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2001 International Convention

Nashville, Tennessee
July 03-July 08, 2001

(Last Update: 07/11/01)

World Harmony Jamboree XII Show
Thursday, 07/05/01

I arrived at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) with just
a few minutes to spare before the 1:00pm show. The Jamboree team
had assured me that there would be a ticket waiting for me at the
door. Sure enough, they found it, and I was in. Front row center,
perfect for capturing pictures and taking in all the action. It 
turned out that Producer Jim Pyle's wife, Betsy, had given me *her*
seat, and I was a little surprised to see Jim sit down next to me 
in the front row as Song Leader Don Amos finished leading the audience
in a couple of songs to warm them up before the show got under way. 
Betsy joined us a few minutes later, and we ended up shuffling 
a seat or two so they could sit together, as there were a few more
available seats in the front. 

A recorded message came over the sound system, informing us of 
house rules and locations of emergency exits. I could see Presenter
Mike Maino offstage right, waving his arms as an airline hostess
might do during pre-flight instructions. Mike was then introduced as
"the voice of Bolton Landing, and husband of Gail" and took the
podium to run the afternoon's show. 

(Note: Some of the material that follows was taken from the show
program or performers' web pages)


The Likely Lads (Duncan Whinyates, Lee Sperry, Tim Braham, and
Rob Barber) took part in the International Quartet Quarter Final
round as BABS representatives, having won the British Association
of Barbershop Singers Quartet Contest last year. They appeared in
sparkling red shirts and opened with a really jazzy "I've Got A 
Gal In Kalamazoo." Tenor Duncan graced us with a beautiful solo
with "When I Look In Your Eyes" as sung by The Gas House Gang on
their "Rough and Tumble Best" CD. His voice was sweet and clear, 
and the haunting chorus transitioned to a sweet full falsetto at
the tag...nice! They closed their short opening set with their
"seam thong" (theme song), "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." They included
some funny animal sounds and swayed back and forth, effectively
shutting out Dunc behind them...they even used some popping slaps
on their bare tummies t oproduce some impromptu percussion effects,
and the audience really enjoyed their moment of fun. Thanks guys!

CHANGE OF HEART (Harmony, Inc.)

Change of Heart (Janet Foster, Sara Stone, Susan Spencer, and Robin
Gould) won their crowns and became Harmony Inc.'s Harmony Queens in
1999, having been together since 1993. Three of these ladies are
members of the Heart of Indiana chorus in the Indianapolis area,
and one is a member of the Village Vocal Chords from Chicago.
These ladies seemed to have a playful axe to grind against men,
getting in our faces with "Take Another Guess/You Can't Pull The
Wool Over My Eyes Medley," one of those "kiss-off, pal" songs with
an attitude. They delivered it with great faces and full involvement,
and I was just glad they were looking past me into the audience!
They softened their "attack" with a really nice solo by lead Sara
Stone on the beautiful "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" from the 
animated movie, "The Lion King." "...wide eyed wanderer..." was a
particularly nice spot as the chords locked and rang, ooohhh! I 
detected a bit of a nervous (?) vibrato in a couple of spots 
(Queens? Nervous? Come on!) but they loo-ed nicely into the tag. 
Sweet! Uh oh, but they wrapped it up with another classic man-basher,
"Goody Goody." Hey, don't get on the bad side of these gals! 


This young quartet has been making appearances all over the 
convention all week long, and it was a perfect fit to have them
as part of today's show. Their music teacher, Alexander Nikitin
(pronounced "Nikeeten") first learned about barbershop singing
when he heard Rumors sing some years ago. He attended the past 
two years of master classes at the Russian Barbershop Harmony
Festival in St. Petersburg. The Nightingales perform Russian
folks songs in the barbershop style. They've been in the US
since mid-June, and also appeared in the Sing! A Cappella 
concert prior to the convention. Their names are: Ilfat Bayatitov
("Eelfat Byazeetov") on tenor, Yaroslav Nesterchuk ("Yaroslahv
Nesterchuck") on lead, Alexei Repine ("Alexay Repeeneh") on 
bass, and Denis Morozov (like it sounds) on baritone.
They were also accompanied by Eugene Nikitin, Alexander's son,
who assisted with translation. He explained their first song
which was in Russian, about 2 farming brothers who come to the
big city and buy a boat, but it sinks. They had elaborate arm
moves and synchronized choreography to illustrate the song, 
and we didn't need to know the language to get the idea of the 
piece! It was cute. The Gas House Gang came out and joined them
on stage briefly, to help present certificates of appreciation
to the boys for participating in this Jamboree. They then 
donned four plastic red derbies and did a cute rendition of 
"Yes Sir, That's My Baby" in English. Their neat moves and 
steps forward and back, snapping fingers and swaying side to 
side were well rehearsed and "typical" barbershop.


