Barbershopper Mike O'Neill coaching high school students
Barbershopper Mike O'Neill coaching high school students

Dear Mike,

Thank you so much for coaching Wednesday at four of our high schools here in Santa Cruz County. You worked with approximately 110 high school singers who were very excited to work with you! Our pick-up quartet (Ian Blackwood, lead; Dwight Herr, bass; Bob Folker, bari; and myself on tenor) loved watching you work with the students. The teachers and students responded to your energy and love of barbershop and the robust way you have of teaching. Your visit was an invaluable boost to our high school program and showed the students and teachers of our community that BHS is willing to support our chapter by sending us such a professional and experienced educator as yourself to work with them.

Also, thank you ever so much for working with the Gold Standard Chorus later that evening. You energized our singers, again with your love of barbershop, and I thought you brought out the best in us when we sang Kentucky Babe. I know the chorus loved working with you and would love to work with you again.

Please view the questionnaire that was sent out to the teachers and students after your visit. They responded instantly and enthusiastically. I hope you find their responses rewarding.

1. What did you like most about Mike's visit?

Zina/Santa Cruz HS: He worked very well with the students: had some wonderful techniques for warm ups, and was very helpful. The students loved it!

Beth/Scotts Valley HS: Mike is a good role model for the male singers in my group. They responded well to him and he did a great job getting them to sing out. The whole ensemble did so much better with all the Gold Standard section leaders helping.

Tony/Monte Vista Christian School: Mike is very knowledgeable and works well with students.

Kristian/Monterey Bay Academy: Mike was great. He worked on a different tone, which I knew they would need to make the barbershop sound better. Also, he worked on balancing a few of the chords to make it sound better. Overall, he was great with the kids and they had a great time, while learning a lot.

2. What did you like least?

Zina/Santa Cruz HS: Nothing

Beth/Scotts Valley HS: Nothing, it was great!

Tony/Monte Vista Christian School: I wish we had more time with him and that he could coach all of my choirs.

Kristian/Monterey Bay Academy: Scheduling was such that he only had a few minutes with the group. I wish he had had enough time to really finish some of the work he started. But such are scheduling constraints....

3. If he's available next year, do you want him to visit again?

Zina/Santa Cruz HS: Absolutely!

Beth/Scotts Valley HS: Absolutely.

Tony/Monte Vista Christian School: Yes, please bring him back. You should sponsor HS workshops with him.

Kristian/Monterey Bay Academy: Absolutely positively without a doubt yes.

Thank you again, Mike, and keep on singing! We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Dale Summer
School Coordinator
Gold Standard Chorus
Santa Cruz, California