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When the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers first became established, this was the emblem of the Society.

Poughkeepsie Newyorkers Chapter Membership -- Compiled by Bob Hirsh, March 30, 1974

Joe Alber
Jerry Andersen -- Dot
Fred Astudillo
John Bade
Bob Balderson
Tom Beckett
Bill Blair
Bill Booth
Bob Booth
Leon Borden
Roger Brockmeyer
Don Bunch -- Dot
Joe Burke
Art Burns
Al Calavano
Jim Campbell
Andy Caplis
Bob Chieffo -- Dot
Ed Clifton -- Dot
Charlie Cortellino -- Dot
Don Dennerlein
Jimmy DeSimone
Lew DiStasi -- Dot
Pete Donatelli
Pete Dowd
Tom Enger -- Dot
Bud Fair -- Dot
Norm Franz
Ron Garrison
Fred Gielow -- Dot
Frank Gould
Don Grady
Anton Grosz
Don Gutheil
Ralph Harlow
John Haverkamp -- Dot
Jon Hazelton
Ed Hesse -- Dot
Bob Hirsch -- Dot
George Hotchkiss
Pete Iannone
Ed Johnson -- Dot
Newt Koenig
Bill Lahl -- Dot
Jimmy Lurwick -- Dot
Irv MacDowell
Jerry Marafito
Dave Maurer
Bill McFadden
Ed (Duffy) Miller -- Dot
Bill Morey
Mike Myers
George Nagy
Jim Nutt
Jim Pasquariello
Dick Phillips
Al Rhoades
Bob Royce
Dick Schubert -- Dot
Hank Schulze
Cal Sexton
Barry Simmons
Bruce Slack
Norm Sadler -- Dot
Glenn Smith -- Dot
Bill Smith
Jack Tyler
Bob VanWart
Rudy Veltre -- Dot
Jack Walker
Ken Wheatley
Ron Yerke

Dot = Poughkeepsie Chapter member in April 1987.

Poughkeepsie Newyorkers Chapter Members

Chapter members in the 1960s -- a list prepared by Mike Monkowski

Chapter members in the 1970s -- a list prepared by Mike Monkowski

Chapter members in 1980s -- a list prepared by Mike Monkowski

Chapter members in 1990s -- a list prepared by Mike Monkowski

Chapter members 2000 to 2011 -- a list prepared by Mike Monkowski

Chapter presidents and directors -- a list prepared by Mike Monkowski

A JPG file from Mike Krieger and Gerry Taylor listing the members as of February 1965.

A PDF file from Bob Chieffo listing the members as of 1969.

Poughkeepsie's Record

In 1971, or maybe it was 1972, the Newyorkers released this recording of the chorus.
(Album curtesy of Fritz Jones.)

Side 1
Once Upon a Time
Peggy O'Neill
Down Where the South Begins
If the Lord Be Willing
Dirty Hands, Dirty Face
Get Me to the Church on Time

Side 2
When I Was the Kid Next Door
I'm Looking for a Girl Named Mary
In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town
Wail 'Till You See Her
Wagon Wheels
He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
God Bless America

The sound on this webpage is from the fourth song (side 1) on the Newyorker's recording (above).

Poughkeepsie Newyorkers' Websites

. . Dot Poughkeepsie Newyorkers Chorus Website.
. . Dot Poughkeepsie Newyorkers History -- Check out the member lists over time in the yellow box. Great job, Mike Monkowski!
. . Dot Newyorker Times Excerpts.
. . Dot Super Bowl Archives -- the password is "superbowl." This is a collection of photos from Oldyorker Superbowl Weekend get-togethers over the years.

Laughter, Love, and a Barbershop Song

In 1980 this book was publilshed, with numerous tales of barbershopping experiences. Of course the Poughkeepsie Chapter was mentioned, as were several chapter quartets.

Among dozens of other quartets cited were The Bluegrass Student Union, Boston Common, Buffalo Bills, Confederates, Easternaires, Four Rascals, Four Statesmen, Main Street Four, Midnight Oilers, Midstates Four, OK Four, Oriole Four, Osmond Brothers, Salt Flats, Schmitt Brothers, Sidewinders, Sundowners, and Suntones.

While many of these foursomes may be unfamiliar to a majority of barbershoppers today, they were all familiar to barbershoppers thirty years ago.

Laughter, Love, and a Barbershop Song

In 2002, Jim Coates, an avid barbershopper from Springboro, Ohio, wrote me suggesting Laughter, Love, and a Barbershop Song should be reprinted so a whole new generation of barbershoppers could enjoy the book's behind-the-scene glimpses of barbershopping fun and delight. Some time thereafter the book was published in paperback form with a slightly different cover design.

Barbershop pole
(Source of graphic.)

