The Appleton Barbershop Chapter


Chartered in 1944, Appleton was the second member of the Wisconsin Association of Chapters. 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.   The first Wisconsin Association Quartet contest was held in 1945 in Milwaukee, WI.  In May, 1947, the Wisconsin Association voted to include Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and took on a new name, Land 0' Lakes Association of Chapters, SPEBSQSA, Inc. In 1948 North Dakota, Manitoba, and Ontario were added to the District we have today.

The early Appleton Chapter sponsored eight new chapters around the area. Appleton's first and also Wisconsin's first Parade of Quartets (as Barbershop Shows were called at that time) was presented on May 5, 1945. There were 34 men on stage, directed by Armin Albrecht and fourteen quartets on the show.

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."

The second quartet contest was held in Madison, WI, on October 26, 1946. One of Appleton's Charter members, Del Bradford and his quartet "Four Keynotes" won the contest and were the second Association quartet champions. The Sing-Copates (1951), Grin 'N Tonics (1969), and Chill Factor (2023) are other District Quartet Champions from the Appleton Chapter.

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.

Through is history Appleton has had four 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.

Del Bradford and Dan Waselchuk were among the first inductees into the District Hall of Fame in 1988.  Other Appleton members in the Hall of Fame are Richard Staedt (2006), Clary Reinhardt (2013), Larry Lewis (2017), and our directors Bill and Kathleen Albrecht (2021).

District Presidents from Appleton include Dan Waselchuk (1958-59), Richard Staedt (1997-98) and Larry Lewis (2011-12). Dan was also International President in 1961.

The Land O' Lakes District has named three Appleton members as Barbershoppers of the Year, Dan Waselchuk (1963), Richard Staedt (2000), and Larry Lewis (2015).

Throughout its Seventy-plus 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.