Luck and the US Government - combined, of course, with the well-known Rector talent - won Morris "Mo" Rector his second International gold quartet medal in 1969. San Antonio's Mark IV was the champion that year, and C.O. Crawford had been the bass of the quartet from its beginning. He was with tenor Franklin Spears, lead Al Koberstein, and bari Dale Deiser when they placed third in Los Angeles in 1967, and again - although he barely made it - when the quartet won the silver in Cincinnati in '68.
But C.O. was a State Department employee, subject to being sent on short notice to the Mideast or some other trouble spot for a few weeks or a few years. Mo, who had won his first medal with the Gaynotes in 1958, usually filled in for C.O. on shows while he was gone.
In 1968 C.O. made it back from Jordan just one day before the Southwestern District prelims, qualified with the quartet and won a silver medal in Cincinnati. A week later Uncle Sam called again. The message this time: two years in Morocco.
So Mo was the bass at the '69 prelims and again when the Mark IV won the championship in St. Louis in July. C.O. later returned, Mo left, and the quartet filled engagements for several years before disbanding.
Most went on to other quartets or to even greater accomplishments - especially Franklin Spears, who became a justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
- Tenor: Franklin Spears
- Lead: Al Koberstein
- Bari: Dale Deiser
- Bass: Mo Rector
- Bass: C.O. Crawford (67-68)
Represented the Southwestern District.
- 1966 1st
- Anything Goes
The Mark IV
written and researched by Grady Kerr
taken from Golden Memories - The History of the Southwestern District - pub 1996
The roots of this gold medal quartet come from several fine Southwestern District foursomes and include many outstanding singers. The story probably begins in San Antonio in 1962 with Dale Deiser, of the 1960 district champ Playboys, looking for a new quartet. He was able to recruit bari John McCord, bass Mike McCord (no relation) and lead Ben Binford, all fine quartetters.
In the spring of 1963 they qualified for International contest at prelims in New Orleans but only placed 40th in Toronto. The contest was a disappointment however, they had fun at the convention singing with the Chordsmen who placed 4th. After the convention Mike left to join the Checkmarks and C. O. Crawford replaced him in late 1963. The Checkmarks became Southwestern District champs a few months later.
The Mark IV were alternates to their “own” International (held in San Antonio) in 1964. Each worked on the convention committee helping with the auditorium as well as being the official mic testers. They disbanded by the end of the summer.
It just so happened that in that 1964 contest was a quartet from the Evergreen District called the Journeymen with a young lead named Allan Koberstein. On enlisting in the Air Force, Allan was stationed, like many other San Antonio members, at Lackland Air Force base.
Meantime the Mark IV re-formed in 1965 with Charley Ward singing tenor and in 1966, for a few weeks, tenor Seth Moore joined them and went to prelims. They attempted to qualify but were again alternates.
Songwriter and friend Jack Stern asked the Mark IV and the Checkmarks (who often performed together as the Markmen Octet) to record a special song for Lady Bird Johnson. Frank Bloembaum arranged it and some guitars were used. One of Lady Bird's quotes was, “If the Lord be willin' and the creek don't rise”. Jack sent it to her in 1962 while still first lady, but he never heard back.
In 1966 The Marksmen had the pleasure of singing for Lady Bird Johnson during a dinner to honor her "Keep America Beautiful" project. They told the story and sang the song. It was the first time she had ever heard it and thanked each octet member personally.
Left-over from the original Mark IV, Dale and C.O. grabbed Allan and by August of 1966 found Franklin Spears, tenor of the Playboys, ready to sing again. This combination clicked and three months later, they won the Southwestern District quartet championship in Houston. They then set their sights on International competition. This began a steady rise to the top. In the 1967 International they placed a strong and thrilling third in Los Angeles.
C. O. worked for the State Department teaching English to foreign pilots and was at risk of being sent, on short notice, to the Mid-East. He returned from a 13-week assignment in Jordan just a week prior to the 1968 prelims. Luckily, the Mark IV qualified for International and placed second in Cincinnati. A week later, C.O. was told of his new assignment, two years in Morocco.
Mo Rector had moved to New Braunfels from Tulsa in December of '66 leaving behind the Gaynotes and 12 years of active quartetting. He had already filled in for C.O. several times. He now replaced him on bass. There was some speculation as to whether or not the quartet could maintain its momentum after placing second in 1968.
