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January 2008                ArchiveAdsSubmissions Links          Online Edition #1

QCA Spotlight

 During Chordiology’s later middle years, we continued to laugh more than we sang.  But the quartet changed again, as Ed dropped out.  Kelly invited Macomb tenor Cliff Dake to a rehearsal, to see if our personalities and voices matched. Fortunately for Chordiolgy, Cliff was a match made in heaven.  Cliff laughed as hard as anyone at Kelly’s jokes, at Kelly and Paul’s bickering, and at Spiz’s cynical comments.  After about 30 seconds of discussion, during which Kelly and Paul bickered and Spiz made some sarcastic comment, we voted him in. And while our contest scores didn’t improve, we continued to have fun, laughing as much as singing at almost every rehearsal.  It was a fun time for the quartet.

 During Chordiology’s later years, tragedy struck, as Kelly became ill.  Almost to the end, we laughed and sang, until the sadness and Kelly’s pain were too much to overcome, so we cried instead.  And then Kelly left us.

 By this time, Rob was back with the quartet, giving us the current Chordiology.  Years of voice lessons, Harmony Quartet College, multiple different barbershop coaches, Tim’s learning tracks, a “truth machine” (a multi track recorder), and Audacity, a freeware recording program, have improved our singing accuracy.  Somehow and somewhere, we learned to move while we sang, which apparently is the secret to this “energy” thing that coaches have harassed us about for years.  However, despite trying different rehearsal techniques, we have yet to stop laughing long enough to have a serious rehearsal. 

 If you must know, here’s what the Chordiologists do when they aren’t singing in Chordiology.

 Paul owns the Paulmark Agency, which mainly sells personal and commercial insurance.  He also sings in ElmoTHUMM, a high energy award winning a cappella rock and R&B group. 

Big Chiefs and Director

Quartet Champions Association
(click photo for album)

At a late 1980’s Huron Valley Harmonizer rehearsal, Dave Spizarny, bass, Rob Pettigrew, baritone, and Kelly Brummett, tenor/lead/baritone/bass, asked Paul Ellinger, a barely legal kid who had almost never sung a note out of the shower, to get together on a Friday night to ring a few chords.  After singing Shine On Me around 50 times,  Chordiology was born. 

During Chordiology’s early years, we laughed more than we sang.  Kelly told jokes and laughed louder than everyone else at the punch lines.  Paul made us laugh with his kinetic energy; you never knew what he’d do next.  Spiz made us laugh with pure sarcasm, and Rob made us laugh commenting on everything everyone did and said.  It was a fun time for the quartet. 

During Chordiology’s early middle years, we laughed more than we sang.  We performed at several Barbershop and Sweet Adeline shows, and we developed different themes for shows, like pretending that we were rehearsing instead of performing or doing an entire show based on “things I always wanted to do on stage” – and don’t ask, because this show is coming out of retirement.  Then we went to contest, and reality hit. We were successful entertainers, but we didn’t sing very well.  We switched directions, concentrating less on comedy and more on singing.  Rob dropped out of the quartet, Kelly switched to baritone, and Ed Pendleton joined as tenor.  Ed’s humor and personality fit like a glove, so it was a fun time for the quartet. 

He rides motorcycles, camps, reads classical novels, and lives with his wife and 2 young boys in Canton.  He rarely sleeps.

Rob works for the University of Michigan, managing a number of computer and media facilities. Rob loves history, working outdoors, and is a bit of a Civil War buff.  Rob lives with his wife in farming country near Saline, where he raises chickens and cats.  He also has a large garden, where he grows vegetables and herbs to feed the local rabbits.

Cliff lives with his wife and family in Davesburg, which is in the middle of nowhere, Michigan.  Cliff is a salesman for Emhart Teknologies, where he earns money to buy toys that he loves almost as much as singing.  When he’s not working or singing, he’s riding his snowmobile or tractor or ATV or Harley.  Cliff doesn’t hear well anymore.

Spiz lives with his wife in the independent nation of Ann Arbor.  He’s a radiologist at Henry Ford Hospital, so he spends a lot of time in his car, listening to XM radio and books on CD.  He loves history and politics, which according to Spiz, comes from the Latin poly, which means many, and tics, which are blood sucking arachnids.

So the next time you see a Chordiologist, come over and chat.  But don’t come over unless you’re ready to sing after a minute or two of small talk.  A song, a tag, or a song and a tag, it doesn’t matter.  We love to kick a guy or two out of the quartet and sing with different voices.  It gives some of us a chance to sing, and it gives others of us a chance hear a new joke, chat with barbershoppers, or to just reflect on this marvelous activity we call barbershop singing.

We hope you enjoy Chordiology’s singing and sense of humor.  We sure do.