a public-access
TV show, a promotion in AAA's "Michigan Living" magazine, and increased
ticket sales and public recognition.
     Members of his PR team include John Paglione, Tom Peirce, Hal Thompson
and Tom Skylis.

     Coordinator of the district PROBE awards programs is Jim Styer of
Battle Creek, a former PROBE vice president.
     PROBE (Public Relations Officers and Bulletin Editors) is a
self-supporting membership organization within the Society.

(A fuller story will run in the next Troub.)

--jim styer, convention PR--


Date:    Mon, 1 May 2000 22:45:52 -0400
From:    jimstyer@HOME.COM
Subject: Conv: Quartet report

   Power Play again reached into the hearts of their audience and pulled out
another loving send-off to international competition.
   The Slamka family quartet garnered 2046 points in the Pioneer District
contest, their highest-yet qualifying score on the way to still-more stardom
this summer in Kansas City.
   In a contest studded with quartet stars and starry-eyed quartets, Power
Play stayed down-to-earth with songs of basic feeling.
   Lead Mike Slamka made listeners feel he was really hurting in "For Sale,
One Broken Heart." The link with the audience continued throughout the
remaining three competition songs.
   "They grab your heart," said an onlooking chorus director, "and tear it
   Their moves aren't just moves: Put a hand out, now bring it back in.
Their moves are part of their entire presence on stage, feeling and selling
the songs, so much a part of their presentation that the audience really
never notices them. The audience experiences not the motions, but the emotions.
   For their acceptance song, Power Play chose an arrangement of "My Foolish
Heart" with solos that showcased the musicality of the individual voices,
most often heard only as part of a well-blended family unit.
   One wag commented, "No act should have to follow kids, pets or Power Play."
   Power Play's score placed it well within the top-10 ranking among
quartets from other districts also qualifying to compete internationally.

   District quartets placing second and third in scoring were WJBC and
Philatoga Township. That continued a trend, as they had placed first and
second in their first competition on the Pioneer stage last fall.
   Others placing in the finals, in order, were former district champ
Upstage Sound, Gallery, PriZm, Four-Man Fishin' Tackle Choir and Grand Prix.

Observations on a few of the quartets:

  A fashion statement in light green (or blue, or blue/green?) pinstripe
suits, white ties and shirts. For high-intensity songs ("Jeepers Creepers"
and "An Apple for the Teacher), they had high-intensity smiles, especially
lead Craig Pollard. They sold themselves and their songs to the audience,
and their scores were slightly higher than for their finals set.
  In the finals, as they waited for two lights, bells were heard in the
audience. The quartet came out in red sweatshirts and winter scarves,
carrying a Christmas tree and a snowman figure. They sang "How can there be
Merry Christmas for me and none for the little boy next door?", followed by
the traditional "Let It Snow." The tinkling audience bells resumed after
their exit, and finally MC Doran McTaggart called out, "Oh, knock it off!"

   Straw hats, very bright ties, and the now-ubiquitous fake medals. It was
the standard schtick as one quartetter keeps messing up on when he should
have his hat on or off. This time, though, along with a very extended tag,
the hat ends up being stomped on and a toupee gets into the act. Bari Joel
Mills never seems far from schtick on stage. Maybe it's because he was a VP
of Contest and Judging?
   As mike-tester for the finals, they came out with a very badly battered
straw hat. They intoned, "This is our high-scoring song." They referred to a
"barely awake" judge and yelled out at judge Roger Lewis, They sang that
they would "make a fool of ourselves tonight." Finally, the judges raised
their hands in the air, broke and tossed their pencils.
  And that was just the start. The quartet sang about "crowd interraction"
and "don't make me sing along." They brought out large cue cards and had the
audience singing along. And then the judges. "Just the judges now ...  they
need help."

They showed they could go beyond the hunting and fishing theme they used
exclusively in their show-package debut last fall. "Basin Street Blues" was
a pleasant combination of mellow sound in a jazzy vehicle. They continue the
sound development they began last fall with a strong finish in this set.

Introduced the audience to "a limburger sandwich, a cool glass of beer, a
slice of raw onion and you."

"You Made Me Love You" in the finals wowed the audience with the low bass of
John Kirby in the tag. And "The Birth of the Blues" arrangement took full
advantage of the bass.

In their blue zoot suits, they were lively, animated and in constant fluid
motion. Kirk Wood continues to come closer to that Top-10 quartet that he's
been looking to be a part of for so long.