Interesting YouTube Videos

. . Dot Poughkeepsie Newyorkers Barbershop Chorus.
. . Dot "Sincere" from the Music Man.
. . Dot "Blackbird Medley."
. . Dot "Satisfied."
. . Dot "Mary Was the First One."
. . Dot "The Love of God."
. . Dot "Love Is Like a River."
. . Dot "Heaven's Joy Awaits."
. . Dot "Give It Away."
. . Dot "I'll Be Seeing You."
. . Dot "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square."
. . Dot "Scarborough Fair."
. . Dot "Don't Stop Believing."
. . Dot "Down."
. . Dot "Michael Jackson A Cappella Tribute."
. . Dot "Hit that Jive Jack."

You know you're growing old . . .

. . Dot When it takes two tries to get up from the couch.
. . Dot When your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.
. . Dot When happy hour is a nap.
. . Dot When you give up all your bad habits and you still don't feel good.
. . Dot When you sit in a rocking chair and can't get it going.
. . Dot When you wonder how you could be over the hill when you don't even remember being on top of it.
. . Dot When traveling just isn't as much fun because all the historical sites are younger than you are.
. . Dot When people no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
. . Dot When your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.
. . Dot When your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.
. . Dot When things you buy now won't wear out.
. . Dot When no one expects you to run into a burning building.
. . Dot When there's nothing left to learn the hard way.
. . Dot When in a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
. . Dot When you find yourself beginning to like accordion music.
. . Dot When you come to the conclusion that your worst enemy is gravity.
. . Dot When you realize that a stamp today costs more than a picture show did when you were growing up.
. . Dot When your childhood toys are now in a museum.
. . Dot When the clothes you've put away until they come back in style... come back in style.
. . Dot When people call at 9 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?"
. . Dot When your ears are hairier than your head.
. . Dot When you have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.
. . Dot When you feel like the morning after, and you haven't been anywhere.
. . Dot When your little black book only contains names ending in M.D.
. . Dot When your children are beginning to look middle-aged.
. . Dot When you look forward to a dull evening.
. . Dot When "getting a little action" means you don't need to take a laxative.
. . Dot When getting lucky means you find your car in the parking lot.

Norman Rockwell's Barbershop Quartet

Barbershoppers Planning to Attend the Friday Night Dinner Event
(Official list, as of 5-28-11. Thanks, Scott Salladin.)

Carole Argulewicz
Garry ‘Butch’ Ashdown & Sherie
Bill Blair
Bill & Barbara Booth
Don & Liz Bunch
Alan Calavano
Bob Chieffo & Diane & Tommy
Bob Chieffo & Karen, Nick, Deanna
John Chisholm & Patrick Duncan
Paul Collom
Mark Courtney & Kathy
Jim Cramer
Eric Dickstein & Aline
Lew DiStasi & Mary
Tom Enger
Bud Fair & Bonnie
Marine Fondren
Fred Gielow
Richard Glyn
Rick Greenop & Janice
John Hadigan & Amber
Marion Harlow & Friend
Bob Hirsh & Dena
Bob Hitchcock & Lois
David Horn & Kate
Greg Howard & Paul
Pete Iannone
Bill James
Bob Johnsen
Susan Koppenhaver, Linnea Acton, Jodie Rowland
Ed Koziol & Mary Lou
Mike Krieger & Kathy
Tony Krzywicki & Faith
Breck Martyn & Terri, Heather & Aaron
Steve Miller & Peggy, Hope, Madeline & Daniel
Greg Miller & Melinda
Toby Miller & Patricia
Mike Monkowski & Carole
Mike Murphy & Nancy
Mike Myers
Henry Nachbar, Stephen Nachbar & Sharon Minutolo
George Nagy
Jack Ostmark & Carol
Ron Pierson & June
Steve Plumb & Barbara
Larry Rand & Nancy
Dave Reynolds
Patricia Rock
Gary Rogness & Guest
Rich Rossi
Frank Ruggiero & Carolyn
Scott Salladin & Mildred Salladin
Dick Schaffer
Renee Silverstein
Bruce Slack & Clara
Earl Snyder & Nancy
Bill Standish & Linda
Jack Tacinelli & Barbara Troan
George Trigg & Bill Trigg
Rudy Veltre & Eleanor
Bob Waltke

Who Are These Newyorkers?

Fritz Jones

Bruce Slack

Fred Gielow

George Nagy

Jim Petrovsky


Al Calavano

Lew Distasi

Peter Iannone

This webpage has been prepared by Fred Gielow.

Old Timers Salute the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers

Some old-time members salute the great Poughkeepsie Newyorkers Barbershop Chapter -- in this the Chapter's fiftieth year (2011).

Singing in a chorus and/or a quartet can be exhilarating. What a thrill to take part in such a pleasant form of entertainment.
It seems like such a short time ago that the Poughkeepsie chapter was just starting out. Now it's celebrating its half-a-hundred-years anniversary.
Back then there wasn't such a thing as the Internet. Now, salutes like this can be made available to folks around the world with the cheapest web hosting.

Anniversary logo

Anniversary logo designed by Bob Chieffo.

