Northland Barbershop Chorus History

The Mo-sA8CxBXLaFG3DtVOchZb71MBa QfxDrrsd_IokyINorthland Barbershop Chorus is the Sault Ste. Marie Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the world’s largest a cappella singing organization. It is one of 600+ chapters serving 15,000+ members across North America. Affiliated Barbershop singing organizations span much of the world.

Beginning in 1958, Ted Spry undertook the process necessary to secure a local chapter for Sault Ste Marie, ON.  In November of that year, Ted set the wheels in motion in an exchange of correspondence with Mr. Ken Booth, Associate International Secretary at the International Headquarters of the Barbershop Harmony Society in Kenosha, WI.  This followed the dissolution of the old Michigan Soo Chapter which last operated in 1955 and had the Khord Kings as one of its notable Chapter Quartets.


1963 - Border Chorders Program PhotoTHE BORDER CHORDERS

 In 1959, Ted Spry and three other men met to discuss the formation of a chapter and to sing four-part harmony in the style of the traditional barbershop quartet.  With Harry Shardlow, Frank Elliott, and Len Klyne, they began quarteting as the "Border Chorders" which eventually gave rise to today’s chorus. Since then, hundreds of men have enjoyed the thrill of a cappella singing, while entertaining thousands of area residents.


CHAPTER CHARTEROriginal Charter - Dec. 1 1961

Received Dec. 1, 1961

By 1961, the group had expanded to 26 members and had secured the sponsorship of the nearby Boyne City Michigan Chapter, conditions which allowed it to seek official status as a chapter. On Dec. 1, 1961 they received their official charter to become the Sault Ste. Marie Chapter of SPEBSQSA - The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. – now the Barbershop Harmony Society. 


Their first performance was in 1962 and a major show has been presented annually since then. In 2021, the Chorus celebrated its 60th season.  In addition to a major annual spring show, the Chorus also typically gives 10 - 20 community performances each year.

1962 - Membership List-1


Membership in the Chorus is often affectionately called a “voluntary life sentence” by its members, reflecting their love of the music and the bond of brotherhood they feel.


2010 - Beer Bratwurst and Beethoven Music Fest - June 13 2010Singing some Western tunes at Beer Bratwurst and Beethoven Music Fest - June 13 2010The Northland Chorus is a not-for-profit, incorporated organization comprised 100% of volunteers devoted to fostering and promoting music sung in the barbershop style: 4-part harmony with the melody in the second voice, sung without musical accompaniment. They seek to serve their communities in two ways:

• through the medium of song by singing at no cost at senior's homes, schools, churches, hospitals, civic events; or at fund-raising events held in support of a various local charitable and arts organizations, and

• through their annual support of the Speech-Language Pathology Unit at Sault Area Hospital.  These funds come from the procveeds of the annual spring show and are used to assist those for whom stroke, cancer, head injury or other ailments have robbed the ability to communicate.  In 2019, the cumulative combined total donated since 1995 to local Speech Therapy Services at Sault Area Hospital surpassed $100,000 in keeping with their motto: “We Sing That They Shall Speak”.  This figure continues to grow each year.Sault Ste Marie Medal of Merit

In recognition of community service given over 5 decades, the City of Sault Ste. Marie Ontario awarded the Northland Barbershop Chorus the 2010 Medal of Merit, the city’s most prestigious honour. The award is given annually for “outstanding achievement in a chosen area which has resulted in making a valuable contribution to the community”.  The award was officially presented to all then currently-active chorus members by Mayor Debbie Amoroso at a civic ceremony and dinner held May 7, 2011.


History-related Documents

History of Chapter Presidents and Music Directors.xls

History of Annual Show Guest Quartets Chapter Quartets.xls


History of the Chorus and Definition of the Barbershop Style.doc


Northland Chorus Performance Summary - 2002 to Present.pdf

Northland Chorus Song Selection List - 1985 to Present.pdf


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