In early 1948, Hal Kratzsch, Marvin Pruitt, and brothers Ross and Don Barbour, formed a barbershop quartet called Hal’s Harmonizers. The quartet soon adopted a more jazz-oriented repertoire influenced by Glenn Miller, The Modernaires and Mel Tormé, and renamed itself The Toppers. The same year, with Bob Flanigan replacing Pruitt, they had their first paying gig as The Four Freshmen performing at the “113 Club” in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. They soon drew the admiration of jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie and Woody Herman.
Fast forward to 2021: the group is now in its 27th iteration and going strong! If you have forgotten their sound, take a look at these two short clips: Live in Tokyo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92kZYG0duDU and Raising the Standards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDwMCOJUMuw. Now for the good news: The Four Freshman Society – a fan club with members in twenty-six countries! – is coming to Bellingham for its annual convention in September! If you love the legacy and legendary blend of The Four Freshmen, this event is for you!
UPDATE: After careful consideration, members of The Four Freshman Society have decided to postpone the Bellingham convention until everyone feels safe to travel. Visit http://fourfreshmensociety.com/index.htm for the latest news and announcements.