On Sunday, July 30, 1939, a group of twenty men met in a cottage at Lake Orion, Michigan. At that meeting the Detroit Chapter was organized and a charter was applied for.
Our chapter claims to be the first chapter organized east of the Mississippi River, although this is contested by the Wilmington, Delaware, and Chicago, Illinois chapters. However, no charters were issued by the Barbershop Society until 1941. The Detroit #1 Chapter is believed to be the first chapter chartered east of the Mississippi since one of the Society members in charge of charters was a Detroit Chapter member!
The first meeting of the Detroit Chapter following the first meeting was held at the Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit with about 50 men in attendance. In this group were visitors from other parts of the state that then went on to form chapters in their own cities..
First "Parade of Quartets"
On June 8, 1940, the Detroit Chapter held the Society's first "Parade of Quartets" at the Book Cadillac Hotel's Ballroom. This was the first of a string of shows that lasts to this day. They put eight quartets on stage that evening.
The Detroit chapter had a rich history in competition representing the Pioneer District (originally known as the Michigan District) many times at International competition.
Oakland County Chapter #9
The Oakland County chapter was the ninth chapter chartered in Michigan on November 7, 1941 and was later responsible for making our Barbershop Quartet (and chorus) society International. They were the chapter that sponsored the Windsor, Ontario chapter in March of 1944. Oakland County has also had a rich history in competition going head-to-head with the Detroit Chapter. They too represented the Pioneer District many times at International.
Two Chapters Become One - The Detroit-Oakland Chapter
In 1986 the Detroit Chapter and the Oakland County Chapter merged into one chapter with the Oakland County Chapter surrendering its charter. The newly formed chapter was named the 'Detroit-Oakland' Chapter and went on to win the Spring District Chorus Contest that year.
For More Information...
For a much more detailed account of the history of these two chapters and the entire Pioneer District you should read "A History of the Pioneer District - The First Fifty Years, 1940-1990". This book was written by a longtime Oakland County and later a Detroit-Oakland Chapter member, the late Robert T. McDermott. Much of the information presented here comes from that resource.
We have been the Pioneer District Champs and enjoy competing in the two Pioneer District contests every year. We also put on a fantastic annual show in February as well as singing at a multitude of civic and private functions around Detroit and its suburbs.