Representing the United Kingdom, European chorus champions Cambridge
Chord Company broke the mold back in 1994 when they became the first
small chorus ever to win a BABS medal with just 22 men on stage.
They went on to win the BABS championship in 1999 and the BABS/LABBS
Millennium all-comers championship last year, still competing 
against choruses several times their size. Last May they won the 
coveted European chorus trophy with just 35 men, all of whom were
here in Nashville. BABS music judge Paul Davies is their director,
and they continue to be in great demand at shows and festivals all
over Great Britain. They hit us with a big opener with "Tonight's
The Night I've Waited For...!" Director Davies commented that 
they were from East Anglia, which he described as "most like your
Texas...if Texas had a few more US air force bases, it would be
just like Cambridge!" They did a neat medley of "Happy Birthday
Sweet Sixteen" and "You're Sixteen, So Beautiful, And You're Mine"
ala Neil Sedaka...The next song title was a fake but I liked the 
setup, as the singer parts with his Lorraine, only to take up 
with his new love, Clara, singing, "I Can See Clara Now,
Lorraine Is Gone"...ugh! They continued with a wonderful Swingle
Singers-like version of "Your Kisses Take Me To Shangri-La" with a 
high floating tenor melody that was so sweet. The small chorus
had bunched in together for this intimate number, and then spread
out again as a kilted Scotsman strode out and introduced the next
number, "Skye Boat Song." It was a stirring and dramatic traditional
Scottish folk ballad about a prince fleeing war in the mid 1700's,
speeding his "bonnie boat like a bird on the wing" in hopes of 
ruling again some day. This was countered with their closing number,
a light and funny "Teddy Bear Picnic" as the chorus danced and 
pranced their way around the stage, munching on their various picnic
goodies like so many singing Yogi Bears...cute! 


Philharmonix is a mixed quartet (two male, two female) with a 
unique musical style developed from their successful experiences
in the barbershop world. Based in the Philadelphia area, they
have performed on many chapter shows, community concerts and events,
including singing for the Republican National Convention in 
Philadelphia. They won gold medals in both the 1999 Mid-American
Barbershop Quartet Expo in St. Louis, Missouri, and at the 2000
Buckeye Invitational in Columbus, Ohio. In February of this year 
they were named runners-up in the New York Regional Harmony
Sweepstakes, sponsored by Primarily A Cappella. Their songs
included "Lazy Day," a light and lyrical happy song, followed
by a precious "This Little Piggy Went To Market" lullaby, and 
then "Happy Together," with Tom on the solo, Rick providing the
bass percussion, and Donna and Amy rounding out the background
vocals. Nice sound!


This Swedish quartet from Stockholm formed in the spring of 1999.
They had sung together in the same barbershop chorus, A Cappella
Academy, and they enjoyed getting together on occasion to sing.
Just recently they won the Nordic Championships, qualifying them 
to compete in our International Quartet Contest. The members are:
Torgeir Dahlen on tenor, Charlie Buchheim at lead, Peter Lindholm 
on baritone, and Joakim Flink on bass. They opened their set with
"Slap That Bass," and Joakim reached lowwww for those bass notes!
They described the "Shuffle" part of their name by the fact that
one of them is really Norwegian...the problem is for us to figure
out which one! "Tenderly" was a nice ballad with great mood
created throughout, and they finished with a song that serves as
their philosophy for living, "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die," with a 
laser-powered drive to the tag that was terrific. 


The 2000 Sweet Adelines Champions, Signature Sound, formed in 1990 and
quickly rose to the forefront of Mid-Atlantic regional quartets. The 
quartet began competing on the international level in 1992 and over 
the last seven years has continuously been in the top ten. In 1998 in 
Nashville, Tennessee, Signature Sound won the silver medal at the 
international competition, and in Atlanta the following year they 
finally struck gold. Signature Sound is composed of four women: 
Christine Cook, tenor, a special education administrator, from 
Rockville, Maryland; Leslie Taylor, lead, administrator for a private
practice ophthalmologist, from Annapolis; Janet Ashford, baritone, 
master director of Pride of Baltimore, the 2000 International 6th 
place chorus, from Columbia; and Lloyd-Ellen Thomas, bass, from Glen
Burie. Their opener was "It's A Brand New Day" and they showed good 
command of the stage and confidence throughout. "Fit As A Fiddle" came
next, with FRED-like comic bell ringing in the middle and even a 
Pookie-reminiscent squawk thrown in for good measure. The stage lights
faded to a rich blue as the quartet sank into "Imagination" and we 
floated along right with them. They brightened it up again with a 
closer song asking that question that seems to plague women's quartets
everywhere, "How Do You Find A Low-Voiced Woman" to the tune of "What 
Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor" ... the answer was the
*men's* conventions..."auditioning for the Vocal Majority, singing low
notes with authority..." Lloyd-Ellen Thomas was in her glory as she
flexed her resonant bass voice and posed menacingly. Great stuff!


