As students at Mount Markham High School, performing in ‘The Music Man’ cemented the love of musical performance for three cast members.
“I can still remember how much fun that was,’’ said Don Drake, even though a few and maybe more years have gone by.
Drake, along with brothers Bob and Steve Feldman, regrouped about 16 years ago in a Barbershop Quartet. Don as lead, Bob as baritone, Steve as bass and Mike McLoughlin of Whitesboro as tenor, formed Full Circle - because, as Don said, “we’ve come back together full circle from those days in high school.” - and have been in harmony since.
Since the quartet formed, the guys have given performances from singing Valentines, to entertaining at this summer’s Mount Markham Alumni Reunion, to competitions. They’ve had some success when it comes to pitting their pipes against another foursome.
More so than ever this year. Full Circle won its District level competition and in February will compete in Daytona Beach, Fla. in the International Barbershop Championships.
The three Mount Markham grads, who all still live in the West Winfield area, and McLoughlin hit a significant milestone this year. With their birthdays - two of the guys started a new decade and the Feldmans are in their mid/late 60s - their combined ages reach 240.
In Barbershop competition, that’s cause for celebrating. For the first time, Full Circle could compete in both the General Division and Senior Division.
Quartets too young to compete on the Senior level enter competitions in the Spring for a division win to send them to the National/International competition. While both perform in the Fall competition, only the winning Senior quartet heads to the next level.
In a Barbershop Quartet tradition, the order of standing during a performance goes tenor, lead, baritone, bass. Full Circle follows that when sitting and when being interviewed. Their voices provided the only musical instruments in their performances.
So here’s how each of them came to the world of Barbershop Quartets and Full Circle, in that order.
In 1979 Mike left the area, having grown up in New Hartford, and went to California. His full circle connection is returning home in 2004.
While in California, he saw an advertisement for a local Barbershop Quartet chapter looking for members. “I’ve been singing all my life,’’ Mike said. “I thought it would be a good way to make friends.’’...