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The Tribesmen to 'sing on' at sold-out show Saturday

May 05, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - At least 100 alumni of The Tribesmen, hailing from as far as California, are expected to perform during the choir's 50th Anniversary Reunion and Concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Waynesboro Area Senior High School auditorium.

Every ticket for the event has been sold, but choir director Eric Griffith promised that organizers will do their best to accommodate attendees, perhaps by seating them in the cafeteria area.

The tickets "didn't just sell out. We sold out in three days," Griffith said.

Alumni of the choir, which Griffith called a community icon, are scheduled to sing four songs and join current teenagers for two. Those students will then sing a few selections themselves, Griffith said.

Past directors Francis Nogle and Gerald Kowallis arranged to bring in the alumni, some of whom were members of the first choirs in the 1950s.

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The older members joked at recent practices that it was "seniors in the front and freshmen in the back," said Mark Hollen, a former member putting together a DVD presentation.

"They were just saying it brought back memories," Hollen said.

"I think that tradition is important for my guys to see," Griffith said.

Hollen feels he learned a love of singing through The Tribesmen and formed friendships.

"I went, left here and sang in the Penn State men's glee club," he said. "You always had a lot of fun, but you knew when to work."

"The Tribe" had its first performance in 1955, and practices for a half-hour each day at school now. Everyone is accepted, and it creates a large talent pool for the concert choir, which also features female voices, Griffith said.

"It's a good tool to recruit guys for music," Griffith said.

Selections for the concert include longtime favorites "Brothers Sing On," "What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?," "Stouthearted Men" and "Good Old Mountain Dew."

A reception after Saturday's concert was organized by Jay Heefner. Dennis Shockey contributed to the planning as well, Griffith said.

The last reunion concert was in 1995. Alumni received complimentary tickets for Saturday's concert.

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