Serve With Purpose - Seneca Land District

Volume 43, #2
Serve With Purpose
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2015 Seneca Land District
Leadership Team
© 2015 SMOKE SIGNALS is the official publication of
the Seneca Land District, Society for the Preservation
and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing
in America, Inc., dba Barbershop Harmony Society. It
is published bi-monthly, appearing online at
and printed & mailed to
Send comments, inquiries or
submissions to:
Seneca Land District Bulletin
Smoke Signals
Editor - Pat Close
5 Fourth Ave, Franklinville N.Y. 14737
[email protected]
Business Card (6 issues) $35
Quarter Page (per issue) $50
Half Page
(per issue) $100
Full Page
(per issue) $150
Back Page (3/4 pg per iss) $165
2015 SLD Events
Leadership Academy:
January 17th, 2015
Spring Convention:
April 17-18-19, 2015
Pow Wow:
July 17-18, 2015
Chautauqua Serenade:
August 23, 2015
Fall Convention:
September 25-26-27, 2015
Leadership Retreat:
October 30-31, 2015
Page 2
Exec. VP
VP Events
VP Fun
VP Franchising
VP Frat. Outreach
VP Fundraising
VP Human Res
VP Marketing/PR
VP Membership
VP Youth
VP Home School
VP Music
Allegheny DVP
Appalachian DVP
Catskill DVP
Ontario DVP
Bob Coant
[email protected]
[email protected]
Pete Carentz
[email protected]
Tom Jones
[email protected]
Glenn Sparling
[email protected]
Eric Saile
[email protected]
Warren Capenos
[email protected]
Nate Bell
[email protected]
Don Stothard
[email protected]
Pat Close
[email protected]
Don Stothard
[email protected]
Nick DiLorenzo
[email protected]
Todd Horton
[email protected]
Larry Brennan
[email protected]
Jim Eldridge
[email protected]
Steve Harrington
[email protected]
Jay Holman
[email protected]
John Rice
[email protected]
--Matt Fruth
[email protected]
John Schoonover
[email protected]
Jerry Knickerbocker
[email protected]
Jim Barickman
Bobby Porter
Tom Jones
David Bay
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Mike Ebbers
[email protected]
Bob Coant
[email protected]
Brian Mayeu
[email protected]
George Jarrell
[email protected]
David Lawson
[email protected]
District Directory Editor
Jim Barickman
[email protected]
Warren Capenos
[email protected]
Financial Review
Don Morgan
[email protected]
Hall of Fame (HOF)
Bob Fuest
[email protected]
5th Man
Fred Burne
[email protected]
Music Man
Eric Saile
[email protected]
Skip Berenguer
[email protected]
Kevin Jones
[email protected]
Smoke Signals /Conv prgm Pat Close
[email protected]
Standing Ovation Prg
Mike Lurenz
[email protected]
Services Chairman
Butch Talada
[email protected]
Endowment Fund Chair
Butch Talada
[email protected]
Web Master
Jay Holman
[email protected]
We Sing to Feed Them All Chair - Ed Blaine
[email protected]
Laws & Regs
Nate Bell
[email protected]
SLD Chefs
David Lewis
[email protected]
Butch Talada
[email protected]
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Smoke Signals
Life is too really is!
by Bob Coant, SLD President
The nature of this article is going to hit home and hopefully with the intent it is intended for by me. I will
do my very best not to mention any names at all because it really isn't about the people, rather the
incidences and general, overall attitudes within the district.
Since my last term as District President some 17 years ago (1997-98), I have seen and noticed a change in
attitude in our hobby. I wish I could say it's been a good change but it hasn't. I have noticed that many of
our members are so critical of district (and chapter) leadership. Much of this criticism comes in the form of
e-mails, letters, texts, social media and phone calls. Leaders, (for the most part) are very hard working
people, giving of their time unselfishly. Last year, one of our district leaders received a letter that he
shared with me that was downright nasty. The letter was unsigned with only a postmark which I won't
share with you.
Here's another example: Two weeks ago I was preparing to attend Mr. Dick Grapes' 90th birthday party and the weather in Fulton
was deplorable. My wife (obviously for my own safety) questioned me: "Are you sure you really want to venture out?" I told her it
was quite necessary and as we now all know, Mr. Grapes passed away one week to the day and then Lynne said to me that she was
so happy I made the decision to make the trip against her wishes.
I guess what I am saying here is that we are allowing our real-life society (not BHS "Society") tarnish our thoughts and feelings
towards our fellow brother & sister barbershoppers. When we leaders make an error or mistake, it takes minutes for someone to
point it out. It's kind of like the person(s) that cannot wait to point out typos in written documents. Instead, how about saying:
"Thanks for taking the time putting this in writing for us, for OUR benefit, etc.?"
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard complaints backstage (mostly from the competitors) during competitions of how this
or that could be better, or why can't you do this or that for me right now, etc., etc.? Again, why not say: "Thanks so very much for
YOU giving up YOUR time for US so WE can enjoy the weekend convention??? The same could be said about the people that run
Pow-Wow, Leadership Academy, HX Camp, the various district programs, etc. These people are working, busting their cans for YOU,
the attendee. Would you like to have a whole new appreciation for what they do, why not YOU step up and put YOUR time in some
of these events???
If you do have an idea or suggestion, please share it but please do it in a kind, caring way. Please drop the criticism and sarcasm. I
truly hope that we don't allow the nastiness we experience everyday around us creep into the hobby we all love so much. We have
lost SEVEN SLD people (Walt Holt, Maggie Swift, Glenn Jewell, Peter McDonnell, Dick Grapes, Sal Sciandra and Del Zerkle) in just the
last couple of months so you see, life really IS much too short to treat our fellow members with anything less than respect and love!
Bob Coant, SLD President
VP Fraternal Outreach
“Serve With Purpose” really fits into what we as Barbershoppers can do. President Bob is so right. No matter what size your Chapter
is you can do great things within your community. You need to make contact with other Service Clubs and organizations within your
area. These include Lions Clubs International, Kiwanis, Rotary, Sertoma, Exchange and Zonta.
The focus right now is on working with Lions Clubs International. Having been a Lion for 15 years, they do much more in their
communities than provide eye exams and collect eyeglasses. Our music can help us work together to raise funds and keep
Barbershop Harmony in the forefront of community activities. The Warren Chapter with the aid of Jerry Knickerbocker contracted
with the Titusville Lions Club for several years putting on a package show. They got the venue, sold advertising and tickets, as well
as, putting on the Afterglow.
Your Chapter can offer to put on a benefit show, allowing the Lions or any other community organization to set it up. Together you
work and volunteer to benefit your community and other communities in your area with no Barbershop Chapter. Then you are able
to do what you do best, sing and share your hobby. Who knows you might gain some new barbershoppers.
Please contact me via phone or email if I can help.
Jim Eldridge
Smoke Signals
[email protected]
Please send in your pictures and stories at any time! Why not be in it!
Page 3
by Eric Saile, [email protected]
How about that as possible theme for the next SLD Leadership
Academy! That would align with the 2016 District theme “SERVE,
WITH PURPOSE”. This idea can offer an alternative approach for
SLD leadership development that works off our new theme, and
takes it right to the guys so they can serve their chapter with a
purpose. We need to do a better job aligning the “gifts” each
man has with the job description of what he is doing, for the
best possible match, and get the best result!
Some elements of this approach would be to:
 Identify the WHY of the District, Chapter, and Member (tie
to 2014 theme).
 Talk about HOW the Chapter works, and views of the
management team.
 Talk about the WHAT the Chapter is working on as goals for
 Identify the purpose of each job in the Chapter (or District).
 Identify the strengths of each leader.
 Talk about what happens when leaders choose “NOT to
 Talk about what happens when leaders serve but “NOT with
 Discuss what it looks like to really “Serve, With Purpose” in
 Discuss what it is to “Serve, With Purpose” in your specific
Last year at the Leadership Retreat, Peter Carentz gave the
District leaders a test to identify our strengths, so that we could
then match our strengths to our job profiles. Some of us did a
special exercise called “Strength Finders 2.0”, a system by Tom
Rath, which through a battery of questions, pinpoints your top
five strengths. I think we need to continue that matching
process through the Chapter management level.
