Digest of
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Volume 33, Issue 1 -- January-April 2005

Joseph Schlesinger, Third Assistant Temporary Editor and Royal Keeper of the Minor Typos

Rag Deadline: Second Wednesday of Every Month

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North Shore Chapter of SPEBSQSA is a group of men of all ages who enjoy gathering in fellowship to sing in the four-part, a cappella, close harmony style known as barbershop. As we participate in our varied social and musical activities, including both choral and quartet singing, our members can develop their vocal skills and their appreciation of the rich heritage of American song, which we share with our community through performances in a variety of settings.

North Shore Chapter of SPEBSQSA will:

  1. Provide, to whatever extent possible, organized chorus activities and organized quartet activities at every regular chapter meeting.
  2. Actively seek public performance opportunities for the chapter chorus.
  3. Continuously strive to increase its active membership.
  4. Continuously strive to improve the musical quality of its chorus as a collective unit and the musical ability of its chapter members as individuals.
  5. Contribute to the cultural panorama of the communities from which our organization draws its membership, thereby:
    • Increasing its visibility in the local community and fostering a positive perceptions of our organization,
    • Enhancing public awareness of, and appreciation for, barbershop harmony, and
    • Creating opportunities to recruit new members.


After almost 60 years, North Shore Chapter has changed its name to Chicagoland North Chapter.

Born in Winnetka during the waning months of World War II, our little chapter experienced two waves of explosive growth; contributed one international champion and two district champion quartets to our Society; twice placed among the district's top five choruses in competition; started the barbershop career of a young member who has since gone on to become a legendary director, coach, and arranger; and enriched the lives of hundreds of men by involving them in the world's greatest hobby.

Now we are embarking on a new adventure. By changing our name, we are not shucking and ignoring our past. Rather, we are shifting direction, creating a brand new image, and seeking new glories, under the guidance of our new director, Bill Ward. As part of our big change, we have retired the Shoreliner Chorus and started up the North Wave Chorus. We have already attracted four new singers to our group, not counting Bill. We made our presence known to the world with our April 13 debut performance at Lincolnwood Town Center, and we competed at district this past weekend.

The sound our growing 17-man chorus produces is tremendous for such a small group. We are poised to attract men who like to sing, to delight audiences of all ages, and to let the whole community know there is a new wave of harmony sweeping Chicagoís north shore. In the meantime, we are already planning our first chapter show in seven years, a holiday show proposed for Dec. 10. To facilitate chapter communications, a new Internet users group has been established: http://groups.yahoo.com/ group/northwave. Please join!

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Illinois District held its spring convention this past weekend, and with it came the North Wave Chorus' first chance to compete. Since we were originally going to skip competing this year, the decision to enter was made at the last minute, and we had no idea what outcome to expect.

While our eighth-place ranking would normally be disappointing, we feel we presented a respectable performance, and the judges' recommendations will provide a benchmark for our future musical development.

Eight choruses competed in the chorus contest. The top five were Elgin Chapter's Fox Valley Men of Harmony (753 points), Aurora Chapter's Lamplighters Chorus (677), DuPage Valley Chapter's Chorus of DuPage (634 points), Decatur Chapter's Decatur Chordsmen (627 points), and Peoria Chapter's Peoria Barbershop Chorus (605 points). These five choruses are now eligible to compete in fall 2005. In the international preliminary quartet contest, 18 quartets showed their stuff. The top five finishers were Alchemy (1896 points); Lakeside Edition, our current district champions (1832 points); Skyline (1749 points); Wound 4 Sound (1660 points); and tsunami (1660 points). Sixth-place won the district senior quartet championship. Complete score sheets are available on the Illinois District Web site (www.harmonize.ws/ill).

A college quartet containing two Northwestern University students, Out of the Loop, finished second in the collegiate quartet contest. Comments and recommendations from the judges' evaluations are below.

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The question on everyone's tongue is, "How much money did our Sing-Around-the-Kettle raise for Salvation Army?"

The total of donations in the kettle during the time we sang on Dec. 18 is $293.63.

