The Banks of the Wabash Chorus began entertaining under sponsorship of the Terre
Haute Elks Club as the "Elks Chanters." The
Chanters sang for the first time as part of the 1922 Elks Minstrels and
thereafter for other functions. One of the acts in that minstrel was a young
quartet named the "Harmony Four". Carl
C. Jones sang
bass with the quartet and directed the chorus. Carl remained as director until
his death in 1953.
During the early 30's the favorite barbershop quartet in the nation according to
the Associated Press was the "Mills Brothers".
This was not the case in the Midwest. The "Harmony Four"
continued through the years as a crowd pleaser. They had a weekly radio show,
and sang single engagements and with the "Elks
Chanters" on larger shows.
In April 1938, Owen C. Cash of Tulsa, Oklahoma
called a meeting of some friends for the purpose of forming a new society to
preserve barbershop quartet singing. As a result of that,
SPEBSQSA was formed.
The "Terre Haute Elk Chanters" formally
organized as a chorus with a designated night for rehearsal, elected officers
and set rules in order to compete for the National Elks Championship. The first
was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma in June 1939. A new quartet entered the scene in
Terre Haute. The "Four Shades of Harmony"
began singing as students at Garfield High School performing at school functions
and at church. They competed widely, appearing on the Morris B. Sachs Amateur Show
in Chicago and winning 2nd place.
In 1941 the "Terre Haute Elks Chanters" won the National Elks
Championship competing with four other choruses in the national finals.
Carl C. Jones was the director. One of the songs
that received national attention was the "Song of the Elks" which
was printed for national distribution with a picture of the "Terre Haute Elks
Chanters" on the front cover.
The first Indiana State contest was held in Elkhart in January 1945 with
Carl C. Jones as the Master of Ceremonies.
The first "Parade of Quartets" in the Wabash Valley took place on
May 11, 1946 when the Brazil Chapter and the "Terre Haute Elks Chanters"
joined choruses and sang on the show under the direction of
Carl C. Jones.
The "Terre Haute Elks Chanters" continued to compete in Elks contests and
in 1948, they took 2nd in the chorus championship and a quartet named "Minor
Chords" won the International Elks Championship. Carl
C. Jones initiated and organized a plan for choruses to compete and
a second contest was held in Indianapolis. The district champion was Terre Haute.
Quartet Champions from Terre Haute were the "Four Shades of Harmony",
who were Cardinal District champion and placed 5th in the International contest
The Cardinal District held two quartet contests this year and both were won by
Terre Haute quartets. The first quartet was the "Four Statesmen",
students from Indiana State University. They did not compete in International
due to the fact that the ISU commencement date conflicted with the competition.
The second quartet was the "Minor Chords". Singing with this quartet were
Jack Beeson, Bob Sisson,
Carl A. Jones and Carl C.
The Terre Haute Chapter sponsored the Cardinal District quartet contest in Terre
Haute, which was held in Tilson Hall at ISU. The winning quartet was "Three
Kids and a Goat" with Jack Beeson,
Donn Jones, Bill Denehie
and Carl C. Jones singing.
This was the
fourth quartet from Terre Haute to be named Cardinal District champions. Carl C. Jones was
elected to the International Board of the Society in 1950 and then to the first
Vice Presidency in 1952.
The "Terre Haute Elks Chanter" won the first Indiana-Kentucky District
and competed in the June 1953 International in Detroit, Michigan.
Carl C. Jones has been elected to a second term in
June when ill health required him to resign. He died in October 1953 of heart
trouble. The next few years were devastating. Fred Gregory
directed the chorus for a short time and others attempted to revive the chorus
but all failed.
The Terre Haute chapter was re-chartered in 1965 under the direction of
Jack Poling and with a new name of "The
Highlanders". Other directors during this turbulent time were:
Carl A. Jones, Jim Syester, Bill Harbour
Myke Lucas took over the directorship of the chorus
in 1977 and under his dynamic leadership the chorus began to grow. In 1980 the
name changed to the "Banks of the Wabash Chorus" and barbershop singing
was again on the move in Terre Haute. His charismatic leadership and fine business
acumen led to the building of the chapter and purchasing our own Harmony Hall in
"Banks of the Wabash Chorus" won the District Chorus championship and won the
invitation of the
Association of Barbershop Singers(BABS), traveled to Warmick, England and sang
at the BABS convention.
Represented the Cardinal District at Salt Lake City International convention and
contests under Myke Lucas and finished with 15th
place. In August 1986, purchased the former Garfield Movie Theater in 12 points
for its permanent home.
After 1986? I'm working, please be