The results show what you can do best, and with a correct
match, you can have fun doing your job because it comes
naturally to you -- no work, just sharing your natural gifts
because you have the right job! The premise is we utilize people
for their strengths. Instead of just taking the first volunteer, the
chapters would all be more successful if we can make sure they
all have the right man for the job.
It was fun taking the test, I knew Pete and I are similar, but I was
surprised that we matched on 4 of our top 5 strengths (there are
34 recognized strengths all together). I was a High School
Librarian, which was a great match for my skill set and strength
profile, which led me to a successful, enjoyable, rewarding
career. We can experience that same level of success doing a
better job matching men with the chapter jobs.
fraternity group of singing friends. Pete just told me at “Dick
Grapes’ final afterglow” that he met a lady that has lived in
Webster NY all her life AND SHE HAS NEVER HEARD OF THE
ROCHESTER CHAPTER! Ouch! Don’t let that happen to you. Be
proud of our hobby and give back to your neighbors. Sing more in
more places!
It looks like more chapters are contributing articles and photos to
our Smoke Signals, making it a real pleasure to read. Thank you
to the guys that are sending in material about chapters getting
involved with community activities. That is a big part of our WHY,
and it is a great example to everyone of what can be done to
reach out. We need more stories to share about how we all can
Pat Close said I was one of the first dozen to opt-out of receiving
a hard copy of the publication. If enough of us with computers
do that, it could save us some money. It works for me and I enjoy
getting my full color copy even before it goes to press. I can look
anything up in the District archives that I need to reference with
no problem.
I have told family members, potential members, and past
members they can read it on line free of charge at our District
website even if they are not members of SLD or
the Society. Hopefully the past members, guys that left for any
reason, will read about something they miss, have a fond
memory about, or would like to take part in, and just may come
back! Things change, people change, chapters change, and they
should be ENCOURAGED to come back and try singing again!
As your new Music Man Chairman, I will be working with Kevin
Jones and the members of SLAQC, the Seneca Land Association
of Quartet Champions, to provide coaches for ANY quartets or
choruses that would like some FREE COACHING.
These quartet champs have all been on stage during contests and
have done several performances, PLUS they have been coached
by the best, and have successfully focused their natural talent to
work as a team to WIN. They would love to share their
experiences with you. One of the available CHAMPIONS will be
matched to your needs, and the District will reimburse his travel
I already have requests from a quartet in the north and a chorus
in the south for free coaching. There will be more information
about this in the next Smoke Signals!
Ground Hog Day has always been one of my favorite holidays …
it’s a great opportunity for me to take a peek out of my cozy hole
and see if it is safe to come out and play, or not! It has been a
long winter, with several days in a row below freezing. I
remember snow banks this high when I was a kid, but I may have
been shorter then !!! I don’t think we can wait until the snow
melts or Spring comes to bust another chord! By the way, they
gave that job to the groundhog because he is a natural pessimist
… will it be 6 more weeks of winter, or just a month and a half?
Honestly, most chapters can’t wait much longer for their officers
and Boards to get up and go, to get excited about our hobby and
share their wonderful gift of singing with the community.
Usually it’s the music team or Director that creates a reason to
get better and strive to improve. Whatever it takes, get out there
be seen and make yourselves known. There are honestly guys in
your community who would love to sing and be part of a Eric
Page 4
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Spring Convention Schedule Geneva, NY HQ Hotel: Ramada Inn
Contest Venue: Geneva High School
Friday, April 17 , 2015
Ramada Inn
Registration Opens: 2pm
Barbershop Shop Opens: 2pm (Geneva Room)
Fun Activities:
2:00 pm:
 AHSOW (Woodshedding) – Hotel Room Number TBD
3:00 pm:
 Pick up Quartet Contest (Ballroom B&C)
Geneva High School
7:30 pm Quartet Semi-Finals
Quartet Evaluations immediately following Contest
Ramada Inn
10:00 pm Chorditorium (Hotel Restaurant)
Seneca Land District’s
3rd Semi-Annual Parade of Pick-up
Saturday, April 18 , 2015
Ramada Inn
9:00 am: VLQ Contest (Ballroom B&C)
Geneva High School
12:00 pm: Chorus Contest
2:30 pm: Chorus Evaluations (Round 1)
3:30 pm: Chorus Evaluations (Round 2)
(Times for evals are subject to change based upon the number
of contestants)
Ramada Inn
5:30pm: District Buffet (Ballroom)
Geneva High School
7:30 pm: Quartet Finals
9:00 pm: Show of Shows
Ramada Inn
10:00 pm: Afterglows
Sunday, April 19 , 2015
Ramada Inn
9:00 am: House of Delegates Meeting (Hotel Ballroom)
When: Friday, April 17th at 3:00 pm (Main Ballroom)
Where: Ramada Inn, Geneva
Who: Any Barbershopper that likes to sing in a
Quartets will be randomly put together, quartets will
have twenty minutes to practice
Sign up by registering online (See E-Blast Email) or
in person at 2:30 pm at the Hotel!
I received a request from our incredible district Endowment Fund Chairman, Butch Talada. Butch asks me to remind you that he sure
could use donations for the raffle table for our upcoming Spring convention in Geneva, NY the weekend of April 17-19, 2015.
The Smoke Signals article I wrote for the Nov/Dec 2014 issue was entitled: "Help For Butch". I hope you all had an opportunity to
read it, if not, would you go back and read it? It basically talks about the fantastic job that Butch does for each and EVERY
convention for the past 18 years. Butch stands at his raffle table throughout the entire convention and pretty much stays there all
weekend except for the few minutes he gets on stage to perform with his quartet and chorus. So, as your District President, I am
asking you to "Please Help Butch" by considering bringing an item or two that can be raffled.
Bob Coant
[email protected]
Smoke Signals
Please send in your pictures and stories at any time! Why not be in it!
Page 5
The H. Philip Lambrinos
VLQ Contest
When: Saturday, April 18th at 9:00 am (Room TBA)
Where: Ramada Inn, Geneva Main Ballroom
Who: Any Chapter VLQ (very large quartet)
 Each VLQ to sing 2 songs (one barbershop and one non-barbershop song)
 Sign up by registering online (See upcoming E-Blast) or in person at 8:30 am at the hotel
Our current "VLQ District Champion", “Men in Tune” from the Binghamton chapter won in Fall of 2014 and are
prepared to once again defend their championship (they’ve won 2 years in a row).
All chapters are welcome to enter as many VLQs as they wish. It’s all in good fun
with yet another outlet for men to sing. Very Large Quartets can be the
foundation of good singing in your chapter. They can also help cover many
chapter singouts when you can’t get the whole chorus there. I encourage you to
start a VLQ in your chapter. The benefits will be HUGE! Here’s an idea, why not
get your chapter’s board to sing as a VLQ?
Just for the FUN of it;
Larry Brennan
PS: Our Celebrity Judges will be none other than our Current District Champs- COLD SNAP
Seneca Land District would like to welcome
"BSQ" quartet from the Mid Atlantic District
(M-AD) to our Spring Convention / Contest.
They will be "competing out of district" and
we are pleased that they chose SLD as their
home away from home!
Please say hello and welcome!
Page 6
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Promote your Barbershop related  Upcoming shows
 Chorus & Quartet activities
 Youth In Harmony events
 Help celebrate anniversaries , someone special,
 Advertise for support
 Chapter or Quartet fundraisers
 Or just say "GOOD LUCK" to your favorite contestants
SLD District Convention Program
Quarter page - $30
Half page - $60
Full page - $100
Inside covers - $125
Back cover - $150
Your ad needs to be a PDF, JPG, or PNG, something that
can be scaled for the program (4 X 8 inches)
Deadline for Ads is MARCH 29, 2015
No Ad will be honored without payment being submitted!
