Our History

 

Chapter history (from State of Illinois documents)

Pioneer Chapter, SPEBSQSA - incorporated 3/12/1948

Northwest Chicago Metro Chapter S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. Inc. - name change 3/25/1985

Chicago Metro S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. Inc. - name change 5/10/1999



 *Written by Hank Buerger

CHICAGO NO. 1 was founded Thursday, June 1, 1939. Frank Thorne, bass of the “Elastic Four” was the director. Can’t recall who followed him. They met in downtown Chicago on Wacker Drive.

 

PIONEER CHAPTER organized around 1943 and was directed by Tom Crawford. They met in a building located at North and Crawford (now Pulaski.) Later on they met in a Legion hall on Diversey.

 

The PARK RIDGE CHAPTER was organized around 1943 and became the NORTHWEST SUBURBAN CHAPTER. The director was Kermit Skie. He was followed by Ozzie Westley who was the music director of WLS, the Prairie Farmer radio station, as well as director of the Barrington and Racine choruses. Dick Svanoe replaced Ozzie when Ozzie moved to Florida. Hank Buerger followed Dick Svanoe around 1951.

 

The TOWN AND COUNTRY CHAPTER was formed when the Northwest Suburban and the Norwood Park chapters merged. Directors were Hank Buerger, George Peters, Fred Eastman, Stan Spencer, and Frank Fabian.

 

The OAK PARK CHAPTER* formed in 1943. Directors included Bob “Moose” Haeger, who led the chapter to a District championship in 1954. Membership at the time reached 125. The chapter met until the late 90’s. Former members still sing with Chicago Metro and West Towns.

 

SKOKIE CHAPTER started around 1950, meeting at Lahlum’s Restaurant at Central and Touhy. Directors over a period of time were Buzz Hager, Bob Haeger, Marty Mendo, and one or two I can’t recall.

ARLINGTON CHAPTER (Arlingtones) was formed 4/12/1951.   I can’t recall who the first director was, but some of their directors were ______ Wilson, Doug Miller, Tom Hines, Ken Jordahl, and currently Dale Jergensen. They used to meet at the KC Hall in Arlington Heights, then Luther Village, and now the American Legion Hall in Arlington Heights.

 

NORTHBROOK CHAPTER was formed around 1980 as a spin-off of the Arlington Chapter.

 

CHICAGO METRO CHAPTER (Originally NORTHWEST METRO CHAPTER) was the result of the merger of the Skokie, Pioneer, and Town and Country chapters around 1985. Directors were Fred Jerger, Chuck Oliver, Hank Buerger, Paul McCraken, Steve Wetle, Frank Fabian, George Sotos, Frank Fabian again, and Jarmela Speta, who is the current director.

This chorus met at the Portage Park Moose Lodge, and now at the Sokol Hall on Elston near Lawrence.

 

NOTE: The Park Ridge Chapter met at the Park Ridge South Park field house, and stayed there as the Northwest Suburban Chapter. Later they moved to West Park in Park Ridge, and for a while at Rand Park in DesPlaines. Later on as the Town and Country Chapter they met at the VFW Hall in Park Ridge, then at the Elbow Room at Touhy and Caldwell, and at the Lone Tree Inn until the merger with Skokie and Pioneer.


*Oak Park Chapter info by Larry Bunce


Per our articles of incorporation:

The purposes of this chapter shall be to perpetuate the old American institution, the barber shop quartet, and to promote and encourage vocal harmony and good fellowship among its members; to encourage and promote the education of its members and the public in music appreciation, to initiate, promote and participate in charitable projects and to promote public appreciation of barbershop harmony.

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