5 thoughts on “The Portland Pipers, circa 1958

  1. Weren’t the Portland Pipers a barbershop quartet …. members of the City of Roses Chapter of Sweet Adelines?

  2. From the late 50s thru at least the early 1970s, the Portland Pipers were an amateur quartet of female “barbershop” and generalized a cappella singers. They started out as singers in the “City of Roses Chapter” of Sweet Adelines Inc. where they met, clicked, and decided to set up this quartet. I think this larger choral group may survive today as the “Pride of Portland Chorus.” As for the Pipers, they competed in lots of Sweet Adelines regional competitions and won many prizes, in addition to hiring themselves out to perform for lots of local events put on by civic and fraternal groups. From left to right the ladies shown here are Shirley Shepherd baritone (long-time musical director of the group), Barbara Tate lead singer, Donna Scheel tenor, and Barbara Rutnick bass. The ladies were shown in this same line-up (from shortest to tallest) in a May 23, 1962 feature article in the Oregonian (the archives of which are the source of everything else I was able to learn about them). Later on, the quartet diversified and updated its repertoire to include arrangements of popular tunes by Bacharach and the Beatles. Most of the group worked full-time in various professions and as mothers, homemakers; some of their husbands also belonged to amateur barbershop groups in the same organizational set-up. Anyhow, thanks VP for an interesting slice of local cultural life in days gone by.

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