The Mixed Barbershop Harmony Association (MBHA) is a 501(c)3, non-profit charitable organization serving the needs of mixed barbershop harmony in North America. Established in 2014, its leadership comprises men and women with vast experience and participation in the barbershop style and performing in the mixed barbershop harmony genre. The MBHA is an affiliate of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
The MBHA seeks to provide a “voice” for the community of barbershop singers whose ensembles include a mix of men and women singers. Through the MBHA, mixed barbershop harmony ensembles will find opportunities for competition and the ability to represent North America on the world stage at the World Mixed Harmony Competition in Germany, hosted by Barbershop in Germany. (BinG!)
Board of Directors
Ronald Morden – President
Ron has been a member of BHS for over 50 years, was formerly CSD President & Treasurer, served on 2012 BHS Mixed Harmony task force. Competed at the Int’l. level 6 times with 1972 CSD quartet champions, the Jax of Harmony, plus competed in Int’l. chorus competitions 4 times with American Barberboys and Ambassadors of Harmony. Has sung in mixed quartets with wife, Jayne, for nearly 15 years until her death in 2014. Their first mixed quartet, Celebration, placed 3rd when it competed at the Buckeye Invitational mixed quartet contest.
Ron organized the Mixed Barbershop Harmony Association in 2014 and subsequently gained IRS approval of it as a 501(c)3 charitable entity. Currently sings with Pride of Iowa chorus (Des Moines, IA area) and serves as that chapter’s VP-Music & Performance. He also sings in a popular central Iowa based mixed quartet, QuadratoniX.
Roxanne Powell – Vice President
Roxanne has over 40 years of leadership and management experience as a teacher, religious education assistant director, and managing editor of two community newspapers. She has been an active q
uartet and chorus singer for 39 years as a member of SAI and HI and is a founding member of the Bella Nova chorus in Northern Virginia. She founded and directs Full Circle, a mixed voice barbershop ensemble in Ellicott City, Maryland, and is the associate director of a mixed-voice community chorus of 55 men and women.
She is a founding member of the Women’s Harmony Brigade and manages the referral process for new members. In her spare time she serves as the editor of the quarterly on-line bulletin of the Mid-Atlantic District of the BHS and serves on the HI international board as Vice President of Education and page designer of their online magazine, The Key-Note.
In her youth, Roxanne was a wall flower who never got to swing. (Except in the red velvet swing at the San Francisco Steak House . . . but we don’t talk about that.) She poured the punch and chatted with all the guys who were too shy to ask the gals to dance. Roxanne sings bass with the gals and bari in mixed ensembles. She is married to Dick, the only man she ever found who talks faster than she does. The mother of seven and grandmother of five, she spends her time singing and helping others to find their voices in song.
Howard Donley – Treasurer
Howard is a 47-year member of BHS and currently belong to the Frank Thorne chapter in the Rocky Mountain District. He and his wife were charter members of the Orloff’s MHBQA in the early ’90’s with Champaign Edition quartet, and were also a part of the Mixed Harmony Affiliate Task Force chaired by Joe Cerutti in 2012.
On Saturday, October 3, 2015 President Ron asked me to be the treasurer for the new Mixed Barbershop Harmony Association that he had incorporated in 2013 and got the IRS approval for a 501c3 status in 2014. On Monday, October 5, 2015, we had a bank account and funding. Per recent events, we are now the first US/Canadian Affiliate of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Sarah Comer – Membership
Born into a Barbershop household, and now a third generation Barbershopper – Sarah’s life has been influenced and shaped by barbershop singing since the day she was born. When she was only a few years old, Sarah would often stick around to “sing” with her parents during their frequent quartet rehearsals Both her father, Dale and her mother, Lila have been very active in BHS and SAI. Dale has been a director for over 32 years, and a certified Singing judge for almost as long. Lila, an SAI member since 1972, was very active in the Region level acting as Regent and holding many other offices. Sarah has been a member of the Acapella Omaha chapter of SAI in Omaha, Nebraska for almost 3 years. An accomplished and talented singer in her own right, Sarah has been involved in many select choirs in high school and college. In addition to vocal music, Sarah was also very active in instrumental music throughout high school and college – including marching band, concert band, symphonic band, pep band, and jazz band. Sarah is a vocal proponent of mixed barbershop singing and is eager to start a mixed quartet for competition. Sarah has lost count of how many district conventions, rehearsals, and coaching sessions she has been to in her 30 years.
Sarah received a BA from the University of Nebraska in 2009 and her MA from the Iliff School of Theology in 2013. Sarah currently works as the SNAP Outreach and Partner Relations Manager for the Food Bank of Lincoln and the Food Bank for the Heartland. Sarah oversees SNAP (food stamp) outreach throughout the state of Nebraska as well as leading/preparing education, training, and compliance standards for partner agencies. Sarah has experience in data management, marketing, client engagement, volunteer management, program development, member recruitment, training/education, grant/finance management, and program support. Sarah enjoys traveling, reading, meeting new people, and spending time with her tubby cat, Miss Kitty.
Barry Towner – Director
Barry has been a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society since 1975, when he joined the Scarborough Dukes of Harmony in the Ontario District. He has won two International Chorus Gold Medals with them, and also had the privilege of directing them in the 1988 International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. He is presently a member of the Toronto Northern Lights (2013 International Chorus Champions) and the Hamilton Harbourtown Sound and also directed the Barrie County Chordsmen for 12 years. He has sung in many District level quartets, and has two 5th place bronze medals in International Seniors Quartet contests. Barry is a certified BHS Performance judge and is the current Category Specialist of the Performance Category.
Barry’s wife Sharon is a Sweet Adeline, singing with the 4 time SAI Chorus Champion North Metro Chorus. They have three daughters, all of whom sing with North Metro and whose husbands are all barbershoppers (two with Hamilton and one with Barrie), Their three grandsons are all barbershoppers, singing with Hamilton and Barrie chapters, and the Ontario Youth A cappella (O YA) Chorus which Barry and Sharon founded 7 years ago for young men between the ages of 12 and 25.
Barry’s involvement with mixed quartet and chorus singing began with his involvement with BinG! (Barbershop in Germany, a mixed organization and affiliate of the BHS) in 2006. He has judged 4 of their national contests which pits male, female, and mixed quartets in the same contest against each other. He and Sharon have also coached for 6 years at the BinG! Harmony College, as well as coaching many quartets and choruses (male, female, and mixed) in Germany. Barry was instrumental in assisting BinG! to make the step to host the First World Mixed Quartet Contest at their Narional Contest in 2012, and worked with Renate Klocke from BinG! in the development of the rules related to that contest. He has been on the judging panel for the first three World Mixed Quartet Contests in 2012, 2014, and 2016 (their contests are held every other year), and will be on the judging panel in Munich Germany in April 2018 for the Fourth World Mixed Quartet Contest, and the First World Mixed Chorus Contest. Barry and Sharon are committed to the growth of the Mixed Barbershop Harmony Association and are charter members. Barry serves as a Director of the MBHA with major responsibility being interfacing with the Contest & Judging Committee of the Barberhop Harmony Society.
Gerry Borden – Director
Gerry is an active member of the Barbershop Harmony Society (also known as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, Inc.), and serves in several capacities. Locally, he is the Director of the Chilliwack Harmony Chorus and Assistant Director of the Greater Vancouver Gentlemen of Fortune, and sings lead in the quartet, Abby Road. He recently complete a three year term on the Society’s International Board of Directors, overseeing the management of the 23,000 member Society.
He is also Chair of the Sing Canada Harmony Scholarship Committee, the official charitable arm of the Barbershop Harmony Society in Canada, and supported by the women’s organizations of Sweet Adelines International and Harmony Incorporated. His duties include the awarding of scholarship funds in support of vocal music education in our schools and communities across Canada.
Gerry is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University, with a degree in music education; and completion of the Volunteer Management program at Grant MacEwan Community College in Edmonton. He also took studies in Parks Management from Lethbridge Community College. He is married to Linda and lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
Carlos Aguayo – Director
After singing in an auditioned, 16-voice jazz choir in high school, where he got his first taste of barbershop singing Coney Island Baby, Carlos felt right at home returning to the risers with the Duke City Sound in Albuquerque back in 2009. From the first tags sung after that first rehearsal, he knew he had found his tribe among the BHS, and jumped in with both feet. His first quartet, Paramount, formed in 2011, and were novice champs their first year out, and were Rocky Mountain District’s 3rd place quartet champs in 2012. Carlos moved to Portland in search of more fruitful opportunities in the recovering high-tech sector, and he has joined the Bridge Town Sound chorus, and also sings in an upstart mixed barbershop chorus.
Carlos studied computer science and engineering at UC Davis in California, and works as a systems architect. He also loves to get away from glowing screens in favor of hiking, bicycling, skating, or, oftentimes, singing. He serves on the board of the BHS Portland Metro Chapter as Program Manager, and has been advocating for mixed harmony opportunities since well before connecting with the folks who would become founding members of the MBHA board. He lives in Portland with his wife, Clara, who also makes beautiful music at every opportunity.