Who could rack up seven gold medals, six International Champion Director pins, spend twenty-five years with one chorus, win another gold medal with a second chorus, and never accept a dime of salary? Why, famed Director of the Louisville Thoroughbred Chorus, Jim Miller, of course.
How did he do it? What were his philosophies, his perspectives, his prayers?What were the secrets to his success, and what, pray tell, was the “barbershop etiquette” that he demanded be observed at every rehearsal, show and competition? In this incredible biography, Kenny Ray Hatton, lead singer of the International Championship quartet, The Bluegrass Student Union, tells the story of the making of a master…a master director, as well as a quartet-singer who performed in thirty-seven states, three provinces in Canada and overseas.
Read the story of a man who served as soldier, teacher, coach and mentor… his triumphs and travails — like the time he co-signed a bank loan to finance a trip to a competition-loss — and the episode where his quartet was brought up on ethics charges for singing “Time to Dance” at a religious school. Turns out, those Methodists didn’t believe in dancing! This, for a man who took tap-and ballet-lessons as a child. Yet, nothing compares with the dramatic time spent in a German prisoner-of-war camp and with his quartet’s USO-tour of Vietnam. See the “no-holds-barred” comments about fellow chorus- and quartet-members; the advice, the adventures and the aspirations of the man who knew how to build winning teams, whether it was on the football field or the show-stage….a man known to say things like, “Believe me, I want to do everything your way, just as long as your way also happens to be my way.” So what was Jim Miller’s way?
Growing up as a “barbershop brat,” I saw my share of concerts, competitions and conventions. Yet one man stands out in the history of the Barbershop Harmony Society and that man’s life and times are eloquently captured in this thoroughly enjoyable memoir, "If not for Jim."