Newyorker Times

image The Newyorker Times was the official newsletter of the Poughkeepsie New York Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society.  However, with the advent of the digital age, is no longer being published. This website provides many of the features once provided by the paper newsletters, but the newsletters not only gave us news, they also give us a record of our history.  Here are some examples...

The Chapter has won the Northeast District Bulletin Editor of The Year award three times.  In 1964 Bruce Slack won for Pitches.  In 1972 Thomas Enger won and in 1987 Robert Quigley won for The Newyorker Times.


Pitches, April 1964 "Notes on the Novice Quartets"

FOUR WALKERS - Schanzenbach, Nagy, Racine and Taylor. Song: Lousy. Stage presence: GREAT!! These nuts entered the stage smiling from ear to ear, with a militaristic strut - - they looked like champs.  And they kept right on going.  That's right they just walked across the stage - - The four WALKERS - get it?  A tremendous show but they suffered a 600 point time penalty.

Pitches, July 1964 "Jeannie"

On July 30th George Nagy gave a talk on music to a troop of Girl Scouts.  He invited the 1-2-3-FOUR to demonstrate Barbershop harmony.  Pickin's were mighty slim as they searched their repertoire to find music suitable for the audience.  They finally agreed that "Jeannie In Her Bikini" would squeak by and performed this little ditty much to the delight of the young ladies.  Incidentally, the Scout Leader's name is--you guessed it!


Poughkeepsie Newyorkers Newsletter, February 1970 "The Hoods' Corner"

There was an old man of Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket;
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man,
And as for the bucket, Nantucket

"The Hoods' Corner, Too"

Pa followed the pair to Pawtucket
(The man and the girl with the bucket)
And he said to the man,
"You're welcome to Nan,"
But as for the bucket, Pawtucket!


Poughkeepsie Newyorkers Newsletter, May 27th, 1970 "At Last The Truth !!!!!!!"

 I am hereby fulfilling my promise to publish for one and for all the true story on "How the Newyorkers Got Their Name".  I owe many thanks to Fred Gielow for his outstanding efforts in researching the facts surrounding our name "Newyorkers".

It seems that when the Poughkeepsie Chapter decided it was time to select a name for the chorus a committee was formed for that purpose. The six members were:
  • Bill Beneshan
  • Bill Heydeman
  • George Nagy
  • Steve Plumb
  • Bruce Slack
  • Rudy Veltre
Many suggested names were thrown out. Among the more famous were: Mighty, Invincible, Carefree, Kind-hearted, Engagingly Youthful, Musically Orthodox, Uniform Singing Ensemble; the Hudson River Rats; and the Syrengistic Singers.

After much discussion and many secret ballots the committee was deadlocked with one vote for each of these six names:
  • Pot-Pourri Pitch-Pipers
  • Keep-Your-Sunny-Side-Up Vocal Performers
  • CBS: Chorus of Barbershop Singers
  • New International Championship Chorus
  • Your Friendly Barbershop Ensemble
  • Curse-You-Red-Baron Musical Group
At this point, Fred reports, there was some disagreement as to whether Bill James was asked to mediate or if he simply volunteered. But, Bill James, being the great arbitrator and diplomat that he is, resolved the impasse in a single stroke of genius: He took the first syllable from each name and put them all together.
  • Pough Pot-Pourri Pitch-Pipers
  • Keep Keep-Your-Sunny-Side-Up Vocal Performers
  • Sie CBS: Chorus of Barbershop Singers
  • New New International Championship Chorus
  • Yor Your Friendly Barbershop Ensemble
  • Kers Curse-You-Red-Baron Musical Group
The Newsletter editor was dutifully writing up the final report for the "Name Committee" when he questioned his friendly typist as to whether it was New Yorkers (two words) or Newyorkers (one word) that had been selected.  "You know Bill James always has the last word, dear," was the reply.  And since that time the Chorus of the Poughkeepsie Chapter of SPEBSQSA has been known as the "Poughkeepsie Newyorkers" (sometimes).


The NewYorker Times, October 23, 1972 "The Unlikely Hoods"

If you can be counted among those who have never heard, or for that matter never heard of, the UNLIKELY HOODS, you will no doubt be interested to learn that this group is a barbershop quartet of some renown! Not very much, but some.