Domain Name Registration
Visitors on Site
From April 5, 2011

Poughkeepsie Chapter Founders

Bill Beneshan . Bill Heydman . Bill James . George Nagy . Steve Plumb . Bruce Slack . Rudy Veltre
Bill Beneshan . . . . . . . . . . Bill Heydman . . . . . . . . . . Bill James . . . . . . . . . . George Nagy . . . . . . . . . . Steve Plumb . . . . . . . . . . Bruce Slack . . . . . . . . . Rudy Veltre

Photo Album . . . Photo Album . . . Photo Album . . . Photo Album . . . Laughter, Love, and a Barbershop Song
. . Early chorus photos. . . . . . . . . . . . . Early newspaper clippings. . . . . . . . . Early quartet photos. . . . . . . . . . . . . More quartet photos. . . . . . . . . . Book excerpts.

(Source of album graphics. . . . . (Source of newspaper graphic.)

Dot Bill James describes the beginnings of the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers Chapter.
Dot Steve Plumb describes Poughkeepsie Newyorker contests from 1962 to 1969.


NED District Chorus Competition -- Poughkeepsie ranked:
1968 - First . . . . . 1969 - First . . . . . 1970 - Fourth . . . . . . 1971 - Fourth . . . . . . 1972 - Second . . . . 1974 - Fifth

Don Bunch writes: "your ribbons miss 4th in 1980 and 4th in 86. I have ribbons."


The Poughkeepsie Newyorkers will celebrate their fiftieth year of barbershop harmony
during the weekend June 3-5, 2011.

On Friday June 3rd at 7:30 pm, a reception and dinner will be held at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
A reception with hors d'oeuvres and open bar will be followed by dinner.

On Saturday June 4th, the Newyorkers will present their 50th Anniversary show beginning at 3 p.m.
(Note the correction with the time of the show. It's 3 p.m. not 2 p.m. as posted previously. Sorry for the mixup.)
The show will be open to the public.

An Invitation to the June 3rd Event.

Anniversary news.

Photos courtesy of Peter Iannone

Some Newyorker old timers have expressed interest in getting together
for a cruise up and down the Hudson River on the River Rose, Sunday, June 5th.

The River Rose is an authentic New Orleans paddle wheeler.

Here are the details:

The date is Sunday, June 5, 2011.
The 2-hour narrated sightseeing cruise is from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Boarding begins at 12:30.
The boat departs from the Newburgh waterfront and heads south towards West Point.
Two full-service bars are provided.

If you'd like to join us, please make your reservation by calling barbershopper Peter Iannone at 845-562-1067.
(Peter works for the River Rose.)
The cost is $20 per person, $19 for seniors, $15 for children 4 to 10, free for kids under 4 years old.
Please mention that you're with the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers.
Barbershoppers, wives, families, and friends are all invited.

I hope we'll have a good turnout.
By the way, please make your reservations early. When the boat reaches capacity (about 150), no one else can come aboard.
(With luck, we'll be able to have a special gift for each family that takes the cruise.)

One of Bobby Chieffo's photos
Photo by Bobby Chieffo. Bobby Chieffo's photos.

June 8, 2011

The anniversary weekend has now come and gone, but the memories will indeed endure. It was a magnificent three days!

Friday night: The excitement of seeing old friends from long ago, the delight of spending time together,
the fine meal, the entertaining program, the joy of reminiscing about long-ago experiences.

Saturday afternoon: The outstanding show, the great quartets, the impressive chorus performances,
the thrilling performance by Our Town, the pleasure of singing in the combined chorus.

Saturday evening: The chance to socialize, the good food, another chance to hear the quartets,
the amazing singing and talent of Our Town.

Sunday afternoon: The fun cruise, the comradery, the sightseeing along the river, the photo taking, the Bill-James-led singing.

What a grand experience! The hard work and long hours of preparation made for an outstanding anniversary celebration!

Special thanks to Steve Miller, Mike Monkowski, Steve Plumb, Bud Fair, Ron Pierson, Bob Chieffo,
and all the other chapter members who injected so much love into this event and so much dedication and time.

I can't imagine how any improvements could have been made to the event. It was tops!

Three cheers for the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers!!

Old Timers Salute the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers

If you're an old-timer (say, a chapter member during the '60s, '70s, or early 80s) and would like to add your own comments to this page,
please send me an email with your remarks, and I'd be pleased to post them.

Eastern Time


It was long ago but I will never forget the time our neighbors (Jim and Sadie Pasquirello) invited Shirley and me to a party. Never one to miss a party, I was nevertheless surprised to find out we had to pay to attend! And go to some kind of show first!! Several nights later we drove down to the Poughkeepsie High School and listened in awe as Bob Royce and the Newyorkers (in all their multi-colored regalia) blew us away with the most exciting sound I had ever heard.

We had a fabulous time at the "party" that followed and I told Shirley that this was something I wanted to be a part of. Three months later I was singing "Peggy O'Neil" on a contest stage and having the time of my life! Good luck and best wishes to the greatest group of guys in the world!


