The Rivertown Sound Quartet:
Bill Dean, tenor
Aaron Hardin, lead
Dan Monahan, baritone
Vern Abel, bass
There is nothing as fun as singing four part harmony! Back in 1985 various members of The St. Louis #1 Chapter Chorus got together to sing as a quartet. We decided to form The Rivertown Sound Quartet - inspired by the music of our hometown, St. Louis, Missouri. We feel The Rivertown Sound has developed into a unique singing ensemble. All had performed as solo entertainers before coming together as a quartet, and this set the stage for a different type of musical group. The membership has changed over the years, but they are still entertaining St. Louis audiences in the same way as when they started in 1985. The Rivertown Sound Quartet is now one of the oldest established quartets in the Barbershop Harmony Society. Below are the main members today.
Dan Monahan (1985 - present), baritone (lead), first learned of barbershop when he played the lead role of Harold Hill in the "Music Man" when he was in high school. He continued to sing on and off in quartets while performing in local productions of "Camelot", "Kiss Me Kate", "West Side Story", "Fiddler On The Roof", and "South Pacific." His powerful classical voice also has allowed him to perform solos in numerous classical concerts. His favorites were Handel's "Messiah" and "Carmina Burana". But, Barbershop remains his first love. He currently serves as Music Vice President and assistant Choral Director for The St. Louis #1 Chapter Chorus
Bill Dean (1999 - present),
tenor (baritone), had filled in as the "fifth" member of the
quartet during 2001. He can fill in for anybody except the Bass.
In 2002, he became the permanent singer as Tom Scharfenberger
retired because of illness in the family. Bill gained his
musicianship by playing the trombone in the school band and
started his performing career as a child playing the title role of
"Oliver." Through school and college he continued to
perform in musicals including Linus in "You're a Good
Man Charlie Brown"; Hugo Peabody in Bye, Bye,
Birdie; Sonny in Grease; and Jackson in
"Pump Boys and Dinettes." His six foot six inch height
gives him a commanding presence on stage, but his kind personality
makes us all delighted to stand in his shadow. Bill sang
baritone with us in the 1999, 2001, and 2002 district contests. He
lead us to a "Top Ten" finish in the 2002 Pre-Lim contest in
Columbia, Missouri. His remarkable musicianship has challenged us
to constantly upgrade our arrangements and try new songs. Bill has
served as an officer in The St. Louis #1
Chapter Chorus and has organized the annual Valentines
Day Benefit which had chapter quartets performing "Singing
Valentines" at over 50 locations. He has gradually become an
assistant director of the Spirit of St. Louis Chorus. In the years
ahead, he will probably become the primary director. Bill was also
he creative force behind our CD "I Believe: Songs of Inspiration"
which contains both religious and patriotic songs.
Vern Abel (2001 - present), Bass, had filled in for Paul on
so many occasions that he eventually became a full member of the
quartet. While Paul is "semi-retired" from the quartet, we now
have "5 guys" in the quartet whenever it is appropriate and fun to
do. Vern can create a very low 5th harmony part that adds a deep
richness to some of our most popular songs. Vern and Paul grew up
together and were often in choruses together. Vern went on to be a
successful bass soloist at churches in Jefferson County and
continues to sing at weddings and other special events. His
performance at the 2007 New Year's Eve show with Steve Davis and
the Elvis Presley review was done with only a few hours notice. He
sang forty songs perfectly! More recently, on the American Queen
Steamboat, his version of "Old Man River" became a highlight among
the passengers who would ask frequently for encores. His solo on
"You'll Never Walk Alone" with the chorus is a highlight of their
concerts. He has served as bass section leader of The St. Louis #1
Chapter Chorus. Vern has been part of a recent studio
recording job for Rivertown Sound where he helped create
the bass part for over twenty new songs.
Paul Ogle (1985 - present), Bass, has sung barbershop longer than any of us because he joined the barbershop society just after he graduated from high school in Festus, Missouri. He soon formed The Tri-Towners Quartet. His bass voice is unique in its ability to shake the walls with "16 Tons," or be as mellow as possible in his rendition of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart". His fine musicianship has landed him the assistant Choral Director's job for The St. Louis #1 Chapter Chorus. Under his leadership, the chorus has grown from a dozen active members to thirty men on the risers for a big show. While is is "semi-retired" from The Rivertown Sound Quartet, he joins the group whenever he can to help make a "5 guy" sound on man of the rock and roll songs.
Early photos: One with Vern, and the second with all five guys.
Since 1985, we have been honored to have many fine singers as full, or part time, members of the quartet. Tom Scharfenberger was a founding member and was the man who kept the quartet going in the early days. Besides having the hardest part to sing (baritone), he ran the business aspects of the group - keeping track of the numerous places to sing, what to sing, whom to contact. But these jobs were secondary to his rich baritone voice which had filled Zion Methodist Church in scores of concerts over the years. If there was a piano available at a location, Tom entertained the audiences with Big Band hits if the quartet needed a bit a a rest. Doug Landholt, tenor, made his mark on the St. Louis stage through his thrilling performances of King Arthur in "Camelot" and Horace Vandergelder in "Hello, Dolly!" and The King in "The King and I". He met Dan during a performance of "South Pacific" and after singing a couple of four part chords, decided that barbershop would be his new pursuit. His hundreds of outstanding performances as tenor for some seven years was a real highlight in the quartet's history. Ron Grooters, bass, sang with us for many years. He brought us many of the barbershop classic songs that are part of our standard repertoire. Almost all of the arrangements of the classic songs on our second CD came from Ron. Ron helped us create our basic act which he performed with us with great style hundreds of times. As an active member of the world famous Ambassadors of Harmony Chorus, Ron proudly holds several international chorus competition Gold medals. Tom Kavanaugh, tenor, was the original tenor in the quartet who helped teach the group that humor was as important as the music in a good act. During the 1970's through the 2000's, his family music group - known as Irish Imports - performed the best of Ireland's music, and had plenty of harmony and humor too. Steve Harris, tenor, sang with us for five years. Steve's wonderful high voice gave us several of our best tenor solo songs ("Danny Boy", "Only You"). Barry Moore, bass, sang with us when he first joined the Barbershop Society. This talented young man learned the barbershop style so fast that he moved to the Ambassadors of Harmony Chorus and was a member of several district champion quartets including the international competing 12th Street Rag. Ken McInnis, tenor / lead, had filled in on many occasions adding his glorious tenor and lead voice whenever we need it. He sang tenor with us in the 2000 district contest in DesMoines. He was also the lead in the ever popular Tri-Towners. During the 1990's, Charlie Shelton, bass, filled in for Paul. At the time, Charlie was an active member of The St. Louis #1 Chapter Chorus. He was an extraordinary musician who had been able to learn several dozen songs in just a few months. Over the past ten years, Rivertown Sound has relied on Ron Thebeau, tenor, to fill in when anyone of the upper voice parts had to miss a show. Ron can remember a tenor part even though he hadn't sung it for over a year. Ron is a former Gold Medal member of the Ambassadors of Harmony Chorus and is currently the tenor section leader of the Spirit of St. Louis Chorus. All of the most active members of the quartet over the years also strongly supported the chorus and the Barbershop Harmony Society. It is through the chorus that we can learn new songs and find time to practice new material with our fellow barbershoppers.