Vocal Expressions – August 2020

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Virtual House Of Delegates Meeting

Saturday September 26, 9:00 AM

(Zoom link will be included in the official call being sent August 27)

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Tony Pranaitis,
RMD Secretary


As Chapter President you are the official delegate to the District House Of Delegates which of course did not meet in the spring due to suspension of all events (and we did not have anything to report regarding future events due to the uncertainty at the time, so the meeting was cancelled).

Although we do not have a Fall Convention either, we MUST conduct a meeting of the House Of Delegates for some very important business which includes:

  1. Review of District financials and approval of a budget for 2021
  2. Election of District officers for 2021
  3. Review of updates to the RMD Operations Manual and approval of new content
  4. Review of edits to the Standard District Bylaws and approval
  5. Review of Events planned for 2021 and a virtual Leadership Academy for 2020
  6. Various reports from the District officers and any business from the floor

We will therefore have a virtual meeting on Zoom and would appreciate every Chapter President making this a priority to attend (or appointing a delegate from your chapter as your replacement).

(If you have never used Zoom, here is a video tutorial:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9isp3qPeQ0E  and also https://zoom.us/ )

The official call will be sent by Email by August 27,  please look for it and if you do not find it in your Inbox, please send me an Email (TonyChiro@juno.com ) and I will reply with a copy.  It will contain the Agenda, a “red-line” edition of the Bylaws and the Operations Manual (showing the changes we are proposing), as well as the District Financial Reports, and an updated Conventions Manual for your review. Please store these documents on your computer after you review them, so you can reference them during the HOD meeting. Your familiarity with these documents BEFORE we start the meeting will make the meeting go quickly…and we are aiming to be adjourning no later than 10:30 AM so you can get on with your weekend.

As you can see, your District officers have been busy during this time of nothingness, adjusting our plans and preparing to have the District running at maximum efficiency when we get back to singing.

When you login to the Zoom meeting, if you know how to amend your name on Zoom, please give your first and last name followed by your CHAPTER name (NOT your Chorus name).  So for me it would be:

Tony Pranaitis, Denver Mile High

We will take Roll Call to begin the meeting and for those who cannot change how their name appears on the screen we will do it for them (one by one).  We want this to go as efficiently as possible.  This is how we will know who is speaking on Zoom.

During presentations by the officers, especially when they are “Screen Sharing” (putting documents on the screen for everyone to see) it saves a ton of bandwidth if everyone turns off their camera and their microphone, so each of us will have our name (and Chapter) on our individual tiles.  When you want to talk you can either click “un-mute” or just hold down your space bar.

If you have business that you would like to be considered for the Agenda, or if you have a question you would like to have addressed, please send that to both myself (Secretary) and to the President at the following Email addresses: pascoscarpella@gmail.com  and  TonyChiro@juno.com

For obvious reasons we won’t be presenting a 2020 District BOTY (Barbershopper of the Year) Award this fall, but if we do  have any nominees we would like to conduct a vote before Rocky Mountain Harmony College (next April) and present the award then. If anyone has a nominee in mind, please Email me ( TonyChiro@juno.com ) or phone me at 303-233-6234 and we will proceed with the official nomination process.

I’d like to remind you now that Chapter elections for 2021 officers is due to begin next month and given the current circumstances (with the better part of a year, maybe more, of nothingness) I suggest that your Chapter officers consider remaining in place for another year (unless you had a specific succession plan).  “Rebuilding” our chapter operations and membership after this unprecedented absence will require all of the stability and experience and familiarity to our members as we can provide. Use your discretion and consider what is best for your chapter, and urge your officers to be sensitive to these concerns. Even if your chapter has Zoom meetings or other replacements for your weekly rehearsals, I’m sure there is a significant chunk of your membership which has disconnected almost entirely for this entire pandemic. The less change everyone encounters upon return, the more comfortable everyone will be.

Thankfully there is no “bad news” to report (other than what the virus has caused) and we are very excited about the future when we can return to singing.