All four members were active members of the San Antonio Chordsmen chorus. Franklin had joined them in 1957. A dedicated public official, he had served the state of Texas as a State Representative, a Senator and was a well known attorney/district judge. Dale was drafted into the Army while in Oregon, was transferred to Fort Sam Houston and joined the Chordsmen in 1958.
After two years stationed at Fort Sam Houston, he retired from the service and began working for a member of the chorus' moving van company. Mo had joined in Okmulgee, OK in 1949 and joined Tulsa in '53. Allan started in Eugene, Oregon in 1958 at the age of 16. He was now the lead of a potential International champion.
Mo and the Mark IV qualified for the International and went from rehearsing 3 to 4 times a week to singing every night the month before the contest. They figured there were (including performances) 550 man-hours spent that month preparing for the contest. They were helped by coaches Lynn and Mike McCord, and top arranger Joni Bescos.
They took St. Louis by "storm" and impressed the Kiel Auditorium crowd by singing I'd Give a Million Tomorrows, and Piano Roll Blues. This gave them a commanding 120 point lead after the first round. In the end, The Mark IV won their gold medals by a 163 point margin.
The Southwestern District contingent also was thrilled by seeing the Houston Tidelanders come in second in the chorus contest. It had been eleven years since one of our quartets had won and the victory was sweet. The quartet, keeping with tradition, sang all night and then met with Society VIP's for a celebratory breakfast. They also had to appear on local TV and even sing. They admit the only one who still looked good was Mo who had forgotten to take off his stage makeup. It was only fitting. Mo had become the very first society member to repeat as a gold medalist.
They began their championship year singing all over. They set aside one weekend a month to stay home, but toured the country the other three. Following their win they sang for several Southwestern District chapters (Dallas Town North, Midland, Corpus Christi, Houston, and Baton Rouge and Austin). The Mark IV was dedicated to maintaining standards. They attempted to put as much work into singing in a corner after chorus rehearsal for a few fans as they would for an audience of 5000.
Like their predecessors, they preserved their songs by releasing two outstanding quartet recordings. In 1967 they released Swing Low. It featured many of their show tunes such as the Gaynotes Cabaret, That's Life, Among My Souvenirs, Sam, the Accordion Man, and perhaps their most popular I'd Give A Million Tomorrows.
In 1970 after winning, many fans were begging for another record. They answered with a trend setting release entitled Anything Goes. It was a very popular release and included songs like Don't Blame Me, It's Magic, the Carpenter's Close to You, Struttin' Down The Main Street of Dublin City, and That Lucky Old Sun.
Mo returned to Tulsa at the end of 1969 (and didn't appear on either record) and the quartet continued to travel and sing with bass Pete Tomseth filling in until C.O. returned from Morocco in the summer of '71.
Their last chord together was in Lubbock on April 20, 1974. C.O. was again transferred, this time to Iran and Allan decided to move back to Oregon and his father's business. He did return in 1979 and sang with Dale in The Good Time Delegation for a year.
Around 1986 San Antonio held a special night at the Pearl Brewery. It was a reunion of old quartets and the Mark IV appeared. Many say they were as good as ever. The Mark IV had a very unique sound and much credit can go to Allan as an outstanding lead. His smooth voice, paired with C.O.'s low bass enabled the quartet to pitch 'em low and gave the quartet a wonderful dimension - one not yet equaled today.
C.O. has retired and moved to Oklahoma City and joined the OK Chorale. He sang in Oklahoma Sound for a time with Jim Massey.
Allan is inactive and still living in Salem, Oregon working for the school district there.
Dale is only in three quartets. He sang in the Good News Gospel Quartet and participate at the International Gospel Sing. Along with his wife, June, he still sings with Jan and Marci Scofield in Mixed Company. Both of these groups have been active ten years.
Franklin went on to become a Texas Supreme Court Justice retiring in 1991 following a successful heart transplant. He was named to the Southwestern District Hall Of Fame in 1988. He passed away April 10, 1996 at the age of 64.
Mo was also named to the Southwestern District Hall of Fame in 1989 and died December 6, 2003 in an automobile accident. He was 69.