Make check payable to: Seneca Land District
Mail to:
Pat Close
5 Fourth Avenue
Franklinville, NY 14737
Phone: 716-912-4795 (c)
In Harmony
Pat Close
Convention program and Smoke Signals Editor
Smoke Signals
Business Card (6 issues) $35
Quarter Page (per issue) $50
Half Page
(per issue) $100
Full Page
(per issue) $150
Back Page (3/4 pg per iss) $165
Please send in your pictures and stories at any time! Why not be in it!
Page 7
This is a request from backstage manager, Rick Collins asking for
interested volunteers to act as quartet and chorus runners for the
upcoming Spring convention. It's a very easy job and a ton of fun
as well as helping the district and our competitors in a big way!
If interested, please contactRick Collins at:[email protected] 585-957-0225
I received a request from a fellow SLD member last evening. His name is Bill Farewell and he is a
member of the Onondaga County chapter. Bill is blind and attends Harmony University each year.
He asked me if I could send the info out that he is looking for a fellow SLD person that might be
attending HU this summer and would like to share a room with him as well maybe assist him
getting around a bit. Bill is VERY independent and does very well but just needs a little assistance
from time to time.
If you can assist, please contact Bill directly at: 315-396-0441 (home), 315-395-9817 (cell) or e-mail him
at:[email protected]
Bob Coant
An open letter from Lois Jewell;
I wanted to personally thank each and every one of you who came to Glenn's funeral
and sang your hearts out. And to those who wanted to be there but couldn't, I thank
you also for I know you were there in spirit. It was beyond beautiful and I could never
thank you enough for raising your voices in Glenn's memory.
I heard so many comments from those who were there praising your singing, saying
they had never heard the Lord's Prayer sung so well. On a personal note, I loved
hearing "Heart of My Heart" as it was Glenn's very favorite barbershop song, and mine
as well.
Again, our deepest thanks,
and all of Glenn's family
Page 8
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Fellow Seneca Landers,
Fellow Seneca Landers,
For the seventh time in
as many weeks, I have
the sad announcement
of the passing of
another Seneca Land District family
member. Although he has not been
active in many years, Del Zerkle was
a brother SLD barbershopper. He
was lead of our 1976 SLD Quartet
Champions, The Personal Touch. I apologize about the timing
of this announcement but I just received word two days ago.
It is with great emotion
that I announce the
passing of Walter S. Holt
on December 26th,
2014, just after 11 PM. Surrounded
by his family and loved ones in a
calm, serene setting of live music,
vocal harmony, candlelight, and the
rich scent of bay evergreen, Dad
was finally released from earthly bondage to join that Great
Barbershop Quartet in the sky. He was 93.
Delbert Allen Zerkle, 81, of Cortland, passed away Saturday,
December 13, 2014 at St Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse NY. He
is the son of Ora and Goldie Zerkle, born December 17, 1932
in Waterloo, Indiana. In his early years, Mr. Zerkle served in
the Navy 1952 thru 1956, and served on the USS Midway. He
met his wife, Leona Weixel at a dance in Seattle Washington,
and married in November 1956. Del retired from Monarch
Machine Tool in 1998 and enjoyed spending his time playing
golf. He also enjoyed singing and was in a number of
Barbershop Quartets throughout the years.
Anyone acquainted with Walt knew that he only ever cared
about three things in life: his country, his family, and his
barbershop music -- and not necessarily in that order! To
know Dad was to know his love for four-part harmony singing
-- and telling a good joke. An icon and true original, I have
always said that "all Dad ever really needed was an audience."
A Celebration of Life/Memorial Service will be held here in
SWFL on Thursday, January 22nd at Happahatchee Nature EcoSanctuary - and later on in the summer, a Military Funeral and
Interment of Ashes will be held graveside at Erie Memorial
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Leona (Weixel) Zerkle, Gardens in PA.
and their daughter Pamela Zerkle-Stoffle and their son, Brent
Zerkle. Del is also survived by his brother Dwight Zerkle and If your life and heart were touched by Dad's music, in lieu of
his sister Karen (Zerkle) Slone, four grandchildren; and many flowers, I invite you to contribute to the Walter S. Holt
Memorial Barbershop Fund, which supports the Harmony
close friends.
Foundation, a corporate partner of BHS (Barbershop
Calling hours will be Tuesday, December 16 from 5 to Harmony Society).
6:45p.m. at Wright Beard Funeral Home, 9 Lincoln Avenue,
Cortland, NY, with services starting at 7:00 p.m. A private Your loving donation, great or small, will provide for a special
burial will be held in Waterloo, Indiana. In lieu of flowers, youth outreach curriculum affording kids the opportunity to
contributions may be made in his memory to Abundant Life attend a Barbershop summer camp program where they learn
Church, 105 Elm Street, Cortland, NY 13045. The family to sing four-part a cappella harmony, including professional
wishes to extend their gratitude to St. Joseph's Hospital, vocal instruction in singing technique and stage presence. I
could not think of a better way to honor Dad's memory and
Syracuse NY. To offer online condolences visit
preserve his legacy. (Please pass it on.)
Meanwhile, sympathy cards and condolences may be sent to
Mrs. Elspeth (Beth) Holt at Barrington Terrace, 9731
Commerce Center Ct, #309, Fort Myers, FL 33908. Or call the
main line at 239-334-2500.
Yours in Harmony,
Online donations to the Harmony Foundation may be made
Bob Coant
Seneca Land District
, or by phone at 615-823-5611.
If you prefer good old-fashioned "snail-mail," please make
friend of Del Zerkle
checks payable to:
Harmony Foundation
("Walter S. Holt Memorial Barbershop Fund" in the memo
110 7th Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37203
Yours in Harmony,
Bob Coant
Seneca Land District President
friend of Walt Holt
Smoke Signals
Please send in your pictures and stories at any time! Why not be in it!
Page 9
Fellow Seneca Landers,
Fellow Seneca Landers,
It is with great sadness that I again
announce the passing of one of our
members, Peter L. McDonnell. I ask
that you keep Bev and her family in
your thoughts and prayers at this
very difficult time.
It is with great sadness that I again announce the passing
of one of our members, Sal Sciandra. Sal was a long-time
Buffalo Chapter member and will
be remembered by his infectious,
huge smile. I always recall Sal as
being one of the first men in SLD
to register each year for the
district HEP school at Alfred
University. Please join me in
sending condolences to Sal's
immediate family as well as his
barbershop family.
Penfield: Jan. 27, 2015, age 71. Peter
was a gentle man and a lover of all
people who truly adored his family &
friends. He is survived by his beloved wife of 31 years, Beverly
(Turner); his daughter & son-in-law, Elizabeth and Mark
Manning; his sister, Jessie Baco & brother, James McDonnell,
both of Buffalo; mother-in-law, Madeline Turner; and Salvatore J. Sciandra, February 7, 2015, of Williamsville, at
age 86, passed away after a long and courageous battle with
numerous nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.
Alzheimer's Disease.
Peter was an active participant in and a patron of the arts. He
was a 48-year member of the Barbershop Harmony Society Beloved husband of 61 years to Anna (nee Sebastiano)
(Chorus of the Genesee), and had a longtime affiliation with Sciandra; devoted and caring father of Anne (Wayne)
Siminski, Salvatore (Erin Sullivan) Sciandra, Maria Sciandra
Pittsford Musicals, Inc.
and Angelo Sciandra; proud and loving grandfather of Michael
He loved galleries, lectures, performances of all kinds, and was (Elyse) Bauer, Salvatore Sciandra III, Christopher Bauer,
always ready to travel. He very much enjoyed his career in the Anthony (Jen Cook) Sciandra, Nicolas Sciandra, Matthew
world of beauty, working at Sibley's Salon, Continental School Sciandra, Austin Sciandra and Josh (Amanda) Siminski; greatof Beauty, and briefly at Shear Ego School.
grandfather and papa of Michael, Zachary, Matthew and Liam;
dear brother of Thomas (Gail) Sciandra and the late Mary
Peter was the original lead of Empire Express. They were the (Patrick) Salvatore and Salvatrice (Frank) Mueller; also
1974 SLD Champions and represented SLD in Indianapolis in survived by several godchildren, nieces and nephews.
1975, finishing 17th.