The UNLIKELY HOODS bring together an interesting and entertaining combination of voices. Their tuned but tacit tenor voice belongs to none other than PETE DONATELLI, who warbles those high notes with the sweetness and tenderness of a little baby bird (the bald eagle, for example). MIKE MYERS' lurid lead lends an enchanting element of heartfelt lethargy, as he musters up the melody. (Note, too, those surprising and thrilling moments when he sings in key.) FRED GIELOW, with a bold but balmy baritone, adds that dash of spice, that sprinkle of variety, that gives The HOODS their intriguing, distinctive sound. (He's the one who's usually singing the wrong song.) And finally, the booming, burly bass voice of good old GEORGE NAGY booms and burls in truly dramatic despondency (irrespective of good old GEORGE's efforts).


The NewYorker Times, October 23, 1972 "The Newyorkers"

The basic organization of the Chapter is the Poughkeepsie NRWYORKERS Chorus, directed by BOB ROYCE. Chorus contests are held annually at Division, District, and International levels. The NEWYORKERS have qualified at the Division II contests every year since 1963, thereby becoming eligible to compete in the District contests in each of these years. In November, 1963, at Portland, Maine, the NRWYORKERS placed fourth in a field of 26 District choruses. The following year, in New Haven, they won their first District Championship. This entitled them to compete at the International level, and in Boston, in June 1965, against 14 other District Champs, they placed ninth. The following year, they placed twelfth in the International Competition in Chicago. The Chapter did not compete in the 1966 and 1967 District Contests. They returned to place sixth in International at StLouis and eleventh in Atlantic City the next year. The NEWYORKERS are now preparing their bid for the crown by seeking to represent the District in Portland, Oregon in July of next year.

The NewYorker Times, September 19, 1973 IF YOU SEE SOMEONE WITHOUT A SMILE, GIVE HIM YOURS


The NewYorker Times, October 10, 1973 "Why Doesn't It Close?" by Tom Enger

So you figure that if you can just hold the final position and keep smiling--keep smiling--then maybe everyone will leave the auditorium and it won't matter that the curtain never closed after "Keep America Singing."  This has got to be one of the weirdest closings we've ever used, but what'cha gon'na do?  Where's the short kid with the cast on one arm who closed the curtain in six-inch jumps, using his good arm, at the end of the first act?  The lighting man has almost finished catching up on his cues--he's up to the setting for the song we did just before the finale.  This is getting silly, but let's just keep on smiling--just like we would if it happened to us on stage in a contest.  Wow, what stage presence. Aw, what the heck--everyone's already left the auditorium.

I should have known Friday night that things were going to go wrong on this Saugerties show the next day.  There I was, ready to set the lighting, but nobody had the key to the lighting panel and the insurance company wouldn't let anyone up on the catwalk to aim the spotlights.  Well, we got that fixed and had assurances that the sound system would be ready (with three microphones) in time for the show.  Three microphones my foot.  The show starts Saturday night and we have two microphones and they can't both be plugged in at the same time--somebody has to run back and forth in front of the stage plugging and unplugging as we go from the emcee to a quartet and back again.

So who's this "Bob Ryan" the program says is our Director.  That must be BOB ROYCE.  Yeah, of course it is.  Here they have me as "Engers" and NAGY came out "Neigy."  And here are "Baldeson, Hazdton, and Cortelling" for BALDERSON, HAZELTON, and CORTELLINO.

Well, what does it matter that a change in song order after the lighting cue sheet was made up caused bright red lights to come on as we tenderly sang about "My Mother's (red) Eyes"?  Even if they stayed on for the next three songs... That NEWYORKERS Chorus; along with the UNLIKELYHOODS (the program had it as one word), The AUDOCRATS, and The LAVENDER HILL MOB; put on one mighty fine show.  Our audience really enjoyed the show.

Audience--that's right--they've all gone home.  What the heck.  Who needs a curtain now?  "OK, guys, hit the showers..."


The Newyorker Times, June 1986 "We Get Letters..."

Dear Al, I enjoy reading your responses to other Barbershoppers who have problems with their hobby. I don't feel that I am alone with this problem. We have a well established chorus, and we don't know who the people are. Can you help?

