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January 2008                ArchiveAdsSubmissions Links          Online Edition #1

Grand Rapids Chapter

The Great Lakes Chorus is beginning a search to replace its current director who will be leaving by the end of the 2008 calendar year. Current director, Dr. Curt Struyk, will be retiring as director and the chapter will need to have someone in place no later than January, 2009.

The Great Lakes Chorus is a very active chapter in the Grand Rapids community, has become increasingly competitive in recent years, and has begun to draw more and younger members to its risors over the past several months. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who has skills as a director and a passion for barbershop singing.

Great Lakes Chorus Logo

Conducting Director Search
(click image for website)

by Jim Gillette, President
Great Lakes Chorus

Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest to chapter president, Jim Gillette, via this email link or by sending a letter to

Jim Gillette
599 6th Street
Pentwater, Michigan 49449.

Chorus info at website


2008 Great Lakes Chorus Board Members were installed Dec. 19, 2007.  The Installation Ceremony and potluck dinner were held at the Forest Hills Presbyterian Church near Grand Rapids where we rehearse.  Our honored guests were Pioneer District President, Raleigh Bloch, and his wife, Jean.  Raleigh presided over the installation ceremony (pictured here) and offered some words of inspiration to our chapter members.

PioD Pres Raleigh Bloch & Some Of Board

2008 GLC Board Election
(click image for album)

by Jim Gillette, President
Great Lakes Chorus
President - Jim Gillette
Immediate Past President- Bud Kraft
Secretary - Eric O'Brock
Treasurer - Jack Schneider
VP Chapter Development - Bill Robbins
VP Marketing - Orson Coe
VP Music & Music Director - Curt Struyk
VP Special Events - Paul Slack
Youth-In-Harmony - Ralph Mueller
Chorus Manager and
Chorus Notes Editor - John Trestrail
Music Librarian - Derek Hatley
Webmaster - Michael Baribeau
Board Members-at-Large:
Al Smith
Doug Weaver
Derek Hatley
Jeff Chesnut
Barbershopper Of The Year- Derek Hatley


The Grand Rapids Chapter announced Derek Hatley as 2007 Barbershopper of the Year at its Annual Chapter Banquet this past December 11.  Derek has been an active member of the chapter for many years, serving on the Board in several capacities, currently as Chorus Music Librarian.  Derek also produces most of the learning tracks for the chorus, and does quite a bit of arranging for the chorus and for quartets of the chapter.  He also plays a vital part in scheduling Singing Valentines, taking most of the orders and coordinating the times and locations for Valentines, and providing maps for the various quartets. 

The Grand Rapids Chapter just this year revised its procedure for selecting Barbershopper of the Year, in order to
derek hatley 2007 boty

Derek Hatley 2007 BOTY
(click image to enlarge)
by Ralph R. Mueller,
 Great Lakes Chorus 2006 BOTY
 recognize contributions that are often overlooked, and to give greater weight to members' long-term efforts to promote, preserve, and encourage barbershopping.  As a previous winner of the Society's arranging contest, and as an avid promoter of new technology in improving and refining the barbershop craft, Derek was among those receiving the highest number of votes from the membership.  Derek's participation this year in sing-outs and competitions, and his tireless work for the chapter and for barbershopping as a whole, were taken into account by the panel of the five previous winners of the BOTY Award.  The Grand Rapids Chapter is pleased and proud to recognize Derek as its 2007 Barbershopper of the Year.


The first half of the show was mostly secular music beginning with the show’s title song Christmas Eve In My Home Town.  We ended the first half with the always popular and fun barbershop arrangement of the 12 Days Of Christmas including an appearance by our very own elf, Paul Slack.  Instead of 5 golden rings our 5 showboat baritones got hosed into submission with a volley from several cans of silly string. And with that a roar of applause ended the first half of the show.
The second half opened with performances by the very impressive 30 men and women’s member chorus Jenison High School ChamberSingers directed by Les Rowsey, Student Intern Corie Brown and accompanied on piano by Marti King.  The Jenison Public Schools had been honored as having one of the top 100 school music programs in the United States.  The gentlemen wore black tuxedos and the women in black full length sleeveless tunics over white gowns.  They sang Two Early Christmas Carols, Sing We Noel Once More-arr. Smith, Sing We Now of Christmas-arr. Prentice, and Winter Wonderland-arr. Lojeski.

