JERRY ORLOFF (1/16/31 - 10/25/13)
Jerry Orloff, an internationally known barbershop quartet singer and teacher, passed away at his home in Aptos on October 25 after a lengthy struggle with vascular dementia. He was 82. Jerry, who shared his passion for four-part harmony with his wife, Kim, was inducted into the International Barbershop Society's Hall of Fame in 2011. As a member of the Mixed Metafour Quartet (a unique coed mixed barbershop quartet with his wife plus Bev Wesley of Aptos and several other men who sang the lead part between 1984 and 2012), Jerry performed and shared his love of singing throughout the world, with appearances in New Zealand, Australia, England, Sweden, Wales and Russia as well as across the United States. In 2001 Jerry and Kim created an additional quartet with another couple, Brian and Holly Beck, of Dallas, Texas. This quartet, Hao Yun Qui, was specifically formed to teach the barbershop style in China; they made several trips there from 2001 to 2003, teaching at universities and senior organizations in Northern China. The quartet taught standard American songs in English as well as several native Chinese folk songs which they had arranged in barbershop style and learned in the original Mandarin.
Jerry was also a member of the local Santa Cruz Chapter of SPEBSQSA, also known as the Gold Standard Chorus. He participated in many of their shows (both in the chorus and with his quartet), as well as singing "Valengrams" every February, and Christmas carols in shopping centers every December.
While music was the center of his life, Jerry also was a devoted father of four who shared his love for the outdoors and fishing with sons Dan, Randy, Mike and Barry. From the time they could walk he went with them on fishing and houseboat trips... a family tradition which continued throughout his lifetime. He was no stranger in the kitchen, making fantastic chicken matza-ball soup and sharing with all his sons his unique talent for pickling cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes and whole watermellons. Jerry's other passions included photography and anything Minnesota - often torn between his love of the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers. He was an avid hockey fan, and was a play-by-play radio announcer for the St. Paul Saints in the early 1960's. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Jerry moved with his family to Daly City, CA in 1963. There he owned and operated a paint and art supply store with his parents Solly and Florence Orloff for nearly 20 years. He moved to Aptos in 1983, and soon thereafter retired from sales in order to work full-time sharing the joy of singing harmony.
Jerry's family will join many local barbershop singers for a musical celebration of his life at 2pm on November 23 at Felton Community Hall, 6191 Hwy 9, Felton CA. Besides Kim, his wife of 30 years, Jerry is survived by his first wife Terry Martin of Santa Clara, CA; his sons and their wives, Dan and Sherené Orloff of San Jose, CA; Mike and Julie Orloff of Greenville, CA; Randy Orloff of Alameda, CA; his grandsons Lieutenant Benjaman Orloff and his wife JoEllen Orloff of Ridgecrest, CA; Nate Orloff, of Los Angeles, CA; Travis Orloff, of San Jose, CA; his great granddaughter, Ella Rose Orloff; and his brother and sister-in-law, Mickey and Sue Orloff of Foster City, CA. He is also survived by members of his barbershop quartet family: Mixed Metafour/Mixed Bag leads Paul Eastman, Elmer Fairbanks, Ed Tyler, Steve Sammonds, Steve Bishop, and Bill McCain, baritone Kim Orloff, and tenors Bev Wesley and Jackie Bishop. Jerry's harmonies also continue on in the lives of many barbershop singers throughout the world. If you would like to light a candle and share your condolences with his family, please visit www.pacificgardenschapel.com
Remembrances in his name may be made to Young Men in Harmony/Harmony Foundation International (www.harmonyfoundation.org
) at 110 7th Ave North, Suite 200, Nashville, TN 37203.
Making a Difference Through Music
Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 September 2013 18:19 )
A small number of gentlemen are making their way through the halls of a childrens hospital on a Thursday morning in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The bright and colorful artwork adorning the walls and windows of the Chris Evert Childrens Hospital reflect the lives of the precious young children that fill the rooms. But this morning, something just as colorful will soon be reverberating off the walls, filling the halls with music and filling those at the childrens hospital with the joy of song.
