In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Bluegrass Student Union is the Louisville, Kentucky barbershop quartet who won the 1978 SPEBSQSA International competition. They distinguished themselves by performing at a high level of proficiency on stage and in the recording studio throughout their 33-year career, and by continually improving their art, even after winning their gold medals. They credit much of their success to their coaches, Mary Jo Hatton Thompson, Don Clause, Ron Riegler, Gene Stickler and Ed Weber, to their chorus Director, Jim Miller, and to their long-time arrangers, Ed Waesche and Walter Latzko.
Allen Hatton (tenor) Ken Hatton (lead) Dan Burgess (baritone) Rick Staab (bass). Allen Hatton later sang tenor with the original version of the Second Edition quartet to win the Cardinal District Quartet Championship for his second time. Ken Hatton later sang lead with the 2000 Cardinal District Champion SENSATIONS quartet, who earned semi-finalist status (20th place) in the 2001 International Quartet Competition. Ken also sang lead with The Exchange, semi-finalist (20th place) in the 2003 International Quartet Competition of SPEBSQSA, Inc.
The Bluegrass Student Union quartet was inducted into the Cardinal District Hall of Fame in 2005.
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Review: This three-CD collection by the Bluegrass Student Union, with its stellar harmonies and faultless execution, is a must-have for any fan of barbershop and will earn many new devotees. BSU, a celebrated quartet formed in 1974 and winners of the 1978 SPEBSQSA Championship, has produced a treasure. A retrospective of their entire career, the collection includes barbershop favorites such as "Coney Island Baby" and "How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm." the songs from Broadway's "The Music Man" that comprised their third recording, Gershwin classics such as "Our Love is Here to Stay" and "I've Got a Crush on You," and so much more! In addition, BSU has provided extensive liner notes that explain the group history and philosophy, and reveal the musical intelligence and knowledge that is evident in their work. Another bonus is the superior quality of the recording itself, which adds to the enjoyment. Highly recommended.
Review: 1978 International Barbershop Harmony Society Quartet Champs BSU have had a legendary career spanning more than 3 decades, 100 recorded songs and 1000 live performances. "Commencement" is a remarkable gift to their fans and to all fans of Barbershop, combining a dvd that follows the college analogy with a "Digital Video Disc Yearbook" in four Chapters, Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors." These feature clips of some of the group's influences, which they call "hero quartets:" the Suntones, the Citations and many others, with the groups' commentary on what made them want to sing along with and learn from these quartets. A favorite from Chapter 1's 14 clips would be "The Old Songs Medley," from Chapter 2's 6 clips, "Porgy and Bess Overture," from Chapter 3's 20 clips, "Mardi Gras Medley," and from Chapter 4's 9 clips, "The Bluegrass Gospel Medley." Then we come to an audio CD of 8 tunes, a few favorites are "Back in Business," "It's Sand, Man," "I Can't Run Away From You," "Without A Song" and "It's a Wonderful Life." This audio disc is excellent, the frosting, if you will, on the cake that is the dvd. "Freshmen," for instance, has over 41 minutes of wonderful live video clips, "Sophomore" has over 29 minutes, "Junior" over 44 minutes and "Senior" 38 minutes-of wonderful vintage costumes and great music, that shows the evolution of a group known as the "valedictorian" of the Barbershop Harmony Society's "class of 1978." Trust us, there's more incredible history and music here than we can begin to describe to you. If you love Barbershop or vocal harmony in general, just treat yourself to Bluegrass Student Union's lifetime achievement: "Commencement!"