Majors Alberto and Selicia Rapley of Evanston Corps thank us for our continued assistance.


This is the last issue of the North Shore Harmony Rag. Starting in May, our chapter will have a new monthly publication, The Crest, along with a quasi-weekly newsletter, Breakers. In its 33-year history, the Rag was edited by Jerry Casaletto, Dick Robbins, Bob Levi, John Albergo, Bob Gelber, and Joseph Schlesinger.

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North Shore Chapter:

Every Wednesday night--Informal Guest Night--BRINGASINGA!

Wed., 5/25--Open House/Guest Night--7:30 p.m. at Elliott Hall. Members, please arrive early (by 7:15) to set up the hall and greet guests.

Sun., 7/1-Sun., 7/8--67th Annual International Convention--Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sun., 7/31-Sun, 8/7--Harmony College/Directors College--Columbus, Ohio.

Fri., 9/30-Sun., 10/2--Illinois District Fall Convention--Peoria.

Sat., 12/10--Holiday Show (tentative date).

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Fri., 4/22--Interstate Woodshed--8 p.m. (dinner at 6:30) at American Legion Hall, Hwy. B, Silver Lake, Wis. All Barbershoppers invited; $5 donation requested to defray expenses. For information, call the hall at 262/889-8255 or Gerry Carroll at 847/678-0092.

Fri., 5/6 and Sat., 5/7--Northbrook Chapter Show--2:30 (Saturday) and 8 (Friday and Saturday) p.m. at Glenbrook South H.S., 4000 W. Lake Ave., Glenview. Featuring: Ac-Rock, New Tradition Chorus (current International Third Place Chorus and past International Champion Chorus/current Illinois District Champion Chorus). Tickets: $20 (main floor center, evening), $18 (main floor and mezzanine, evening), $18 (main floor center, matinee), $16 (main floor and mezzanine, matinee); $2 discount for students and senior citizens, matinee only; all sets reserved; group discounts available. For more information, call 800/SHOWCHORUS (746-9246), or see Joseph Schlesinger, Bill Ward, or Dick Yanow

Barbershop Harmony Chicagoland Web site: http://www.bbs.singer.as

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We are considering possible chorus performances during the afternoons of Sunday, May 15 and Sunday, June 12. Please sign the commitment sheets that will be on the table at upcoming chapter meetings.

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Gus Buenz (John Buenz; Naples, Fla. Chapter)
John Cain (chapter counselor; Northbrook Chapter)
Tim Carroll* (Stephens)
Ed Chester* (Kohn)
Bill Remien (former member; Minocqua/Woodruff, Wis. Chapter)
Ken Rockey* (Brandt)
Gary Schuneman (Lake County Chapter)
Duncan Stephens* (Mimura)
Keith Thompson (Stephens)
Chuck Uchtman (former member)
Bill Ward* (Northbrook and Rockford Metro Chapters)

* Has joined our chapter

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Members and guests, please note the following changes in operations and policy, effective immediately.

The official start time for chapter meetings is now 7:30. Please make every effort to be at Elliott Hall by that time. Since the hall needs to be set up before each meeting, and any guests who arrive early ought to be greeted by members, it would be best for you to arrive by 7:15.

We request that all members initial the signup sheet on the table by the entrance at each meeting they attend.

We encourage all members to solicit public performances for our chorus and the North Shore Four. If a performance opportunity arises, please notify the Chorus Manager (Joseph Schlesinger) immediately; he is the only member authorized to negotiate performance logistics and fees. Give him your contact's name, phone number, and any other relevant information.

The kitty has been reinstated to cover chapter operating expenses. It is located on the coffee table at each meeting. Please contribute as you are able; $2 minimum suggested.

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"If everyone is thinking alike . . . someone is not thinking."
--Gen. George S. Patton

"If everything's under control, you're going too slow."
--Mario Andretti

"Frankly, we don't know whether to run, to watch, or to bark at the moon."
--Dan Rather


First visit as a guest:

  • Voice placement by the director, or his delegate
  • Tone recognition and matching capability.
  • Music reading capabilities, if any (not required, just noted).
  • Basic rules and expectations of a new guest/prospective member.
  • Membership/chapter development person delivers e-mail address, phone number and address to the music director for personal follow-up within the first week of the guest's visit.