Tony Pranaitis

RMD Secretary

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Keeping Count





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Bob Plass,
RMD Treasurer


Let me first introduce myself so everyone has some idea who is the district treasurer. My name is Robert (Bob) Plass. I am a member of the Longs Peak Chorus. I am also the treasurer of my chapter. I have been a member of the Barbershop Society for 35 years. My first chapter was the Tone Cutters out of Bloomington, IN. I just happen to see a notice in the paper where they were looking for new members. I had heard them earlier which got me thinking I would like to sing with the group. I have been singing all my life since I was 5 years old.

When I finally got around to going to a meeting, I was surprised to find there were only 6 members left out of 50 members. I stayed with the chapter until I moved out here to Colorado to be with my grandkids.

My daughter knew I wanted to find a chapter where she did some researching for me & got me in touch with Longmont. I been with them since 2007. It did not take long before I was asked to be V.P. of Membership. I then became the treasurer in 2012 after Bob Reed decided it was time for him to step down after 23 years.

I enjoy doing the treasury job working with numbers. I was the treasurer back in Bloomington, IN so I was not a stranger to the position. I have worked for H&R block during the tax season several years ago. So, I do understand some of the tax reports that chapters are required to file each year. Which brings me to these questions.

The following four tenets comprise chapter compliance: 

  • Your chapter must have at least eight active members on its roster
  • Your chapter must have a current president, secretary, and treasurer listed in Member Center
  • Your chapter must complete annual IRS 990/CRA filings and a BHS financial review filing
  • Your state/province incorporation must be fully up-to-date and reported in Member Center.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic playing havoc with our chapters’ rehearsals and meetings, we have extended the 2019 deadline for compliance reporting from May 15, 2020 to August 15, 2020

Some you might have received this from BHS, but I thought it would be a good reminder for those who have ‘not’ gotten your filings done/reported to BHS yet. Yes, the date is past due but its important to get the reports in as soon as possible if they are not done  yet.

This has been an exceedingly difficult time for all of us with this pandemic. We have had to make some sacrifice for the good of our fellow members & families. Hopefully, this finds everyone in good health & are safe.  It has been a learning experience learning & handling the District Treasurer’s job. It is a bit more intense than just chapter treasury other than possible SOR. I am sure every treasurer in the district have stories to tell or relate with the position. It would be interesting to hear some of them so we all could possibly learn from them.

I will do my best to keep everyone informed when possible. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me. I will do my best to answer them to the best of my ability.

Keep the Whole World Singing,

Robert (Bob) Plass

District Treasurer


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The Trip 

A story about my journey into a lifetime of music and harmony.



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Bob Fox,
RMD Immediate Past President

Although this story is about a particular trip that I took in July of 1963, the journey really started when I was around three years old and continues to this day.

Some might think that my membership in the Barbershop Harmony Society might have been predestined. I was born on April 11th and this is the Month and day in 1938 that is recognized as the birth date of the Society.  It would be just 11 years later, when I was three years old that my father would become a member of the society, and since that time, it is rare that a week has gone by without some aspect of the society not touching my life somehow.

I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that growing up in a family where my father was very actively involved in singing in a quartet and a chorus, that I wouldn’t be affected somehow. I think it goes something like – we are a product of our environment – or – you are what you eat.  Well I got to feast on a lot of harmony as I was growing up, and according to my mother, even when I was a toddler I would be standing right in the middle of the four guys that were in our living room singing, and taking it all in.

Now we fast forward a few years and my father is even more involved, holding many chapter, district and International administrative jobs and eventually would go on to work for the society.  By the time I would reach junior high or middle school age I had started to demonstrate that I enjoyed singing, and I had attended a number of shows and contests with my family.  So at age 15 I started going to the local chapter meeting with my father, and then for Christmas in 1961 my folks gave me a membership in the Society.

It was not long after I became a member that my father encouraged me to invite some friends from school who liked to sing to attend a meeting and possibly think about joining the chorus. I think that was mostly because he was afraid that if I did not have some other boys my own age to sing with, that the novelty might wear off, and I would lose interest. I am not sure that at that time either one of us had any idea that 50 plus years later, I would still be involved as a member, but I am sure it would make him very happy.

