Congratulations Jack, on winning Quartet GOLD with Old School in July, 2011.
It's an honor that's not only well deserved but well-earned. Life sometimes doesn't always go the way you want it to go. But sometimes things change and everything seems to go in the right direction. In 1997, Jack found The Brothers in Harmony chorus in need of a director. That was a good thing. He then went to Russia and found and fell in love with Olga. That was a better thing. He then connected with his best friend, Joe Connelly, and formed an Awesome quartet, Old School. But the best thing to happen was in May, 2012 when he became a father to his son, Daniel/Danya.
Jack has gone a long way in a relatively short time in his barbershop career. He started barbershopping at the early age of 6 in the Princeton Chapter. As Jack says, "I learned barbershop harmony at my grandfather's knee". His grandfather was a barbershopper and sang in a quartet that was called The Grandfathers. Jack's next chapter was Bucks County and he was there about 1 ½ years when he saw an ad from a chorus looking for a director and Jack responded. Three weeks later Jack was their director.
He also belonged to the Cherry Hill Chapter and the Manhattan Chapter. His early competitive jazz group in high school and concert choir was also a factor in his musical excellence. Studying acting, dance and singing in his church furthered his wide knowledge of music.
Jack's first quartet was called Prospect Place. They won the Westfield Novice contest in 1987 and the Northern Division contest the same year with Jack singing baritone. The quartet went on to compete in the Districts in '87 finishing in 19th place. In 1988, Jack joined a quartet called "East Side Kids". With Jack singing tenor, replacing John Scifo, Jack Fair singing lead, Terry Reagan at baritone replacing Steve Peterson and Joe Fair singing bass. They competed in the 1988 Prelims finishing 8th. They continued, and in the 1988 Division contest they took top honors finishing in first place. At the 1988 District contest they finished 3rd. In 1989 the quartet finished 5th in the Prelims and 4th in the District Contest. They went on in 1990 to finish 3rd in the Prelims and 2nd in the Districts. In 1991,Prelims found them 5th. with the right to compete at International. In all they competed in three Internationals, 1989 placing 20th, 1990 placing 51st, and in 1991 finishing in 29th place.
In 1992 Jack formed a new group of guys and they called themselves The Untouchables. The members were: John Brohawn (tenor), Kevin King (lead), Jack on baritone replacing Mike Sotirou, and Brett Pryor singing bass. In 1992 they finished 3rd in the Prelims. After their bass, Brett Pryor, left the group they changed their name to "BSQ" and went on to finish 2nd in the District contest in 1993.
In 1993 Jack also directed the Hunterdon Chapter to 10th place in the District contest. 1994 saw the BSQ scratch in the Prelims. In May of '94 the Hunterdon Harmonizers chorus finished a very good 2nd in the Division contest. In 1994 The District saw "BSQ",with new tenor Bob Seay win first place. The same District contest saw the Hunterdon Harmonizers finish 8th.
In 1995 our Division contest saw Hunterdon finish 2nd for the second year. Jack's quartet went on to compete in the International Quartet Contest in Miami where BSQ finished just shy of a medal in 6th place. That same year, Jack brought Hunterdon to finish 5th in the Mid-Atlantic District. At the 1996 International Prelims BSQ won the first place trophy. The spring also saw Hunterdon finished first in the Division. The 1996 International in Salt Lake City, Utah, saw BSQ finish in 5th place for a Bronze medal. That fall Hunterdon finished 2nd in our District contest, directed by Jack. Jack left Hunterdon to direct The Masters in Harmony in California while Darrel Hill took Hunterdon to the 1997 International in Indianapolis where they finished 19th.
Jack returned East in late 1997 and with the urge to direct, he met with the leaders of the Brothers in Harmony – Bangor/Penn Argle Chapter. Moving the charter to Easton, PA he started to build the new Brothers in Harmony chapter. About that time Jack joined up with Dave Hinman, Bob Disney and Barry Brown and formed the quartet Doc Holiday. That spring found them finishing 6th at the International Prelim contest. In the Brothers first Division contest in the Spring of 1998 in Wilkes-Barre, PA, we finished first. At the 1998 International contest in Atlanta, GA, Doc Holiday finished in 45th place.
