Bloomington, IL – The 71st annual Illinois District Convention/Contest was held in Bloomington/Normal September 19-20, 2014. Our community hosted more than 600 a cappella singers and families from as far away as Bellville and Northbrook. Major and minor chords were heard all across the twin cities at all hours of the day and night. From the lobby of the Marriott hotel in Uptown Normal to the stage of the downstairs of Lucca Grill pizza, it was very apparent that barbershop was alive and well in Central Illinois.


View the 2014 Fall Convention photos online.


A huge thank you to all of the individuals who helped host this event (drivers for judges, risers, registration, printing/programs, chorus/quartet guides, photographers and more). Our brothers and sisters in harmony felt welcome thanks to your efforts.


One for the record books It was our first “all in one” convention as groups competed for multiple titles and the chance to represent the state of Illinois in Pittsburgh, PA in International competition next summer.

Bloomington’s Sound of Illinois (SOI) chorus topped a field of 11 groups to earn its eighth consecutive trip (11th overall) to international competition with an average score of 83.5. The 86-man chorus, directed by Terry Ludwig, also earned the most entertaining package award with a heart-felt rendition of Old Man River and All Aboard for Dixieland.
Two Bloomington quartets also took honors in a field of 17. After Hours, 2010 Illinois quartet champion, will be the state’s representative in Pittsburgh with an average score of 86.9 – their highest score yet. Drive Time was crowned 2014 state champion.


  • After Hours members: Tim Beutel, tenor; Ben Harding, lead; Bryan Ziegler, baritone; Dan Wessler, bass. Beutel is the SOI assistant director; Harding is a vocal coach.
  • Drive Time members: Tim Mahannah, tenor; Tim Pashon, lead; Rich Hansen, baritone; Andy Isbell, bass. Pashon and Hansen are Bloomington members, and Hansen will be 2015-16 Illinois District president.


Another SOI quartet, At Least We’re Loud, won novice quartet honors (at least two members competing for the first time): Tim Beutel, tenor; Kevin McClelland, lead; Mark Sauder, baritone; Dean Beutel, bass.


A former Central Illinois Barbershop icon, John Hanson, was recognized as the 24th recipient of the Illinois District Quartet Champion’s Association Music Man Award. This was to honor him for his pioneering contributions to barbershop chapters, quartets and choruses. Though he passed away in 1954, his contributions helped a cappella music take root in Bloomington and across America


Of the 17 quartet competitors, nine had at least one Bloomington member.