Biographies of The Rivertown Sound
Aaron Hardin, lead
Dan Monahan, baritone
Paul Ogle, bass
Bill Dean, tenor
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.
Dan Monahan, 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 ChorusPaul Ogle, 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 which he has continued faithfully to coach in addition to singing in The Rivertown Sound. 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 forty-three men on the risers for a big show.
Bill Dean, 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 had learned a large number of Rivertown Songs by just
listening to our CD's and singing with us after Tuesday chorus
rehearsals. 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
and try new songs. Bill has served as an officer in The
St. Louis #1 Chapter Chorus and has organized the
Valentines Day Benefit which had chapter quartets performing
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.
Abel, Bass, has
in for Paul on so many occasions that he has become
a full member of the quartet. We now have "5 guys" in the quartet!
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
and were often in choruses together. Vern went on to be a
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.
Since 1985, we have been honored to have many fine singers as full, or part time, members of the quartet. Tom Scharfenberger was the man who kept the quartet going. Besides having the hardest part to sing (baritone - just ask him!), he ran the business aspects of the group - keeping track of the numerous places to sing, what to sing, who to contact. But these jobs were secondary to his rich baritone voice which has 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 most recently as 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, has sung 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. His family music group known as Irish Imports performs the best of Ireland's music and has 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 The Tri-Towners. Years ago, filling in for Paul, had been Charlie Shelton, bass. 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. Recently, Rivertown Sound has relied on Ron Thebeau, tenor, to fill in when anyone of the upper voice parts has 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. It is through the chorus that we can learn new songs and find time to practice new material with our fellow barbershoppers.