News and Tribune

December 5, 2013

Louisville Thoroughbreds usher in holiday season

Men’s chorus to host 65th annual show


LOUISVILLE — As the holiday season unfolds, there are very few events in Southern Indiana or Louisville that match the staying power and tradition of the Thoroughbreds annual holiday show.

To be held Saturday, Dec. 7, at the historic Memorial Auditorium in downtown Louisville, this year’s event  is titled “A Special Night,” and organizers promise it will be special in many ways.

“This year’s show happens to fall on Pearl Harbor Day, so we felt it was fitting to honor our military, both active and retired, with some classic patriotic selections,” said Drew Wheaton, director of the Thoroughbred Men’s Chorus. “And since it is our 65th annual show, we have invited past members of the Thoroughbred chorus to join us. It’s been great having them back at rehearsals, and we look forward to singing on stage with them on Saturday. It’s going to be a great show.”

Of interest to Southern Indiana readers, a number of the men in the show are Hoosier residents. They include Mike Ehringer, Dave Lobeck and Kipp Buckner from Sellersburg; Ron Posante and Darrell Graham from Palmyra; Dave Schroeder from Corydon; Charlie Schadland from Jeffersonville; Harry Harden from English; Tom Campbell from Charlestown; and Eddie Murphy from English.

The roots of the Thoroughbred Annual Show at Memorial Auditorium run deep. The first show took place Nov. 23, 1946, and it has been going strong ever since. It was the brainchild of Louisville resident Fritz Drybrough, and was hosted at the same Memorial Auditorium more than 65 years ago.

In 1946, the intent of the show was to showcase the premier quartets in the country. It has since evolved into a full-blown choral show. But, the premiere quartets have not been forgotten.

This year, the feature quartet will be “Interstate Rivals,” who won the 1987 international competition in Hartford, Conn. Individual members of the quartet went on to win numerous gold medals with other quartets such as Keepsake, Gas House Gang, Marquis, Platinum and Old School.

As a group, and individually, they have traveled the world performing four-part a cappella barbershop music. Two of the four members of the Interstate Rivals happen to be Thoroughbreds, bass Jay Hawkins and tenor Buckner.

Closing out the show will be classic holiday and Christmas songs, as well as some holiday selections people may not have heard before.

“It’s a fantastic way to officially start the Christmas season,” said Wheaton.

And the Thoroughbreds have a special offer for News and Tribune readers.

“We know the Ohio River can sometimes feel like an ocean, so we want to offer a special rate to our Southern Indiana friends,” said Eric Hunstiger, the group’s president. “If you call our ticket hotline and purchase your tickets by 9 Friday evening, you will receive a $5 discount per ticket. The tickets will be waiting for you in will-call at the Memorial Auditorium. We look forward to seeing you there.”


• WHAT: “A Special Night” presented by the Louisville Thoroughbred Men’s Chorus.

• WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 7; 1:30 p.m. matinee and 7:30 p.m. evening performance

• WHERE: Memorial Auditorium. 970 S. Fourth St., Louisville

• TICKETS: $18 per ticket — reserved seating only. ($5 discount off per ticket if purchased by Friday evening); call 502-583-SHOW, credit cards accepted.


• The Thoroughbreds are a group of men dedicated to excellence in singing, musical education and the preservation and enrichment of  a cappella harmony. Also known as the Louisville No. 1 Chapter, the Thoroughbreds are a nonprofit charitable organization, singing their style of a cappella harmony since 1945. They have sung for dignitaries, civic functions, sporting events, as well as audiences of up to 13,000. They hold seven international gold medals. The chapter has produced several award winning quartets including the Bluegrass Student Union, Interstate Rivals, Second Edition and The Barons.