Not to be confused with the famed 1938 St. Louis baseball legends, but inspired by and sharing their name,
The Gas House Gang is an International Champion barbershop quartet and proud member of the SPEBSQSA, hereafter referred to (hopefully for self-evident reasons) simply as "the Society".
The group, formed in 1987 in St. Louis, MO, achieved international reknown and the Society's prestigious International Champions title in 1993, earning the highest point total ever awarded to a quartet in the Society's 64-year history. They have appeared worldwide in 13 countries and 49 states, as well as being featured on the PBS Special, "Voices in Harmony" and commercially broadcast on BBC Radio. According to their press release, they have appeared with many distinguished musicians and entertainers, including The Four Freshmen, The Swingle Singers, GLAD, Rockapella, The Persuasions, The Chordettes, The King's Singers, The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Victor Borge.
The group travels nationwide, singing as a guest quartet in various Society chapter concerts, is still an active Soceity member as well as a competitor in the Central States District, and serve as clinicians and instructors in various music camps and conferences, in addition to doing their own concert performances. They recently began work on their 5th studio album, and are scheduled for an upcoming tour in China in the summer of 2003.
The Gas House Gang personnel:
Tenor*: Kipp Buckner (2x International Champion, formerly of Interstate Rivals. Joined GHG in 1991.)
Lead: Rich Knight (director for Ambassadors of Harmony barbershop chorus)
Baritone: Rob Henry
Bass: Jim Henry (choral music professor at Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO., and recently awarded his Ph.D.)
(warning: anecdotal and subjective.)
- Some Children See Him (2000)
- Face the Music (1996)
- A Little Night Music (1992)
- Our Rough and Tumble Best (1989)
I had the opportunity to meet these guys in person this summer, as they were the featured guest quartet at our chapter's concert, and they also attended our after-performance party early into the morning. In addition to being incredibly good musicians, they're very personable people. Attending one of their shows is a unique experience even for the veteran barbershopper. And all of them are well under 6' tall, a fact which they happily point out in their unreleased crowd favorite "We're Puny, Short And Little But We're Loud".
personal knowledge and some random bits of conversation.
* Technically, Tenor as it's referred to in barbershop music is in vocal music terms a countertenor. They(we) sing up in the stratosphere not because puberty never happened, nor because we're castrati, but through hard work with falsetto and/or a naturally high range. Kipp told me that he can comfortably sing full-voiced high B on an average day, or high C on a good one. Full-voiced tenors are quite rare, even in barbershop music. Those of us who enjoy this insidious form of vocal abuse often have some operatic training and you need to practice relentlessly to maintain the control it requires.