The family will be present to receive friends on Monday and
On Friday, Feb. 6th, friends will be received at the Falvo Tuesday from 4-8 PM at the (Amherst Chapel) AMIGONE
Funeral Home, 1295 Fairport Nine Mile Point Rd. (Webster FUNERAL HOME, INC., 5200 Sheridan Drive (corner of
Rte. 250), 3-5 & 7-9 PM. A Celebration of Peter's Life will be Hopkins Rd.).
held Saturday, Feb. 7th at 11 AM at Gathering at the Daisy
Flour Mill, 1880 Blossom Rd., Rochester, NY.
A Mass of Christian Burial will celebrated on Wednesday from
St. Mark R.C. Church, 401 Woodward Ave., Buffalo at 9:30 AM.
Memorials may be directed to your favorite Arts organization Please assemble at church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may
or to Penfield Volunteer Ambulance.
be made to "Alzheimer's Association of WNY" or "HospiceBuffalo, Inc." Share condolences at
- See more at:
Rest in peace, Sal we will miss you!
Yours in Harmony,
Bob Coant
Seneca Land District President
friend of Sal Sciandra
Bob Coant
Seneca Land District President
friend of Pete and Bev
Page 10
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Sunday, February 8, 2015 1:00 p.m.
Event: Dick Grapes 90th surprise birthday party
Where: Panes Restaurant, N. Tonawanda, NY (Dick's hometown)
I received a phone call about two weeks prior from
Jim Fretthold the gentleman that planned this
surprise 90th birthday party for (as the sign says:
"the man, the voice, the legend"), Dick Grapes
inviting me to this very special event. Prior to
attending, I was contacted by Dick's daughter
(Lynne) and son (Rick). I promised I would attend
their Dad's surprise birthday party and would take
plenty of photos since they could not attend because they both live in Utah.
For those who may not have been born in the past few weeks or so, Dick Grapes is the last surviving member of the famed Buffalo
Bills barbershop quartet. I first had the honor of meeting Mr. Grapes when he was emceeing a barbershop show several years ago
that Cornerstone was performing on. I say "honor" because anyone that has met Dick Grapes knows how very special this man is and
the true legend that he really is. Since this first meeting, I further had the honor to know his wife Doris and Lynne and Rick. I even
was shown Salt Lake City and the great Mormon Temple when we had the BHS
convention in Salt Lake City in 2006. Sadly, we lost Doris, this grand, grand woman about
five years ago. Dick emceed many Seneca Land District conventions and one of his all-time
greatest saying when introducing me (Bob Coant) to people is: "I want you to meet my
dear friend Bob Coant, two of the nicest gentlemen
you'll ever meet!" Although this is quite a funny line, I
know Dick really means it and I am so very proud to be
considered a friend of Mr. Grapes.
The afternoon began with a very bad snow and ice storm hitting the Buffalo area. When we left
the Syracuse area, the weather was actually quite nice. We all arrived early and the small room
filled with about 60 guests was filled to capacity. Dick
arrived shortly after 1:00 p.m. and I'm unsure what or
where he was told he was going but when he entered
the room he was very surprised. I overheard Dick say to one gentlemen: "This is
wonderful. I've never had anything like this happen to me before." Dick made his way
around the room greeting each and every person in the room.
A beautiful hot buffet was served and then the program began shortly after the meal. The Harmony Production Company quartet
(with Skip Berenguer on bass) was brought in to entertain with several numbers for Dick. A special treat was when George Jarrell's
granddaughter, Catelyn Gipe sang the very appropriate "Lida Rose" to Dick and did a splendid job. What a lovely voice! With very
little prompting, the quartet asked Dick to join them singing and he did two songs: "My Wild Irish Rose" and "Heart of My Heart?"
After the quartet entertained, ventriloquist, Larry Brennan did a few minutes with his
two favorite puppets, Charlie & Gladys. Dick and the guests enjoyed both Harmony
Production Company and Larry & friends very much.
Due to the very in climate weather (which got much worse as the afternoon progressed),
many people decided to get on the road early but not before "Happy Birthday" was
properly sung for Mr. Grapes. What an incredible party for an absolutely prince of a
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Page 11
gentlemen. Thank you Dick Grapes for making all of our lives so much better from knowing you. We all hope to repeat this event
again (except maybe for the weather!) again in ten years when we celebrate your centennial birthday! My personal thanks to Peter
Carentz for getting me to and from Buffalo safely. Most of the return trip home was at just 35-40 mph and took us about 5 hours
instead of 3. It really was horrible driving conditions and I thank you Pete!
Bob Coant, SLD President
and friend of Dick Grapes
Fellow Seneca Landers,
As promised, I am sending the updated information on the passing of Mr. Richard E. Grapes. Doris
preceded Dick by five years but now they are eternally together. You were both wonderful people
and will be greatly missed by us all!
Richard E. Grapes age 90 of North Tonawanda passed away unexpectedly on Sunday February 15,
2015 at his residence.
Born in North Tonawanda he was the son of the late Fred C. Grapes and Elizabeth Curtis Compton.
Dick was the youngest of nine children and grew up in a warm and loving home. He attended
Colonel Payne Elementary, Felton Grammar School and graduated from North Tonawanda High
School in 1943.He served in the US Navy in the South Pacific during World War II. While stationed
in Philadelphia, he met a pretty girl named Doris Adams. They corresponded during his time in service. After his discharge, he
returned to Philadelphia and furthered his courtship. Dick and Doris were married November 30, 1946. They moved back to
North Tonawanda and made it their lifelong home. Dick work in the paper and packaging industry for over 50 years with the
Hubbs & Howe Co. and with Chudy Paper.
He sang baritone with the Buffalo Bills Barbershop Quartet winning the International Championship of SPEBQSA in 1950. He
fulfilled his lifelong dream to participate in football by becoming a high school official. He was also a swimming official. He was
a charter member of the North Tonawanda Football Hall of Fame. He was the voice of the North Tonawanda High School
Football Team for 51 years. He was honored to have the press box named the Dick Grapes Press Box in 2008. He was also a
member of the "chain gang" on the sidelines of his favorite team the Buffalo Bills.
He was a past president and life member of the Kiwanis Club of the Tonawanda's with 57 years of perfect attendance. He was a
member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Beloved husband of the late Doris (Adams) Grapes for 64 years;
Dear father of Evelyn (Jerry) Perkins of Orem, Utah, and Richard E. Grapes Jr. of Provo, Utah; Grandfather of Jared (Anne)
Perkins, Elissabeth (David) Rees, Beth (Questin) Francis, Adam (Catherine) Perkins and McKay Perkins all of Utah; Rebekah
(Cory) Crawford of Germany and Rachel Perkins of New York City Great grandfather of Grant, Hyrum, Jack, Hunter, Abby,
Questin, Clare, Eden, Elliana, Isaac, Charlotte, Bryant, Caitlyn, Brynna, Brimley, Chase, Richard, Lily, Easton and Jane. Brother of
the late Norman, Vernia, Donald, Olive, Edward, Suzette, Stanley and James. Also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Friends may call at the Fretthold Funeral Home Inc. 1241 Oliver St. at Ward Rd. in North Tonawanda on Thursday and Friday
from 2-4 & 7-9 P.M. Funeral services will be held on Saturday at 10 A.M. from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
1424 Maple Rd. Williamsville. Interment in Elmlawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the charity of
your choice.
