Barbershop Quartet Preservation Association

            2013 Spring Festival Report

The Western BQPA/Pioneers quartet festival was again a rousing success. The official opening of The Festival was on Wednesday evening, 10 April, 2013 with the AZ quartet chapter hosting a spaghetti dinner at the Italian Club in Phoenix along with attending
the chapter meeting. There were approximately 35 singers there sharing the joy of quartet singing. The parade of quartets was put together by our past Western Festival Chairman, Frank Fliszar. It was a great evening of singing and fellowship. 
On Thursday, April 18, more attendees began to arrive at the Tempe, Embassy Suites and as usual the quartet activity quickly accelerated. Along with the increased quartet activity about 12 guys went off to play golf.  When the golfers returned there was quite
a number of quartets, standing in fours, facing each other singing songs they knew with several doing some real time woodshedding and finding chords that many have never sang before but seemed to fit the melody being sung by the lead singer. Much of the woodshedding activity was happening in the hotel lounge/dining area after breakfast.  At 5:30 PM, as the golfers returned, the free bar at the hotel was going
strong, as well at Gerry Carroll’s happy hour in his room. Several of the wives had enjoyed a few hours at one of the local Arizona malls.  One of the gals commented, that when you have seen one shopping center, you have seen em’all! ;-)

Our Board of Directors conducted our annual business meeting around 4 PM.  As our officers reported, along with other appointed chairmen, it was easy to see that each one had a good handle on our planned activities for the immediate and distant future.  Our Festival Chairman, Jim Milner, assisted by retiring Frank Fliszar had done a good job!
Friday afternoon brought new singers from all over the country.  We had singers from NED, Florida, the Twin Cities, Texas, New Mexico, California, Oregon, Salt Lake, Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, The mid Atlantic Area and several other BHS districts.  Of our 400 members of the BQPA, we ended up with around 110  attending the quartet festival. We had 16 new folks joined the BQPA at this festival, so we saw many new faces that had not attended either the Western Quartet Festival or the Chicago Festival before. Our organization seems to be growing in numbers as well as enthusiasm, every year!
Friday evening we had the pick up quartet contest, where we draw names from a hat to form quartets. It ended up that 12 quartets participated.  Each quartet had a minimum of 4 hours to select their song and quartet name.  This seemed to improve the quality of the singing.  Also, Tom Noble, our president had developed some new judging criteria, which added to making a great contest. There was no doubt that the
quartet that won the “gold medal with purple sash” performed the best. The gold medal quartet was “Men From Earth”, with Gary Mathews . Bob Baltensberger, John Grosnick and Bob Standfast .   Second and third ribbons were presented, (there is another story about these 2nd and 3rd ribbons) to the “Aardvarks” and “Brady’s Bunch” respectively, along with the first place medals.  A complete breakdown of the quartet entries are listed at the end of this report.)
We all enjoyed the free happy hour hosted by the hotel. This was a daily free bar. The only challenge that I observed, there was only one bartender which seemed to limit the dispensing of free drinks. However to compensate for this, The BQPA provided free beer chits to all registered attendees on Both Friday and Saturday. Ya can’t  beat that at WalMart can you? 

Lest I forget, the golfers had another enjoyable day on the golf course.  Lots of tee singing but I did not hear about any record setting scores. Well maybe one, some number thrown out was 127 or something close.
Saturday morning was taken up with having a hot breakfast on the patio and polishing off the morning with some quarteting on the hotel patio as well. The Board of Directors held our semi annual general meeting with about 40 members in attendance. The
Board laid out some statistics on membership loss since our Festival in Chicago in the fall of 2012.  The names of those members and supporters who had passed on in the last several months were read and a moment of silence honoring these folks was taken.  Reports were made by the board members bringing everyone up to speed regarding our organizational status. We had signed on 16 new members at this
convention which was a good sign of positive growth. Although our attendance was down a bit for this convention, many had sent word that they would be attending our scheduled Quartet Festival in Chicago in the fall.

