« Top 20 Indy quartets | Main | Choral work takes wrong turn into kitsch »

July 5, 2006

Walter Latzko to be inducted into Barbershop Harmony Hall of Fame

Times Herald-Record (NY):

Marjorie and Walter Latzko of Blooming Grove are two terrific people who live a quiet life, but they've had spotlight living as most of us will never have. Walter who will be inducted into the Barbershop Harmony Hall of Fame in Indianapolis on Friday, is still climbing a ladder of success, although a stroke in 1991 curtailed many things in his life.

Younger generations probably never heard of Arthur Godfrey, but the freckled-faced redhead was one of the hottest celebrities on radio and early-day television. Godfrey developed popular talk and variety shows attracting incredibly talented people. Some worked behind the scenes. Walter was one. He was an arranger and coach for the musical groups, even wrote comedy and did a myriad of other things for Godfrey and the celebrities who appeared on the airwaves.

It was during one of the shows he met Marjorie, who had replaced one of the members of the popular quartette the Chordettes. They were regulars on Godfrey's show. It was Marjorie's good fortune to be part of the group's gold record recording of "Mr. Sandman" from which she still receives residuals. Walter was their arranger and coach while they worked for Godfrey. The group appeared on every big-time show of that time, including Ed Sullivan, "American Bandstand" and Perry Como. They toured the country and went overseas to eight countries with Andy Williams and the Everly Brothers. In 2001, the Chordettes were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. More than 600 people were there to applaud their success.

After Walter and Marjorie married and moved to Orange County, they gave up the celebrity life to participate in a greater spotlight, community service. Walter became director of the Orange County Classic Choral Society, worked at the Hall of Fame of the Trotter, was choir director and organist at the Goshen United Methodist Church, and publicist for Arden Hill Hospital. Walter continues to arrange on the computer purchased for him by the barbershop singers. He has arranged more than 900 songs for groups all over the world.

See a list of Walter's arrangements here.

Posted by acapnews at July 5, 2006 10:43 PM