The Great Lakes Chorus and member quartets then returned, this time performing spiritual Christmas numbers such as the chorus singing The Virgin Mary and Lo, How A Rose.

During Wildcard’s moving Mary, Did You know, all the auditorium’s winter coughs and sniffling stopped and at a dramatic pause all 650 audience members were completely silent.  Wildcard received a standing ovation for this song, only partway into the concert’s second half.  The chorus director Curt Struyk who is also Wildcard’s baritone stepped up to the mic to introduce the next song and drew chuckles of agreement from the audience as he rubbed out the goose

Christmas Eve
In My Home Town
(click image for album)

by Michael Baribeau, Webmaster
Great Lakes Chorus

Attending the holiday season festivities is great fun but ‘participating’, now that really puts the rose in your cheeks and the spirit in your heart.
December 8th, 2007, we held our 11th annual Grand Rapids Barbershop Chapter  Great Lakes Chorus Christmas Show, Christmas Eve In My Home Town, directed by Dr. Curt Struyk and Guest Director Rev. Ralph Mueller at the St Cecilia Music Center (recently changed from Society to Center) on 54 Ransom St. NE.  It was a nearly sold out show filling the ornate Royce Auditorium’s 650 seats.  The size brings an intimate experience for the audience as well as those on stage.  I especially enjoyed the acoustics with 33 members on stage filling the place with our holiday harmonies.  Also performing was quartets Barbershop Style, Grand River Serenade, Harmony Transfer, and Wildcard.

The chorus and quartets wore long sleeve pullovers of red, green, or white scattered throughout the risers like Christmas tree ornaments.  We had an old fashioned town stage-set behind us complete with barbershop and pole.
bumps from his arms. But the GLC kept the emotional momentum going with a stirring performance of a sweet carol Still, Still, Still arranged by chorus member Derek Hatley who also arranged 2 other songs in the show, Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree and Once On David’s Royal city.

We closed the show with the GLC and JHSCS choirs together on the risers singing Do You Hear What I Hear to an enthusiastic standing ovation.

I turned to one of the young men from the ChamberSingers to shake his hand and he said after school he’d like to sing with the GLC.  Merry Christmas indeed!

After the show the chorus mingled with the audience.  A pick-up quartet formed in the lobby and sang love songs to the gushing girls.
Then for the Afterglow it was just a convenient walk across icy street to the One Trick Pony for drinks and pizza.
Still fired up from the show, quartets Barbershop Style, Grand River Serenade, and Wildcard sang to the chorus and their dates and wowed all the other customers as well.
one young man, one of our newest members, was actually teaching tags to a large group of us gathered in the middle of the dinning room.  It was late and many of the bistro’s regulars had already gone home.  Standing in a circle we stared down at our collection of brown loafers and glossy black tuxedo shoes as we listened and learned our parts for that 20 seconds of harmony, a night of camaraderie, and a life time of fond memories. 


The Grand Rapids Barbershop Chapter The  Great Lakes Chorus and member quartets performed a Christmas show at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans December 5th, 2007. We started having our first snow of the year about a week ago so the ground was covered in white with the cold night air. The hall was their multi-purpose room which had a shuffleboard court on the floor and lighted bingo display signs on the walls. There was a small but grateful audience of vets, their families, and staff. Plus the rest of those in the home physically unable to attend the concert saw it on their closed circuit TVs. During the warm-up we had many early arrivals already in their seats. One vet with CD player in hand heard us singing, burst into the room and was moved to shout out a few joyful notes. 
Mingle With Vets

Grand Rapids Home For Veterans Christmas
(click image for album)

by Michael Baribeau, Webmaster
Great Lakes Chorus

Caught up in the excitement he then came up front and together with our director Curt Struyk directed us in a song. We were introduced on stage by one of our newest additions to the GLC, Fred Jost, who’s also a barbershop barber (no joke) for the GRHV. The chorus and quartets were decked out in a variety of red and green Christmas neckties with images of Santas and snowmen on them. The chorus sang several holiday songs including Jingle Bell Rock and Joy To The World. Member quartets Grand River Serenade, Barbershop Style, and Harmony Transfer each sang a couple songs of the season as well. At the end, walking off stage into the audience of wheelchairs filled with frail looking vets, we were greeted with warm hearty handshakes and merry Christmas well wishing.