PUTTING THE HA IN HARMONY

 

 

 

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"Fred." The very name strikes a chord in the hearts and minds of lovers of great names.

Born in 1908 in Kankakee, Illinois, Fred was named after his father, Fred. Despite his early love of music, he would soon become internationally adored as a star of both the small and silver screens as well as the visual inspiration for one of America's most cherished comic book icons. In fact... oops. Wrong Fred. Sorry.

Fred (the barbershop quartet, not that other guy) was formed in 1991 when four members of Marietta, Georgia's Big Chicken Chorus decided that they were better without all the extra dead weight. Many audiences and professional coaches would argue that were probably wrong.

Seeking a name for the newly formed quartet, the four plucky members spent an hour discussing possibilities before they all became too tired and disgusted with one another to continue. Fed up with all the great possibilities, they compromised on the name "Fred," thereby proving Andrew Carnegie's maxim that "strong men don't compromise."

Despite having performed for less than a year as a quartet, with members who had never previously sung their parts before in any previous barbershop quartet, Fred won their very first district competition, the 1991 Dixie District Quartet Championship. Whether this is because of Fred's unique sense of humor, readily-apparent team chemistry, or a terribly weak field is still the cause of much great debate.

Despite this early feat, it would be nearly a decade before Fred could duplicate their success against real competition on an international level, finally winning the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA) Barbershop Quartet Gold Medal at the 1999 International Convention in Anaheim, California. Shortly thereafter, SPEBSQSA, Inc. changed its name to the Barbershop Harmony Society, no doubt out of embarassment.

Meanwhile, Fred worked hard to win over fans through live and recorded performances alike, with appearances on such wide ranging television programming from PBS's "Can't Stop Singing," a reverent review of barbershop harmony, to FX's "Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular," where they sang their unique barbershop take on Eric Clapton's "Cocaine." Following years of dedication to their craft, Fred achieved the greatest dream known to all performing acts: they sold out. Fred happily performs in commercials for southeastern automotive chain Kauffmann Tire. (Unexpectedly, it turns out that success smells a lot like fresh rubber.)

Never ones to rest on their laurels, Fred has spanned the globe, entertaining unsuspecting audiences with their unique blend of harmony and humor. Now nearing two decades of performing, Fred has threatened to continue to perform until their voices give out.

 

 

 

 

Clay comes from a long line of barbershop performers dating back over half a century, proving that an established family history doesn't have anything to do with success. Since beginning his first foray into barbershopping at the tender age of 14 in Michigan, Clay has become a highly-acclaimed arranger, director, and music judge, probably because of his height.

Clay has a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, which he believes is an essential component for all truly great barbershoppers. He and his wife Becki, also a quartet singer and music director, live usually happily with their two children. In all respects, Clay is a perfect "F."

 

Though you'd never know it, Joe has been singing since the age of 5. Joe sang various parts with various groups throughout the southeastern United States, beginning with his local church choir in North Carolina. However, it wasn't until Joe joined Fred that he first sang bass, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Joe is an information systems manager for a gigantic multi-national corporation by day, but lives his dream as an accountant for a barbershop quartet by night. He has long been married to his Sweet Adeline, Lisa. The couple have three children, including twin sons. Despite sharing the same name, Joe is no relation to fellow Fred Clay Hine.

 

Prior to joining Fred, Rick sang in such ego-centric quartets as The Augmented Four, Chairman of the Chord, and A Class Apart, explaining almost everything that needs be known about his personality. An accomplished barbershopper, Rick began singing in his native Nebraska in his down time between winning state tennis championships, earning his Eagle Scout badge, and earning academic distinction as an Honor Student. Growing up hasn't slowed him down, as he now handles most of Fred's lyrics and choreography when he isn't busy as a presentation judge.

An architect by trade, Rick graduated from the University of Nebraska. He shares two children with his wife Patti.

 

Jared's position as the fourth and final member in Fred is secure as the youngest, shortest, and baldest member of the quartet. He is constantly reminded by his fellow quartet members that he had never sung tenor before joining Fred, and that he arguably hasn't ever since, either. He'll do anything for a laugh, including trying to sing tenor.

Jared was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the only native Georgian in the Atlanta-based quartet. He earns his keep as a software sales representative in order to maintain his lovely wife Anna and their three children in the posh lifestyle to which they are accustomed.

 

©2014 Fred