Directors

Marla Grady - Chorus Director

We are pleased to introduce to you the new director of the Southern Gentlemen Barbershop Chorus, Marla Grady. Marla was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where she received her high school diploma as an honors student from Eastern Wayne High School. She then attended Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, NC, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Music Education. Marla received her Master of Arts in Music Education from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She worked as a general music teacher at Bridgeton Elementary and Vanceboro Farm-Life Elementary from 1987 to 1995 before taking the position of choral director at West Craven High School. During this time, she received several superior ratings at the NC Large Ensemble Choral Festival and four first place superior ratings at the Busch Gardens Choral Competition. She also served as the choir director for Vanceboro Methodist Church and Holly Hill PH Church during this time. Marla retired from West Craven in January of 2017. She is currently teaching music appreciation at Craven Community College and she is the chief GED/ HiSET testing examiner. She also is the piano accompanist for Jacksonville High School. Marla's daughter is starting her junior year and entering the School of Nursing at UNC Wilmington. We are thrilled to have Marla on board as our new director.

Russ Erwin - Assistant Chorus Director

Without Russ and his efforts as one of the two cofounders of the New Bernchapter of our barbershop society we would  not be here tonight. Since 1990 when he and his cofounder formed the Southern Gentlemen Chorus, Russ has served as a leader and as either conductor or assistant conductor for the chorus. He can be counted on to conduct when the chorus has a singing engagement and he is always encouraging and expresses gratitude to those who come to perform.

Russ is the only active member remaining from the original sixteen charter members. He is a retired Marine. For eleven of his active duty years he played the trumpet in the Marine Corps Band. He has been Barbershopper for thirty two years and has attended the Society's school for directors.

We are fortunate and thank Russ for sharing his spirit and dedication throughout our history.