Date:    Mon, 1 May 2000 22:53:25 -0400
From:    jimstyer@HOME.COM
Subject: Conv: Bulletin awards

    In his first year in competition, Elbert Ford of Traverse City has been
named Pioneer District's Bulletin Editor of the Year.
    Second place was awarded to Art Lane of Holland.
    The district awards were presented Friday at the spring convention. Both
entries have been submitted to the Society-level contest; winners will be
announced at the international convention in July in Kansas City, Mo.
    The district contest was close, with only 16 points separating the
entrants. Ford, editor of "The Chorister," posted a total score of 1,394 and
won in two judging categories: Layout and Reproduction, and Content. But
Lane, editor of "The Windmill Blade," outpointed Ford in the Grammar and
Style category.
    Ford, a barbershopper for 27 years, began editing "The Chorister" in
1998 and submitted bulletins last year for critique by the judges, but
hadn't yet edited enough issues to qualify for competition.
    Judges are bulletin editors and former editors in other districts who
have gone through a judges' training program. The judges both score the
bulletins and provide each editor with a detailed report and suggestions for
    Lane, a Holland Chapter member for 10 years, has consistently placed
among the top three bulletin editors in the district in recent years. His
score for 1999 was his highest in three years.
Lane also won district and international public relations awards last year.
    Content judge Wade Dexter wrote to editors: "Editing a chapter bulletin
is hard work. I've often said the only guy who works harder than the BE is
the music director. However, it can be a very gratifying job."

    The contest is sponsored by PROBE (Public Relations Officers and
Bulletin Editors), a self-supporting membership organization within the
    All bulletin editors in the district are eligible for the contest; they
must publish at least six issues in 2000. Eight published issues are
required for a Society-level award. All editors, however, also may submit
bulletins for comment only, no matter how many or how few issues they publish.
    To enter, save and submit three copies each of any three consecutive
bulletins by Jan. 15, 2000, to Jim Styer of Battle Creek, district contest
    Also, your chapter secretary can sign you up in PROBE by contacting
Kenosha. Or you can sign yourself up by sending $5 annual dues -- a
legitimate chapter expense -- to Brian Lynch, PROBE Secretary-Treasurer,
6315 Harmony Lane, Kenosha, WI 53143.

--jim styer, convention PR--


Date:    Mon, 1 May 2000 22:46:10 -0400
From:    jimstyer@HOME.COM
Subject: Conv: Fashion statement?

A new image of barbershopping may be developing.

On the Pioneer District stage this past weekend,
WJBC came out in light green pinstripe suits, white
ties and shirts. Later, Sharper Image from Illinois
sported double-breasted blue pinstripe suits, black
and white shoes and long, gold pocket-watch chains.
In the finals, Philatoga Township quartetters
turned the clock back with black pinstripes.

I believe these used to be called zoot suits.

In black, they're what the '30s gangsters wore.
Barbershop goes Gangsta-shop?

Or just a variation on barbershoppy striped shirts?

--jim styer, Battle Creek--


Date:    Mon, 1 May 2000 22:47:10 -0400
From:    "Kit Lane (by way of" 18u4vy60@SOFTHOUSE.COM
Subject: Conv: Personal observations

We didn't have Bic Finept. or Parker Inkwell reporting for us at this
convention. So I personally invited several people during the weekend
to send PioNet their observations on the contests, and the convention
in general.

Art Lane of Holland send the report below thru me.
The rest of you are welcome -- and encouraged -- to send PioNet
your contest observations, critiques, assessments, short stories,
whatever ...
--jim styer, convention PR--
    Jim, as you requested here is a look at the quartet contest:
   There were two remarkable things about the Pioneer District International
Quartet Preliminaries even before they were held on April 28 and 29 at the
spring convention in Battle Creek.

    One is that 14 quartets from our district chose to compete, knowing they
would be up against Power Play, which placed seventh at the international
contest last year in Anaheim, Calif.  You have to appreciate the quartets,
good and medium, which elected to get out there and make it a contest.
Power Play excelled, but all participants learned something and made the
contest a great one for the audience.

    The other remarkable incident was that four  non-Pioneer quartets
participated in our contest.  Each had said it was unable to attend
competition in its own district.  Each got permission from its district to
compete somewhere else and permission from the Pioneer District to compete
here.   The visiting quartets included some very good ones, which made this
contest even more interesting for the audience.  At the same time the
visiting quartets did not take away anything from the district's quartets,
since the non-district ones were competing only to attain a qualifying score
for the international contest.   And the Pioneer audience had the pleasure
of hearing three quartets bound for for Kansas City.

