Guest Night a Success!

At our first regular rehearsal in January 2023, the SenateAires hosted a Guest Night/Open House at the Salem Family YMCA, inviting all who may be interested to join us for an evening of fellowship, learning, and singing together.  We saw several former members return to the fold as well as a number of new guests.  All present were treated to an hour of learning about our craft, learning a song and a “tag” then having the opportunity to sing it together both as a group and in quartets!  Our director led us in learning a “polecat” section by section, then singing it as a group and in quartets.  Bob Martindale, our resident Tagmaster, taught a new tag to the group, and we were able to sing it as a chorus, and also in quartets.  There were refreshments, both for the body and the soul, as our voices joined together to fill the building with harmony,

Thank You Marquis Tualatin!

Christmas Extended!  The SenateAires were scheduled to sing for the Tualatin Marquis Assisted Living residents the week before Christmas – but Mother Nature had other ideas.  Because of freezing rain, icy roads, and near-blizzard conditions at times, we were forced to postpone our performance.  However, we would not be denied the opportunity to spread some Holiday Cheer.  On January 5, the men from the SenateAires joined forces to extend the Holiday Season a bit and sang for a room full of very grateful residents.  Toe tapping, chair dancing, and all-round mirth were on the menu when the residents – ranging in age from early retirement to several very charming ladies who proudly declared they were 97 and 98 years young.  We can’t thank them enough for letting us come and share our craft.  Not sure who got the greatest amount of joy – the audience who were ear-to-ear smiles, or the singers, who were ear-to-ear smiles!

Senator and SenateAires Together

To say the day was “electric” is selling it short. The SenateAires were asked to sing a few songs for the Honorable Senator Peter Courtney’s retirement party on December 13, 2022. The event was held at the Salem Family YMCA, just steps from the Senate Chambers, and there was a buzz in the air to be sure. Festive decorations adorned the space, including balloons, party tables and, of course, lots of refreshments. The Senator was very gracious and posed for a picture with the group of SenateAires singers present for the afternoon festivities. We certainly wish Senator Courtney the very best in his retirement, and look forward to seeing him in the audience of another SenateAires performance! Thank you, Senator Courtney, for all of your service to Oregon.

Successful Show!

What a great show we had on June 25.  The Oregon Spirit Chorus joined us for a fabulous evening of a cappella harmony at the awesome Rose Auditorium at South Salem High School.  What a venue!  The brand-new theater was simply spectacular, and performing again in front of a live audience was exactly what we all needed.  Then there were the three quartets who joined the show; the beautiful Happenstance Quartet, four charming ladies who brought their award-winning vocals to the stage, there was Social Insecurity, who shared their top-quality talents with some of the funniest routines imaginable and, of course, the incomparable Midtown Quartet.  The vocals from Midtown were undoubtedly a preview of what could possibly be the next International Champion Quartet next month in Charlotte, N.C.

Audience members were simply buzzing after the show.  It was heartwarming to hear all the positive comments coming from all directions.  With the events of the past couple of years, I’m sure folks were ready to get out and have an evening of entertainment.  Based on the feedback from the audience, we were certainly successful in providing that entertainment last Saturday evening.

We are so very grateful to all who worked so diligently to make Voices In Harmony a reality.  From top to bottom (that’s Tenor to Bass, I guess), everyone should be proud of what we were able to accomplish.  In particular, we sincerely appreciate the work put in by our two directors, Kathy Scheel and Will Fox.  Their tireless guidance and driving force made it possible for us to give our best.  But, most of all, we want to thank our unparalleled audience.  Without them there is no one with whom we can share our love of music.  We are so blessed to have the opportunity to gather and share our harmony.  It’s great to be a Barbershopper!

FESTIVAL OF HARMONY

On Saturday, April 30, 2022 the SenateAires hosted the Division IV Festival/Contest where quartets and choruses were once again in front of an audience doing what they do best – entertaining! The public was invited to this event as both an afternoon of great a cappella harmony, but also as a way of helping out the Marion Polk Food Share by bringing donations of canned goods and foodstuffs to fill those barrels. The audience was treated to more than just great harmony, but the satisfaction of knowing out they were helping a great cause. The quartets and choruses had such a wonderful time entertaining, and the audience found themselves tapping their feet along with the music. All in all, the afternoon was a great success. We especially want to thank those who attended and brought food for our Food Share partner.