At 88, I am in reasonably good health, although my failing hearing adversely affects my singing ability. I reside in Frederick MD with my wife June, daughter Sue and her husband Tom (who incidentally is singing up a storm with the local Frederick Catoctones and a competing quartet). Many Oldyorkers will remember that I sang with the Newyorkers for years in the 50's and 60's including in the four International appearances. I remember fondly singing bass in the Village Squires with Vic Salladin, Paul Strickland, and Ed Koziol and in a novice quartet with Vic, Steve Plumb and Pierre Poux. After my retirement to Florida I sang for years in a mixed quartet, more recently with a really disorganized group, and of course with my three sons in the Borden Boys.

I extend my greetings to those who may remember me and would welcome contact from any.


I joined the Newyorkers under Bob Royce. I was sponsored by George Nagy, also my boss, and Frank Gould, also my neighbor, in about 1971. I served as secretary, vice president, and president. I have lost track of how many times I was show chairman. I was frequently the top ticket seller for our shows.

We were investigated during my presidential term because a member complained that by singing Christmas songs, we were introducing too much religion in our music. We were vindicated.

God Bless from Florida.


Greetings from tropical Rochester, Minnesota.

I graduated from college in 1968 and accepted a job with IBM Poughkeepsie at the South Road Lab. I was only there about a week or so when I happened to be behind two guys in the Lab cafeteria at lunchtime who were talking about a singing group they were in. Since I had sung in my college Glee Club and in a triple quartet called the Logarhythms, I was interested and said so. As it turns out, the two guys were Steve Plumb and Bill James (I'm pretty sure it was Bill though it could have been Chris Kallas) and within a month or so, I was another "Man of Note" notch on Steve's Newyorkers belt.

I remained in the Newyorkers until 1976 when I transferred to Rochester, Minnesota after IBM cancelled its "Future System" project which in many ways became Rochester's System/38 and later the AS/400. While in the chorus, I became good friends with Bob Chieffo and Tom Enger and was always getting sucked into some sort of off-the-wall Newyorkers project that one of them was cooking up. I remember the 100's (1000's?) of 3-foot long "striped tie" balloons that Chieffo and I blew up (with help from Diane Chieffo and my date) in a closed cocktail lounge in Atlantic City (fortunately we had a (noisy) air compressor). I remember Tom Enger's printing press (and the return postcards I designed that didn't have any place for the person to put their name and contact info). I remember the show marquee that Fred Gielow created with the chase lights. I remember the pastel uniforms and Aubrey Light and the "socks box". I remember Duffy Miller saying on numerous occasions that he still liked women but he didn't remember why. I remember the "skyscraper effect" and mod uniforms we unfortunately debuted in Atlantic City. I remember the Unlikely Hoods and the Footlighters and the Audocrats. I also remember three pick-up quartets I sang in called appropriately enough "The Mini-Guineas", the "Do-Wop-A-Doos" and perhaps my all-time favorite pick-up comedy quartet name, the "Three Wise Men".

Somehow, life seemed simpler back then … or maybe (more likely), we were.


In 1962, as one of the young IBMers in Kingston, New York, I visited the Kingston Chapter of SPEBSQSA and got hooked that first night tagging with Bill Lahl and Hal Purdy. I became a Society member and found a fulfilling, life-long hobby.

I sang with Kingston until we moved to Hyde Park in September 1968. I officially became a Newyorker in January 1969, singing "Masquerade." I had a lot to learn about breathing (and flatting). But I hung in, enjoying the Newyorkers' musical challenge and camaraderie. I got very involved administratively and with informal quarteting, singing with different quartet combinations in almost every Division Contest.

Newyorkers meetings/chorus rehearsals were always challenging BUT fun. Those particularly fun times were the weekly quartet programs. We enjoyed creative quartet programs like the disorganized quartet contests (how about the all-Italian "Doo Woppa Doos" -- Calavano, Chieffo, Donatelli and Veltre) or The Battle of the Sections; all voice parts from the same chorus section. The programs always included the Rogues Four singing several songs. After a year or so, I think most of us knew the melodies of their whole repertoire, by osmosis. But every event, like a birthday or anniversary got the full production treatment. How about mystery bus rides? Surprise bus trips (members did not know the destination) to other chapters for a night of singing and fellowship. Wonderful fun, always.

The Newyorkers singing on other chapter shows as the NED Chorus Champion was always great. We were proud, sang well, and enjoyed the applause. Bill James made sure we were "championship primed" before we hit the stage. And Bill's picking announcers for each song was done in the dressing room. Scary but challenging. I finally made it to that club.

Moon rocket In the fall of 1969, the country was still riding the moon-landing rage, so we ran with that theme: "Newyorkers Land On The Moon" at the NE District in Schenectady. Cliff Mellow built a 12 ft fabric and wood, barberpole-painted rocket which we placed in the HQ hotel lobby. Fred Gielow build a lighted 5 ft tall countdown machine. It would periodically change from "10" to "9" etc. over the two days, counting down to the NYers blastoff. The HQ hotel was a busy place and all competitors saw the display. (Of course, we never asked permission from hotel management; we just did it!) We planned to win the contest . . . and we did!

