photo Phil DebarPhil DeBarThe Marin Chapter is sorry to announce the departure of Music Director, Phil DeBar.  Phil directed our chorus from August 2006 to May 2018, with excellence and flair.  He took the chorus to Division contests, baseball games, county fairs, retirement homes, and successful annual shows.  Phil rearranged tunes when required, wrote memorable tags, and added his vocal coaching to every rehearsal. He preferred singing baritone, but in chapter quartets sang tenor in Opus IV and lead in Harmonic Convergence. Upon his departure he received a plaque “ In grateful appreciation of his dedication and contributions to the Chapter, Chorus and the Society.”  Phil currently sings bass in the Voices of California (Sacramento Chapter) and lead with the quartet Classic Edition.  

photo Deborah BenedictDeborah BenedictThe good news is that we recently hired a new Music Director of the Marin Barbershop Chorus, Deborah Benedict has dedicated her life to singing, first as a trained opera singer (Santa Fe Opera Apprentice, New England Conservatory graduate with a Master’s in voice, and roles with companies across the US.) In addition, she has had an active teaching schedule, teaching voice, opera workshops and musical theater workshops at UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Dominican University. Deborah is the choral contractor for Skywalker Ranch, singing in and assembling choruses for videos and movies. She has been the musical director at Saint Patrick’s Church in Larkspur, CA for the past 10 years, and conductor of the Rodef Sholom Choir for the High Holy Days at the Marin Civic Center for the past 15 years. It is with great enthusiasm that she looks forward to continuing the singing tradition of Marin Barbershop Chorus.

Unfortunately there is some sad news to report. Our Chapter recently lost two senior members.  J. Stanley (Stan) Elkjer was born July 15, 1924 in Minnesota and grew up there. He graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, and served in the US Army in France at end of WW II. (Stan always remarked that the French ladies gave him a warm welcome.) He married his wife Marion in 1952 and they had 4 children: Laurel, Thom, Bob and Barbara. Stan worked for McGraw Hill first in Cleveland, OH, and then in San Rafael, CA where the Elkjers lived since 1965.  He joined the Marin Chapter in 1970 and served as Music VP and a stalwart in the tenor section for many years. Stan sang in Golden Gate Quartet with Howard Henry, Bob Engan, and Paul Gebo, and later in Harmony Express with Ralph Kling, Paul Goldsmith and Howard Lee. After singing with the Marin Barbershop Chorus for 38 years, Stan and Marion moved to Medford, OR about 10 years ago. Stan was Barbershopper of the Year in 1991, and inducted into the Marin Chapter’s Hall of Fame.

In addition, the Chapter is sad to report the death of long-time member Glen Langdon. Glen served in US Navy after WW II, and settled in Oregon where he was a contractor building homes. He sang baritone in Newport, OR, before moving to Mill Valley, CA 12 years ago.  There Glen joined the Marin chorus and organized a quartet called the Beachcombers, where he sang bass with Ben Berto, Dick Robinson, and Roy Harvey.  They were well-known for Roy's tap dancing to “Once in Love with Amy”, and contributed most of their singing fees to the chapter.  Glen sang Tags with a passion.  He knew and taught all 4 parts to a great number of them, and had a particular passion for the tag to “My Old Kentucky Home”.  He served as Marin’s bass section leader and was Barbershopper of the Year in 2011.  Glen was predeceased several months by his dear wife Betty, and enjoyed singing barbershop for 33 years.

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