MUSIC MEN & jen
central OHIO, USA
John Ewart, a resident of London, Ohio, was an avid barbershopper who, at local Kiwanis Club meetings "volunteered" three other members to perform barbershop numbers from time to time in order for them all to earn membership points. These gentlemen, Ewart, Del Spalsbury, Jim Scofield and Alden Haines called themselves "The Four K's" and gave performances at Kiwanis meetings from 1969 through 1970. That year, Haines moved away and was replaced by local photographer Larry Peters. The lineup of Ewart, Spalsbury, Scofield and Peters continued through the early 1970's until Spalsbury removed himself and was replaced by Lee Roddy in 1974. In 1981 Ewart moved away, organizing other barbershop quartets in those communities where he lived (including the Dixie Lads in Mount Vernon, Ohio), and the Four K’s ceased further activity.
Then in 1998, the Madison County Arts Council put on a production of The Music Man and requested that Ewart (by this time having returned to London) bring his quartet to the production to do the barbershop numbers. The quartet, then consisting of Ewart, Spalsbury, Scofield and John Gorman (a former music student of Scofield), were so well-received that people referred to them simply as "The Music Men." They performed barbershop numbers for local events whenever they were requested. Later that year, Craig Chadwell replaced Spalsbury at the Tenor spot. Rick Dickerson replaced Gorman as the Lead in 2000. In 2005, Ewart brought in Paul Oswalt to replace himself as the Baritone and organizer. The quartet was then known as the Music Men of London. Dickerson and Scofield were no longer part of the group by summer, 2006, and Jeff Gates and Matthew Tlachac were recruited to "reload" the quartet with fresh talent.
Chadwell, Gates, Oswalt, and Tlachac performed together until 2019. During that time, they entertained at both public and private events throughout the London area and beyond (even into that state up north!) and raised thousands of dollars for various local charities including the Relay For Life, Ministry For Community, the Free Health Clinic, the H.E.L.P. House, Habitat For Humanity and the Welcome Table. They appeared several times at the Ox Roast In West Jefferson, the Madison County Fair, the London Bicentennial festivities in 2011 as well as the time capsule dedications in 2011 and 2012. They were also part of the Summer Music Series for the London Public Library. They were the featured guest on 105.1 ReadyFM's Independent Artist Showcase. On Mothers' Day, 2014, they were invited to perform on the set of Fox28's Good Day Columbus--appearing two more times over the next five months. They produced two CD's, As Good As It Gets and A Lump of Coal (Christmas selections).
They came in together and just about left together as well. Matthew Tlachac in 2019 and Jeff Gates in 2020. Jen Vilardi and Steve Lind thankfully stepped into their colored Chucks (figuratively of course). Now technically a Mixed Barbershop Quartet, today's lineup seeks to entertain their audiences with a mix of music themes in the barbershop style, just like the original quartet.