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Book details
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:281
  • eBook ISBN:9781623090432

If Not For Jim

...A Story of Excellence

by Kenny Ray Hatton

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Born during the Great Depression, Jim Miller became a professional song and dance man, an All-American football player, a professional baseball player, a decorated WWII soldier, a German POW-escapee, and a high-school coach for football legends Howard Schnellenberger and Paul Hornung before he traveled the country for years as an entertainer with The Derbytowners and The Citations barbershop quartets. Along the way, Jim earned eight gold medals with the Louisville Thoroughbreds and the Southern Gateway Chorus, serving as their Conductor for seven International Championship performances over a "final" career that spanned thirty years. Jim Miller was a real live Forrest Gump, only smart!
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."
About the author
Kenny Ray Hatton is best known as lead of the 1978 International Champion Quartet, Bluegrass Student Union. The ensemble further distinguished itself with excellent recording and live performances over a period of thirty-three years. Ken sang under Jim Miller’s direction with the Louisville Thoroughbred Chorus from 1971 until Jim’s retirement in 1985, winning four gold medals. Ken served as an Associate Director of the Thoroughbreds under Jim for eleven years, and went on to lead the Chorus as Music Director from 1993-1996 (and again as Co-Director with his brother, Allen Hatton from 1998-2001). This is Kenny’s first book.