Tenor: Bob Maurus
Lead: Bruce Conover
Bass: Bob Livesay
Bari: Bob Lindley
Bob Lindley, baritone; Bob Maurus, tenor; Bruce Conover, lead; and Carl Stuhr, bass were all ex-service men who liked to do a little harmonizing. All four were attending Augustana College in Rock Island, IL on the GI Bill. The year was 1946. They decided to form a quartet and made their first public performance at the college the following spring. Soon they were singing for churches and PTA meetings as well as at college gatherings.
They joined the Rock Island chapter of the barbershop harmony society in 1947 and sang in their first district contest that fall, placing third. With $25 donated by the mayor, another $25 from a local radio station, and $50 from various friends, the quartet was able to attend the international convention in Buffalo in 1949.
Bob Livesay joined the quartet as bass in 1951 when Stuhr moved out of the area and the foursome became Illinois District Champions. Livesay had sung as a high school student in Moline and was an experienced quartetter.
The following year, the Vikings placed second in international competition. The quartet won the championship in Detroit in 1953 after having sung seven songs in competition. They were asked to sing an extra song after a hail storm falling on a metal auditorium roof made it impossible for the judges to hear the quartet.
The Vikings made appearances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Opera House, and Philadelphia’s Academy of Music in addition to many chapter shows. At one point, the quartet had its own airplane.
They disbanded in 1955 when Conover returned to active duty in the Air Force. Livesay later sang with Max Lauser, tenor, and Jack Moore, lead, and Maurus moving down to bari. That foursome, the Vi-Counts, became Illinois District Champion in 1958 and placed in the top ten in international competition in 1959.