Yours in Harmony,
Bob Coant
Seneca Land District President
friend of Dick and Doris Grapes
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On February 14, 2015, Dick Grapes, baritone of the Buffalo Bills, passed away at his home in North Tonawanda, NY. At the wake
held on Feb 20, members of the quartet Playback (Mike La Scala, tenor; Mike Holmes, lead; Mac Sabol, bari; Joel La Scala, bass) were
in attendance and sang “It Is Well With My Soul” – Dick Grapes favorite hymn and the one song he specifically requested every year
at the Friends of Harmony annual show afterglow.
The quartet put their all into the song and I am sure that Dick would have been pleased. What happened following our quartet
number, however, is something I will never, ever forget.
Following Playback singing “It Is Well”, and as the children and grandchildren returned to visiting with other family and friends, one
of the grandchildren – McKay Perkins – got together with Mike La Scala, Joel La Scala and their brother Christian La Scala to sing a bit
in the main hallway. After going through a couple tags together (it was obvious that McKay loves barbershop music: he is from Utah,
sings baritone with the Salt Lake City Saltaires, and obviously ADORED his Grandpa), Joel and Christian left for other engagements.
The parts shifted and McKay got his twin brother Jared to sing lead. I “attempted” to sing bass, while Mike La Scala continued on
tenor. We sang several polecats together. It was a blast to hear what genetic engineering can do to create expanded sound –
frankly, it didn’t matter how little one could hear my bass, it was that good. I could FEEL it.
What I missed in my euphoria over the expanded sound experience, however, was that everyone had stopped talking in the adjacent
rooms, had come out to the hallway to see what was going on, and began to engage in the hallway festivities. Some began singing,
some began tweeting on their Smartphone, some were videotaping (must be on Face book somewhere), some were just taking it all
in and swaying in harmony. But, no one was not engaged in some way.
From that bit of tag-singing there arose this full-blown “Sing-Fest”, culminating with a family performance of “Lida Rose” (with most
of the parts covered by Dick’s children and grandchildren, plus Mike La Scala and me for backup). It was at that point that I realized
the true gift Richard Grapes had left for his family – the gift of barbershop song – and, even though Dick didn’t go with the quartet to
Broadway, “Lida Rose” was THEIR song.
It was also at that point that I realized that Mike La Scala and I had become “extended family members” and communicating with
the language of barbershop.
What an honor and a blessing!
If “Singing is Life”, then I can attest that Dick Grapes is there with his children, his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren, and all
those people whose lives he touched along the way.
Thanks, Dick, for the memories and for an experience I will NEVER forget. I look forward to telling others about my experience and
extending my family circle as well….
Mac Sabol
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Learning about the letter “P” in S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A.
In a previous article I talked about the power and demise of the letter “E” in our original name S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. (Society for the
Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America). Ah yes, the forefathers of our hobby chose wisely. But
did you know the letter “P” did not originally stand for preservation. Oh No! As I said, they chose wisely.
The original word behind the letter “P” in our name was “propagation”. Here’s Webster’s definition: propagate- 1) to pass along to
offspring 2) to cause to spread out and affect a greater number or greater area: extend 3) to foster growing knowledge of, familiarity
with, or acceptance of (as an idea or belief): publicize. In layman’s terms propagate is a verb meaning cause to spread. The short of
it is our founding fathers believed that this thing called barbershop should spread. The known in every community by every man,
woman, and child is a fraternal singing society whose purpose is to do good in their community using their special gift of four part
Early members considered themselves charged with the propagation of this great thing called barbershop. And with Zeal unknown
to us today they grew the society; man by man, chapter by chapter to over 30,000 men and 820 chapters. What happened to that
zeal, that early mission and purpose? When did we become spectators to our hobby? When did we abdicate our personal
responsibility to pass along the joy of barbershop to another? How many men have you heard utter the words “I wish I knew about
this barbershop thing earlier in my life?” Maybe you said it yourself? That statement is a testament the importance members placed
on the joy they’ve found singing and participating in barbershop and energizes me to ensure that others find this life changing
What a great act of love and kindness each of us can give to another human being by exposing them to this thing called barbershop.
How many men in your community could benefit from being a barbershopper? (Hint: all of them) Everywhere I look I see people in
need of barbershop. The singing, the fun, the fraternity and doing good with our musical gifts. Yes, I embrace the original call to
“propagate” this thing called barbershop. It’s like an evangelical mission! And I ask that YOU join me now as we go forth and
propagate the Society.
Let’s tell our friends, family and even strangers about this wonderful thing called barbershop. Invite everyone you know to a chapter
meeting. Ask women if they know of any men who like to sing. There isn’t a better feeling of contentment than knowing that you
helped someone discover and join the Society. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and “Propagate”!
Yours in harmony,
Pete Carentz
News from the Seneca Land Association of Quartet Champions
Newly elected SLAQC president, Kevin Jones is brightly optimistic about the future of this elite club. Kevin says this group of champs
has much to offer the members of Seneca Land, and the district leadership. With a resurgence of interest by several of the group’s
members fueling the drive, plans are afoot to become much more involved in activities during convention weekends.
The popular SLAQC Hospitality Room will reappear in Geneva, hopefully with a larger venue and some snacks for guests. All quartets
will be welcome to perform, and all barbershoppers are welcome to attend.
SLAQC’s board of directors has already set in motion a complete rebuild of the memorial tribute to the champs who are now
members of the chapter eternal.
“Remembering those who showed us the way is
a solemn obligation and should be done
with dignity and respect, in the finest display
possible” said Kevin at a recent SLAQC BOD
net meeting. The board is calling on all members
of SLAQC to watch for communication
regarding this effort and to visit the group’s
website at for more
Future endeavors for this group include a fund raiser to benefit the International Convention attendees, a newly revamped coaching
system that will be available to any SLD quartet or chorus, and an effort to update the roster info of all SLAQC members.
Next edition: The Seneca Land Association of Quartet Champs welcomes its newest inductees: ColdSnap! Watch for an introduction
and biography of these four very talented young guys who swept the competition on their first time out!
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Page 15
Seneca Land District Hall of Fame Criteria
PURPOSE: To give recognition to those men of the Seneca Land District who have made exceptional, long standing, unselfish, dedicated
and devoted contributions to the Chapter, District and Society. This award shall serve to extol the virtues of such participation,
responsibility, excellence and high ideals we hold in special regard and is intended to focus pride on these achievements.
QUALIFICATIONS: Membership in the Hall of Fame shall be limited to those persons whose continuing contributions to the Seneca Land
District span not less than 10 years. Their contributions may have been in various levels of organization: administrative, musical, or both.
These levels include division, chapter, district and Society, and shall be in the nature of service and activities which have added to the
overall well-being of the Seneca Land District and to the hobby known as "barbershop harmony."
Recognition need not be limited to current Society members but the recognized service shall have been performed while the individual
was a member of the Society and the Seneca Land District. The recipient need not be a currently active member, permitting the award to
be presented to those who served with distinction but for some reason have retired from membership, moved or permitting the award to
be presented posthumously.
The basic criteria of qualifications could include, but is not limited to, the activities of quarteting, chorus directing, coaching, contest
judging, composing, arranging, publishing, administrating, writing, promoting, teaching, philanthropy, etc., and preferably some
combination of these. This shall be marked by unselfish, dedicated and devoted service.
The fact that a nominee has, or has not, received the District B.O.T.Y. award has no bearing on his ability to be nominated to the Hall of
Fame. However, he will not be considered for a period of ten years after receiving the District B.O.T.Y. award.
SELECTION COMMITTEE: The Seneca Land District Hall of Fame Selection Committee shall consist of five members who are active
members of the district and who reside in the district. The Hall of Fame Selection Committee is to be appointed by the District President.
The committee shall consist of two "Hall of Fame" members and three members with ten or more years service in the Seneca Land
To assure some continuity of effort and to benefit from past experience, it is recommended the "Hall of Fame" members serve a threeyear term, each selected on a rotating basis. After the first year, the "Hall of Fame" members on the committee shall be chosen from the
past recipients of the Hall of Fame award who are willing to serve. If such recipient is not available or not willing to serve, the voting
member shall be selected from those persons with ten or more years service in the Seneca Land District.
