Student Led Beachcombers



A group of Marshfield singers carry on the barbershop quartet tradition, while adding some style of their own.
The Beachcombers are a barbershop quartet consisting of four male students. It started in the 1950s and has been present ever since.

The name originated from a 1920s Canadian group on TV. The positions include the baritone, bass, first tenor and second tenor. The Baritone sings the lowest notes while the first tenor sings the highest notes.

This year, seniors Jacob Klein and Alex Minyard fulfill the roles of first tenor and second tenor, respectively, with juniors Justin Holman and Cory Spann as the Baritone and Bass. According to Minyard, the boys are picked based on their skill level.

“Whoever was previously in Beachcombers, it’s their job to find a replacement to take their part,” Minyard said.

This year, they have performed a new song at every choir concert. They have sung covers such as White Christmas and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and they are planning to sing two songs for the upcoming concert.

In the past two years, they have performed around downtown Coos Bay to prepare for their upcoming performances. According to Minyard, the group tries to be as professional as possible.

The group is student-led, and they take their own time and effort to practice and perform, according to senior Cora Messerle. Messerle acts as a volunteer director. This is the second year the group has had another student to help lead them. According to Spann, she keeps them on track, orders their music, picks songs and learns their parts on the piano so she can aid them with their notes.

“They’re fun,” Messerle said. “It’s nice because I know we didn’t have a teacher. We did it on our own.”

Choir teacher Allison Bassett said she knew of the Beachcombers when she went to Marshfield. According to Bassett, the Beachcombers are a group in which work ethic and commitment determines their success. They practice either before or after school whenever their schedules allow.

Unlike choir, where there is a whole group of people singing, the boys have to sing their own parts solo.

“It’s a challenge because in normal choir there is someone who sings your part, but in Beachcombers you have to hold your own because there is no one else singing with you,” Holman said. “It’s like having a solo the entire time.”

According to Minyard, who has been a Beachcomber since his sophomore year, this year has been a lot different since his first years because he got to know the boys. According to Bassett, since they are not an official class but more of a club, they are allowed to have fun and do their own things.  “I think the Beachcombers are a wonderful opportunity for guys in the community. They are an advanced group and they represent high level musicians,” Bassett said. “High school choir isn’t only for girls.”