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Group sings aboard sternwheeler, on Amtrak and at community events throughout Willamette Valley

Oregon's only barbershop quartet and ensemble that performs to support Willamette Valley communities is looking for people interested in singing on the water, on Amtrak and at local events.COURTESY PHOTO - Quartet members include baritone Jerry Herrmann (from left), lead Tim Miller, bass Jerry Miller and tenor Ken Cox.

Tenor Ken Cox from Oregon City said the New History Minstrels were organized several years ago to share regional and local history through entertaining barbershop harmony.

"Programs have been conducted from one end of the Willamette Valley to the other and have reached over 5,000 people in the last five years," Cox said.

The singers have performed for the governor, the Oregon Legislature, most city governments and nearly all Willamette Valley county fairs. Their programs include carefully researched historical narratives that are presented between entertaining songs performed in four-part barbershop harmony.

"We are looking for singers young and old who would like to participate in a really entertaining delivery of a cappella music and history," Cox said.

Programs have been conducted aboard light rail, on the Portland Spirit and on river tour vessels, from the Willamette Queen in Salem to the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler in Portland/Cascade locks. A partnership with Willamette Queen Sternwheelers in Salem produced the first "Northwest Harmony on the Water – Showboats A Comin" program.

Willamette Queen Owner Barbara Chesbrough hopes to expand the program now that COVID is in remission.

"Entertaining our passengers on board while we travel the beautiful Willamette is what we're all about with this program," Chesbrough said.

Music director Dr. Jeff Nelson from Beavercreek instructs and leads the group in perfecting their performances.

"Members of Clackamas Community College music programming and arts provide evaluation and critique for best delivery. The group is seeking members in lead harmony, tenor, baritone and bass. No previous experience is required, but would be desirable," Nelson said.

When: The group meets 4:30-6 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Where: Canby's Historic Depot Museum at 888 N.E. 4th Ave., located right in front of county fairgrounds off Highway 99E.

Who: All are welcome to come and see the group in action, join in with a professional director assisting.

Information: Interested persons should contact Jerry Herrmann at 503-260-3432 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to confirm attendance. There is no cost.

Harmony on the Water: Performances can be booked by contacting the Willamette Queen Sternwheeler and Barbara Chesbrough at 503-409-5325 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Interested persons can call 503-371-1103 for reservations for brunch, dinner and special events cruises with the history minstrels.


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