BARBERSHOP HARMONY

January 22, 2002 12:00 am
The 40-member Rogue Valley Harmonizers finishes singing ?California Here I Come,? the concert?s opening number. ().
The 40-member Rogue Valley Harmonizers finishes singing ?California Here I Come,? the concert?s opening number. ().

People who attended the Rogue Valley Harmonizers concert Saturday night received a vacation treat when the group sang a series of songs depicting far away places.

Director Don Meeker admitted that the place the opening number depicted wasnt far away, but it was a start. The song was California Here I Come. Afterward, the audience was virtually taken to Louisiana when Darkness on the Delta was performed.

In this song, voices were used to create a rhythm section. The performance drew whistles during the applause.

After being transported from Louisiana to Ireland, the 40-member Harmonizers sang one last song before passing the stage at Redwood Theater to three barbershop quartets, outtakes from the main group.

Before you ever get away from it all, you gotta say goodbye, Meeker said before the performance of Goodbye, Tootsie, Goodbye.

Rogue Valley Harmonizers was formed in 1988, consisting of men from the Medford area. At least one member, Homer Zuver, was a member of the Coastal Aires barbershop quartet in Crescent City.

Looking out into the audience, members said they could see recognizable faces from the Crescent City group.

The Harmonizers perform throughout the region and participate in competitions. At its last state competition, the group placed third, Meeker said. One of its quartets, Rogue Power Company, also brought home a third-place trophy.

This is the Harmonizers second appearance in Brookings as a full group. One of its quartets, Fourgone Conclusions, performed one summer afternoon during the American Music Festival at Azalea Park.

Dennis Preshaw, who sings lead for the quartet, said the group enjoyed performing in the park and made a plea for information on how to make a reappearance this summer.

Fourgone Conclusions, which was the first quartet to perform, opened with Everybody Wants to go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die, and closed with Irish Blessing.

Other members of the quartet include Jim Thorpe, bass; Zuver, tenor; and Don Sweet, baritone.

Rogue Power Company opened with the old Sunday school favorite This Little Light of Mine.

While lead vocalist Jerry Bunch sang melody to The Old West, Buddy Seeberg, tenor; John Contreras, bass; and Rich Watkins, tenor, used their voices to create the sounds of musical instruments.

The group closed with the ever popular Wait til the Sunshines, Nellie.

The final quartet to perform was Sound Achord, which featured the Harmonizers director singing bass, Gene Coggins, tenor; Marty Dabrowski, lead; and Jim McFarland, baritone.

The groups performance included unpredictable antics. Their repertoire included the Beatles When Im 64 performed in barbershop quartet style. They also sang a song involving vocal instruments.

The Harmonizers returned to the stage for the final portion of the concert singing a medley that included Get out of the Way Old Man Tucker, another medley that included Camptown Races and O Susanna, and a medley of swing songs that included Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

Following a patriotic medley that included Yankee Doodle Dandy, Youre a Grand Old Flag and Give My Regards to Broadway, the group closed with God Bless America. After singing it through one time, Meeker turned to the audience and asked them to stand and join in.

Following the concert, the Harmonizers were treated to a cast party at Performing Arts Center, courtesy of the concerts sponsor, M&L Production Studios.