    When the last chords were sung  the top quartet in the Pioneer
preliminary was Excalibur,  from Land O' Lakes  District, which placed sixth
at Anaheim.  Only three points below was Power Play,  of Hillsdale and
Macomb,  which was right behind Excalibur at Anaheim.   The third qualifier,
Sharper Image, of the Illinois District, also competed in last year's

    Here are some observations gleaned from notes scrawled in the program:

Under New Management:  Good low-volume voices.
Four Man Fishin' Tackle Choir:  Precision and blend.  Moments of believeability.
PriZm:  Bright voices, good movements.
WJBC:  Big sound, happy faces; big hand.
Upstage Sound:  Appropriate hand motions.  Solid bass, good blend.
Nauticals:  Having a good time; like to have them on your show.
TimeOut!: A long and difficult ballad.
Border Crossing:  Delightful delicate touch; bell chords.
Power Play:  Blend and dynamics.  Real acting pulls you in to believe.
Fools' Gold:  Comedy quartet sings good.  Great job.  Having pants fall once
  is enough.
Fortune Smiles:  Sings well softly.
Four Part Digital Surround Sound:  Young quartet; fresh voices.
The Highwaymen:   Quiet good blend.  Big bass.
Excalibur:  Smooth. Precision.  Soft energy.
Philatoga Township:  Solid blend.
Gallery:  Good acting as a band.
Grand Prix: Solid singing.
2Bad 4U:  Good singing.
Sharper Image:  Energy!  Big bass sound.  Look like having good time.

    Every contest seems better than the last.  But this one was special,
with its group of eager competitors from the district and with four added
attractions from other districts.


Date:    Tue, 2 May 2000 10:27:58 EDT
From:    User316066@AOL.COM
Subject: Surprising Saginaw/Bay

Jim Styer asked how the Saginaw/Bay Harbor Sounds could finish fifth after
not competing for ten years.  There are several answers.......

We have a dynamic and talented new director in Nan Wardin.  She's an
experienced Sweet Ads director and a quartet singer.  She brought her
enthusiasm into the chorus and got us all pumped up.  The guys also pay a
helluva lot closer attention to her than they ever did to me!  (I can't
figure out why!)

We used one song, "You Keep Coming Back Like a Song," that the chorus
already had in its repertoire and Nan taught us "Listen to that Dixie Band"
in 2 1/2 months.  That way we could concentrate on the new song, primarily.

Although we haven't competed in ten years and there were 8 or 9 guys who had
never competed before, we had some real veterans on the stage and most of
those guys have been quartet men.

Finally, just before we went on stage, we dedicated our performance to Len
Johnson, who, by the way, is back in the regular hospital with an upper
respiratory infection.

Bob Winters
Proud Member of the Harbor Sounds Chorus


Date:    Tue, 2 May 2000 15:29:42 -0400
From:    Mark Phelps mwphelps@NETZERO.NET
Subject: Greetings from The Highwaymen

Hello Pioneer District!

The Highwaymen got together after the contest and we all agreed: the 
Pioneer District is *wonderful*!  We had such a great time with you this 
weekend!  You were hospitable, warm, encouraging, supportive and F-U-N, 
fun!  From the moment we walked into the McCamly we could tell that the 
weekend would be a special one.

You put up with our posters, let us stick you with gaudy stickers, 
listened to us sing our songs, applauded for us, cheered us on, cheered 
us up, sang with us and for us, and left us wanting more.  We've even 
been asked to sing on a few Pioneer chapter shows in the very near 
future.  We'll keep you posted.

The contest, the Chorditorium, the hospitality rooms at McCamly and 
AmeriHost . . . we'll be savoring the memories and the barbershop high 
for quite a while.  Thank you very much for a fantastic weekend.

To Jamie and the Great Lakes chapter:  A huge "atta boy" and 
congratulations on your victory.  Way to go!  Great singing, guys.  It's
great that you not only hold the District trophy, but earned the right 
to go to KC in July.  We're pulling for you!

To Power Play:  WE'RE NOT WORTHY!  WE'RE NOT WORTHY!  Thanks for letting
us octet with you in the Chorditorium.  You didn't have to do that, but 
we're thrilled that you did.  We'll see you this weekend in Scarborough. 
 Oh, and one more thing . . . WE'RE NOT WORTHY!  WE'RE NOT WORTHY!

Again - from our hearts - thank you, Pioneer District.

For The Highwaymen,

Mark Phelps
Lead - The Highwaymen
Proud member of the Macomb County chapter.

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