Joe Connelly- Our Musical Director
There are probably very few people in the world of “barbershopping” who do not know the name “Joe Connelly”. He is known both as a successful quartet lead singer, judge in the Presentation category of the Barbershop Harmony Society (SPEBSQSA) and a full-time coach in this unique musical field.
Joe’s barbershop career began at age 13 when he joined the Southern Gateway Chorus in Cincinnati, with his dad Mike Connelly. Mike sang baritone with the medalist quartet “The Roaring 20s”, and Joe was inspired to continue in his father’s footsteps. He began quarteting right away, and it didn’t take long to come up with a dynamic combination called the “Interstate Rivals”. This quartet won the International Quartet Contest in 1987 when Joe was only 22. After singing with them for several years, Joe moved to Florida, where he hooked up with another foursome called “Keepsake”. This group won the International Quartet championship in 1992. Then in 2000 Joe again won the International gold medal with his next quartet, PLATINUM, making Joe the first man ever to win the quartet championship three times. PLATINUM performed across the nation and in Ireland and Eastern Europe before their retirement in 2002. Known for his boundless energy and positive, “make it happen” attitude, “Awesome Joe” (as he is often referred to in Barbershop Harmony Society circles, has formed another quartet, OLD SCHOOL, which is currently ranked as silver International medalists.
Joe’s full-time career is coaching men’s and women’s barbershop quartets and choruses all over the United States, Canada and other countries. This began as a part-time venture, but Joe’s continued success has made him one of the most sought-after coaches in the world of barbershop harmony. Many of the groups he has coached have consistently placed in the Top Five at International competition and some have gone on to “win the gold”.
In mid 2008 Joe reunited with the chorus where it all began for him as a boy. This time however, he joined as the director of the Southern Gateway Chorus.
Joe makes his home in Falls Church, Virginia, with his wife Gayle. Traveling regularly to Cincinnati to direct Southern Gateway allows Joe to add to his accumulation of frequent flyer miles.
It is AWESOME to have Joe back with our chorus sharing his level of expertise and his boundless enthusiasm and energy. We look forward to many years of musical excellence and great success under his direction!
Don Gray has been arranging music for Southern Gateway since the late 1960′s and has also arranged for men and women’s choruses and quartets the world over. Don has had his music published by SPEBSQSA so thousands of barbershoppers have sung his arrangements and will continue to enjoy them for years.
Don was introduced to four-part harmony by his father while Don was stationed in El Paso, Texas in 1961. He has been a member of the “Roaring 20′s” and “His Masters Voice” quartets. He is also a certified judge in the Arrangement and Music categories. Don is a retired Computer Systems Analyst and was employed by Procter & Gamble for 35 years. Here’s a note from Don and a list of his arrangements.
The Southern Gateway Chorus is indeed fortunate to have Bob Mucha as Assistant Director and Vocal Coach. He received a degree in Music Education from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), and continued his graduate work at Ohio State University; Eastman School of Music and Indiana University. After his retirement as Director of Choral Activities in Middletown Public Schools, Bob served two years as a Music Specialist at SPEBSQSA headquarters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He is in constant demand throughout the barbershop world as a coach and teacher of fine quartets and choruses.
The Southern Gateway Chorus is indeed fortunate to have Bob Moorehead in its ranks. Along with his quartet and chorus coaching abilities, Bob has been a SPEBSQSA-certified judge in the Sound and Singing categories since 1976. He became hooked on barbershop quartet singing in high school, where some friends got together to “woodshed” tunes and sing on the annual “Talent Show”. Bob fondly remembers, their rendition of “Coney Island Babe” bringing the house down. His college years involved singing in a quartet that included Rod Nixon, baritone of the 1997 International Champs-Yesteryear. Bob has been a member of Southern Gateway since 1965 and has performed with them in nearly every International appearance, except Detroit and Atlanta, at which he served on the judging panel. As a performer, Bob has several JAD Championships as Tenor of Act IV, The Naturals and Rumors, as well as several “Top Ten” International appearances with The Roaring 20′s and Rumors. His highest achievements occurred with The Naturals, as multiple International medalists during the early 1990′s. In the “real world”, Bob has spent nearly 40 years in the insurance business, and is currently owner of an Independent Agency in Milford, Ohio.
Brian D. Barford, Ph.D.
SGC VP Music and Performance, Singing Coach, Certified Singing Judge
Brian Barford, recently retired as a Principal Scientist with the Procter & Gamble Co. and is a 35 year member of S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A.
After graduate school (1973), Brian moved to Cincinnati and joined the Southern Gateway Chorus (1973, 1992 Champs) where he has been Asst. Director and Coach for 30 years. In Cincinnati, Brian joined a quartet (Bandwagon) that competed in several Int’l contests. Along the way, Southern Gateway earned a dozen medals and won the Gold Medal in 1992 in New Orleans!
Brian started coaching in 1972 and has worked with dozens of quartets and choruses, recently including groups such as BSQ, Fanatix and the Gem City Chorus. In 1990, Brian was awarded as Johnny Appleseed District Coach-of-the-Year. In 1995, Brian became a certified Singing Judge in the Society, and has participated in over two dozen Top Gun Schools and Harmony Education Programs over the years.
Brian currently sings Lead in the seniors quartet “Senior Class”, which has competed at the last three International Senior Quartet Contests in 2003, 2004, and 2005.