Big “D” Chorus
Chartered September 12, 1946
First BHS Chapter in Dallas, TX
History of the Chapter
History written by Royce Parish with slight editing by Mark Holdeman.
The Dallas Chapter of SPEBSQSA was chartered on September 12, 1946, with 16 men. The first president was Walter Scheible, then the principal of Crozier Tech High School. First chorus director was "Pop" Myers, the program director of radio station WRR. "Pop" was also famous for his early TV commercial for Wolf Brand Chili. "How long has it been since you had a bowl of Wolf Brand Chili? Well, that's too long."
The Big D Chorus has had many meeting sites in Dallas. The first meeting place was the downtown YMCA. The longest running and most notable was the Adolphus Hotel prior to its renovation into an upscale hotel - subsequently there has been "no room at the INN" for us. Other sites have included the Melrose, the defunct Dunfey's (we did not cause its demolition), White Plaza, Sheraton Southland Center, Grand, Walnut Hill Recreation Center and Preston Crest Church of Christ.
By 1947, membership had swelled to 32 men. O.F, Jones, co-author of "Sweet Roses of Morn" was a Big D member. The song was copyrighted in 1949.
Early chapter members tended to be lots of "good-old-boys" from the Dallas community.
In 1959, the Oak Lawn chapter, which chartered in 1953, merged with the Dallas chapter. The chapter name was changed to the “Big D Chapter” at that time.
The Big D Chorus was, for many years, a regular at district chorus contests and won the SWD championship in 1950, 1954 and 1957. The chorus won a 5th place medal at the 1958 International Chorus Contest. Later, they won the SWD Small Chorus Championship in 1988.
SWD Quartet Champions from the Big D Chorus were:
Beau Jesters -1949
Stage Door Four -1970
SWD Senior Quartet Champion;
The Big D Chorus was noted for its super annual shows usually in the State Fair Music Hall, later in the Convention Center Auditorium. Always present was one highly ranked international guest quartet. Not unknown was the booking of two such groups for the same show. In the 1954 show both the Mid-States Four and Buffalo Bills were performers. Featured quartets in other years were the Schmidt Brothers, Four Hearsemen, Confederates (several times), Dealer’s Choice, Gentlemen's Agreement, Gaynotes, Gala Lads, Four Renegades, Friends in Harmony, Four Pitchhikers, and the Evans Quartet.
The Big D chapter was always a party chapter. Hardly a weekend went by without a party. Sites were scattered but Tom Helzer's digs was always in vogue. Other sites were the Piercy's, Solomon's, Parish's, Woodall's, Mitch and Edwina Jones' place, John Edwards, a party boat on White Rock Lake -etc.
Big D alumni were not strangers in the upper echelons of the Society. Joe Lewis was twice International President, ex-Big D'er Ralph Ribble was also international president. Longtime Harmony Accuracy judge Hank Lewis was from Big D .
The nucleus of the Garland (later Town North) chapter and the Vocal Majority were mainly Big D members.
In later years, the Big D Chorus has concentrated on community service. The chorus takes great pride in performing for shut ins, retirement centers and nursing homes. Other annual events include Singing Valentines and holiday performances at Santa’s Village in Richardson.
In 2019, the Big D chapter voted to dissolve. Membership had declined to less than a dozen, and it was decided that the mission of the chapter, to perpetuate barbershop music in the Dallas area, could best be accomplished by joining forces with the Town North Plano chapter. The two chapters were meeting just a few miles from each other and both were focused on the same goals. So as of January, 2020, the Big D chapter was absorbed into the Town North Plano chapter and is now part of the “Legacy Of Harmony” chorus.
Undoubtedly, we have left out some quartets. For this we sincerely apologize. If anyone has more information regarding past quartets, please contact the administrators of this page.
(Quartets listed in voice part order, Tenor,Lead,Baritone,Bass)
3 Docs and a Dash- Barry Solomon, Louie Mullican, Doc Jones, John Piercy.
Alter-Tones- Keith Houts, Phil Leslie, Jim Massey, Jim Wilson.
Ascots- John Wiggs, Bill Thornton, Paul Cauthron, Royce Parish. Others at times were Jim Jenny(L), Don Otte (T), and Ron Schmidt (Br).
Atmosphere- D.C. McNeely, Louie Mullican, Paul Cauthron, Bill English.
Beau Jesters-1949 SWD Quartet Champions Joe Huray, Don King, Ernie Boring, Wally Bradford. Later members were Harold Rusk (T) and Art Haynes (T)
Cliff Men- Guy McShan, Bev Patterson, Les Swanson, Wickie McAfee.
Dallasaires- 1951 SWD Quartet Champions Harold Rusk, Joe Lewis, Ernie Boring, Aylett Fitzhugh
Dealer's Choice- (Original version of the 1973 International Champions) Al Kvanli, Louie Mullican, Bill Thornton, Gary Parker.
Later as a VM quartet Thornton switched to lead, Brian Beck took over as bari, Louie dropped out and, as they say . . . the rest is history.
Ding-A-Lings- Charlie Lyman, Frank Harkness, Larry Roseborough, Royce Parish.
Doo-Dads- 1965 SWD Quartet Champions. Guy McShan, Phil Winston, John Piercy, Dick Johnson. Later members were John Wiggs (T), Clark Womack (L) and Brian Beck (T).
Foot Lite Four- Andy Craig, David Whitley, Ron Schmidt, Jim Hodge.
Gad-A-Bouts- Jim Bowman, Sam Houston, Bob Brown, Art Garrison. Later members were Bob Walden (T) Howard Dozier (Br), and Bill James (T).
Geri-Atrix-1994 SWD Senior Quartet Champions Barry Solomon, David Whiteley, Ron Schmidt,Art Garrison.
Good Guys- Bob Cournoyer, Barry Beeson, Ron Schmidt, Royce Parish.
Knights of Harmony- D.C. McNeely, Jack Culpepper, Les Swanson, Royce Parish. Original lead was Fred Dennis
Mad Caps- Rex House, Jack Culpepper, Ralph Ribble, Darwin Findley, Later members were Ken Willis (L), Norm Bircher (L), and Wickie McAfee(Br).
Main Attraction- Barry Beeson, Louie Mullican, John Piercy, Bob Arbuckle. Later member was Jim Staley (Bs).
Mavericks- John Piercy, Jim Massey, Miles Middough, Bill English.
Mello-Men- Doc Talbert, Jack Culpepper, Ralph Ribble, Ray Watson.
Neighborhood Four- C.G. Wa]ker, Fred Patterson, E.O. Haskew, Luther "Luke" Hight.
Note-A-Riots- Guy McShan, Bev Patterson, Wickie McAfee, Art Garrison.
Playbills- Keith Houts, Bill Thornton. BilI Gatlin, ArtGarrison. Later member was Larry Rogers (Br)
Polka Dot Four- Joe Lewis (L), Oscar Jones (Br)
Stage Door Four-1970 SWD Quartet Champions Keith Houts, Phil Leslie, V.L. Hooper, Don Dochterman. Later members were Jim Law (L), Don Hackett (T), Jim Casey (L).
Sub-Sti-Toots- Barry Solomon, Keith Houts, Howard Dozier, Jack Brown.
Suburban Four- Paul Dykeman, Mitch Jones, Larry Roseborough, Paul Baker.
Tex-A-Chords- Ted Dunagin, Fred Dennis, Joe McGunagle, Royce Parish.
That Other Quartet- Gary Boesdorfer, Andy Craig, Ron Schmidt, Jim Hodge.