The Boulder Timberliners Chorus -- A Brief Biography
Boulder, Colorado chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society
(Formerly: The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, Inc.)
April 21, 2009 Bulletin Editor, Bill Jones
At the request of the chapter president, Merle Quigley, I am putting together with pictures and a few words a brief biography of the Boulder barbershop chorus known as the Boulder Timberliners. Some of the dates are approximate, especially for the early years. Most of the early information about the Timberliners comes from the files of the Boulder Daily Camera that were obtained by Boulder historian, Silvia Pettem. During the fifty-nine-year life of the Timberliners Chorus there have been a number of chorus directors who have played a major leadership role for the chapter. To the best of my knowledge I have identified the periods of active service of each director.
Birth of the Timberliners Chorus. September 22, 1949 was the Charter Night for the Boulder Chapter of SPEBSQSA, Inc. The charter ceremonies were held in the Boulder High School auditorium with over 600 people in attendance. Dick Raywalt, president of the sponsoring chapter, Longmont, presented the official charter to Claude Dowse, president of the Boulder group which had 48 charter members. A charge was made of 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children with the proceeds going to the Community Chest Fund.
Ten quartets and two choruses (Longmont and Boulder) performed at the charter meeting. Out-of-town quartets were the Longmont Shinners, the Longmont Sweeds, the Denver Magpies, the Longmont Rocky-Aires, the Denver HiLo Four and the Longmont Legionnaires. Boulder quartets included the Unnatural Four, Boulder Delts, Boulder Elks and the Boulder Balladeers. There was also a time for community singing.
President Dowse emphasized that the new organization was not to be a strictly social club but rather seeks to be a service group. Plans began immediately for caroling by the quartets and chorus at the various hospitals in Boulder during the Christmas season. Early meetings of the Boulder Chapter were held at the American Legion Hall.
First Director. George M. Walters served as the MC for the charter meeting and also as the first director of the Boulder chorus. George was a graduate student at the university working on a doctorate in education.
First Chautauqua Show. At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 11, 1950 the Boulder Barbershop Chorus presented its first of a long series of performances at Chautauqua Auditorium. "An hour and a half of close harmony and wonderful entertainment" appeared in the Daily Camera. The program included a Sweet Adeline quartet from Denver, a college group, the 40-voice chorus from Boulder and three quartets; the Boulder Balladeers, the Elks and a new quartet called the Timberliners, whose members were Larry Clark, Reuben "Swede" Martinson, Bud Flinn and Bob Inman. The Timberliners name for the Boulder chorus was adopted only in the 1970s.
Timberliners quartet at national contest
In 1957 the Timberliners quartet qualified at the
l. to r.: Paul Cracraft, Joe Byrnes, Swede Martinson and Bernard Foutch. c. 1969.
Central Stated District contest in Topeka, KS to represent the district at the national contest in Los Angeles, CA. Members of the Timberliners now consisted of Larry Clark (tenor), Ed Mantooth (bass), Bud Flinn (lead) and "Swede" Martinson (bari). Unfortunately a photo of the Timberliners quartet could not be found. However the above picture of a later quartet shows Swede Martinson standing third from the left together with three other longtime members of the Boulder chorus.