So at my father’s request I started working on some of my classmates and finally by the time we got to high school I had attracted a couple of guys to join me. Well, it did not take too long before we had a number of our school choir members also join us.  We all had a great time each week hanging out and singing with guys that were old enough to be our fathers and also getting to know them as friends.  I think my father had more of a plan in mind than I had ever considered.

One thing that started to occur during this time was that a couple of my classmates and now fellow Barbershop members and I would gather after school and play our favorite quartet records (remember 33 1/3 LPs), and we had a grand time singing along with them.  As we approached the summer of 1963 we all started to think how much fun it would be to go with my father to the International contest in Toronto. Then we really became excited when my father said he was willing to allow all of us to go along with him.  I can tell you the anticipation was almost more than we could deal with.

Anticipation turns to despair.   A couple of months before our big excursion was to take place, my father found out that he would not be able to go because of obligations with his job that required he attend something his company had scheduled.  To say the three of us were devastated would be an understatement. We had all these big plans and now we could not go.

Despair turns to joy.  After the initial disappointment was over the three of us began talking and decided to try and convince our parents to let us go by ourselves. I am not quite sure how we did it, but after a lot of pleading and promising to behave, they agreed to let us go and then we started putting our big plans back together again.


So here we are, three seventeen year olds, and not only are we leaving the city and state where we live, but we are also leaving the country — by ourselves — and unaccompanied!  What Could Go Wrong you ask ??? — actually nothing – it all went just fine – and this is my story and I am sticking to it!

In 1963 the plane was not necessarily the best or most popular way to travel a long distance.  So in the first part of July the three of us boarded a train in Topeka, Kansas and headed off to Toronto.  The first part of the trip was rather uneventful – Topeka to Kansas City and then on to Chicago. In Chicago we had to change to a Canadian train for what would be an overnight trip on to Toronto. At some point in the evening we decided to go to the club car to get something to drink.  As we entered the club car we found ourselves right in the middle of a big rolling afterglow. There were Barbershoppers from everywhere and all of them were singing. It did not take long for all that were assembled to learn that we were new members of the Society and we were pulled right into the middle of it all.

Little did we know that some of the guys that we were singing with were past champions.  Most of their names like – Huck Sinclair, Cy Perkins, Mo Rector and a few more are not names people are really familiar with today, but they were very well known in that era – except for us, as we had no clue who they were.  So we sort of got adopted by all these guys and we sang most of the way to Toronto. Not sure we got any sleep, and to say we got “hot dipped” in Barbershop would be another understatement.

Upon our arrival in Toronto things did not slow down very much.  We had already decided before our trip who we thought the Champs would be (remember those record albums that we had been listening to).  Well we were just sure that it would be the Sidewinders, the Nighthawks, or the Renegades, and with all our youthful enthusiasm we had no fear running up to any of those quartets in the hotel lobby and asking them to sing us a song. To all their credit we never got turned down. The Town & Country Four actually won the contest, but our favorites were in the top five and we were excited that they did so well.  Maybe the highlight of the whole week was on Saturday night when we ran into the Sidewinders and they invited us to follow them to all the afterglow rooms they were going to be singing in, and that started what was to become a friendship that would last for years.

The saga continues. After the Convention was over, I think we left Toronto late in the day on Sunday for our return to Chicago and then on home. It seems like we arrived in Chicago in the morning, and we had two or three hours before we boarded our train back to K.C. and on to Topeka.  While we were waiting to board the train we ran into Mo Rector who we had met in the club car on our way to Toronto and a few more times during the convention. He suggested we all go down the street and get something to eat, which we did.  Well one thing led to another and we sang all the tags he could teach us.  At some point someone asked “What time does the train leave ???”  With that Mo said, “Boys I think we better hurry as I think we are about to miss our train.”  It was like a scene from an old movie with us scurrying down the street and jumping on the train just as it was departing the station.

From there on our trip was like it had started – uneventful. I will say this, when we returned home we were convinced that our membership in the Barbershop Harmony Society was something we wanted to continue, and for two of us it has turned into a passion we have enjoyed for a lifetime. It may have been the music that attracted us, but it has been the friendships and relationships we have made along the way that have kept us going all these years.

