The Chanters reached out to various Shrine Clubs through the 1970s and 1980s, performing in Sunday evening concerts, under the capable leadership of Howard “Pop” Lindaman, Francis Wood and Frank Smith. Upon the death of Frank Smith, Howard Earl Walters was selected to direct the Chanters. Tom Barber, master of the keyboard, had done all of the accompanying for 52 years (1950-2002). Tom is from Sidman, and travel considerations had forced his retirement at age 98!
The personnel of the Chanters have changed drastically over the years. Normally 40 members would be present for concerts and parades. In the 1990s, our roster was reduced to 25 men. With fewer Chanters, the big trailer was retired and a new, smaller one was put into service. Roy Stern from Martinsburg served as Wagon Master for over 35 years.
A change in repertoire also came about, most notably, in the 1980s and 1990s. The personnel adapted more easily to gospel hymns and Broadway tunes, replacing Bach, Brahms and Beethoven.
Jack Stevens, President in 1989, introduced the first of the “gimmicks” at the M.A.S.A. Convention Parade. The variation on “Take ME Out to the Ball Game” brought the Chanters a first-place trophy, their first in many years. This innovation of “gimmicks” (departure from formal presentation) produced winning performances several more times at M.A.S.A. Parades.
The Chanters also assist in Christmas Carol singing at nursing homes and participate in many other Shrine functions.