Multiple members, such as a quartet, are eligible for this award and such groups would be permitted one member to be their
representative on the committee.
NOMINATIONS: Any member of the district can make nominations of a person for induction into the Hall of Fame. A call for nominations
will be made in the district publication, Smoke Signals and/or mass e-mail (Constant Contact) to the district membership and forwarded
to the SLD Hall of Fame Committee. The description of achievements should be precise on dates, places, results, etc. and must provide
sufficient credible information to substantiate the qualifications offered. Collaborating sources, such as publications or individuals, may
be used.
A specific person may be nominated more than once. If someone is nominated by more than one person, it shall be treated as a single
nomination and the combined facts and information will be considered. A quartet shall be considered as one nominee.
Deadline for nominations must be made no later than August 15th for the year nominated, and sent to the Hall of Fame Committee
Nominations not acted upon by the committee during a given year will be held on file for a period of three calendar years from date of
submission, after which a new nomination form will have to be submitted to the committee for further action.
SELECTION PROCEDURE: The selection committee shall meet (face-to-face, teleconference, e-mail or phone call) at least once per year at
which time it shall review the nominations submitted. Four of the five voting members must approve the nomination of a candidate. At
all times the award should be given only when clearly appropriate and most deserving.
Up to three (3) nominees may be selected per year.
AWARD AND RECOGNITION: Presentation is to be made at the Fall district convention with an appropriate ceremony. Every effort should
be made to have each of the inductees, or their designated representative or heir, present at the ceremony. Each inductee is to receive a
permanent plaque and a memento of the occasion, which will be a special "Hall of Fame" badge.
The District Historian shall maintain a scrapbook of Hall of Fame members and pertinent data, and the editor of the Smoke Signals
shall feature inductees in the district publication. The names of the inductees shall be listed in the District Directory.
Page 16
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When Dana Caplash made her Valentine's Day hair appointment
at Sorellas & Co. Salon in Pittsford, she knew she'd get a good
haircut. She didn't, however, expect four smartly dressed men to
come up to her and sing her a love song.
When Stacey Gitsis went to her waitress job last Sunday at the
Bay Front Restaurant in Irondequoit, she was clearly bewildered
when four of her customers — dressed
in tuxes and boutonnieres — took a
break from their cheeseburgers and
gathered around her at the counter to
serenade her.
Both ladies were the surprised, but
happy, recipients of singing Valentines,
delivered in beautiful four-part
harmony by members of Webster's
Chorus of the Genesee. Six different
barbershop quartets from the Chorus
of the Genesee made the rounds
Valentine's Day weekend, delivering
40 musical gifts to ladies in restaurants, bowling alleys,
workplaces and private homes all over the Rochester area. Well,
they were mostly women. Dave Bay, who performed in Dana's
quartet, "All In," and in Stacey's quartet, "Ra-Cha-Cha," said it's
almost invariably a boyfriend or husband who orders the
Valentine, and they almost always sing to women. "It's very
unusual for us to sing to a guy," Dave said. "I know the guys
appreciate the thought, but I don't think, quite frankly, that a guy
enjoys four guys singing to him. It isn't in our wiring." Neither
Dana's nor Stacey's Valentines fit that mold, however. Dana's
sister arranged for hers. "I was completely taken off guard," Dana
said. But it didn't take her long to figure out what was happening.
When the quartet approached her, people started gathering
around and pulling out their phones. "I thought, 'This looks like a
community effort.” Then she was handed a long-stemmed rose,
and the quartet broke into their first song, "Let Me Call You
Sweetheart." Stacey's Valentine came from two of her regular
customers, Ellen and Duke Brooks. "They are the sweetest
people," she said. "They're like my more-than-parents. They
come to see me on Friday for a fish
fry. I love them."
The Chorus of the Genesee is a
nonprofit educational organization
dedicated to preserving and
promoting barbershop harmony.
When they're not delivering
Valentines, you'll find the group's 65
members rehearsing weekly at
Webster's historic Harmony House,
standards and learning new songs.
The Chorus also can be seen
regularly all around the greater Rochester area, performing at
sporting events, festivals, museums and nursing homes. A few of
the chorus members are professional musicians, but most are
just guys who love barbershop harmony and love to sing. And
clearly, delivering singing Valentines is among one of their
favorite things. Their grins were almost as big as those of the
unsuspecting ladies. "The gals are always, always surprised,"
Dave said. "It's very sweet and very emotional for whoever the
recipient is. "We kind of figure we haven't done our jobs if the
woman isn't crying by the time we leave."
Warsaw leaders
On Tuesday February 3 the Warsaw Chapter met at the
Lumberyard restaurant in Perry for their Installation of
Officers dinner with chorus members and family. Early
in the evening, the waitresses were serenaded with The
Story of the Rose (Heart of My Heart). This must have
been a tough audience; not only did the song not bring
them to tears, there was no reduction in fare either! The
chapter had fun with the Warsaw version of their
favorite game, “I Can Name That Song … in 1 note”.
Someone, not necessarily the same one would blow a
Bb, a minute and a half discussion would ensue, then off
the chapter would go. This gave great entertainment to
the other patrons at the restaurant.
Chapter President Linc Walkley made some brief remarks and Chorus Director Bob Fuest inducted two men into the chapter Hall of
Fame: Bill Oliver, no longer with us and active in the chapter in the 50’s and 60’s, and Bruce Crane, decidedly both with us and very
active. Dave Bay, the Ontario Division VP shared his thoughts on Encouragement in the context of S.P.E.B.Q.S.A. The stairway into
the restaurant made great makeshift risers for the chorus for their energetic finale Zip-A-Dee-Do-Da.
Dave Bay, Ontario Division VP
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Page 17
Maple City Chorus on the GO!
There may be no sap running in the trees around the Maple City, but the Hornell
chapter is ready to boil! The blizzard on Valentine’s Day caused us to postpone a couple
deliveries, but nine men in four quartets delivered surprise, love, and joy in about a 75
miles radius of Hornell on Friday and Saturday. Yes, we had the outlier, singing to Steve
Spencer's daughter Heaven while she recovered at the Unity Hospital in Greece. She is
home now, but this is a prime location to put Valentine posters, next year for the very
grateful people. One quartet sang on-air to TJ, the morning DJ at Kickin Kountry 105.3.
We had fantastic publicity this year through Ward Votava's efforts with the local
newspaper and radio stations.
Hornell starts its fifth year of participation in “We Sing To Feed Them All” with the single
most generous gift ever, $1,375 to the Food Pantries of Hornell. A mild break in the
frigid winter helped to fill the audience with generous donors. The Hornell High School
Select Choirs along with Revised Arrangement Quartet and the Maple City Chorus
provided a Free Musical Variety Show on February 22. The enthusiasm of the
performers and the generosity of the audience tell us that this outreach is a valuable
way to return to the community, and we plan to continue this endeavor as long as the
need exists. Two other a cappella groups wanted to perform for this cause as well, but
were not able because of emergencies and other conflicts. They recognize the joy in
giving back too!
We are singing for lunch in a few weeks at a local Senior Center, as well as planning and rehearsing for our Annual Show in May,
“Harmony In Hollywood”. We are also hosting our second annual Youth In Harmony Workshop on May 9 with our friends,
‘Shoptimus Prime serving as coaches.
Hornell Youth In Harmony Workshop May 9, 10 to 7, Alfred Almond Central School with Shoptimus Prime instructing. Sponsored by
Harmony Foundation (607)382.1433. Hornell Annual Show The Maple City Chorus presents Harmony in Hollywood May 9, 7:29
pm Alfred Almond Central School with the YIH Workshop Chorus. Quartets; Rusty Pickups and Revised Arrangements Shoptimus
Prime - Headliners Tickets:
We look forward to seeing you all at convention in April!
John Schoonover
This year we have something new happening in The Mark Twain Chorus!!!
It's called the Spark Plug Of the Month. The
SPOTM is distributed by our President Butch
Each month he picks a member of the chorus to
be awarded for their extra efforts and going
above and beyond.
