Littlefield Wins Barbershopper of the Year Award
Dan Place, Feb 11, 2008
When Brett Littlefield’s name was announced as Barbershopper of the Year at the 2008 Awards & Installation Banquet, he received a well-deserved standing ovation. Brett’s long and dedicated service to the Masters of Harmony earned him this prestigious honor. He has served the chapter as bass section leader, assistant director, interim director, long-time member of the Music Committee, soloist (who can forget his rendition of “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child”), and twice member of the MOH Quartet of the Year with The Cool, Cool Quartet and Nightlife.
Brett started singing when he was in junior high school. He sang second tenor in seventh grade, and then a wonderful thing happened. His voice changed and revealed the magnificent bass we all love and admire. He sang in the chamber and concert choirs throughout high school.
Brett was still in high school when he was introduced to barbershopping. He attended a meeting of the Santa Ana Chapter, which is now the Westminster Chapter. Bill Harper was the director but was closely followed by Gene Clements. At Brett’s second meeting he was given his vocal assessment by none other than Mark Freedkin. He sang "Happy Birthday" to Mark and was passed. Ironically, Mark recently gave a vocal audition to Brett’s son, Cody. Brett said, “It’s pretty cool that Mark Freedkin passed my vocal when I was fifteen and passed Cody’s when he was thirteen.”
Brett came to the Masters of Harmony in 1987 on Dr. Greg Lyne’s first night with the chorus and has been a member ever since. He took a short leave of absence to direct the Saddleback Chapter. His few years leading Saddleback produced awesome results. The chorus grew from 25 members to nearly 100. In 2000 the chorus won the SoCal East Divisional and had a fourth-place finish in the Far Western District contest. When Jeff Oxley left the Masters in 2000, Brett returned to the MOH and acted as interim director while the chapter conducted a nationwide search for a new musical leader. Brett has had several stints as bass section leader. He says, “I love this job. I take a positive attitude and work with the section on cooperation and trust.” Over the years Brett has always supported the Masters of Harmony and is very proud of his six gold chorus medals.
Brett’s quartet history is awesome. His first quartet, Bustin’ Loose, consisted of two high school friends and Masters emeritus Dave Gryvnak. After that he was in one quartet after another. He sang in Bumstead who dressed as hobos and won the novice contest in 1987. The next quartet was California Strutters with Rich Hasty. This was followed by Applause with Rich Stanford and the first version of Nightlife with Dan Jordon on lead. He sat out a year from singing with Nightlife and sang in L.A. Tymes, a quartet with Dr. Greg Lyne.
It was at the Ramona Bowl show in Hemet that the original Nightlife members Brett, Rob Menaker and Jeff Baker were singing tags with John Sasine at the afterglow when Jim Kline walked by. He was blown away by the sound and said, “You guys have to be in a quartet together.” That was the start of a memorable page in barbershop history.
Nightlife won district in 1991. After finishing eleventh, fourth, second and third at the International contests from 1992 to 1995, they won the gold in Salt Lake City in 1996. This was the same year the Masters won their third gold medal. Nightlife holds the distinction of being only one of two quartets to win gold chorus and quartet medals in the same year.
Brett’s wife, Karen, was a music major at Cal State Long Beach. She was a student of Dr. Lyne’s and that’s how they met. Karen is a Sweet Adelines International chorus champion with Harborlites. Their children Cody (13) and Sara (10) are both musically inclined and someday we may see a family quartet. How does the “Singing Littlefields” sound?
Now Brett is entering a new phase in his barbershop life. His new quartet, Masterpiece, with other gold medalists Alan Gordon (Gotcha!), Mark Hale (Michigan Jake) and Rob Menaker will be entering the international contest scene in 2009. He knows all about the work and dedication required to be at the top and is looking forward to the challenge.
Brett is very proud to have been selected as Barbershopper of the Year. He said, “I was flabbergasted. It was one of my golden moments. Another golden moment I look forward to is when I hand my son Cody his gold medal after the chorus contest in Nashville.” The chorus wishes the best for Brett Littlefield and his family. He is truly our own MASTER of Harmony!
Return to the News Page