Tenor: Bob Hodge
Lead: Larry Hassler
Bass: Ken Hawkinson
Bari: Jack Lyon
Seven has to be the lucky number of the Most Happy Fellows, who were crowned international quartet champions in Philadelphia in 1977, one of only 18 quartets who won the gold the first time they medaled in international competition.
This edition of the quartet was seven months old; baritone Jack Lyon had only joined in January. In the three previous years, the “Haps” placed 21st, 14th, and 7th, all numbers divisible by 7. On the 7th day of the 7th month of the 77th year, they were the 7th contestant to appear in the finals – and won the gold. The plane that had brought them to Philadelphia was – what else – a Boeing 747 (of course).
Bass Ken Hawkinson was the only member of the original foursome by the time it reached the top. He had organized and named the group in 1967 with the only-half-prophetic comment that “this will be a fun quartet, not competitive!” Bob Hodge came along about a year later, replacing Harry Aldrich as lead. Bob moved to tenor when lead Larry Hassler joined in 1971.
In January 1977, Jack replaced baritone Bob Jones. One of the unusual strengths of the Haps was that Bob, Larry and Jack (and now Tom), all experienced barbershoppers, could (and did…and still do!) switch parts at will. After an early ’90s, three-year stint with Matt Rice on bass, the Haps’ configuration changed one more time, in 1996, when Tom Wilkie joined the group.
Although long an entertaining foursome, thanks in large part to Larry’s comedic talents, the Haps’ popularity soared after they became champions and introduced their best known personalities to the audience at the 1980 AIC Show: Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz.
In 1989, Most Happy Fellows, the first international medalists from the Evergreen District, were inducted into the Evergreen District Hall of Fame.