The Fun Center Chordsmen Hall of Fame inducts 2015 Class


The Fun Center Chordsmen Hall of Fame (COHF) recently inducted the 2015 class. To be eligible for CHOF, the member must have been a previous Barbershopper of the Year (BOTY) award winner, have been a member of at least five years and shown above average commitment to the chapter. In 2012 the board of the chapter changed the BOTY policy to restrict the Barbershopper of the Year to be awarded only once to a member. The 2015 class of inductees are;

Steve Kocach: (Barbershopper of the Year 2003)

Beginning in January 2001 Steve became the front line director of the Fun Center Chordsmen chorus. For ten years, every Monday night he taught, encouraged, prepared and developed the vocal production of the chorus. His accomplishments during his 10 year run as director were many. He improved the vocal production of the chorus to raise their score from a high C level to a midrange B chorus in the Johnny Appleseed District (JAD) chorus contest arena. In 2010, under his directorship, the chorus won the AA Plateau competition in the JAD contest. Steve was instrumental in creating many of the learning tracks used by the chorus for learning new songs,.

He and his wife Kari became an integral part of the Chordsmen family. He was totally dedicated to making each member of the chorus a better singer. He had a very unique way of teaching the chorus how to form vowels and how to breath. As a graduate of Bowling Green State University he studied under R. D. Mathey

Steve didn’t ever live in the Mansfield area. He commuted each Monday, first from the Columbus area and then from the Wadsworth area. He did all this with the Mansfield chapter while competing on the international level with Silver Medalist quartet, Uptown Sound.

Trevor Garrabrant: (Barbershopper of the year 2009)

Trevor was also a graduate of BGSU although a few years behind Steve. As a young vocal music teacher in the Crestview school system, he found his way to a rehearsal of the Chordsmen thanks to the never ending persistence of Joe Dove. Steve Kovach, immediately recognized Trevor’s potential as a musical leader in the chorus and began the process of mentoring him in the ways of a barbershop director. He was dedicated to the chorus every Monday night.

In 2010, Trevor was appointed an Assistant Chorus Director and elected to the position of VP of Music and Performance for the chapter and began immediately to utilize the Music Team to assist the directors.

After attending a Chorus Director Workshop Intensive, (CDWI) and three years of Harmony University Directors College, He was appointed Co-Director of the chorus giving him more time to polish his directors skills.

In April 2015 the director, Doug Smeltz asked to step down as the director and assured the chorus that Trevor was well prepared to take over the front line position.

Tom Hunter: (Barbershopper of the Year 1984)

Tom was a key figure in the formation of the Fun Center Chordsmen in Mansfield. In the spring of 1973 he responded to an ad in the Mansfield News Journal regarding the formation of a new singing group. That ad had been placed by Joe Vaughn, who was very involved with a barbershop chapter in Elyria. That left Tom with the major responsibility to run with this possibility.

Joe helped the fledgling group find an interim director by the name of Lou Mau from the Elyria area and Tom kept pedaling away at recruiting a small group of singers. When Lou turned the reins over Tom, he recruited local city school musician, Glen Fischer to take over the directing role. Dave Kracker entered the picture either in late 1973 or early 1974 and was asked by Glen to take over directing, knowing of Dave’s past involvement with the barbershop style of four part singing.

With Tom still at the administrative wheel of the small group, they were licensed by SPEBSQSA in March of 1974 and then chartered that following September. Tom Hunter became the chapter’s first President and also was the first Barbershopper of the Year in 1974. Tom remained very active with the chapter as an officer and bass singer until he moved.

John Adams: (Barbershopper of the Year 1974) ( Inducted posthumously)

John was a 1974 charter member of our chapter, performing on the group’s first show at Malabar HS in Feb. 1975. He later became our President in 1984 and 1985. John served as chapter Treasurer from 1975 thru 1979, and also published the first newsletter, The Fun Center Hubbub from 1975 thru 1986.

John’s monumental accomplishment (unknown to the majority of the chapter members, old and new) was that he was the person who secured the First Congregational Church for the chapter meetings,. It was an accomplishment whose benefits have been enjoyed for all those years. That was done in August 2006, 31 years ago. Prior to that the chapter met at the Eagles Club on North Main St., an American Legion Post on Park Ave. East, and then the Elks Club at Mulberry and Third St. in Mansfield.

Jim Smith: (Barbershopper of the Year 1976) ( Inducted posthumously)

Jim Smith was one of only of 5 men in our 41 year history to hold the office of President for three years. His terms were in 1976, 2000, and 2001.

He was very instrumental in getting our Harmony Camp scholarship fund established, personally arranging for our first silent auction at our summer picnics. An article in the FCC Hubbub, the name of the chapter bulletin back then, noted that the members could hardly believe the amount of items Jim had gathered, The net gain was over $1,000!

Staff report

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