We were in the school auditorium contest venue. When we were announced as winners, a mini-rocket was slid down a wire from the balcony. Then the stage curtain opened, the movie screen was down and Paul Strickland and I were in the balcony projecting slides of the moon with a NYers red/white tie across it, stating our journey to Atlantic City AND the moon!

When contestants returned to the HQ hotel, the rocket was gone. Only a small burned rug remained in its place. AND all the countdown number positions were replaced by 4x4" glass slides of NYers foursomes in our multi-colored outfits. Tom Enger took all those pics.

More fond memories were preparing for the 1970 International Convention and contest in Atlantic City. Wife Diane and I chaired the Hoopla Committee; i.e. how would the NED Champ Newyorkers make a "splash" at Atlantic City (pun intended). We were a force to be reckoned with. We wanted to be noticed and recognized.

We may have had more meetings than one, but we did have at least one big brain-storming meeting at our house. All the creative (crazy?) minds of the Chapter were present. All ideas were noted and there were many, especially after inhibitions were loosened with some Southern Comfort punch. How about Wanda on a Honda? We would get the Honda Corp. to give a bunch of us motor scooters and Cliff Mellow's wife Wanda would lead the pack driving to Atlantic City. Or skywriting "Poughkeepsie Newyorkers" over the beach. Or flying a 'Newyorkers' advertizing banner.

There was a convention display area and we entered a 6 ft tall scale model of the Lunar Lander (built by Tom Candy) complete with NYers signage depicting our mission and a list of 'moon' songs. I thought it was great but it wasn't "barbershoppy" enough for the display judges.

Moon momma Diane Chieffo Red and white were our chapter colors. Our red/white striped NYers tie was our logo. We decided to dress in red and white. Most of the guys grew vintage mustaches. Of course, most of us had 70's long side burns. We wore striped paper blazers and pants, red & white ribboned styro skimmers, our striped ties, and tie shaped ribbons depicting our NED competitors. In keeping with the moon theme, a bunch of our wives decided to be "Moon Mommas" and dressed in slinky silver lamee dresses, black boots and wore a plastic fibers headpiece. (At left: Moon Momma Diane Chieffo.)

We passed out red or white balloons-on-a-stick emblazoned with the tie logos. Al Calavano tells me one of our guys made a comment as he was exiting the contest where we handing out the balloons, "I wish we'd done that" . . . not realizing that it WAS us. As Al recalls, he and I were the only NYers that knew about it (and did it).

Quarteting was key at Poughkeepsie. In 1975 I was one of the founders of the Footlighters quartet. With various combinations we won three Division Championships. Since the beginning, we have supported the Newyorkers' events, shows and performances singing novelties and parodies with pizzazz and shtick. I retired in January 2009 for health reasons but the Footlighters carry on (unbelievably) without me. (Well I am in touch and kibitz from the sidelines.)

So since 1969, as a member of the Poughkeepsie, New York Chapter, I have sung in two International Chorus contests, chaired many annual Shows, held many Board Member positions and have become the unofficial historian. Most of all I have participated with the Footlighters quartet in our wonderful hobby/avocation of barbershop singing. Wishing the Poughkeepsie, New York Chapter a happy 50th Anniversary, I'm glad I was a part of that history.


I joined the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers in 1980, when the chorus first performed its “Puppet Package” for District Contest, held that year in Portland, Maine. As I recall, the Newyorkers were near the tail end of the chorus competition schedule, so by the time we went on stage, the auditorium was chock full with barbershoppers from all the other chapters who had already performed.

I was right in the front row of our chorus and filled with excitement and nervous anticipation … at that time a young kid just out of college who’d never sung in front of an audience anywhere near this size! Our first number was “Oh You Beautiful Doll”, with all the chorus members dressed as puppets and a Raggedy Ann Doll that amazed the audience by “magically” coming to life during the song.

As we finished the tag, the auditorium erupted with an enormous, electrically thrilling ROAR that was beyond anything I’d ever experienced. My legs were still shaking while we took the pitch for the second song!


I had always been a singer, both in the grade school and high school years in Highland, New York, and I was in a quartet in college with three other fraternity brothers, and we used to sing at fraternity parties, with me doing the solo on the fraternity song, which I still do when we get together as alumni.

After I came out of college, I didn't do any singing until I ended up, after law school, working on Rochester, New York, around the corner from the Rochester Chapter, which was then the Senecaland champions. I joined that chapter in January 1967, and six months later found myself on stage in the International competition in Los Angeles, California. That group, called the "Fundamentals," placed tenth in the international chorus competition that year.

Later the same year I moved back to the mid-Hudson Valley in Highland, New York, and opened a law practice with Stewart T. Schantz, Esq.

