Barbershop Beginnings - How I Came to Be a Chordsman

Type of post: Chorus Documentation
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Craig Shallcross
Status: Current
Date Posted: Sat, Jan 2 2021
As I read their stories I am in awe at the experience and achievements of my fellow Chordsmen.  I hope I can keep up the tradition.

I sang at home and in church choirs for many years.  My first solo performance was while I was in third grade at Anne Hutchinson Elementary school in Tuckahoe when I sang “Over the Rainbow”.  After living in five different states before I got to high school, I landed at Souderton High School in Souderton, PA. I was a high tenor and managed to get to district chorus in 1967.

For nearly fifty years after college my singing was limited to trying to get my children and then my grandchildren to sleep.  “Circle Game” was very effective.

After I retired, I felt the need to connect with others- to sing in harmony again.  I asked a guy from Armonk about local singing groups.  He had hired the Chordsmen on several occasions and recommended them. I checked out the website and it sounded interesting.  I went to what I thought was the next meeting at Kol Ami but it turned out that the Temple was closed that night.  I reached out to Steve Banker and he encouraged me to return the following Monday.  I got there early and followed Marc Schechter into the building and listened to him practicing “Daydream” with a couple of the guys.

I sat out the first half of the practice but got up on risers for the second half. I stood between Bob Sideli and Chet as we worked on the Holiday concert songs and drew Bob off tune more than once.  (He has since been a great help and getting to know him has been one of the highlights of the year). I wasn’t ready to sing in the concert but I was able to help out at the front desk and was blown away by the performance. 

The next week I tried out by singing “Love Me Tender”. Chet had to elbow me when I missed a phrase but I passed anyway.  Steve D liked my voice and I was fortunate enough to participate in one Singing Valentine.  Then COVID shut us down.

During the shut-down, I have worked with several of the guys in virtual quartets with more in process.  I don’t know how I would have survived the last couple of months without the Chordsmen connection. I am looking forward to when we can sing together in person.