BQPA/Pioneers Quartet Festival in
Well, we’ve put another great “do-it-yerself convention” of
old style barbershop quartetting in the record books.
There were nearly 90 singers and guests in the room for our
Saturday evening quartet parade, and more than 45 attended the Friday evening
pick-up quartet contest. This was more than might have been expected,
what with hurricanes in
Close to two dozen singers had checked in at the Best
Western hotel in
After the complimentary breakfast Thursday morning the golfers drove off for rounds which included singing at every tee, as usual. Also as usual, nobody would admit to their scores when the golfers returned to join those who preferred just to sing (in QUARTETS) rather than spoiling a good walk by swinging a club. (Many said they had more fun singing than golfing that day…)
Our BQPA/Pioneers Board conducted their usual meeting on Thursday afternoon, after the golfers had returned. Later, our Registration table opened up, staffed by our volunteers. And there was much QUARTET singing. (DUH!!!)
Friday morning came and a few golfers perversely departed again for the links, and got back in time for the pick-up quartet contest draw. Once the pick-up quartets had been drawn, there was – as usual – a lot of confusion, with folks searching for their other voice part singers. Some left, then, for somewhat leisurely dinners (some few at the no-longer-weekly Friday evening fish fry at Charlie’s, in-house), but rehearsals of the die-hards continued until moments before the contest started.
The contest went off very nicely.
Again as usual, there was a bit more singing after the contest
session. (Well, umm, HOURS more…) All four corners of the room were occupied by
quartets, and the singing spilled
out into the corridors outside the
On Saturday morning, the BQPA/Pioneers annual Membership
meeting was held. The names of Departed
Friends were read off, including some who were not members of
BQPA/Pioneers. We remembered especially
Jim encouraged reserving guest rooms early, even if you
might have to cancel later if your plans or your calendar change. The hotel has a very lenient cancellation
policy, but late reservations are very difficult to switch into the group guest
room rate. That rate is again $89.00 per
night for a queen or king suite, and that rate is offered to our attendees
three days before and three days after our Festival. The rooms are just twenty-five cents LESS
expensive out of pocket than
Oh, and remember the spaghetti dinner on Wednesday evening, at the American-Italian Club, where the Arizona Quartet Club meets. Much quartetting occurs after the (excellent and inexpensive) dinner…
After the membership meeting and into the afternoon and early evening, QUARTET singing abounded. There were quartets at the Registration table, in the bar, in the halls and the lobby, etc. A large contingent – about 25 folks – went out to Stacy’s steak house for a repast together, and – again this year – got back in time for our Quartet Parade.
The Saturday evening Parade, with Raymond as MC, was a rousing success. The pick-up contest champs, The UNICHORDS, led off on stage. The other quartets that appeared on our Parade included Implied HARMONY, ABILENE PARADOX, and JUKEBOX. Wonderful to have all of the groups as our Parade entertainment – THANKS!
One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of an honorary membership in the BQPA/Pioneers to Jarmela Speta, who attended our gathering, coached at least one of the performing quartets, made constructive comments to many of the informal groups, and gave us all a short talk about the importance to good singing of good health, proper posture and body alignment. Jarmela is a long-time member of Sweet Adelines, a coach and a chorus director, and sang in THREE Sweet Adelines champion QUARTETS!
The other outstanding event was the song sung on stage by Mr. Billy McKnight, who again attended our parade. Bill was the lead of the Barber-que Four, back in the day, with Moose Haeger, Emmett Bossing and Tom Watts, now all gone. Bill’s wife of some sixty years burst into happy tears when he began singing informally as soon as they arrived, as Billy had apparently declined to sing at home for quite some time. We got Bill up on stage, and he sang right out with three other guys, to be applauded with a Standing “O”.
The Parade ended with our traditional rendition of Keep America Singing.
With the formal elements of the Festival completed, we all adjourned to the corners of our meeting room, as well as areas immediately adjacent, and even into unoccupied rooms down the hall, and proceeded to sing some more. Singing continued until nearly in the morning. I‘m happy to say that this year I WAS in the last quartet left on the field of battle, but even so, we left our gathering room cleared of sound system (thanks Jim Jarosz!), registration materials and banner, due to the help and assistance of many volunteers.
It needs to be noted that, over the run of this Festival, at least ten new folks signed up for membership in BQPA/Pioneers. Huzzah!
This was a most successful and enjoyable Festival. LOTS of QUARTET singing. (Well, yeah, that’s what we came for, no? That’s the bottom line…) There were a number of gents with medals of one color or another from SPEBSQSA, but just as many and more “Joe Barbershoppers.” Didn’t matter who you were or what your past accomplishments – everyone got a chance to sing some good stuff in QUARTETS. And a bunch of people made sure they sang with Pete Tyree…
THANKS – as usual – must go to all the folks who made it all happen! The Chairs of all the committees that DO things. The Board members who remind the Chairs of what the Chairs already know. The registration volunteers who labor but also get to sing with everyone who comes up to the table to register. The folks who helped strike after the Parade. The quartets. Everyone!
Remember the spring Festival, in April, in
Tom Noble, President
Top Placing Quartets:
Win: Contestant #7 – UNICHORDS
Tenor – Tom Noble Lead – Jerry Larson
Place: Contestant #5 – THE DISCHORDS
Tenor – Barney Griffin Baritone –
Show: Contestant #8 –
Tenor – Jim Angell Baritone – Chuck Guthrie