Steve, David, Lew, and Zach are the four members of a barbershop quartet representing the Miamians Music Medics, and like many others across the Society, they are taking advantage of an opportunity to lift the spirits of those in need through the gift of music. For a brief moment in time, hallways filled with medical equipment tethered by wires and cords give way to hallways filled with the sounds of four-part harmony.
From room to room they went, wherever they were invited in, visiting individuals and singing a song or two for anyone who were able to listen. In one instance, a quietly sung rendition of Happy Trails caused a precious bedridden young boy to break a smile and show a palpable positive increase in vital signs from the monitors attached to his body, exciting the nurses who were standing close by. And this isn't an experience unique to just these individuals. All across the country, similar stories emerge of lives continually being touched and enriched through the power of simple harmony.
While barbershop is by no means the only form of artistic expression being used around the world to bring joy through song, those who have experienced the thrill of singing barbershop first hand will tell you that it truly is a joy unlike any other. And it might be fair to say, from the perspective of a barbershopper, that the artistic expression of singing in four-part barbershop harmony is never a chore and never work, but rather a natural reaction much like breathing or using the senses. It simply must happen. And once freed, it takes on a life of its own much to the delight of any and all sympathetic ears.
But most of all, barbershoppers and all musicians alike will probably agree, when it comes to expression through music, it's about giving the gift of song, and receiving a gift much bigger in return. And it's about making a difference through making music, and being irrefutably changed in the process.
Said Miamians Music Medics representative Ernie de la Fe, "I'm convinced that visiting these area childrens hospitals will be one of the best things we've ever done as a chorus." Thank you, gentlemen, for giving your time in such an unselfish manner, and here's to the many others who are doing the same across the world.
BeatBit visits BHS
On Wednesday, August 21st, the Barbershop Harmony Society welcomed visitors from the other side of the World.
Beat-Bit Music School from Bologna, Italy brought almost 20 students and their musicality to the Barbershop Headquarters to exchange art forms. Harmonizer editor, Lorin May gave a brief history of the Society in their native language (who knew Lorin could speak Italian?) before they shared their music with the staff at Headquarters.
The students were on a tour of the United States, and they were told that stopping in Nashville, TN to see the Barbershop Harmony Society was a must. We agreed! Their tour guide contacted our offices earlier in the week to secure a time for their visit. Here is a short clip of one of their performances:
After hearing them, a group of guys at HQ (Wayne Grimmer, Rick Spencer, Adam Scott, and Mike O'Neill) sang "Hello Mary Lou" for the students and other staff members. The students' eyes widened as they heard the four-part ringing harmony explode in the room. Many of them commented that it was nothing like they had ever heard.
They spent some time taking a tour of Headquarters and individually meeting the staff. Marty Monson's new vision for the Society is to reach to the outside and open opportunities to others to experience Barbershop. This was one perfect opportunity to share our art forms!
Last Updated ( Saturday, 14 September 2013 17:39 )
Justin Verlander sings with Beast Mode
Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 July 2013 15:25 )
Verlander sings Barbershop
Detroit Tiger Justin Verlander sings a tag with collegiate quartet Beast Mode
Pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Justin Verlander made his Barbershop debut one evening in a hotel lobby during the Barbershop Harmony Society International Convention.
The Society's convention was held in Toronto, Ontario, where Justin and his team had just won against the Toronto Blue Jays. Justin's team was staying at one of the hotels where many barbershoppers had swarmed lobbies, stairwells, and other nooks to sing tags.
Verlander was sitting in the lobby when he heard a bit of ringing music, and he was quick to applaud one of the quartets upon finishing a tag. “We didn’t realize where he was, as soon as we finish this tag, we just hear this slow clap from behind,” says Brandon Youngblood, 27, who sings with the quartet Beast Mode, out of Boston.
Beast Mode is a newly formed quartet that intends to compete in the Northeastern District Contest this fall.
The boys invited Verlander to sing a simple tag with them, and though he was hesitant at first, here is his debut Barbershop performance!
Beast Mode on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeastModeQuartet