Send Your Sweetheart A Quartet


Attention, young lovers wherever you are.

No Valentines Day gift says "I Love You" more effectively than one which combines romance, roses, beautiful music, and a little public humiliation.

Just ask the Payson woman who has asked to be referred to as Janet.

Tuesday afternoon, Janet was finishing up her day's work in a busy doctor's office when, inexplicably, the front lobby began filling up with men wearing checkered vests and bow ties. Janet was approached by the strangers' outrageously cute cohort, 5-year-old Allie Day, who handed her a single red rose.

And that was the cue for The Beeliners Barbershop Quartet to launch into a magnificently harmonized acappella rendition of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," directly followed by "The Story of the Rose" all for Janet and Janet alone.

"I was absolutely the most surprised I have been in my life," she said afterward. "I had a good idea that something really embarrassing was coming and I had a really good idea that my significant other was behind it.

"But when they started singing so beautifully, it was a very emotional moment," Janet recalled. "I had a lump in my throat, a tear in my eye, and then my honey came in and I thought it was the most incredibly romantic thing that anyone had ever done for me."

As it turns out, that's a typical response to the Valentines Day service provided by The Beeliners a quartet of silky-smooth harmonizers with a combined 144 years of barbershop-singing experience between them.

The group's unofficial singer/spokesman is Don Holcombe. By day, Holcombe is the talk-show host of Rim Country Forum on KMOG Radio.

Holcombe's fellow barbershoppers are Payson's Ron Lodge, who's been warbling in this style since 1951; Valley resident Stu Willcox, an 18-year veteran; and Bill Kane, another metro-Phoenician with acappella experience that dates back to 1951.

The Beeliners who represent one of 800 national chapters of the "Society for the Preservation and Propagation of Barbershop Quartet Singing in the United States" have been honing their harmonies for about eight months, but are just now moving the act to Payson to croon their love-song Valentines to unsuspecting dearly beloveds.

"It's a barbershop tradition to do this on Feb. 14," Holcombe said. "Although we've been performing in the Valley, the travel distances are so much shorter here, we'll be able to get around a lot more quickly and easily."

What Holcombe loves most about singing barbershop which he has done since 1972 is not the music, surprisingly but the camaraderie.

"We travel together, we eat together, we fight together, all as a quartet," he said. "And we have all our other family members involved as well, so it's just an awful lot of fun."

Kane, however, is in it for the sounds.

"I just love the harmony, the feel of those chords," he said. "It's wonderful music, it's fun to participate in, plus it's fun to listen to. If you like the ring of the chord, the exactness that barbershop singing demands, and the time it takes to perfect it, those are the things that keep calling you back."

Willcox has another motivation entirely.

"Really, the only reason I got into this was to get girls," he said.

How many has he scored with so far?

"I'm still waiting for the first one."

The fact is, however, Willcox and his co-singers scored very well with Janet.

"I was so surprised that I forgot to tell them how wonderful they were," she said. "I wish I could just rewind back to that moment and play it over and over again."

To surprise your honey with a Valentine's Day performance by the Beeliners, call Holcombe at 474-6569. Included in the package are a rose and two love songs guaranteed to make any valentine swoon. The group will travel to any home or business within Payson, Pine, Strawberry or Star Valley. The cost is $30, but none of that is profit; all funds will go to travel expenses and uniforms.

Valentine's Day evening, the Beeliners will be performing alternately at Macky's Grill, 111 S. Beeline Highway, and the Mogollon Grille, 202 W. Main St.

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