Every Barbershopper has a story to tell of a special person who influenced or changed his life. For Stevie Dugdale, it was a chance encounter with Jim Henry, at a youth music camp, that defined Stevie’s trajectory as a music educator. That meeting will change the lives of all the students who pass through Mr. Dugdale’s classrooms over a career of teaching.
I have met some extraordinary men during my four decades in the Rocky Mountain District, and six years in Evergreen before that. Good and lasting friends who changed my life for better. One of the most influential of these has passed on to the Chapter Eternal: Milt Christensen.
When I was just starting my barbershop journey, I sang in a quartet called the Astronotes, in my hometown of Pocatello. We were Division 5 champs in Evergreen, so we were invited to sing on the 1972 Burley show. Headlining their show in 1972 were the Golden Staters, that year’s gold medalists. This was my first exposure to serious live quartet singing at that level, and I was transfixed! Particularly impressive was their lead, Milt Christensen. Totally cool and at ease on stage and off, Milt embodied the barbershop personality.
When I met Milt, he was already an old hand at performing, with years of entertaining in the Salt Flats. After the Golden Staters, he sang with the Crown City Good Time Music Company. And, of course, more gold with One More Time, who would earn the Senior Quartet trophy. Milt also found time to direct the Beehive Statesmen chorus, and their performances and annual shows were legendary.
In 1980 I moved to Salt Lake City, to sing in Milt’s chorus. I really felt I had arrived! Milt made me feel at home, encouraged my various quartets and provided a fantastic performing family. All other subsequent choices that I made in Utah were the result of one rather impetuous decision: I wanted to sing for Milt.
Milt Christensen was the living example of the barbershop life lived well. Every aspect of our existence can have harmony implications if we let it. I choose to live that way.
RMD VP Membership