Donations were running strong and we will be OK as far as covering our expenses for this Spring’s function.  I remind everyone there is no BQPA registration expense or show fees to belonging and
participating in the BQPA, save a small life time joining fee of $15.00.
There was some discussion regarding the BQPA previously having made a donation supporting the “Platoon” quartet program originating in the FWD.  Bill Kane of the Phoenix chapter had made a briefing to the Board of Directors on Thursday. This is a district level program just getting off the ground, which encourages quarteting at the district conventions. This would be a feather in the BQPA hat as well as generating some interest in future BQPA activities.
There was considerable discussion and support for the development of a BQPA/Pioneers song book. The plan is to develop a song book that will be comprised
primarily of public domain songs arranged by our seasoned, long time barbershoppers who support the continued preservation of “The Old Songs” by singing them. There was some  discussion for an old tyme quartet contest in Chicago, but generated
insufficient support from the BOD, or the attending members to consider, further action.
Our BQPA website is now updated, exhibiting the details about the Fall BQPA Festival in Chicago.  The hotel convention venue is excellent and the room rate and amenities are exceptional.  Gerry Carroll has done a great job on these negotiations. Visit for further information.
A motion to adjourn and seconded brought the meeting to termination.
As the day went on more attendees filtered into the hotel.  The quartets who would be performing in the evening mingled with the other guys and enjoyed quarteting . 8:00 PM brought on the evenings quartet show, put together by Paul Ludwig.  The program was:
 1 The Friday night contest winner, “Men From Earth”
2 Backspin. From the Mesa Lamplighter Chapter
3 Joint Venture. The Tucson Chapter.
4 Speakeasy. Primarily the Phoenix area                  
5 Twilight Time. Mesa AZ.         
6 2 Under Par. Arizona Quartet Chapter.
7 Arizona Chord Company. from the Sun City chapter         
8 Audacity
The quality of performance was absolutely outstanding.  Audacity, who have performed at our festival for the past 5 consecutive years had an outstanding new program. The show audience was very enthusiastic and quite large and they really
enjoyed the show.
I must acknowledge the great work done by Tommy and Linda Noble.  With  help from BQPA member Barney Griffin of the quartet “2 Under Par”, AZQC they set up and manned the Sound System for the Friday night contest and the Saturday night show.
They also returned the Sound System to its storage area at the end of the Saturday night show. Great work guys! ! !  I might add that Lee Taylor, from Salt Lake has been appointed as VP, replacing Rex Touslee!
The quartet “Speak Easy” was made up of 4 young men who are new to the local Phoenix scene. Two of the boys joined the BQPA.  Most of the show quartets were heading into the FWD contest cycle and were top notch.   After the show, many stayed late to sing with our BQPA members.  There was singing and the sharing of fellowship going on, well into the night. Did I mention continued singing of the “Old Songs” and
fellowship?  This is what the BQPA is all about!
There was a lot of activity on Sunday morning in the hotel, with folks being shuttled to the Airport and those who drove from Southern California. The folks from the AZ area were clearing the hotel heading home.  The festival was a again a great success
generating a lot of knew found enthusiasm from many, especially those members who joined the BQPA at the festival. Jim Milner our newly appointed Western BQPA, Tempe Chairman will begin negotiation for next years, 2014  Festival at the Embassy Suites. 
As my last comments, I want to again thank the BQPA/Pioneers Board of Directors and our appointed committee chairman for your dedicated service to our organization. Youare the best!
Respectfully submitted
Jack Martin, IPP

BQPA/Pioneer Pick-up Quartet Contest
Tempe, AZ  -  April 13
, 2013
Contestants in order of appearance
         Tenor – John Rambo               Baritone – Jim Rapp
          Lead – Emmett Bossing         Bass – Bill Myers
         Tenor – Linda Noble                 Baritone – Paul Fernando
          Lead – Dick Bek                       Bass – Jack Martin
         Tenor – Gary Mathews               Baritone – Bernie Esberner
          Lead – Rick Ives                        Bass – Barney Griffin
         Tenor – Rob Baltensberger       Baritone – John Grosnick
          Lead – Gary Mathews                Bass – Bob Standfast
 #5   4 OVER PAR
         Tenor – Harlan Mellem                Baritone – Will Winder
          Lead – Gary Efron                       Bass – John Rambo
 #6   THE INOCULATORS (we’ll give it a shot)
          Tenor – Jerry Steffen                  Baritone – Bob Calderwood
           Lead – Jerry Larson                   Bass – Pete Tyree  
          Tenor – Kent Shepherd               Baritone – Jim Brandt
           Lead – Gerry Carroll                    Bass – Frank Fliszar
          Tenor – Ed Simons                       Baritone – Lee Taylor
           Lead – Paul Fernado                    Bass – Norm Wolfe
          Tenor – Tom Millot                         Baritone – Paul Ludwig
           Lead – Tom Haynes                      Bass – Dave Brady
          Tenor – Jim Angell                         Baritone – Pat Lanphier
           Lead – Collin McKinney                Bass – John Nichols
          Tenor – Tommy Noble                      Baritone – Jim Milner
           Lead – Rich Vormelker                    Bass – Collin McKinney
          Tenor – Emmett Bossing                 Baritone – Chuck Guthrie
          Lead – Dave Brady                           Bass -  Jim Gallagher