History

Low Country Barbershop
Chorus

THE GRAND STRAND CHAPTER - HOW IT ALL BEGAN.
It all started in June, 1984
 
Bill Williamson, formerly with chapters in the Washington, DC area, and George Wilt, formerly with chapters in northern New Jersey, started out independently, and unknown to each other, to plan a chapter on the Grand Strand. They met with several other former barbershoppers who had retired to the Myrtle Beach area who showed an interest in the project. George Wilt had enlisted the aid and support of Dee Paris, Mid-Atlantic District's new chapter development chairman. As a result, with a little newspaper publicity, an organizational meeting was planned for July 30, 1984. Dee Paris came from Maryland and conducted the meeting. Also present were Randy Miller, Dixie District President, Art Wourms, Columbia, SC Chapter, Mike Stehlick, Charleston, SC Chapter and Area Counselor for this.area. The meeting attracted 16 men, all of whom were prospective members, who were currently Society members or past members. The meeting was held at the Surfside United Methodist Church, where Bill Williamson was the choir director. Officers were elected, directors named, and the new chapter was under way.
 
George Wilt and Bill Williamson were named music directors. George Wilt was elected President, Bill Williamson as Membership Vice-President, and Bill Kennedy as Program Vice-President. Frank Gough was elected Treasurer and Al Pickens as Secretary. Also among the original group was Ron Horton, who is still presently a member of the chapter. Within two weeks, Secretary Pickens and Al Spoolstra, Librarian, resigned. Elmer Molkter replaced Pickens as Secretary, and served until his death. Other original members included several former members of the old Myrtle Beach Chapter which disbanded in 1978, including Grand Strand charter members Hank Ellard, John Ogden, Fred Mercer, and Al Lewis; all now deceased in singing in the celestial choir. Although not present at the original meeting, but joining shortly, were Jack Leeper, Bob Craddock, and Marty Rhoades. The original repertoire included Polecat songs plus "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree", "Sweet Roses of Morn". "At the End of the Road", "God Bless America", "Just a Little Street", and "Coney Island Baby". The new chapter's first major event was staged on Sunday, October 21, 1985 at the Santee Cooper Auditorium, then located at 21st St. and Oak St., across the street from the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, where the chapter added 11 new members, enough to qualify for a chapter license. The new chorus sang several numbers, as did the Columbia Chapter's "Harmony Brigade Chorus" and several quartets. We will be forever grateful to the Columbia Chapter along with the Charleston and Florence Chapters in sponsoring the Grand Strand Chapter.
 
Our First Chapter Show
 
After receiving their charter, the new chapter had their inaugural show, "Harvest of Harmony" held in the Socastee High School Auditorium on Saturday, October 25, 1986. Bill Jennings served as Show Chairman. Again, the Columbia Chapter helped us out. Their chorus and three chapter quartets sang on the show; "Sound Effects", "Show Stoppers", and "Harmony Music Shoppe". The headline quartet was"Vocal Impressions" from the Greensboro, NC Chapter. The Afterglow was held at the Moose Club on #501 in Myrtle Beach. New songs for the show included "Carolina in the Morning", "When I Lost You". "Nellie Blues", "No New Tunes on this Old Piano", "My Mothers Eyes". and "Dixie". The 1986 Chapter Show was a huge success. Prior to the first show , the chapter welcomed Ron Rockwell of the Society's staff in Kenosha, WI, who visited to help our chapter through its growing pains. We also were visited by Jim Warner, Society President. The Dixie District sponsored George Wilt to attend Directors College. The chapter started becoming well-known in the area with a program of singing performances, starting as early as 1984 throughout the Grand Strand. The Chapter competed in the Dixie District contest in 1987 in their first District wide competition.
                                                                                                                                                   ...George Wilt