Tenor: Harry Williamson
Lead: Joe Mazzone
Bass: Hal Kauffman
Bari: Ron Knickerbocker
When the Regents won the international quartet championship at Kansas City’s 1974 contest, it may have seemed to some that they had an easy road to the gold. It was their fifth international contest, and they had placed third on two previous tries, in 1972 and 1973.
But collectively tenor Harry Williamson, lead Joe Mazzone, bari Ron Knickerbocker and bass Hal Kauffman had logged 44 years of experience in nearly 25 different quartets. They lived in four different (albeit small and neighboring) states. And they comprised a quartet that had evolved through four editions since it was formed in the mid-1960s.
Harry was the only member who lasted through all four versions. In 1970 he teamed up with Ron (then a lead), Hal and Dave Reed as bari. When Joe left his previous quartet, the Exclusives, in 1971, to take the lead spot, Ron moved to bari.
Interestingly, Hal had been a tenor (and even, at one time, a boy soprano) until a few years before, when Harry persuaded him to switch to bass of a previous quartet so that he, Harry, could sing tenor.
The combination, complete with the various part switches, proved the winning one, as the Regents made their “rapid” climb to the gold.