Little Apple Chorus
History

Barbershopping in the Manhattan Area
(long version)


 

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BARBERSHOPPING IN THE MANHATTAN AREA

For the BIG PICTURE, we are in the Kansas Division, which is part of the Central States District (which includes parts of MO, KS, IA, NE, and SD).

We chartered in 1977 as the "Quad-County Chorus" [somewhere there is a charter plaque which includes a list of charter members], later named the "Grainbelters' Chorus", now called the "Little Apple Chorus".  This is the third (fourth?) "incarnation" of "barbershopping" in this area.

Our charter show was in 1977 in the Manhattan High School Auditorium. We gave nine shows at MHS before moving to McCain Auditorium in 1986. Last April we gave our 24th show, 15 of them in McCain.

We currently have about 70 members.

  • Our Director is Ken Lang, vocal-music teacher at Clay Center High School.

  • Our Associate Director is Don Thomson, an Agent for Farm Bureau Insurance.

  • We also have an Assistant Director for when the real talent can't be present!

We are governed by a Board of Directors which meets once a month to handle the mundane business affairs of the chapter so we can spend our time singing.  Board meetings are always OPEN to visitors--but they're usually so boring....

Do you like DIVERSITY?  Little Apple Chorus members live or have lived in: Axtell, Clay Center, Council Grove, Florence, Ft. Riley, Junction City, on the KSU campus, Linn, Manhattan, Palmer, Riley, St. Marys, Wamego, and Westmoreland.

OUR MEMBERS COME FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE

  * several people and/or animal doctors

  * an attorney who is also Manhattan City Judge

  * many KSU-affiliated instructors, emeriti, staff, and students

  * many public-school-affiliated teachers and students

  * farm-related professions       * real-estate agents

  * traveling salesman                * business owners

  * sign painter                          * insurance agent

  * school-bus driver                 * many retired

I'm not sure about the CANDLESTICK MAKER, but we have a (retired) BUTCHER and a BAKER, an internationally-recognized MASTER BAKER, at that!

 

WHAT DO WE DO?

  * We meet for Chorus & Quartet practice EVERY Thursday (except Thanksgiving and Maundy Thursday; and maybe Christmas and New Years, if they unfortunately happen to fall on Thursdays) at 7::30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Methodist church annex (612 Poyntz)

  * Perform in/at:

        * annual Spring show:

        * Christmas and special singouts at area rest homes and retirement centers

        * Singing Valentines:  on Valentine's Day, a quartet in tuxedos accompanied by a "greeter" delivers a long-stemmed red rose, a bag of candy kisses, a greeting card, a love song or two, and a Polaroid photograph of the recipient standing in front of the quartet!  Over seven years, we've averaged 115 per year!

  * We've also sung for special occasions:

          * Manhattan Arts Center

          * Manhattan City Band--Arts in the Park (thrice in four years)

          * Clay Center Arts in the Park

          * Alcove Springs memorial and dedication (two years)

          * Herington Community project

          * Junction City Opera House Restoration Project

          * Palmer shows

          * Habitat for Humanity

          * Twins benefit

   * Church services, especially during summer, when many church choirs take        summer breaks:  9 Methodist, 4 Catholic, 4 Christian, 4 Presbyterian, 2 Baptist, 2 Lutheran, 2 Ecumenical, 1 Congregational, 1 Mormon, 1 Generic Protestant, and 2 churches whose demoninations I don't know; altogether 32 different churches.

   * In Axtel, Beattie, Blue Rapids, Clay Center, Flush, Fort Riley, Frankfort, Junction City, Keats, Manhattan, Olsburg, Summerfield, Wakefield, and Westmoreland; about a 50-mile radius around Manhattan.

We are essentially a "service club"--like Lions and Kiwanis--but our service is acapella singing, although we do sometimes contribute money obtained from our singing to organizations such as Heartsprings (formerly the Institute of Logopedics) in Wichita and the Sing America/Sing Canada program ($87 PER MEMBER to these two organization's alone last year), our local high school, and, most recently, our board voted to donate $1,000 (about one-third of one percent!) toward the building of a bandshell at Manhattan's City Park.

Here's a "Heads Up":  on Saturday, 9 March, 2002, the Kansas State Association of the Order of the Eastern Star has asked us to perform--in Topeka--to help raise money to fight Cystic Fibrosis.  So put that date on your calendar!

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  As someone once noted, we get a LOT of requests, but we usually sing anyway!

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CHORUS COMPETITIONS:  RANK  YEAR(S)

                       1st  1980, 1981, 1982, 1985

                       2nd  1984, 1990

                       3rd  1978, 1979

                       4th  1983

                       5th  1977

QUARTETS:  (13 of them)

  • 19??  Flinthills Four (inactive)

  • 1971  Silver Lining (inactive)

  • 1979  Classic Impressions (inactive)  and  Charades

  • 1984? Little Apple Corps

  • 1985  Nostalgia, but name already taken, so Manhattan Music Machine

  • 1988  Apple Core (pause) Tet

  • 1990? Martha's Boys

  • 1994  September Four  and  Manhattan Melodians

  • 1997  Kan-Chorders

  • 1998  Blue Ribbon Quartet

  •  2000  Tuttle Puddle Four

The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA; the lengthy name and initials were Founder Owen C. Cash's way of poking fun at the New Deal's "alphabet soup" of initialed government agencies of that era) held its first meeting in 1938 and now has nearly 34,000 members in more than 825 chapters in the United States and Canada and another 4,000 singers in affiliated organizations in Australia, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden.  SPEBSQSA is the world's largest all-male singing society.

Music in the "barbershop" style--as much a part of American culture as Old Glory, Mom, and apple pie--is one of America's native art forms, and the Little Apple Chorus, nearly 70 members strong, is proud to be one of those 825+ chapters of SPEBSQSA.

Our charter show was in 1977 in the Manhattan High School Auditorium. We held a total of nine shows at MHS, and then moved to McCain Auditorium for the 1986 show.  In the year 2001, we presented our 25th Annual Show.

Our Director is Ken Lang, vocal-music teacher at Clay Center High School. Our Associate Director is Don Thomson, an Agent for Farm Bureau Insurance. Our Assistant Director is Myron Calhoun, an Emeritus Professor of Computer Science in the KSU College of Engineering.

Our members come from all walks of life:  doctors (both people and animal); an attorney; public-school and KSU teachers, staff, students, and one bus driver; farmers; insurance and real-estate agents; traveling salesmen; local business owners; a baker; and many retired men, including a butcher. So far, though, we've not had a candlestick maker!

Some of our members drove over 50 miles (one-way) to sing here today!

WHAT WE DO

  * Meet for Chorus & Quartet practice EVERY Thursday (except holidays  which fall on Thursdays) at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the  Methodist church annex (612 Poyntz)

 * Compete against other SPEBSQSA choruses in Kansas:  in our last  nine competitions we placed 1st four times, 2nd twice, 3rd twice, 4th once, and 5th once.

 * Perform in/at:

  • Annual Spring show (our next Show is April 27, 2001)

  • Retirement centers and nursing homes:  Manhattan & Wamego

  • Singing Valentines (178 in 2001!):  a quartet and a "greeter", all in tuxedos, deliver a long-stemmed red rose, a greeting card, a bag of candy kisses, a love song or two, and a Polaroid  photograph of the recipient standing with the quartet!

  * Special occasions:

  • Benefits (Habitat for Humanity, Jct. City Opera House, etc.)

  • Manhattan Arts Center

  • Arts in the Park

   * Church services, especially during summer, when many church choirs take summer breaks

 As someone once noted, we get a LOT of requests, but we usually sing anyway!