The America the Beautiful Chorus is the performing name of the Pikes Peak Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. The chapter was chartered on July 1, 1946 and has been in continuous operation ever since. The chorus has sported other names throughout its history and previous to our current moniker, the Chorus was known as the Highland Harmonizers.
In its early years, the chapter was comprised primarily of members from two local churches—First Christian and First Methodist Churches. Local music store owner, Fred Miller along with Eugene McCleary and Bernard Vessey were prominent in the establishment of this new singing group. Initial meetings were held in the basement of the Miller Music Company but as membership grew practices were held at what is now the Lon Chaney Theater at City Auditorium.
The chorus was fortunate in its early years with the arrival of Harry Sparrow, a retired accountant from Parsons, Kansas. He possessed a considerable file of barbershop musical arrangements which became much of the source of repertoire for the young chorus. He served as chorus director, chapter president and eventually elected president of the Central States District earning him the well–deserved nickname as “Mr. Barbershopper.” At that time, Colorado Springs was considered part of the Central States District by the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA), which is now known as the Barbershop Harmony Society.
With the expanded popularity of barbershop singing, reorganization was necessary and the chorus was reassigned to the newly formed Rocky Mountain District (RMD). RMD includes all or part of nine different states. The chorus has been a regular participant in RMD competition over the years and boasts a district championship from 1957.
There have been quartets formed from the chorus membership over the years that have achieved some notoriety. “The Hi-Chords” quartet won the Central States District championship in 1963. Later, “Rockies IV” won the RMD Senior Division Championship and followed up with an International Senior Quartet Championship in 1993. Most recently, Velcro won the 2019 Rocky Mountain District Senior Quartet Championship.
Over the years the chorus has been blessed with good quality musical leadership. Currently, the chorus is fortunate to have International Quartet champion Jim Clark as its director. Under his direction the chorus has won the Rocky Mountain District Most Improved Chorus award three times since his joining the chorus in 2010. You can learn more about Jim Clark in the Our Director page in the About Us tab of this web site.