Gentlemen Songsters Barbershop Harmony Chorus

The Official Site of The Barbershop Harmony Society

 



THE GENTLEMEN SONGSTERS
A History


     In 1986 the Lawrence Chapter sponsored The Gentlemen Songsters. The Delmores (Jerry and Tom), long time friend Dick Gardner and the Gallaghers (Charley, Fred and Dan), started and led the chorus during its infancy. Dan was the first Director.

     The new chorus was having fun and singing-out at Nursing Homes, Shopping Malls, Church groups and other local events. New is its own kind of enthusiasm and this carried the chorus for a while. In 1988, just two years after it began, the chorus was directorless and membership had waned to 12. The dirty-dozen gave themselves three months to save the chorus.

     Directors: Where are they made? How much do they cost? Finding a new director proved diffcult but near the end of the allotted three months Joe Millett accepted the challenge. Joe immediately infused the Songsters with new life. Soon the Songsters were competing in the Northeastern District's Patriot Division where they have won the Patriot Division's Small Chorus trophy five times (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995). Alas, all good things must end and following the 1994 title Joe Millett stepped down as director.

     Front line directors are not ubiquitous and SPEBSQSA rules made finding a new director more difficult by insisting that only an SPEBSQSA member (which a woman could not be) could direct a chorus in competition. However, in 1995, SPEBSQSA changed the non member rule and the Songsters hired Karen Mozykowski.

     Under Karen's direction the Songsters landed another Plateau A championship, finishing 6th overall in 1995. In 1996, we placed 6th again in spite of a growth spurt which pushed us out of the small chorus category. Following the 1996 District Competition, Karen left the Gentlemen Songsters.

     After being directorless for three months Jim Dodge, a frontline director with 47 years of Barbershopping experience agreed to take the reins. Forty-seven years of experience WOW! The things we'll learn, the places we'll go! Welcome Jim!

     Hotcha! Are the Gentlemen Songsters lucky to have Dan Washington as our Director! Coming to us in 2003 as Director, he has been energizing us to improve our voices and our movements, to help us become better singers and entertainers of barbershop harmony. His rehearsals with us always include productive work, constructive criticism, and good humor.

Dan arrived with a rich musical background. In his early youth he had a broad musical education in voice, piano, saxophone, and organ. In high school and college (Boston University), he sang in a variety of choral groups. Since 1990, as a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society, he has been singing in many quartets, including several Champions, and including the Northeast Connection, who appeared in the movie “Good Will Hunting.” He has attended Society education programs (like Director’s College), and has directed several other award-winning choruses in New England.

In a short time Dan has won great respect from the Gentlemen Songsters for his musical leadership style. In his patient, articulate way he both explains and demonstrates the musical goals we should be aiming for in each song – an inspiring leader! He also has been upgrading our repertoire and helping us build more exciting programs.

In late 2008, Karen Rouke returned to The Gentlemen Songsters as Director of Music & Performance.  We are glad to have her back  An updated biography of Karen is available on her quartet's website, Boston Accent