Honoree: Grandma's Beaus (Quartet)
Sponsor: Jeni and Russ Born
Jeni and I are thrilled to honor our old friends, the Barbershop Harmony Society’s 1990 International Seniors Quartet Champions, with our riser sponsorship in their name. I have literally known the members of Grandma’s Beaus for over 50 years. For many years, we were entertained by “The Knights of Harmony” comprised of Mike Stump (tenor), Merrill Miller (lead), Bob Griffith (bari) and Paul Will (bass). The “Knights” quartet was one of the more entertaining quartets in the Land O’ Lakes District in large part because you never quite knew (including his fellow quartet mates) what Mike Stump had planned for the stage. He was one of a kind!
I met the members of the quartet in October of 1969 when all the Twin City Metro Choruses did a joint show/fund raiser for the Kidney Foundation. The headliner for that show was “The Suntones,” and one of their songs was “Sheik of Araby.” Mike got the idea that I (as the newest/youngest Commodore) should drive to his house in Bloomington (from the Minneapolis Auditorium) and go into some chest to dig out HIS Sheik costume. That was my first introduction to his zany humor. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and I didn’t have to run that errand…
“Grandma’s Beaus” was made up of three members of the “Knights,” and Jim Richards, who replaced Paul Will on bass. Jim has been my Barbershop hero pretty much from when I first met him in 1969. We became good friends when he was singing bari with the LOL District’s 1971 District Champions, “The Red Barons.” I was their unofficial “mascot,” which basically meant I was a huge fan, and also, I was young, strong and could help carry their stuff. I attended many of their shows, including my first date with Jeni at the St. Croix Valley Chapter Show in the spring of 1972. When I was off singing at the After-Afterglow, Ebie Richards (Jim’s wife) took Jeni under her wing and explained that my abandoning Jeni to go woodshed on our first date as being “just the way they are.” Fortunately over the last nearly 48 years, Jeni has come to accept that weakness of mine and most all Barbershoppers (except for a few saints, apparently).
“Grandma’s Beaus” were a terrific representative of our Chapter and District. They performed around the country and brought great singing and entertainment to the stage every time they appeared. Unfortunately, we lost Mike Stump way too early and the quartet could no longer remain active on the show circuit. That was a loss to all of us. But, the “Beaus” live on through recordings and videos, particularly with their video version of “Dueling Banjos” shown on the 75thDiamond Anniversary Show of the Minneapolis Commodores. It was special that a tribute quartet (which included Jim Richards’ son, Andy, and grandson, Matt) reenacted the song. What a special treat that was!
We are fortunate to still have Bob Griffith participating with our chorus and the Friday Lunch Bunch That Meets On Thursday where he still lends his strong baritone (and sometimes even a little lead or tenor) to the weekly songfests. Long live “Grandma’s Beaus” and those fine gentlemen who sang in that great quartet!