Tenor: Ted Rau
Lead: Bob Freeland
Bass: Jack Briody
Bari: Jimmy Verdick
The Garden State Quartet came to life in 1941. Jimmy Verdick, bari, and Ted Rau, tenor, worked together at Western Electric. Jim knew a lead singer named Bob Freeland in Newark and the three of them met at Ted’s house in Jersey City with Joe Marrese, bass.
These four sang together for about a year, then Verdick enlisted in the Navy. The search for a fourth part began and in May of 1943, the trio found Jack Briody, who had recently been discharged from the Army. Rau was a former nightclub entertainer and Freeland had been a member of a tumbling and singing act in vaudeville during the 1920s. He had also appeared in Irving Berlin’s Broadway show, Yip, Yip, Yaphank. Briody had sung on the radio and in nightclubs with the Garden State Trio and Marrese was a glee club baritone until he began singing with the quartet.
The quartet became New Jersey State champion in 1943 and 1944. They entered international competition in 1944 wearing bathing suits and finished in fifth place.
They dropped down to finalist ranking in 1945 but, with hard work, were able to take the championship at the convention in Cleveland in June, 1946.