At 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 3rd, the Dvorak Concert Hall on the EIU campus will be the site of “The Best of Barbershop”, the annual summer
Show for the Coles County Barberbershop Chorus. Advance tickets ($12) can be purchased at Porter Auto Body (Mattoon and Charleston) and Coldwell Banker (Mattoon). All members have tickets and phone orders can be taken at 276-3312.
This FAMILY show will be a fast moving and fun program to present barbershop singing as it has developed since the national men’s organization officially began in Oklahoma on April 11, 1938. It soon spread throughout the country, and at one time claimed nearly 40,000 members. The Sweet Adelines and Harmony Incorporated, women’s barbershop groups, were formed later. The Coles County men began to seek approval to join the national organization in the late 1960’s and ever since they received their official charter in 1970, they’ve been a prominent musical outreach to communities within a 50 mile radius of Charleston and Mattoon. The 25 man chorus has singers from 14 different communities (Arthur, Brocton, Champaign, Charleston, Decatur, Hindsboro, Newman, Newton, Oakland, Palmer, Paris, Stewardson, Sullivan and Tuscola). They are directed by Tim and Tom Woodall of Charleston.
Four chapter quartets will perform: The Imperfect Four (Gary Waltrip, Jamie Stewart, Steve Blucker, Larry Cooper) will be joined by Tinnitus (Les Heath, Ron Hawkins, Jim Roll, Leif Wildman), Sentimental Journey (Brad Smith, Stan McMorris, Gary Hawker, Ron Leathers) and One Night Stand (Tim Woodall, Jeff Bowyer, Tom Woodall, Eric Brucker). One of the show highlights will be the return of Derek Gilbert who moved to Missouri three years ago. A former radio personality, he will narrate the show and sing with his old Ringtime Quartet (Mike Bell, Jeff Bowyer and Tim Woodall) They will perform Lida Rose with Sharon Gilbert singing the female solo part.
Three special guest quartets will perform with the Charleston High School Girl’s Varsity Quartet (Norah Blache, June Baumann, Ashlyn Bayer and Kennedy Tozer) being the most recognizable. A brand new men’s quartet will perform under the name of South of Normal. The quartet is made up of outstanding singers from around the state, who may well win the Illinois District Contest this fall. The featured foursome is called Boardwalk and may be the most entertaining quartet ever to appear on a local show. They are from Florida and their personnel contains an International gold medalist quartet singer along with three others who have all scored as finalists in International competition. They sing a cappella, but on occasions, use guitar, banjo and string bass.
Tickets can be obtained at the door but an advance purchase is desirable. There is adequate parking and the performance hall is wheel chair accessible.