Dear Joe,
That one is easy. CHAPTER PRESIDENTS: Leap high-rise condos in a single bound, more powerful than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, walk on water, discuss chapter policy with GOD.
CHORUS DIRECTORS: Leap townhouses in a single bound, more powerful than a switch engine, as fast as a speeding bullet, walk on water in calm seas, occasionally talk with GOD.
MEMBERSHIP VP: Leap motor courts with a running start, less powerful than a switch engine but faster than a speeding BB, walk on water in indoor pools, talk with God by special permission.
PROGRAM VP: Barely clear low buildings, lose tug of war to locomotives, can shoot a speeding bullet, swim well, are rarely addressed by GOD.
TENORS: Try to leap buildings, run over by locomotives, shoot without self injury, dog paddle, and talk to animals.
LEADS: Run into buildings, recognize a locomotive, identify a gun, stay afloat with a Mae West, talk to walls.
BARITONES: Trip on steps entering any building, play with choo-choos, have water pistols, sit in mud puddles, mumble to themselves.
BASSES: Lift buildings and walk under them, kick locomotives off their tracks, catch speeding bullets in their teeth and eat them, freeze water with a single glance, Because...They are God's Chosen People!!

The Newyorker Times, January 2003 excerpt from "Some Brotherhood History" by Mike Myers

My recollection of the White House story was that Bob Betscha was flying back from Washington, DC, and his seat mate told him that he was responsible for putting together the talent for a 4th of July show for the White House staff picnic and wanted an Americana theme.  Bob said he should have a barbershop quartet, and the man said, "That's a great idea, but where would I find one?"  Bob gave him my phone number and he called me, although I was not the regular contact man.

When he asked if we could do a show on the 4th of July, I hedged, saying that the guys might have personal plans, but in case we could do it, where would it be held?   He said Washington, DC, and I said that we had done several shows down there for different chapters; which chapter was this for? He said it wasn’t a chapter, but was for the White House.  After I asked him if Terry Clark put him up to this and he said he didn’t know any Terry Clark, I said I would call the guys and get back to him, but I thought they would be inclined to do it.  We did, of course.  Each of us was allowed to bring a single guest.  Fritz brought his wife, Peggy, and the other three of us brought our sons.  It was a great event. President Reagan and Nancy were there, along with many other notables.  We watched the fireworks on the Mall that night while sitting on the South Lawn, listening to patriotic music played by the Marine Corps Band.  The entire thing was unforgettable and we got plenty of pictures to prove it.

To read the whole article, click here and go to page 3.


The Newyorker Times, December 2006 excerpt from "The View From the Back Row" by Bill Florie

A couple of weeks ago the chorus sang at Fishkill Health Center and had almost the entire audience singing along with every song.... It was really exciting for me to see how motivated the chorus members were by that performance.
 I specifically remember the gentleman in the front row at Castle Point a few weeks ago.  He was having the time of his life, and his face showed it. You couldn’t NOT have a good time performing for him!...

What we do is a blessing, for us and for our audience.  We have the ability to put a smile on someone’s face, make them forget their troubles for a moment or two, bring back memories, or just spread a little sunshine.  I think that as long as we are motivated by our ability to affect someone’s life positively, even if only for a minute or two, we will have more fun and perform better, and get more personal reward from the effort.  The proof is in the pudding!  We are singing well and it’s showing in contest scores and audience reaction, which starts a positive cycle that everyone benefits from.

Every time you open your mouth to sing, imagine that you’re singing to that guy in the front row. Smile back, and let it rip!

The Newyorker Times, January/February 2008 "Ev Burke and Women in Barbershopping" by Renee Silverstein

There are many women in the barbershop world that owe a big thanks to Ev Burke, myself being first on the list.  Ev Burke came to me in the summer of 1992 with a proposal that I consider being the front-line director of the Newyorkers. There were women directors directing men’s choruses but unable to participate in contests because of the ruling that all personnel on stage be members of the Society--a difficult criterion to meet on account of gender.  So it wasn’t unusual to direct a Society chorus, but Ev had an agenda.  The members were willing to take their female director on a contest stage, fully aware that their performance would be disqualified.  Poughkeepsie was notorious for being daring and different; so I accepted that position, and we went to the contest and were subsequently disqualified.  Our placement was not posted on the official listing, but we did very well, placing tenth, which was a considerable improvement from the chorus’s previous outing.  That started the ball rolling for discussions at the International level.  The following year the assistant director, Breck Martyn, qualified the chorus for the District contest, and 28 members traveled to Montreal for the contest knowing in advance that they would again be disqualified for my presence on the stage.  That made the powers that be sit up.  By March of 1994 the ruling changed, and soon after that there were dozens of chorus nationwide with women helping men keep the whole world singing.

So Ev, thank you for that bold move. Thank you for opening the door. Thank you for 16 years of rewarding and happy Wednesday nights.