I started going to Poughkeepsie Chapter meetings and found that this chapter was an even better chapter than Rochester, and had been to International twice. We started competing for the St. Louis International Convention in 1969, won the District Chorus contest, went to St. Louis and placed the highest any northeastern district chapter has ever placed at International, namely sixth place in St. Louis in 1969.

After that I became president of the chapter and served on many committees. In the 1970's, along with out-of-town tenors Bud Fair and Bob Chieffo, I started The Footlighters Barbershop Quartet.

We went through two tenors in the first two years. I decided that was not a good thing, and I switched from baritone to tenor and sang tenor with The Footlighters for ten years. We won the Division championship several times, but I had physical problems with my back and had to give up singing with The Footlighters full time in the late 1990's. After that I substituted at tenor, baritone, and bass whenever they needed a substitute voice until my physical condition would not allow me to sing regularly with The Footlighters.

I still enjoy going to the shows and participating in some of the social activities of The Footlighters Quartet, as The Footlighters have always continued the relationship with any of its members when they could no longer, for one reason or another, sing with the quartet, due to transfer of job or illness.

I was able to sing with the chorus until recent times, and I still enjoy going to the shows and participating in activities that I can physically do. Parkinson's Disease has made it difficult for me to participate in barbershopping, but I still practice law full time and get to see many of the Newyorkers who are my clients, from time to time.

I have enjoyed reading all of the notes by the various barbershoppers who have seen fit to send memos to Fred Gielow, and I look forward to the 50 Year Reunion.


I arrived in Poughkeepsie in 1967. Two men that I met in church were Bill James and Fritz Jones. They introduced me to barbershopping. I didn't think that I was good enough to sing with that bunch of professionals. I finally joined the Poughkeepsie Chapter in 1967, sang in one chapter show, and then had to transfer to Charlotte. I have been an avid barbershopper ever since. I've been president of the Charlotte and Nashville chapters. I also sang with Bill James in a quartet for seven years -- Southern Comfort.

I tried to pattern both the Charlotte and Nashville chapters after what I saw in Poughkeepsie, but came up short. I now sing with Bill, Fred Gielow, and Fritz Jones in Senior Moments. We get together two or three times a year. And have a blast!


Al Calavano was intent on selling me tickets to the annual show of The Colorful Poughkeepsie Newyorkers. I wanted to be invited to try barbershopping myself, but he wasn't hearing that, in spite of being Membership VP. He wasn't there the first chapter meeting I attended, but as Calavano's guest, I was seated among the baritones next to where Al would have been. With no experience singing harmony, I suffered there for a year until I was allowed to switch to lead and later to bass.

I did a lot of stage lighting for the chapter including projected scenery and history slides for our 1972 "Once Upon a Time" show. I took a film course at Dutchess in order to make a music video of "Dirty Hands Dirty Face" with the chorus singing in the dark behind a scrim with the film projected on it. Because of a film processing strike, we didn't have the finished print until dress rehearsal. Some of the guys had a hard time trying not to cry as they sang.

I designed Pinocchio makeup when we dressed as puppets for a district contest. While working on it, my dog freaked out when he saw Ev Burke's pink face with huge blue eyes and a hinged jaw. We finally found Leo hiding behind the sofa.

Some of the most fun was bus rides to events and other chapters.

As we would close general sessions at Harmony College, "It's great to be a barbershopper!"


I joined the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers in the late fall of 1969 (as a guest of Rudy Veltre), with a love of singing, but having never sung with any group before. I was immediately dazzled by the talent, energy, and creativity of this wonderful gang led by Bill James. It was no surprise to me that they were completing their very first decade of barbershopping with (count 'em) FOUR Northeastern District chorus championships under their belts.

Paul Strickland and the boys had me singing tags the first night I was there, and within a year I was in a pickup quartet and competing. The four-part harmony really hooked me, and I just loved doing the shows, singouts, and contests. And I still do today. I sang with the Footlighters from 1975 - 1989, Rave Revue from 1989 - 1995, then the Footlighters again from 2007 to the present.

Barbershopping has been the joyous hobby of my life. Hail Newyorkers and onward to the next 50!


Barbershopping has been an absolute blessing. I joined the chapter in 1966, thanks to an invitation from Pete Bandy. So many of the singing and performing opportunities were once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I met great people, developed valued friendships, and amassed a mountain of memories. And they continue! For more than a decade now I've been singing in a quartet originally named Old School, then renamed Old Friends Quartet, then renamed Senior Moments (all three names are quite apt!). The other three guys are Bill James, Fritz Jones, and Bill Easterling. We don't get together nearly enough, but when we do, the harmony and fraternity are truly priceless.

Singing in a quartet is special; being able to contribute to the production of sweet barbershop sounds is gratifying beyond description. Thanks, Poughkeepsie Newyorkers! I wish you continued success. Let harmony fill the world!


