Happiness Emporium - 1975 International Champs
Honoree: Happiness Emporium (Quartet)
Sponsor: Commodores Board of Directors
Tenor: Bob Dowma (St.Paul)
Lead: Rod Johnson (Minneapolis)
Bass: Jim Foy (Minneapolis)
Bari: Bob Spong (Minneapolis)
The Happiness Emporium, 1975 International quartet champions, the Commodores “Shining Star” Quartet, is living proof that experience pays off.
The “Emporium” members averaged 37 years of age when they won gold medals. Their collective experience, even before they came together for the first time in 1972, included participation in 24 international contests and with three district champion quartets, plus four USO tours to the Pacific.
So they decided to put it all together and go for the gold. As The Harmonizer reported in January 1976, “It was a hand-picked quartet. They picked each other…” All from the Twin Cities of the Land O’ Lakes District, they were Bob Dowma, tenor; Rod Johnson, lead; Bob Spong, baritone; and Jim Foy, bass.
They recognized, of course, that know-how alone would not do the job. They dedicated themselves to their goal as probably few other quartets, before or since, have done. They scheduled rehearsals or performances at least three times, and often four or five times, a week. One stopped smoking. They took up jogging, aerobics and dieting.
They continued voice lessons under Jeanne Traun, one of the top vocal teachers in the country, and began working with noted quartet coach Don Clause.
At the same time, they never gave up the fun. As audiences throughout the nation learned, the Happiness Emporium was one of the most aptly named quartets around, spreading laughter and happiness wherever they appeared.
Seven months after formation they placed 24th at the contest in Portland. The next year they were 9th, and in Indianapolis in 1975 they leaped to the gold!!
When Bob Spong retired from the quartet in 1983, Dick Treptow sang with them until 1987, and then Rick Anderson replaced Dick on bari.
1st Place Champs!
1973 - District Champions