Third or fourth visit:

  • Reading capabilities.
  • Maintain voice-part integrity with three other singers.
  • Chord/interval exercises to determine ability to maintain pitch with other parts.

After a favorable audition of the above by the director or his delegate, the membership/chapter development person will do the following in 20 minutes or less:

  • Go over a list of expectations and other requirements of membership.
  • Go over the membership application and get all pertinent information, including the Man-of-Note section and especially the e-mail section.
  • Go over the costume policy, with a refundable deposit for the costume, and any other expenses the new member can expect to incur for the year (e.g., registrations, hotels, travel expenses, etc., to various conventions the chorus may attend and/or in which it will compete).
  • Go over the attendance requirements of 85% or better to qualify for singing on shows and in contests.
  • Let the new member know who his "buddy" will be and who will guide him through any procedures that may not have been included in the instructions above. A special "someone" will lead/guide the new member through the ďjargonĒ and various other nonessentials that complete the barbershop experience, like historical facts, etc.
  • Once the completed application and check are received: This is the time to celebrate the commitment of the new member and not to inundate him with needless detail. The whole process should take only as long as is necessary for the new member to complete the application, get a list of chapter expenses, and review the guidelines for new members.

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Congratulations to Alchemy on making the cut in the spring district prelims, thereby earning the right to represent Illinois in this summer's international contest. Congrats also on their fifth-place finish in the 2005 Midwest Harmony Sweepstakes. Their upcoming performances include the following chapter shows: Monroe, Wis. (April 23); Rockford Metro (May 7); and Chicagoland West Suburban (June 4).

Check out Chordmasters' new Web site (www.chordmasters.net). Recent and upcoming gigs include a performance at Roselle Public Library, Roselle (April 17) and a senior citizens volunteer appreciation luncheon at the Wellington, Arlington Heights (April 22).

Hospitality will perform at a Rotary International gathering in Northbrook Saturday evening, June 18, in connection with that organization's Centennial Convention.


Barbershop Harmony Society CEO Don Harris has tendered his resignation, effective April 20. At this time, no reasons have been given for his action. Look for details in The Harmonizer and Attacks and Releases.

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"Not failure, but low aim, is a crime."
--James Russell Lowell

"Turn the lights down--the party just got wild."
--Dan Rather


In January, we sent the first batch of Campbell's soup labels to the St. Jude's Ranch for children in Boulder City, Nev. They care for abused, abandoned, and neglected children. Here is the breakdown of labels received and who contributed them:

January only
Pete Brandt: 8
Phil Schwimmer: 54
First Quarter 2005
Joseph Schlesinger: 1
Pete Brandt: 30
Phil Schwimmer: 55

I would like to send in labels every quarter from now on. Letís all try to participate. What do you say?

--Phil Schwimmer, Charity Chairman

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--Lloyd Davis

For several years I've been seeing pictures of a guy holding his mouth various ways while pronouncing vowels. I saw them mostly in chapter bulletins--little 2x3-inch photos. Then, all of a sudden, he turned up at our chapter meetings. Each picture is a foot tall, and, frankly, it's a little eerie for this guy to be staring at me. He makes me feel guilty every time I pronounce a vowel. I'm never quite sure my mouth looks like his.

I've tried to emulate his mouth positions with moderate success. One night during a chorus rehearsal the music director stared at me and said, "Make your face look happy!" I thought to myself, "A happy face is a smiling faceónot an 'oo' face." The obvious dawned on me: You can't smile while youíre singing a vowel. "Smile with the rest of your face," they say. For the life of me, I can't seem to make my forehead or any other parts of my face smile, except for my mouth. I can get some wrinkles in my forehead, but I can't seem to make the ends turn up as my mouth does when I smile.