The Poughkeepsie Newyorkers were always more than just an excuse to get out of the house on Wednesday nights. They were a chance to hear and tell really bad jokes, drink a beer, or two, or three . . . and hang out with a bunch of guys even crazier than I was. I mean, what kind of guys would build a twenty foot tall rocket for display in their booth at a District Convention, and then when we won . . . hijack the convention hall, turn off the lights, and with wives in the audience counting backwards from ten, sneak into the projection booth, lower a movie screen, and show a NASA rocket taking-off with the tag line that "The Poughkeepsie Newyorkers have blasted off for International"! And then, when the lights came back on, the display rocket was gone, with nothing left but a big burn hole in the rug where it had been! Hey, don't get me wrong, the singing was really, really good, too. But the guys . . . they were the greatest.


Upon arriving in Poughkeepsie as an IBMer, I discovered to my dismay that it boasted no Barbershop chapter. I visited the nearest chapter in Kingston and found it a bit too chorus-oriented for my liking. I had come from Lansing, Michigan, where its chapter met biweekly in a public restaurant's downstairs and enjoyed a three-hour Barbershop party -- featuring visiting and chapter quartets, pickup foursomes, beer and camaraderie, an MC with microphone and a stage, and NO CHORUS! What a great time and intriguing formula for a fun-loving Barbershop chapter! MORE -- How the Poughkeepsie NewYorkers Happened!


I remember the program portion of our Wednesday night chapter meetings. Everybody had a chance to stand up with three other guys and sing as a quartet. We sang songs we were learning, as well as old favorites. It was great fun and every group was received with excited applause and appreciation, regardless of the quality of the performance. Everybody had to get up and sing in a quartst at one time or another and these performances helped chapter members learn their parts.

The Poughkeepsie Newyorkers was the only choruse I have sung with that spread out all the parts when singing on stage, so you could hear something other than the part you were singing. I liked that.


I've always thought of the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers as MAGIC! Starting with the night we met in someone's backyard to get some singing done during the 4 week hiatus each summer. George Nagy, Martha ..., and (I think) Bruce Slack, spent 25 minutes teaching me to sing the last 16 bars of "Down Our Way." I had never sung as the only lead in a group before, but I sure wanted more.

The things that impressed me most were the friendliness, the extra effort and imagination that went into everything we did in the quest to do a first class job, and how much was accomplished in such a small town. Great programs that repeatedly involved new singers with experienced singers and got impromptu quartets singing chapter repertoire, and singing tags in the parking lot 'til 1:00 or 1:30 a.m. I never met anyone who spoke of their past chapters as I do of the Newyorkers.


I had a dream as a child listening to the Fibber Magee and Molly radio show that I might someday sing like the King's Men quartet (regulars on that show for a while). Many years later, I joined IBM and met a man from Memphis who was at that time a co-worker and a member of the Kingston barbershoppers chapter. He invited me to join, but I had become involved with the IBM mixed chorus in Kingston, and there was a meeting night conflict. About 3 years later, the mixed chorus dissolved, so I joined the Kingston chapter and never looked back. I transferred to the Poughkeepsie chapter at the start of 1970, just in time to sing on the International stage for the first time in Atlantic City.

In 1970 I moved to Raleigh and joined the Research Triangle Park (RTP) chapter, which has competed in several International contests, and will do so again this year, as the first representative of the brand new Carolinas District.

Over the years I have enjoyed singing in several quartets in New York and North Carolina.

In 2008 I had breakfast with Rudy Veltre in Nashville as we (and 3 other members of the RTP chapter) received our 50-year pins.

My most memorable experience in Poughkeepsie was with the Audocrats quartet. (I will be writing a chronicle of the quartet here sometime soon.)


I want to thank the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers for introducing me to one of the most enjoyable activities in my life -- barbershopping.

I had always loved to sing, but wasn't doing any after IBM had moved me to New York. Like many others, I had never heard of SPEBSQSA. Fortunately, while playing bridge one day at lunch with Mike Kreiger and Jim Roose, I overheard them say something about a chorus rehearsal. I asked for more information and they told me where and when the Newyorkers met. I was there for the next meeting, after which, you couldn't chase me away.

I was lucky enough to join the Newyorkers just in time to compete at Hartford, where we won the opportunity to compete at International in St. Louis. The night before we won that contest, Rudy Veltre talked me into singing in the quartet contest as a tenor in "Veltre's Volleys." After that, singing in the chorus contest the next day was a piece of cake. So then it was on to St. Louis for an outstanding experience. Wow, what a big deal to sing on the stage at International. You don't have to be able to see an audience numbering in the thousands to feel their presence. The International experience, and the thrill of entertaining an audience as a performer, hooked me on a life of singing and entertaining at every opportunity, quartet and chorus alike.

Although no longer in New York, I am still still involved in this great art form. I've sung in four quartets in the Dixie district (one district senior quartet champion). And next weekend [March 26, 2011], my current quartet will compete in the Carolinas District (the Society's newest). Last fall, my current chorus, the Research Triangle Park General Assembly, won the right to compete at International and will represent the Carolina's District in Kansas City this July.