Phoenix Rising first sang together as the learning quartet for the 
Canterbury Plainsmen Chorus in late 1999. They stayed together and 
selected their name from the fact that all of the quartet members had
risen from previous champion quatets. They captured the gold medal and
the National title in their first competition in September of 2000, 
qualifying them to compete in Nashville this week. Quartet members 
include David Merriman on tenor, Ed Dempsey at lead, Bruce Early 
singing bari, and Tom Buckley on bass. "Give Me A Barbershop Song" was
their first number, and a repeat of their second contest number in the
Quarter Final Round. "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables," another wonderful
song from "Les Miserables" was their next offering, and it was poignant
and sad, touching on the aftermath of the French Revolution during that
time in history. They concluded with "Roll On Waikato" and wrapped up 
a nice second half kickoff.


This almost brand new Sweet Adelines chorus officially chartered in
December of 1999, and ony three months later won their first Region
23 chorus contest! They will be heading to Portland Oregon for the 
International contest this October, under the masterful direction of 
Nancy Shumard, who brings 15 years of chorus directing experience to
the fore. The 55-lady chorus sizzled as the curtain rose, opening with 
the eery "Prince Of Darkness." Two quartets stepped out in
front, flanking the chorus on either side and helped drive this intense
opener. They followed this with a "Dixie" intro that rolled into
"Sweet Georgia Brown" and gave them an opportunity to strut their 
show choir moves. Man, it was hot! These gals know how to smile, sing
and dance up a storm all at the same time. "The most popular song in
America" was how they described their next offering, "You Are My 
Sunshine" (actually I thought it was Roger's Railroad Medley, but I
digress)...the hot yellow stage lighting up in back of the chorus
poured down to give a sunset-like glow to the chorus, setting an
interesting mood. "They fired it up again with a rousing gospel tune,
"Ready For A Miracle" and that front row was looking awesome.
Two soloists, one on each end of the front row, stepped up and echoed
each other as they belted out the repeated question, "Are you ready
for a miracle?" It was interesting to witness the iron grip of 
Director Nancy Shumard, as all eyes were on her for almost the entire
set, even the front row folks, causing those on the very ends to have
to look at a sharp angle in toward the center so they'd make solid
eye contact with Nancy. 


From Brisbane, in the state of Queensland, Southern Cross is 
Australia's champion quartet. Daniel Beckitt, tenor, is a business
consultant and the quartet's web designer. He and John Newell, the 
lead, first quartetted together in 1993. John is a call center team
leader and trainer. Bill Staff, baritone, is a Project Manager for
F111 Aircraft Software Development, and the Musical Director for 
Australia's silver medalist chorus, The River City Clippers. He is 
also Australia's only two-time quartet gold medalist. Mark Penman,
bass, is a former singer with the Australian Opera, and owns a 
jewelry business. I liked their opening number, "All Aboard For 
Dixieland" with their steady, strong tempo, good forward motion
and a fine blend. "Melancholy Baby" was just pure barbershop, and
so very enjoyable. Their awesome tenor was right there, adding the
perfect touch. They finished their short set with a song made 
famous by the late Peter Allen, one that is familiar to Aussies
everywhere, when they are a long way from home, "I Still Call
Australia My Home." Very nice set, mates! G'day!


Crackerjack is a ladies championship quartet, representing the 
Ladies' Association of British Barbershop Singers, winning their
championship in 1999. They have appeared at the Roaring 20's 
Festival in Killarny, Ireland, and gave "an electrifying performance"
during a spectacular thunderstorm at the Ohio State Fair while
visiting the Buckeye Invitational with their chorus, The White
Rosettes. They made a national television debut last Christmas Eve,
appearing in a 60's police drama. Members include Annmarie Connett,
tenor; Jo Braham, lead; Louise Williams, bari; and Pauline Winn, bass.
They danced their opening song, "Dixieland One-Step" and looked good
in their black gowns with dazzling purple and silver vests. They sang
a heart-wrenching ballad called "Two Little Boys," in which two little
boys grew up as best of friends, playing with little toy soldiers and
horses until one day one the horses broke. The other boy consoled his
pal, inviting his soldier to get on the other horse, saying, "do you
think I'd leave you crying when there's room on my horse for two?"
Years later, when the boys had grown to men and were in the thick of
a real war, one of them is struck down on the field of battle, but is
rescued by his life-long friend who carries him to safety on his own
horse, saying, "do you think I would leave you dying when there's room
on my horse for two?"...very emotional and moving. The quartet closed
their portion by celebrating that magical time when love is sparked
at the moment when eyes meet, in Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever
I Saw Your Face." Lead Jo Braham gave a stunning solo performance as
the quartet backed her up softly. Wonderful job, ladies!


