|Members||Bob Welzenbach – tenor
Jim Grant – lead
Don Stratton – bass
Fred King – baritone
The beginning of the Oriole Four, 1970 International champion quartet, was in 1951 outside a Baltimore high school when students Fred King and Jim Grant first met, discovered they had a mutual fondness for harmony and sang an impromptu duet. They joined SPEBSQSA a couple of years later, found two other students who liked to harmonize and formed the Deacon Four, with Grant on lead and King on baritone.
The quartet, with occasional personnel changes, still met occasionally after its members had graduated, and in 1956 the name was changed to the Oriole Four. Bass Don Stratton came along in 1957, and tenor Bob Welzenbach joined in 1958.
All were members of the Chorus of the Chesapeake in Dundalk, Maryland, and three weeks after their first rehearsal they won the Dundalk Open and later the Chesapeake Bay Open. It was in 1958 also that they met Bob Loose, who was to become their permanent coach and close friend. After working with him for only three months, they won the Mid-Atlantic District championship.
Although they placed eighth in their first international competition in 1959, it would be 1965 before they again reached the finals and '69, in St. Louis, before they won their first medal, a fourth-place bronze. In Atlantic City in 1970, they finally won the competition.
|SPEBSQSA International Quartet Champions