A whole new spin on “Playing in the Yard”

Saturday afternoon filled with friends, fun, and lots of FA LA LA. That’s what took place on December 4 in Salem when the Oregon SenateAires Chorus joined forces with the Oregon Spirit Chorus to bring the joy of music to the crowd at The Yard – a Food Park and Event Center in Salem. Locals know The Yard as a wonderful place to relax, tickle your taste buds with lots of different types of fare, and enjoy some entertainment. When Oregon Spirit Chorus, those awesome ladies of Salem’s Sweet Adelines award-winning a cappella singing group, invited us to join them for their Spirit of the Holidays show we didn’t hesitate. We absolutely jumped at the chance to sing for an audience and to spread some harmony and cheer alongside our friends and fellow choristers. In front of a crowd of a hundred and fifty or so, Oregon Spirit enchanted the listeners with their sweet melodies and harmony. After their first set, they sat back and relaxed while the SenateAires took the risers to fill the room with Holiday cheer in song. The crowd was very gracious and many remarked that they were so glad to once again watch a live performance. Fun, food, harmony, and even a little libation were the order of the day. Thank you Oregon Spirit for inviting us to share, and thank you to “The Yard” for allowing us to spread some cheer.

SenateAires do Butteville

Finally – after many months of singing for ourselves (and for ourselves exclusively!) a number of the SenateAires performed live at the Butteville Community Church Holiday Bazaar. On the afternoon of November 20, the group was able to stand in front of an audience and perform our craft. What a heartwarming feeling to finally be able to share our love of a cappella harmony with the adoring crowd. In a mix of secular and Christmas holiday tunes, the chords rang out to so many loving ears. Decked out in holiday sweaters (and a couple of jackets that were even louder than the entire bass section) the group brightened the spirits of all in attendance. We are so grateful for the opportunity to sing for Butteville Community Church’s Holiday Bazaar – and hope to be able to return next year! Now, we’re off to prepare for our next singing event in Newberg on December 2, when we’re set to lift the spirits of the residents at the Marquis Post-Acute Rehab Center. Stay Tuned!

Rehearsing outside at Riverfront Park

Why just rehearse when you can also entertain!

With the weather in the 70’s we decided to hold our regular Thursday night rehearsal in the park.  We decided to take advantage of the beautiful outdoors and avoid having to wear masks inside.  We chose Salem’s Riverfront Park, overlooking the historic Willamette Queen Riverboat.  Of course, we made sure to keep a reasonable social distance from each other.  We wandered to several areas to provide some entertainment for families who were also taking advantage of the scenic setting along the banks of the Willamette River.  Dog walkers, joggers, and even bicyclists stopped to listen to some great old songs, and even a few new ones.  Even though it was technically a rehearsal, we decided to wear our “new” casual performance outfits.  Pretty great, don’t you think?  The crowds sure loved it, with several of them following us around the park as we moved to different locations to sing.  We definitely plan to come back to this great venue in the weeks to come!

Singing at Mt. Angel Towers

Serenading Beverly

The month of August brought a chance to sing for the lovely Beverly along with her friends and fellow residents at the Mt. Angel Towers. Thankfully, the warm weather made it possible to enjoy the outdoor setting. On their beautiful patio, overlooking the manicured lawn, a group of our chapter serenaded Beverly and her friends to celebrate her special day, and then joined her in some lovingly prepared refreshments of fresh fruit, punch and cupcakes. It was truly a special time enjoyed by all.

Birthday Surprise in July

July 2021 brought with it several surprises – some great, and some that we wish we hadn’t encountered. Extreme heat in the Pacific Northwest, along with an worsening of the Corona Virus pandemic made singing extremely challenging. Neither of those, however, were going to spoil everything. On the upside of the list was a surprise birthday bash for a brand-new nonagenarian named Bob. A retired professor at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Bob was treated by his lovely wife Marilyn to a great party with family and friends. Also part of the festivities were beautiful harmonies delivered by our own Harmony Road Barbershop Quartet. The birthday boy is seen here enjoying the afternoon and the music delivered by our guys. Happy 90th Birthday, Bob – we can’t wait to come back for your 100th!

