Pioneer District Header1998 Spring Contest Happenings
as reported by Jim Styer

Pioneer LogoReturn to Pioneer District Contest Summaries Page

Pioneer District is sending three quartets into 1998 international competition in Atlanta, with "Team Slamka" coming on strong in both the quartet and the chorus contests.

This is the second time in three years that the district has qualified three quartets for international.

Quartet qualifiers were led by Power Play, which placed 10th in 1997 in Indianapolis. The Slamka foursome from the Macomb and Gratiot chapters is comprised of tenor Don, lead Michael, baritone Mark and bass (daddy) Jack. They scored 1,983, leading other contenders by 99 points. They were 1989 district champs and also previously competed internationally in 1990-94.

Also qualifying were:

  • 1995 district champs Firepower! from Lansing, Grosse Pointe and Gratiot: tenor Mark Wilson, led Jamie Carey, bari Jeff Marks and bass Mike McClary.
  • Onyx from Motor City, Rochester and Frank Thorne: tenor Bruce Lamarte, lead Craig Pollard, bari Mike Woodruff and bass Brian Kauffman.

    These quartets also have previously competed internationally. Firepower! and Onyx were in Salt Lake City in 1996, along with Genuine Blend. Firepower! was in Miami in 1995. Onyx was in Pittsburgh in 1994.

    Placing fourth this spring was the current district champion, The Detroit Company of Huron Valley, Rochester and Frank Thorne: tenor Jeff Gougeon, lead J. Keklly Brumett, bari Jim Ryan and bass Al Fisk.

    Consistency was the byword in the quartet pre-lims, with eight foursomes ranked in the same order in both the semifinals and the finals. Power Play received 991 points the first night, 992 points the second night. Four other quartets also scored higher in the finals than in the semifinals, and the other three were just 2 to 26 points lower than their first-night scores.

    The "Slamka team" also led in the chorus competiton, with dad Jack Slamka directing Macomb's Harmony Heritage Chorus with 47 men to a 131-point lead to garner first place as the newest district chorus champion. This represents a renaissance for the Macomb chorus, with last went to international in 1991 in Louisville, then also directed by Jack Slamka.

    Macomb was followed by Kalamazoo's Mall City Chorus, the Gratiot County Midstatesmen and Detroit-Oakland's Gentlemen Songsters. Current international qualifier Grand Rapids, along with Lansing, did not compete.

    Jim Stephens -- long-time director, coach, quartetter and district officer -- led the Huron Valley Harmonizers in his final directing stint. The chorus didn't sign up in time to be ranked, but its score would have put it in fourth place.

    Scoring and placement in the spring chorus competition opens up the potential for strongly competitive chorus pre-lims in fall 1998 among Grand Rapids, Lansing, Macomb, Kalamazoo and possibly Gratiot County. Only Grand Rapids and Macomb have previously competed internationally. Motor City Metro, whose City Lights chorus was an international competitor in 1992-95, recently has become a quartet chapter.

    In the collegiate quartet contest, the winner was Vocal Point from the University of Windsor (Canads) and the North Monroe Chapter. If Vocal Point had been in the district quartet contest, it would have placed eighth and made the cut. Placing second in the collegiate category was Privately Funded from Hillsdale College. Both were singing for the first time in collegiate competition.

    Pioneer LogoReturn to Pioneer District Contest Summaries Page