So the story about The Trip has almost ended, but as I said at the beginning, the journey really continues to this day.  There have been a hundred more stories and experiences that have reinforced what has kept me involved for all these years, and they are about those friendships and relationships and of course the thing that binds it all together – the music.  I would also expect that I am not alone, as I am sure there are many others that have stories similar to mine, because that is the nature of our Society.

I am not sure if there are any big lessons to be learned by all of this, but I would offer that you just never know when a chance meeting with someone or some group might have a significant impact on someone’s life.  Just like our encounter with those men in the club car on our way to Toronto and the new relationships we built during the convention, I do believe that it was one of our first positive experiences of many that would come in the future that would set a course for what was to become a way of life.   Little did those men on the train know at the time, but one of those very talented young men that they were so welcoming to and encouraged his participation, would go on in the future to achieve great things on his own which included being inducted into the Society Hall of Fame. That young man’s name – Dr. Greg Lyne. – and as Paul Harvey might have said  –  “Now you know the rest of the story” !!

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Rocky Mountain District Fall Convention 2021

Save the Date!

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Jim Campbell,
RMD Events Vice President

Our Rocky Mountain District Fall 2021 Convention and Contest will be in Denver, September 23-25, 2021 at the Hyatt Regency in the Denver Tech Center.   This is the same location (and the same room rate!) originally planned for the Fall 2020 Convention, and we are delighted at the possibilities.

The 2021 Convention will have more competitors, in more categories, than ever before!  Quartets and Choruses will compete for awards in the Men’s, Women’s and Mixed categories, and you can expect lots of diverse pickup groups singing all around the convention site.

The Hyatt Regency is large enough to accommodate everyone who can attend, in a single building, and we look forward to the opportunity to open our performances to the many Barbershop fans in the immediate Denver area, since it has been many years since our convention was in Denver.  Moreover, at $119 per night for standard double rooms, our special convention hotel rate is one of the lowest we’ve had in many years.

Sound of the Rockies will be the 2021 Host Chapter, and they are ready to be sure that this convention is the best ever!

As before, Convention registration will be on EventBrite, and the link will be posted on the RMD website, along with the link to hotel reservations.

Mark your calendars now and plan to be there!

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Rocky Mountain Harmony College

Its gonna happen!

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Vince Winans,
Music & Performance Vice President

The dates for Harmony College for 2021 are April 23rd and 24th in Fort Collins Colorado! Thanks to the excellent negation skill of Mr Jim Campbell we will host the event at the Hilton Garden Inn and the price per night is only $89.00! There will be tag singing for prizes, an ice cream social, and burgers and brats for this event. There will be many classes to choose from to hone your barbershop skills. There will be an Everyone in Harmony chorus and the songs will be “There Used To Be a Ball Park Right Her” by Val Hicks and “Harmony” by David Wright. Please mark your calender’s now to attend and watch for more exciting announcements coming soon!

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Contest and Judging in the RMD




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Adam Reimnitz,
RMD Contest and Judging Vice President

Hello Rocky Mountain District! 

Most of you know by now that our fall 2020 contests have unfortunately been cancelled.  If you haven’t seen it yet, Jim Campbell just announced that we will now be in the same venue (Hyatt Regency, Denver Tech Center) and at the same prices for Sept. 23-25 2021!  It should be an outstanding hotel to host us and hold our contests.

Beginning next year, we will be adding women’s quartets and choruses and mixed quartets and choruses along with our normal men’s contests.  District championships will be given out to all 3 classifications of choruses and quartets, meaning that moving forward we will have 6 district champions every year! All choruses competing regardless of classification will be eligible for Plateau awards too.  Also, as Midwinter has been cancelled there will be no senior’s qualifications taking place this year

As much as we all miss singing, we hope that everyone is staying safe.  Quartets- this is a great time to individually work on new music so you are ready with new material when you get back together.  Also, it will help keep your voice strong for when we are able to sing and perform again. RMHC is coming up quickly and we would love to have a strong turnout of district competitors that wish to hone their craft and learn from some of the best coaches in the world. 

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