January - Bob Paul
Page 18
February - Larry Horn
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VP Chorus Director Development
On January 17th one of the most awesome, intense, amazing, and inspiring events
took place right here in beautiful Geneva, NY. Seneca Land's own CDWI. What is a
CDWI you ask? Great question!!! A CDWI is a place for frontline directors and
assistant directors to really improve their skills as a director and an educator. 5
Directors are chosen on a first come first serve basis to take on this "Chorus Director
Workshop Intensive".
It is broken into two parts. First a hands on 1 on 1 course detailed to each directors
specifications. Then second, a video taping of the director with a chorus of 20+ men
with coaching. This event we had the pleasure of having Mr. Raymond Schwarzkopf
and Mr. Royce Ferguson as our lead instructors!!! (There is some fire power!!!!) Here
are some snapshots of all the fun and knowledge we soaked up.
We all know the director has the advantage of having the largest effect on the chorus week to week. So don't you want your director
in it? For information on the next CDWI contact your VPCDD, Nicholas DiLorenzo, by email at [email protected]
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Page 19
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This grand hobby of ours that we call
"barbershop harmony" was formed in
April, 1938 by two gentlemen (Owen
Clifton Cash and Rupert I. Hall) who felt
that community service was just about the
most important calling a man could do. Of
course, you have to remember that it was
also pre-World War II, a time when our
nation was calling to arms every abled
body American (man and woman and
even children!) for their service.
Very little has changed in the past 77
years from our perspective, in fact, I
would venture that we barbershoppers
have become even more dedicated to the
cause of community service. As the
current District President of the Seneca
Land District, I am fortunate and blessed
to be in the position of being able to steer
our members in the direction of servicing
their community. In the Syracuse
community, the goal of the Harmony Katz
is to become synonymous as the premier
community service organization period.
We have worked diligently for the past 78 years ensuring our community knows
exactly who we are and what we do.
There really are no strings attached. The
Harmony Katz are exactly who they come
off as...."Syracuse's own barbershop
harmony chorus" dedicated to: "Singing
Memories to Life in 4-part Harmony." We
belong to the Syracuse community and we
are VERY proud of it!
Bob Coant
Ellicottville Sound Chorus Food Pantry Benefit Concert
The chorus received a letter from the coordinators of the fundraising event on January 31st;
Dear Ellicottville Sound,
Your fantastic concert with the "Stone Soup Supper" helped us raise $2,100 for the food pantry.
The pantry has been in critical need of a new commercial freezer and now we can make that
purchase!! The positive comments from the concert continues to be heard in town. We are
grateful for your help and your presence in our community.
Nancy and Annie
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Page 21
How Singers Learn To Read Pitches
Ever since I have been in the BHS (1988) I have been trying to figure out how barbershoppers read
music. I know how I do it myself, but everyone I have asked (and that’s been many) has always been
quite vague. I think I’ve finally figured it out.
We all start out looking at the page, and easily catch on that, as the notes go up, we sing up. As the
notes go down, we sing down and if they are on the same line or space, then we sing the same pitch.
That’s the beginning of the “Interval Path” for Singers to learn how to read pitches.
Second, we learn that when the notes go up from a line to the next space, we go right up the scale.
Third, we learn that if the notes go up from one line to the Next line that we jump up a Small jump. If it jumps up skipping a line, it’s
a Big jump and if it jumps up a couple of lines or more then we sing a Huge
jump. That’s about as far most of us go in our reading ability. Then we rely on a keyboard, someone else or learning tracks to get it
right. But that’s not Sight Singing, that’s rote learning - not what we are talking about.
Fourth, with experience a lot of us learn the difference between a whole step and a half step interval. This is especially important in
barbershop singing as we sing a lot of chromatics. If we try to go on this “Interval Path” most of us get into trouble. For instance, if
we try thinking in terms of a Major 3rd and a Minor 3rd we sometimes may make mistakes.
If we’ve had decent instruction in a Musical Instrument we tend to think that we can memorize the sounds of the Letter Names and
can read vocally that way. But I have known only two persons in all my years of experience that had “Absolute Pitch”. Research tells
us that only 1 in 10,000 people can read using “Absolute Pitch”. Still most of us think that memorizing the sound of each letter is
how good sight singers do it. That’s not true! It is true that with experience, “Muscle Memory” may get some of us close to
accuracy in Absolute Pitch but not total accuracy.
That leads us to the best way for most of us to continue our Vocal Reading ability beyond the 3 or 4 steps listed above - learning the
“Degrees of the Scale”. Syllables such as “Do, Re Mi etc” are the best way to sing “Scale Degrees” but I’ve recently concluded that
for most barbershoppers, “Scale Degree Numbers it the best, since Numbers are most logical.
But there are two parts to Scale Degree learning: 1) Knowing the Sound of a Scale Degree Number (such as being to sing 1,6,2,4 etc.),
and 2) Positioning the Scale Degree Numbers on the Staff.
If you don’t know the Sounds, then practice them using the in-between number as “Helping Tones to get you there.
Positioning the Scale Degree Numbers on the Staff requires that you know “Key Signatures”. Learn the simple rules for Key
Signatures. But knowing that the song is in the Key of C won’t help you at all unless you know where C is on your staff. Knowing the
position of “1” is more important than even knowing the name of each Key Signature. Also knowing the positions of “3 & 5” is very
helpful. “1, 3, & 5” are what we usually tune up to. So work at positioning also.
That will get you to accurate sight singing, with some effort on your part.
Ted Norton
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Hello, Seneca Land! I’m Matt DeMartino! You may know me as the bass of J.A.M., or as just another one of the “kids” that go to all
of the district conventions. But I’m writing now because I want you to get to know me as well as the most recent Seneca Land
District member to start the process of becoming a BHS Contest Judge as a Music Judge Candidate and answer some common
questions that people have about the process.
Why did you decide to become a judge?
After taking a bunch of music classes in college, gaining more experience as a singer in quartets
and choruses, and going to Harmony University in Missouri (and now in Nashville) to pick up the
ins and outs of arranging and coaching, I realized I had an opportunity to give back to the
Society at large so I applied and was accepted.
What exactly does a music judge look at when judging a chorus or quartet?
I always thought the music category was the most difficult to understand of the three scoring
categories. If I were to describe the category in a sentence, it would be: “Music judges your musicality in bringing the song and
arrangement to life through the lens of the performance’s suitability to the barbershop style”.
Really, there are two things going on. 1) Is it barbershop? And 2) How well does your performance display the hallmarks of the style
and how effective were your musical choices?
What makes something “barbershop” would require more space than I can spare but I can point you to a great video: A keynote address from Dave
Stevens in the 1980s in Harmony University that gives a good idea of what barbershop “is”. If you’ve been singing barbershop for a
while, too, you have a good idea of what makes something barbershop. Trust your ear.
But what do we mean by good musical choices and “displaying the hallmarks of the style”? One hallmark of the style is locking,
ringing chords. In other words, consonant in-tune singing. When you sing the right words and notes at the right time, you do a lot of
important work towards doing the song justice. We’re also concerned with how well you developed theme of the song --- do you
sing a song driven by its rhythm in a way that I can tap my feet and get excited by its syncopation? Do you draw my attention when
the lyrics of a song are particularly beautiful and do you tell a story with a beginning, middle and end? Do I get entranced by a song’s
haunting melody by how well you sing it and am I impressed by how you perform a song built to ring? Lots of the questions of them
are really asking how well you delivered the song. Things like “choosing to slow down to highlight a particularly vulnerable moment”
or “having the bass predominate here because he has the melody” are all musical choices that affect how a song is delivered.
We also look directly at embellishments and how their use in the arrangement and your treatment of them as performers enhances
the theme of the song. Do your embellishments create drive or finality to the phrases? Or are they just kind of there and you’re not
singing the song; the song is just singing you? When we’re not concerned with whether something is in the barbershop style, we are
thinking about all of these things.