Early SenateAires - 1956

A Chorus is Born

A friend recently asked me if I had more of the history of the SenateAires as he was writing a paper on vocal music in the Northwest.  We dug around in the archives (Thanks, Hardin!), and found this article written by one of the long-time members of the SenateAires, Andy Staat, in August 1994.  It was entitled “Salem Senate-Aires Beginnings”  I found it a very interesting read, and hope you will enjoy it as well:

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Group singing of barbershop songs was first heard in Salem in the long since defunct Isaac Walton Clubhouse which overlooked both Pringle Creek and its Park at 500 South Cottage Street. The building no longer exists, and a low-income high-rise apartment building has taken its place.A couple dozen men, mostly Rotarians, promoted the idea of forming a barbershop chorus chapter in June of 1953. A World War I veteran, Ted Nelson, was their “knowledgeable sparkplug.”

Infrequent sing-along meetings were held by interested parties in this clubhouse the rest of that year and for the first eight months of 1954. A request for chartering an S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. chapter was answered by the then barbershopper’s International Secretary, Bob Hafer: “Line up at least 25 enthusiastic men who want to go for it!”

This was done, and on November 10th of 1954 the Salem SenateAires sang themselves into being at Morningside School. Through the payment of $5 dues by 28 charter members, Kenosha, Wisconsin officials granted us membership into their unique and illustrious singing society. [In actuality $120 included a $50 charter fee; the $2.50 per member assessment, totaling $70 was to pay for the Harmonizer’s” publication, plus general expenses.]  We were sponsored by the Eugene-Springfield Chapter, whose incomparable and well-liked chorus leader, Bud Leabo, was destined to take us to International Competition in San Antonio, Texas in 1964, and later was to become our twelfth chorus director from 1978 to his untimely death in 1981.

Our first “home” was a room in the old Marion Hotel basement. First officers were Dr. Don Foster (dentist), as President, with Dr. Walter Snyder (school superintendent), as his assistant, Cliff Ingham (realtor) was Secretary-Treasurer, while George Dow (Motor Vehicles Division worker), was librarian.  Maurice Adams (high school music teacher), was Chorus Director. All but Maurice were bass singers. Like tenors now, Maurice was a rarity then – a never heard of picked-on baritone! Our only non-singer (called a “Crow”), was Roger Williams. He owned and managed a local bakery at the corner of Broadway and Market Streets, which has since been turned into an Eagles’ Lodge.

First chorus uniforms consisted of all-black equipment except for white shirts and white waiter’s vests. These had three gold buttons on each side. Incidentally, it wasn’t until the death, by auto accident, of our second Chorus Director, Dick McClintic, that we exchanged these restaurant uniforms for showy watermelon-red coats over white shirts with black bow ties, along with black pants and shoes. Red ruffled shirts were a change-off from whites a little later.

First sing-out was M.C.’d by Dave Hoss, a radio personality and charter member as well. Naturally, the occasion was “Charter Night,” held in Morningside School’s auditorium.

In addition to chorus members by Salem and Eugene-Springfield chapters, Maurice Adams and Mel Bedsaul played clarinet and banjo, respectively. Both men, plus Don Foster and Larry Miller (tenor) sang as A “Chord Cats” quartet and were as enthusiastically applauded as Bud Leabo’s “Scrap Iron Four,” and a Portland chapter’s more experienced and polished foursome.

The “Chord Cats” were the first to organize and sing in public. Other quartets formed soon afterward, yours truly being a lead singer in one known as “The Four Idle Bum Bums.” Our chapter has continued to encourage and spawn quartets for forty years now – many singing with distinction in area, District and International competitions.

From this small, dedicated group of charterers, leadership has never been lacking, and our chapter has had steady growth and much success – a public favorite in its many singing appearances here in Salem and elsewhere.

National Anthem

Oh Say, Can You See?

After a long stretch of getting together for rehearsals only over the Internet, it was an exciting day for the Oregon SenateAires on May 13, 2021.  We were able to stand together IN PERSON at the ballpark to sing the Star-Spangled Banner for opening day of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Baseball Club. This is not the first time we’ve been given this great honor – for several years, we have been privileged to open the Volcanoes’ season singing our National Anthem.  It was wonderful to be able to share our harmony in the Barbershop style with the 1100 fans in attendance.  Baseball history was made as this was the very first game of the all-new Mavericks League and was held in our hometown team’s park. During the 7th inning stretch, we also sang God Bless America for the crowd, and were met with very appreciative comments as we left the field for our seats.  Sharing our hobby with the world is part of the reason we work so hard on our music – and being able to honor our great country and launch another season of our National Pastime made us doubly blessed.

Come Sing With Us!

We welcome any men who enjoy camaraderie and great singing! We’re starting up the process of getting together and making great music again. If you’d like to know more, visit our Contact Page.

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