Jambalaya made this their fourth appearance here in the US, 
representing the Society of Nordic Barbershop Singers in International
competition. They won the SNOBS gold medal in 1996 and 1998, and are
always a delight to see and hear. Members include Jambatenor Ronny 
Karlsson, Jambalead Richard Ohman, Jambabari Joacim Stappe, and 
Jambabass Orjan Hedene. They started with a contest song they've 
used in the past, "Why Do They Waste All The Love On Babies?," and
bemoaned the fact that the girls all like his baby brother and just 
ignore him...Ronny was holding an imaginary baby and making goo-goo
and gurgling noises all was funny. Tom Jones' "Kiss"
was a rock and roll sendup that had us all grabbing for our air
guitars so we could jam along, and their too-short set concluded as
they donned black cowboy hats and rode off into the sunset with a 
killer country uptune by John Michael Montgomery, "Sold". They were
whooping it up on stage in typical Jambacraziness, and we enjoyed it
a lot! Let's do it again next year!


I had just a vague sample of TNL's wonderful sound at Tuesday's
Senate-Aires party, but the sound system didn't clue me in on just
how good a job these guys do with their vocal production. This chorus
was formed just three years ago, and their goal of excelence in all
aspects of the barbershop craft has really paid off handsomely. They
qualified for International, representing the Ontario District, in 
their first-ever District contest, where in Anaheim, California they
placed a very respectable 11th. Last year they came back even better
prepared and soared into the medalist ranks, taking fifth place. 
Coming in to Nashville seeded third, we have been anticipating great
things from this little chorus, and they did not disappoint! From the
very first strains of "It Had To Be You," their rich, clean sound was
immediately evident. A wall to wall flow of sound washed over us, and
the overall horizontal motion of sound and dynamics was wonderful.
"...make me feel blue..." the basses were a solid single fat bass 
voice wayyy down there...while the tenors were another total unit
sound perfectly tuned on top. Amazingly clean. the front row dangled
their arms as if suspended like marionette puppets, as they sang
"Why do I do everything you say?"...cute. Their spokesman pointed out
some of the unshaven faces in the chorus, and explained it by saying,
"Next week, when we go home...winter starts!"  They moved on with a 
touching "Embraceable You," and were joined by a female soloist who
appeared on stage in a lovely gown and sang along nicely. They segued
into the next song nicely as one member came out nervously, calling her
back as she was leaving the stage, then describing to her in pantomime
as the chorus sang, that he had written a special song just for her.
He walked with her as he read the lines, consisting of "Blah, Blah,
blah, blah, ..stars, Blah, blah, blah, blah ... moon, blah, blah 
blah, blah,, blah, blah, blah, blah ...June..." and continued
on like this in funny fashion as she became more and more fed up.
Finally the song ended with "...blah blah balh blah you...blah you!"
at which point she took offense and gave him a hearty slap in the face
and stormed off, indignant. Funny stuff! They ended their super set 
with a folk song from the east coast of Canada, "She's Like The 
Swallow," and we were all buzzing about the upcoming chorus contest
on Saturday and where this excellent chorus might end up!


Our current International Champions, PLATINUM needs no introduction.
This simply amazing quartet, only in existence since 1998, was the
perfect end to an already stellar showcase of talent. They opened with
"It's Only A Paper Moon," and it was full, rich and smooth throughout,
masterfully done. They hav etotal control over every song they sing,
and it's simply a marvel to observe. Bari Tony DeRosa made a passing
crack about the Tennessee Titans, and then picked it up again with 
the mesmerizing "Smilin' Thru." Bass Kevin Miles mentioned how he 
was grateful for his wife's recent recovery from a potentially serious
ilness, and was delighted to tell us that she was here in the audience
enjoying the show and that everything was fine. They sang the next song,
dedicated to Kevin's wife, "You Are The One I Adore." Sooo nice. They
put the cap on the show with their wonderful "Cuddle Up A Little Closer"
which builds gradually from its slow easy beginning to a jazzy uptempo
climax and had us on our feet at the last chord. Great!

Once again, HUGE thanks go out to the many people who worked to make
this show a reality, especially to Jamboree XII Producer Jim Pyle,
Director Joan Darrah, and all the crew members and representatives
on the World Harmony Council. Another Great Show! Let's do it again
in Portland!

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