Home
. Photos . History

TRAILBLAZER HISTORY

by Bill Norris

The "Trailblazers" started in 1969 at the Red Roost Campground, on the Wicomico River, White Hall, MD. The Red Roost was owned and operated by the late Frank Palmer and his family. He had been with the Montgomery County Chapter, then opened the Red Roost Restaurant and Campground and sang with the Salisbury Chapter. They were hosting the Southern Division Convention that year. The name Red Roost came from the conversion of an old chicken roost into a good restaurant and crabhouse. Of course we had some great crab feasts at those campouts! Frank was a good tenor and loved woodshedding.

Two of the best Woodshedders
Bill and Jules - Camping right from the start

It was Bob Anderson's idea for the campers to get together there in 1969, and Charlie Fiske had sung with Frank in the Montgomery County Chapter and recommended the location. Bob's girlfriend (later his wife) was Lois Smithson, founder and first director of the Elkridge Chapter of Sweet Adelines. They were both great woodshedders and one of my fondest barbershop experiences was singing all night with Lois, Dave Geasey and the extraordinary Danny Cuthbert in a staircase of a hotel somewhere. When the sun came up Danny said maybe he should go to bed. He was in his early 90's at that time!

I'm not sure of all of the rest of the campers at that first campout, but Robby Garber was there (as a kid) with his family, and Pat Sigmon, her son and her mother.

I started at the second campout, which was held at Morris Meadows, and then we had a meeting at Bob Garber's house to get things organized. We selected the name "Trailblazers" and appointed some duties. Present were Bob Anderson, Bill Norris, Jack Wagner, Bill "Wild Bill" "Cash" "Mac" McCall, and Bob Garber. Bob Anderson really liked to go around and organize quartets.

For many years the campouts were enhanced by special events. Crab feasts, Jack and George Wagner brought there ovens and cooked pizzas for everyone for several years. Charlie and Shirley Fisk got married at Massanutten.

Battle of Cedar Creek is the place that the owner woman was a little crazy and threw Frankie Pass out of the bathroom so she could clean it. They also put some non-barbershoppers right next to me and a young guy came over to my fire with a baseball bat to make us quiet down (yikes!). The CG fixed a Saturday night meal of Rib-eye steak, potato salad, cole slaw roll/butter, coffee for $3.99. It was good too.

When Bob became inactive Jack Wagner, George's brother, got involved with the operating of the "Trailblazers". After his death Bud Laumann took over the reigns and Bill Norris and Ken Lawton did the organizing and planning before Jules Blazej started to do the work, and then Doug Bayliss took over. Doug passed on the reins of wagon master to Jack Watters from the Patapsco Valley Chapter in 2004 and the beat goes on!

Trying to remember all the campgpounds we visited is going to be tough but here are at least most of them:

Red Roost, White Hall, MD
Morris Meadows, Monkton, MD
North Fork, Front Royal, VA
_____, Harpers Ferry, WV
Mountain Creek, Gardners, PA - prepared beer pancakes for us on Saturday breakfast.
Drummer Boy, Gettysburg, PA
_____, Leonardtown, MD
Holiday Pines, Hancock, MD
Pine Grove, Greensboro, MD
Massanutten, Luray, VA
Battle of Cedar Creek, Middletown, VA
Granite Hill, Gettysberg, PA
Roundtop, Gettysburg, PA
Log Cabin, Cross Junction, VA
Crows Nest Lodge, Thurmont, MD
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park, Williamsport, MD
Gettysburg KOA, Gettysburg, PA
Hershey Conewago Campground, Hershey, PA
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park, Luray, VA


Home
. Photos . History

Fun, Fellowship and 4-part Singing!

Barbershopper who sings barbershop harmony in four parts. Camps or goes camping to sing
with other barbershop singers. We sing four part (4 part) barbershop harmony. Sometimes we
harmonize in the style of "woodshed."

Mission: Mid Atlantic District Barbershopper's who camp twice a year for fun, relaxation and lots of singing.