In Districts in 1998 the Brothers finished first with the right to represent our district at the International contest in Anaheim, CA. At the 1999 International Chorus Contest the Brothers finished in 17th place. A rare accomplishment for such a new chorus. The next District contest in 2000 saw the Brothers finish in 4th place. That same year Jack joined in forming a quartet called Good Times with Tim Waurick (of "Vocal Spectrum" fame) on tenor, Sean Devine (of "O.C.Times" fame) on lead, Dan Deisroth (Brothers baritone section leader at the time) singing baritone, while Jack sang bass. Good Times finished 1st in the Division contest. Meanwhile the Brothers finished 1st in the chorus contest. Sean Devine left for the West Coast and was replaced with Bill Stauffer (of "Double Take" & "Take Five" fame) on lead. They finished 2nd at Districts and the Brothers finished 5th.
In 2001 Prelims, "Good Times" finished in 2nd place with the right to compete in the International in Nashville, TN where they finished in 25th place. Also in 2001 the Brothers sang in Division outside of our own in Eastern, MD where we had the top score. Jack concentrated his efforts on the chorus getting us to 3rd place in 2001 District contest, 2nd place in '02 division and 3rd in our district again in '02. That District contest found Jack helping out a quartet whose tenor could not compete in that contest. Jack replaced Brian Schreiner at tenor, singing along with Brad Brooks on lead, Bob Bennett on baritone & Chad Tully at the bass. They finished in a very respectable 5th place.
In 2003 Good Times reformed with Tim Waurick going to lead, Dan Deisroth still at Baritone and Jack still at bass and added new tenor Mark Powell. They finished 3rd, getting the right to compete in the 2003 International in Montreal where they finished 34th. In 2003 the Brothers finished 1st in Division and 3rd in Districts which was good enough for International to ask us to mic test in Louisville in 2004. 2005 found the Brothers singing out of division and getting top honors. We came in 3rd in October's contest in the District. In 2006, the Brothers finished 1st in division and 4th in district. It was the first time any District sent 4 choruses to International. The Brothers placed 24th at 2007 International contest.
The 2007 District contest saw the Brothers finishing 4th again and winning the right to compete at the International in Nashville, where we finished 20th. That year Jack got together with Joe Connelly (lead), Rick Taylor (tenor) and Joe Krones (bass), to form a new quartet called Old School. They finished in 1st place in the 2008 Prelims and took home bronze medals for a 5th place finish at their first International Quartet contest in Nashville. The Districts in 2008 saw "Old School" take the District Championship. In 2009 The Brothers finished 1st in the division. At the International in Anaheim Old School quartet took home silver medals finishing 2nd with the help of their new tenor Kip Buckner.
The Districts, in 2009, was good for the Brothers. Our 2nd place finish was good enough to land a spot at the 2010 International contest held in Philadelphia. Finishing in 9th place was a great thrill for the Brothers. Old School finished 1st again in the Prelim contest in 2010 and they finished 2nd again at the International in Philadelphia.
The 2011 Districts found the Brothers in 2nd again,behind the Alexandria Harmonizers while again qualifying for the 2011 International in Kansas City where Jack's quartet, Old School, finally captured the Gold finishing in 1st place.
One can only attempt to capture all that Jack has done. He has coached many Sweet Adeline quartets, and directed many Sweet Adeline choruses. Jack has even taken on additional directing duties in Princeton and Jack has been abroad many times to coach choruses and quartets in England,Russia, and Holland to name a few of the many countries he has visited. Jack credits many mentors who helped him along in his barbershop career. Some of the most noteworthy are: Greg Lyne, Joe Connelly, David Harrington, and Eddy Ryan.
- Written by John Russo - Brothers in Harmony