I can't thank Mike, Jim and many members of the Newyorkers (past and present) enough for introducing me to barbershopping. Here's wishing you all another 50 years of harmony!


Steve Plumb is of course, Mr. Memory of how things happened, but here is my recollection: One night, while I was directing the IBM mixed chorus, Bill Heydman and Bill James “dropped in” to ostensibly join the group. The next thing I remember I was a member of a “Twenty-Fiver’s Club” and heavily into barbershopping.

I know today that I could not have had more enjoyment, made better friends and been associated with a better quality of people, some of which I am privileged to socialize with today.

Our common bond of singing overcame personality and other differences, and friendships were created that lasted throughout the years. Three that I spent a lot of quality time with, who aren't here anymore, are Pete Donatelli, Mike Patti, and Dave Maurer.

It’s possible there wouldn’t be a Pougkeepsie Chapter if it weren’t for the leadership and dedication of the two Bills [Heydman and James].

I am sending along a picture of the composite “Hoods;” everyone who succeeded each other in some form or other.


I joined the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers in 1978 as a guest of Gene Mayer. It happened at a party we both went to. I was playing a guitar and singing songs with everyone there. Gene and I started chatting about harmony singing. I told him I would love to hear it. I went to a meeting (after much pushing by Gene) and was mesmerized by the sound I heard and the folks I met. Right then and there I was hooked.

Just a few months went by when I was approached by Bob Chieffo and Bud Fair to come and sing with the Footlighters quartet. They asked me to join them. I was flabbergasted that they would ask me to sing with them! I remember thanking them many, many times for that opportunity. They finally said "OK! OK! Enough already!"

The rest is history. I have been singing once a week with them since then. Let's see, by my calculation that is 1716 rehearsals! I loved every minute, especially my quartet guys (former and present) and still do!

THANK YOU GENE MAYER! (OK! OK! Enough already!)


My short three and a half year career with the Newyorkers is perhaps the fondest of my 54 years in the Society. I was a member during 1966-1969. Here it is 40 years later and I/We (with my wife, Libby) still have regular contact and meet with half dozen dear old friends from the Chapter.

In those years I was in the two great International contests of Chicago and St. Louis. Chicago with fabulous Quartet costumes and St. Louis finishing 6th. To this day, I run across barbershoppers who remember that Chicago performance! I have been on the International stage eight more times with the Palm Beach Coast men --- all super achievements but do not surpass what the Newyorkers did.

One of Bill James training exercises was to blow a pitch and have a member sing an EEEE vowel, then have someone else match it and so on thru the whole chorus. I can still see him with his head hanging down and shaking in shear dismay as the clash of voices progressed. We sure learned from it. Disorganized Quartet Contests with no holds barred brought out clever and inventive ideas. Frank Racine and I stole the plan and incorporated it into the Palm Beach Coastmen --- surely part of the reason for the Chapters growth, popularity, and success. The idea matriculated into a district wide event called the Grape Fruit League Contest.

In short order after we arrived in Poughkeepsie, Bill James and Steve Plumb maneuvered a Sweet Adeline Quartet consisting of Libby, Jan James, Patti Plumb, and Wanda Mellow into place (Madrigals) and coached them to the Regional Championship and International appearances at Carnegie Hall and Oklahoma City.

Is there any question to how profoundly the Newyorkers can and did affect our lives?


I came to Poughkeepsie (IBM) in 1958, already a member of SPEBSQSA. No chapter there, so I wore my Society pin every day to see if any other members might spot it. Well, some did! Around 1960 I found guys named James and Heydman (who were already connected to a guy named Beneshan) who were all members of the Society. We tried out as a quartet but Beneshan couldn't handle bass and I was weak at tenor so the search began. In no time we found guys named Nagy and Slack and the Dutchmasters were born. Soon after a guy named Veltre joined the original seven. Naturally he and I needed a quartet, so the plan materialized for a chapter that would feature a lot of quartets. Our second quartet was the Taconichords (Poux, Maurer, Plumb, and Veltre). By June 1961 we had accumulated enough guys to hold our first traditional "Disorganized Quartet Contest" with nine unique quartets. A guest quartet "Spit Tunes" from Connecticut came to judge and entertain . . . a smashing success!

This unique combination of wit, talent, flamboyance, and determination shaped our early years and had a profound effect on my personal and professional life as well. Barbershop had become far more than a pleasant pastime: it helped me recognize my ability to reach many different heights in life. THANK YOU, NEWYORKERS!!!


The early days of the Poughkeepsie Newyorkers remain in my memory as a happy, exciting time. The enthusiastic, we-can-do-it attitude was a tangible thing that grew with each small success as we traveled to contests and shows. I salute the Newyorkers for the spirit that started in the singing of barbershop harmony and the fellowship that continues today.

Many thanks to all those who took time to send in their comments.

Bulletin Board: source of graphic: http://www.naiw-pa.com/bulletin_board.htm

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