About The Glen Echoes

  • The Glen Echoes is a close-harmony quartet located in Montgomery County, Maryland. We are a Registered Barbershop Quartet, affiliated with the Barbershop Harmony Society. In Our style of music, singers try to "ring a chord". This is a phenomenon where the resulting chord is greater than the sum of the four parts. When a chord is sung perfectly in tune, overtones and undertones are generated so that the ear hears five, six or even more distinct tones making up the chord. The Glen Echoes take pride in their ability to truly make their chords ring.

    From left to right, The Glen Echoes quartet is comprised of Mike Holmes (Tenor), Richard Cook (Lead), Al Blount (Bass) and Ken Sleeman (Baritone).

     

In our performances, the lead sings the melody most of the time. He has a fairly wide vocal range. The tenor usually sings a duet with the lead, often going high above the typical male vocal range. The bass sings as the anchor for the chord - usually singing the root or the 5th. Finally, the Baritone fills in the chord. He is commonly known as the "Junk Man", because his notes tend to be whatever is left over to bring harmony to the chord.

Quartet Member biographies

Mike Holmes - Tenor

Mike comes from Lake Shore, Maryland and has lived in Gaithersburg since 1987. He has been singing since he was a child with several organized choruses. In the 1970's he played bass guitar in a couple of rock-and-roll bands, and he also plays piano and clarinet. Mike joined The Society in 1998, and he loves that ringing sound that happens when four voices lock on a chord. Mike is recently retired from a long career as a software engineer, most recently with the J. Craig Venter Institute, a biotechnology company.


Richard Cook - Lead

Richard fell in love with barbershop music while a child. He drove his family crazy playing the Buffalo Bills records back to back while memorizing the songs. An avid singer in his high school chorus, Richard took a long break (about 20 years) before joining the Montgomery County Chapter of The Barbershop Harmony Society in 1994.

Currently a member of Harmony Express - the Germantown, Maryland Chapter - Richard spends his weekdays as a mechanical engineer for Wellstat Diagnostics, LLC to support his singing habit.


Al Blount - Bass

Al has been singing with the quartet since 2014, he did an amazing job of learning nearly 50 songs in just a few months. Al sings with Harmony Express, originally as a baritone, but he is now rcovering from that and sings bass there as well. His voice complements the other members of the quartet producing a mellow blend'.


Ken Sleeman - Baritone

Ken Sleeman's love of music is due in large part to his mother, who encouraged him to take piano lessons at the age of seven. He has sung in choral groups since Junior High School, and continues to play the piano. He has been a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society since 1995. Professionally, Ken has been in the broadcasting business for 47 years, many of those as a deejay, and has a record library of over 40,000 titles. He currently manages the band, Luisa & the Reverbs which features his wife.

Ken is a Rockville native, but spent many years in Colorado and California before returning to his hometown 17 years ago. He's not a bad guy, if you overlook the fact that he is a baritone!

Quartet History
The Start

The Glen Echoes began in 1997 when Richard Cook (singing Lead) and Darrel Dietlein (singing Bass) met at a meeting of the Montgomery County Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society and found that their voices blended well. While a start, they still needed two more members to complete a quartet.

Finding a Tenor

A few early tries at forming a quartet did not pan out until later in 1997 when they found tried singing with Mike Holmes. Mike was singing Baritone, but what they really needed was a gret tenor; Mike's Tenor voice was a perfect fit and he joined Richard and Darrel.

Completing the group

A good Baritone is hard to find, Before the end of the year we completed the quartet with John Hosie singing Bartone, and the Glen Echoes began building a repertoire.

The Quartet in 1997 - The Original Members

The Quartet in 2001

The Washington DC area is quite transient and changes in membership are inevetible. Richard and Mike are still in the quartet, but our Baritone has changed once and our Bass has changed three times. Our first change came in 2001 when John Hosie left the quartet and formed a Mens Four-Part Gospel group in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The search for a new Baritone found our current Baritone - Ken Sleeman.

The second change came in 2005 when Darrel relocated to New Hampshire. We had a few months warning so our search for a new bass quickly found Charlie Sheridan. Charlie jumped in and started learning our 40-plus repertoire songs in record time. By the time Darrel moved, Charlie was ready to perform in public.

The Quartet in 2006 - With a new Bass

The Quartet in 2010 - Another new Bass

Our third change occurred in 2010, Charlie decided it was time to retire from the quartet and asked us to find a replacement for him, while offering to continue until we had a new Bass up to speed. The search was difficult, all of our previous members had been drawn from the membership of the Montgomery County Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, this time we extended our search and found Michael Gilmore, a member of the Alexandria, Virginia Chapter. Michael bacame our Bass in December 2010 when Charlie officially retired.

Our most recent change came in January 2013 with the departure of Michael Gilmore. Michael has wanted to pursue the Barbershop Harmony Society's competetive circuit for some time and the opportunity came in mid 2012 for him to join three other like-minded singers forming a new quartet Handsome Reward.

In late January 2013 we were pleased to add Al Blount as our new Bass. Al learned the quartet's large repertoire in record time, Al has the added challenge in that he sings the Baritone part of some of our material with Harmony Express and now has to Know two parts of the same song.

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