My family was always musical and I had no idea that it wasn't just a God Given talent that came natural to everyone.  My grandmother Erma and my mother both played the piano loud and well.  The rest of us just joined in and made music.  We were fairly poor so we didn't have a chance to travel for vacations, we would mostly go to grandma's.  They tended to live in fairly remote places and we would gather around and sing in the evenings.   My sister Carol went on to be a music major and taught music throughout her teaching career.

My first organized singing came at Minneha Elementary in Wichita, KS.  Mrs. Holloway just like my family made it so much fun to sing that we did so every chance we could.  Those guys and gals that weren't as musically talented were given percussion instruments to make noise with.   I was a part of the choir through most of my elementary years.  Our Christmas songs were always great.   Oh Holy Night was the knock out because we had Margaret Mulligan singing the first stanza and she had the voice of an angel.  When the entire choir joined her, it was just pure beautiful music.  I am pretty sure having that choir was a like the basketball team winning the National Championship.  We never sang when we didn't get a standing ovation.  I have always wondered where Margaret went to as we lost touch with her as we went to High School.

For some reason, I started in the band in Junior high and one music elective was all I could fit in and graduate.  I played the Sousaphone and we were fortunate enough to have two so I could leave one at home and have one at school.  It was way too hard to carry back and forth and when I learned that the band director had passed my name on to the High school band director, as fodder for the marching band, I dropped out of band.  There was just no way I wanted to carry that cold hunk of brass around on the football field. 

In my first year of High School, I started in Spanish 101 and found the language fun but the teacher made it such a piece of work that I soon left that behind.  To this day, I love the Spanish speaking people and love their food. Their language was just more than I wanted to accomplish.   When I dropped out of Spanish class, there was only one class that I could join mid semester and that was Chorus.  Back singing with a group for me. 

 I started as a baritone with the chorus and loved it.  The highlight of that first year was the mass singing of the Messiah at the Forum Downtown.  I think each school sent a group there and we put on what to me was the best performance I had ever been in. They brought in professional singers for the solo parts and we filled that arena with music.

 The vocal music Director asked me to join his choir the next year and from a student body of 7,000, I went to the Chorus of 200 to the choir of about 75.  I also sang with the "Choraleers" a very select group of 20.  The day they had the quartet tryouts, I had a cold and was not selected.  I sang with them as the replacement if one of them was sick and could not go to a sing out.   It didn't hurt that I had my own car and could drive them when they needed to go. 

During my Senior year, the choir had an abundance of Bass and baritones.  One day as we did our warm ups, the Director watched as I went from Bass to Tenor in singing the scales.  I became a tenor midway through my senior year and stuck with that for a long time.  If you remember there were a lot of songs back in the 60's that had tenor voices singing high and loud.  I could do that.

After High school came the Army,  followed by college and then a career with the National Guard.  I sang all the time but mostly for my own pleasure.   In 1998, I had a case of bronchitis and I thought I was going to cough up my lungs. I was given that pack of meds that started with five pills, then four, then three and down to one. I was so cold for a week that even my wife's feet were warmer. 

I found that after that, I was better off at Baritone or Bass.   I found the Barbershop Chorus through Wayne Cline and I was off to the running.  I sang baritone for about three years and loved the music but hated the director.  I stopped singing for a couple of years and rejoined them and now am a part of the bass section.  We have four or five of the best guys I have ever sung with.  The rest of the chorus isn't bad.  Our new Director is one of the best I have ever sung with.  He manages to make the Monday night practices just fly by. His musical talent is just great.

I hope that you all find a way to make music a part of your life and draw much fun from that experience.   I do and hope to sing till I can't sing no more. 


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