After thinking about it, I realized that those face charts completely disregard what to do with your mouth when you're singing a consonant. After all, there are about 20 consonants and only five vowels. How could this overwhelming majority be ignored?

Logically, I concluded that if your mouth looks like an "o" when singing that vowel, then it should be shaped like whatever consonant youíre singing.

The only one Iíve come up with so far is the "q." For this, you simply form an "o" and then stick your tongue out at the corner to complete the "q." Iím not sure, but I think the left, lower corner is proper, since that would make the "q" not backwards to the audience.

So far, that's the only consonant I can handle. Iíve gone through the alphabet several times, and all of the other consonants are too difficult to form. Iím anxiously awaiting the new consonant charts to arrive.

--seen in SPEBSQSA PROBEmoter, John Petterson, editor

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Tim Carroll
5638 W. Grover
Chicago, IL 60630
(773) 202-7914 / (773) 769-4100
exp. 12/31/05 (2005)

Ed Chester [Jennifer Sperry]
1701 W. Albion Ave., 3rd Fl.
Chicago, IL 60626
(773) 465-6166 / (773) 263-1992
exp. 9/30/05 (2005)

Ken Rockey
2009 Harrison St., #403
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 733-7310
exp. 12/31/05 (2005)

Duncan Stephens (Carolyn Bowes)
4849 Wright Terr.
Skokie, IL 60077
(847) 983-0123 / (773) 769-4100
exp. 6/30/06 (2005)

*Bill Ward
216 Lakeshore Ln.
Bloomingdale, IL 60108
(312) 927-0474 / (312) 927-0474
exp. 9/30/05 (1992)

Correct address and phone:

Paul Smalley
2700 Lawndale Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 733-7858

Change exp. to 12/31/05:

John Buenz
Tom Leaveck
John Martini
Tom McCracken
Paul Mimura
Ed Price
Rick Prieto
Joseph Schlesinger
Paul Smalley
Elmer Sweet

Change exp. to 3/31/06:

Jack Cutrera
Noble LeHew
Phil Martin


Gary Goodfriend
Kevin Jones

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  1. Singer's posture
  2. Active face
  3. Vowels that look right
  4. In-line singing (attenuation)
  5. Focused singing
  6. Know the characteristics of your part
  7. Bring the whole singer
  8. Expect to grow
  9. "Iím talking to you!" (not the guy next to you)
  10. Look, act, and be successful

(From Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Chapter Web site)


  • To be warmed up before rehearsal.
  • To bring your tape recorder to every rehearsal (with fresh batteries and blank tapes).
  • To bring your music and a pencil.
  • Your words and notes.
  • To sing with a warm, resonant, well placed sound.
  • Water, water, water.
  • To watch the director!
  • Most importantly, to have fun!!

--from Concord, Mass. Chapter The Juice, Mike Carvin, editor

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When Barbershopper Dave LaBar passed away earlier this year, a streaming video was created and posted to the Internet, in which Dan Jordan (lead of The New Tradition, 1985 International Champs), narrated a moving tribute to Dave. The video includes anecdotes recalling Daveís unique brand of humor.

One interesting note is that the videographer was Jeff Ebner, a former director of the Shoreliner Chorus, now living in southern California.

To view the video, go to this link:

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--Jim DeBusman, Society Music Specialist

One interesting aspect is that when one "thinks" a pitch, the vocal folds automatically shape themselves to that pitch. While it might not be possible for Professor Hill's unschooled trumpet player to ďthinkĒ the correct valve to push for a given note, the human voice box responds directly and correctly to whatever signal the brain sends out. In other words, whether singing out loud or just thinking about it, one's vocal folds shape themselves precisely to whatever is going on in the mind. Thus applying the "think system" to a barbershop song during quiet moments can improve and reinforce pitch accuracy.

One word of caution: when barbershoppers "think" through their given part in a song there is an underlying awareness of the complete chords.

Without periodic reference to the sheet music or a learning tape as a double-check, it's possible occasionally to "think" one's part into some incorrect notes within the chords. Additional "thinking" at this point will simply reinforce these errors. This is surprisingly true of songs in the repertoire to which parts were memorized long before. It's a good idea to pull out the sheet music occasionally and check yourself.

