The New Originals emerge as champ in 68th competition

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTOS: CHASE ALLGOOD - The ladies of Aspire -- Alena Menefee, Amy Rose, Linda Muldowney and Connie Alward -- donned firefighter garb to blaze through the finalist competition Saturday, where their group placed third.Once again last weekend, Forest Grove became “Balladtown USA.”

The 68th All-Northwest Barbershop Ballad Contest drew hundreds of people to Ellen Stevens Auditorium at Forest Grove High School over two days to hear the sweet sounds of four-part harmony.

Demonstrating particularly tight harmonies and a winning style, The New Originals of Bellingham, Wash., emerged as champion of the 2014 competition in Forest Grove.Bow ties, plaid vests and straw hats were all the rage as costumed quartets — both male and female — entertained rapt audiences while judges listened for perfect pitch and watched for showmanship. The 2014 champion is The New Originals, from Bellingham, Wash.

Although the groups were competing with each other, performances were almost all in good fun, indicated Tualatin Valley Harmony Masters President Jim MacMillan. “Let the chords ring, the laughter flow and the smiles continue,” he wrote in the event program. Soiree, featuring Michelle Defreece, Lora Ray, Diane Lu and Marsha Kelly, took eighth place at the All-Northwest Barbershop Ballad Contest.

Besides the registered quartets, Forest Grove Dance Arts performed a 1920s flapper-style tap dance; Riverside Rock and Roll Band took the stage; and The Aliens Tradition — with Forest Grove member Chuck Olson — rekindled the barbershop spirit after disbanding in 2003. Madison Park Quartet was the event’s featured musical guest.

Mel Knight, the Evergreen District’s Barbershopper of the Year in 1995, served as master of ceremonies.

With lead Debby Loundagin, tenor Ruth Peterson, baritone Lynn Smith and bass Tarry Smith sounding the right notes, 4 Tune Tellers rocked the Forest Grove High School stage Saturday.Eight finalists advanced from preliminary rounds March 21 to the second day of the contest March 22. The following results emerged Saturday evening:

n First Place — The New Originals

n Second place — Something In Common

n Third place — Aspire

n Fourth place — Code Blue

n Fifth place — Coda

n Sixth place — U-Bet

n Seventh place — In Cahoots

n Eighth place — Soiree

Fifth-place quartet Coda sang I Dont Remember Her Name at the 68th annual barber shop contest in Forest Grove.

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