The Orloffs have sung together in the MHBQA quartet "Mixed Metafour" for nearly 20 years; the Becks have sung together in the MHBQA quartet "Kindred Spirits" for over 10 years (as well as individually in a few other rather well-known quartets!) When Global Music Exchange received a request from the Governor of China's Hebei Province (the area surrounding Beijing), asking if they had some barbershop musician friends who could teach the Province's retiree mixed choirs how to sing in the barbershop style, Global Music Exchange CEO Edward Pio turned to his barbershop travel partners Kim and Jerry Orloff.
...Our primary spokesman was Ed Pio, the owner of Global Music Exchange and our "sponsor."Ed
has been in other sessions like this down through the years (both pre-planning trips, and actual performing trips), involving the various jazz groups he
has brought to China, and the high school band "parade" he
had brought just the month before.Ed
was not only our sponsor in the financial sense, but also in the much more important "who you know" sense, introducing us to his
friends and aquaintances as "persons of consequence who can be trusted."It should be noted that while the Hebei Provincial governement and the Tourism Bureau
picked up the tab for the hosting (meals, auto transport and housing), Ed
paid the majority of the quartet's bills, including our airfare to and from China, and our airfare for all the Texas/California commuting for rehearsals.He
really BELIEVES in getting the Chinese people exposed to barbershop harmony!
We were in Ed's capable hands for most of the initial meeting... until the Hebei Chorus music leaders asked for specifics.Just what IS this type of music, and how are you planning to teach it to our singers???Then the four of us were center stage.
Then, to further encourage the formation of a men's quartet, Ed Pio
made the offer to pay all expenses (!) to bring one Chinese men's quartet from the chorus to the SPEBSQSA International convention in Portland in 2002.That definitely got attention... they immediately started plans to form men's quartets (including involving some of the men who had not been able to attend the classes), with later auditions and contests to select the best quartet.On our return flight, Ed
also discussing with Brian and Jerry the possibilities of bringing other quartets to China (male, female, or mixed) to continue this teaching.