Good posture and diaphragmatic breathing are vitally important to quality vocal production. Visualizing these aspects while using the "think system" will help them become almost automatic when actually singing. This can enhance a rehearsal if everyone does it.

Before one can "think" good posture and breath support, however, one must know the fundamentals. Some are: stand nice and tall; elongate the back of the neck; look to the horizon; hold the chest high; relax the shoulders; spread the feet to shoulder width; and weight forward on the balls of the feet but heels still touching the floor.

Several aids to proper breath management and tone production are available in print; among them are Sing Out Like Never Before (stock no. 4087) and Improving Vocal Techniques Through the Warm-Up (stock no. 4068) from the Harmony Marketplace. A number of chorus and quartet coaches are also good vocal production technicians and most are more than happy to help any singer who seriously wants to improve.

--from North Coast, Ohio Chapter Johnnycake Ridgerunner, Stan Wardwell, editor

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Here's the VERY last word on Entertainment book sales for 2004.

We sold 39 books, on which the chapter made $156.

Thanks to all who helped. Our 2005 campaign will begin in late summer.


Tim Brooks (Singing)

We gave a mid-C range chorus performance.

We need to work on synchronization of words and phrases, within and among sections of the chorus.

Try practicing songs in a quartet environment and singing songs and troublesome phrases in unison monotone, then in four-part monotone.

Our singers need to agree on where syncopation occurs.

Our sound might blend better if our director stands in the middle of the chorus, where he would be more visible.

Mike O'Donnell (Presentation)

Our performance was in the lower end of the C category.

There was a feeling that our singing was more vertical than legato.

We need to tell the story, interpretively and visually.

Our presentation might have been more effective if Bill were in front directing the chorus. His positioning might possibly have caused some singers to concentrate too much, rather than freely expressing the songs.

Occasional lapses in synchronization distracted from the overall effect.

Phrase endings were choppy--visualize the front edges of water skis and give the end of each phrase a "lift" in energy.

More facial involvement and dynamic variation were needed.

Rob Campbell (Music)

Our sound was nice and full, but we need more section unity.

In the ballad, leads need to develop more sensitivity to the lyrics, by adding more nuances rather than singing the whole song at the same level. The uptune started off with tuning problems.

Archived Issues in .PDF Format

You will need Acrobat Reader to open each of these archived issues of the North Shore Harmony Rag. If you do not have it, you may download it for FREE by clicking here.

Volume 30, Issue 1: January 2002 Volume 31, Issue 1: January 2003 Volume 32, Issue 1: January 2004
Volume 30, Issue 2: February 2002 Volume 31, Issue 2: February 2003 Volume 32, Issue 2: February 2004
Volume 30, Issue 3: March 2002 Volume 31, Issue 3: March 2003 Volume 32, Issue 3: March 2004
Volume 30, Issue 4: April 2002 Volume 31, Issue 4: April 2003 Volume 32, Issue 4: April 2004
Volume 30, Issue 5: May 2002 Volume 31, Issue 5: May 2003 Volume 32, Issue 5: May 2004
Volume 30, Issue 6: June 2002 Volume 31, Issue 6: June 2003 Volume 32, Issue 6: June 2004
Volume 30, Issue 7: July 2002 Volume 31, Issue 7: July 2003 Volume 32, Issue 7: July 2004
Volume 30, Issue 8: August 2002 Volume 31, Issue 8: August 2003 Volume 32, Issue 8: August 2004
Volume 30, Issue 9: September 2002 Volume 31, Issue 9: September 2003 Volume 32, Issue 9: September 2004
Volume 30, Issue 10: October 2002 Volume 31, Issue 10: October 2003 Volume 32, Issue 10: October 2004
Volume 30, Issue 11: November 2002 Volume 31, Issue 11: November 2003 Volume 32, Issue 11:
November/December 2004
Volume 30, Issue 12: December 2002 Volume 31, Issue 12: December 2003 Volume 33, Issue 1:
January-April 2005

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