Public Relations Officer of The Year (PROTY)
Biographical information of nominee
He first heard Barbershop singing when he received, as a gift to himself and his future wife on the occasion of their engagement, two tickets to the Music Man in New York in 1959. The singers were the famous Buffalo Bills. He though he might like to sing the style of music he heard them sing some day.
In the fall of 1995 he was thinking about singing with a Gilbert and Sullivan group (he had been a G&S chorus member many years before). One weekend he heard and saw the Hunterdon Harmonizers perform at a craft show. He was handed a slip of paper inviting him to enjoy a night with the Harmonizers — "a night of singing and fellowship". He acted on the invitation. In a few months he was a Hunterdon Harmonizer.
In this first year of membership Lee started a picture board of the Chapter members to help them, in the fast growing Chapter, introduce themselves to each other. He arranged for a reporter and a photographer from a local weekly newspaper to come to a rehearsal of the Chorus and worked with the photographer and writer to produce a full page story, including several photographs.
He was instrumental in bringing about a front page story about five lawyers singing in the Chorus, including a color photograph of them, in the State Bar Association Newspaper. Several years later the Harmonizers were the featured performers at a State Bar Association annual dinner in Atlantic City.
Lee was the Hunterdon Harmonizer "Rookie of the Year" in 1996. He sang with the Chapter when they, for the first time, won the North Division Contest, scored well enough in the District Contest to qualify to sing at International, and he sang with them in Indianapolis. Each step in the journey was chronicled in the local press through his news releases and photographs.
After International the Chapter went through a difficult time with changes of music directors, officers, and loss of members. Lee accepted an offer to join the Board of Directors. Circumstances progressed to the point where he was asked to assume the responsibilities of President, which he accepted. He contributed to the effort of the new management of the Chapter, and the new Music Director, in moving the Chorus along in a positive direction on its journey.
The Harmonizers stabilized their finances, obtained several small arts grants to advance their efforts, gave a series of well promoted shows, gathered in performance opportunities beyond those they could accept, began a regular three hour radio broadcast on a weekly basis, and began to rebuild membership. Before long the Hunterdon Harmonizers became known as one of the major arts organizations in their community. Promotion was continuous and became easier.
Very successful "Singing Valentine" and "Holiday Harmony" promotions in year 2000 were the culmination of the promotion efforts. At the Harmonizer award and installation dinner on January 13, 2001 Lee was named the Barbershopper of the Year for the year 2000.