What does a judge do and what are their responsibilities?
A judge has to be available twice a year for contests (all expenses paid by contest district). On Friday you drive or fly to the contest
and meet up for a briefing before heading to the contest venue. If you’re a CA, you will inspect the contest site beforehand. Asterisk
judges (there’s always one in each panel) are in charge of making sure the venue *sounds* good, acoustically and also go to inspect
the venue. They will also run the mic check at the beginning of each contest session. When we’re done with each contest, we’ll
briefly discuss scores and rationale and then go to do evaluations. We need to have 8 hours of sleep as an official policy so it’s often
off to bed right away. The routine is about the same the next day, breakfast, briefing, chorus contest, evals, possible rest, dinner,
briefing, quartet finals, evals and then we’re free. Oftentimes, judges will have early flights back on Sunday and you may end up
staying up to catch that early morning flight. We’re not precluded from spending some time out of our rooms on Saturday, though,
so you may see judges out and about that night.
How does a judge come up with a number?
Every judge has a slightly different process but, in general, we’re trained to do it “early and often”. Typically, we can get a 10 point
range or so of how a quartet will score by the eighth measure and the score we ultimately write down will be within that range
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maybe 75% of the time. Obviously exceptions occur but we continually watch and listen to how the quartet treats the song and the
number we have in mind may change as the song progresses. It’s important to note that we don’t start at a 100 and take points
away as the song goes on. We give the score the quartet earned.
What’s the application process like?
An in depth version will be on the Seneca Land District website for people interested in becoming a judge
themselves but here’s the abridged version:
It takes 3 years to become a certified judge. The first year you spend as an applicant, sending in two letters of
recommendation from currently certified judges in your category and completing a lot of tests. In the music
category, we also had to turn in three complete arrangements, one of which was assigned to us. Then we’re
invited to candidate school in late July before Harmony University (if we did well on our homework) where we
learn about the category, scoring, and evaluations (and do more tests). I became a “candidate” last year (July
2014) when I passed candidate school.
The next two years are spent as a candidate, practice judging at least 6 contests, two each spring and one each
fall at least. As we continue to do more contests, we become increasingly more involved in the evaluations and
our scores and scoring rationale become more heavily scrutinized. I did my first contest last fall in Ontario.
If we show that we’re a qualified candidate by the end of our 6 contests, we’re invited to category school
where we’ll become certified upon completion.
How was your first contest as a candidate judge?
The Ontario convention was a lot of fun! They held it in Belleville, ON, Canada --- that’s just across Lake Ontario from Rochester. Our
own Don Stothard (Lead of Seniors Reps “Geezer Q”) was up in ONT too as the assistant contest administrator. I got to shadow Alex
Morris and Clay Hine in evaluations and met excellent coaches and judges in other categories as well. We were treated to excellent
hospitality from Sharon and Barry Towner (although they didn’t have soup quite like Dave’s!).
How can I help you?
You often hear about “supporting your quartets financially”. Funny enough, for me, this isn’t the case. What I can use is help
“experientially”. There’s really two aspects to being a good judge: scoring well and giving good evaluations. The first is pretty easy to
learn --- judges and candidates have access to lots of videos and contests to become solid at scoring a barbershop contest. On the
other hand, giving good evaluations takes much longer to learn and that’s where you can help me.
I’m looking for opportunities to coach quartets and choruses in the district. I’d like to come to any rehearsal you have to help how I
can, at absolutely no cost to you. This will help me develop my skill as a coach to give better evaluations to quartets and choruses
and will help your group too. My contact info is at the bottom of this article.
Matthew DeMartino
[email protected]
10202 Bennett Road
Painted Post, NY 14870
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There are so many resources available to you and your chapter, all
FREE OF CHARGE just for being a dues-paying member of the
Seneca Land District. These programs and materials have been
developed, collected and archived by incredibly dedicated people
that care about you. These can all be found on the SLD website.
Chapter Revitalization
Membership Retention
• Irish
• FUN Programs
• Of TheeWe SING
•Be Our Guest
• ChristmaSING
• We SING To Feed Them All
Chapter Franchising
Membership Recruitment
• Franchising Manual
• I SING Ambassador program
• Yard Sign program
• Button program
• Poster program
• Craig’s List
•Welcome Back Kotter
•Raise Your Voice With Ours
• How to Franchise
• How to Charter
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Page 25
Next Smoke Signals deadline is Apr 24th 2015
Smoke Signals readers
Please take notice of the following changes;
Each black and white, paper issue in of the Smoke Signals will be sent to every registered SLD member.
You do not need to do anything, except keep your Ebiz account current and correct, to continue to receive Smoke Signals.
A full color issue of the Smoke Signals is available on the district web site in PDF format.
If you DO NOT wish to receive the paper copy for any reason you may contact the editor at [email protected]
or [email protected] and your address will be left out of distribution.
If you DO NOT want to receive the paper copy it actually helps the district to save money on printing, paper and postage and
that money saved can go towards other areas of our district for your benefit.
The website NO LONGER EXISTS and has been consolidated into the new website.
The Email address of [email protected] also NO LONGER EXISTS.
The official email for the editor is [email protected] (or [email protected] for as long as I am permitted to do
this job of which I greatly enjoy).
If you have any concerns about the Smoke Signals, input or any chapter dates that need to be known, or you wish to advertise
please contact me.
District Convention Program
If you have any concerns or input or wish to advertise in the Convention program please contact me [email protected]
District Web Site
The district website has been operational for a while now but there a few tasks that need to be completed. Your patience and
understanding is greatly appreciated while our Webmaster Jay Holman is working his fingers to the byte.
If you have any input to the district web site, please contact Jay Holman [email protected]
District Directory
The 2015 District Directory should be available on our website by the time you read this. Please look through it carefully to
verify any information that pertains to you or your chapter.
If you have any input or corrections for the district directory, please contact Jim Barickman [email protected]
Thank you for Making Seneca Land your District of choice!
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February 9, 2015
To: Seneca Land District Barbershoppers
The Ramada Geneva Lakefront is, once again, hosting the upcoming 2015 Seneca Land District Spring Convention April
17-19, 2015 in Geneva, New York. If you are reserving a room at the Ramada (HQ) – either through your chapter or
individually – please read the information below.
Chapter representatives from each SLD chapter have already received this information. If you are reserving a room
through your chapter, your representative will include you on the chapter rooming list provided to him.
Whether you are reserving a room through your chapter or individually, the reservation dates and policies (below) are the
same. Please read carefully as policies may be different than those you are familiar with from previous conventions.
The hotel will begin accepting reservations at 9:00am on Monday, March 16, 2015. Call the hotel at 315-789-0440.
(Please do not attempt to call earlier as reservations will not be accepted until the proper time).
All reservations must be accompanied by a credit card guarantee or first night's deposit equal to $109.00. For chapters, a
credit card guarantee is also required from those chapters paying for all their rooms. In this instance, full payment of room
charges can be made by check upon arrival.
Where applicable (chapters), tax-exempt certificates must be received no later than Friday, April 3, 2015.
For those attending the convention on an individual basis (without a chapter), reservations can be made directly with the
hotel beginning at 9:00am on Monday, March 16, 2015 (same as chapters).
The deadline for all reservations is Friday, April 3, 2015. After that date, all rooms not reserved as part of the barbershop
block will be released back to the hotel for resale.
If you have any questions, please contact Carrie Mann - Ramada Geneva Lakefront at 315-789-0400.
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Page 27
U.S. Postage
Olean, NY
Permit No.88
Seneca Land District SPEBSQSA
5 Fourth Avenue
Franklinville, NY 14737-1301
[email protected]
The Chorus of the Genesee proudly presents
Harmony, Old and New
Our Guest Quartet
OC Times - 2008 International Champions
May 16, 2015 at 7 pm
At Penfield High School
For tickets visit
or call (585) 265-9540
or contact any COG member
$14 each for groups of 10 or more
$16 each prior to show
$18 each at the door
Page 28
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