The Appleton Barbershop Chapter
The Appleton Chapter was chartered in 1944 as the second chapter in the Wisconsin Association of Chapters in the new quartet singing society, the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. The Wisconsin Association of Chapters later changed to the Land O’Lakes District Association of Chapters so as to include Northern Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, western Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Appleton had many good singers from a local male chorus and able officers right from the start as it celebrated its Charter Night on September 9, 1944. Five Quartets performed on the charter night show of which three were from Appleton. Chapter President, Del Bradford’s Keynotes, Al Falk’s Gruesome Double Twosome and the Hopeless Four. On May 5th, 1945 Appleton held its first and also the Wisconsin Association’s first Parade of Quartets at a local high school. There were 14 quartets on the show. Appleton had fifty four men on the roster and thirty four on the risers directed by Armin Albrecht.
The local paper reported that spectators jammed the high school auditorium to hear “close harmony of old and new songs as well as serious and comic tunes…that proved…that the tradition of close harmony will never die as long as there are men who like to sing”.
Through is history Appleton has had two District Quartet champions and several Novice Quartet champions and was awarded Packerland Division Chorus Champions on a regular basis. It continues to compete in Division and District contests. It has hosted two Spring District Conventions and four Fall District Conventions over the years.
In the 1980’s the Neenah-Menasha and Kaukauna-Little Chute chapters joined the Appleton chapter and the Appleton Valleyaires Barbershop chorus became the Fox Valleyaires Barbershop chorus.
Appleton has had several members serve as Land O’Lakes District officers at all levels to include Richard Staedt District President 1996 - 1997. Among its active membership are six Fifty Year members, Will Mackin, Carl Schumacher, John Verbockel, Robert Pautz, Richard Staedt and Don Gehring.
Throughout its Seventy years and today, Appleton continues to be an active, vibrant chapter in the Land O’Lakes District and the Barbershop Harmony Society.
The Fox Valleyaires Barbershop Chorus is currently directed by Bill and Kathleen Albrecht.