In music as in farming, the time between sowing and reaping can be long. In the newest addition to our Bass section, Jim Corey, Northwest Sound is reaping the benefits of musical seeds sown long ago.
Jim’s dad Patrick sang Baritone with the Lake Washington Skippers, the forerunners to NWS, from 1959 to 1967 and with a barbershop chorus in Burien from 1967 to 1971. Jim’s now deceased aunt, Nancy Johnston, also sang in the 1970s and 1980s with the Lakeside Chorus, which became a cappella joy. Perhaps more importantly, Jim grew up hearing records played of the top quartets of the day.
Jim was raised in Burien and Bremerton. He didn’t start singing himself until he was 19 and joined his church choir. It was at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Sea-Tac that he sang in a small ensemble whose core was a quartet but whose members fluctuated over time and by performance, what we in barbershop might call a VLQ. This mixed group sang contemporary gospel music, mostly accompanied by piano and drums, and was called “Plus Three,” a reference to always having the Trinity to back them up no matter the vocal lineup for any given performance.
Jim got an Associate’s degree in IT from Olympic College, and has had a career in the datacenter environment, including for eight or nine years at Microsoft. He moved to Texas in 2007 and did a variety of IT things there, including a six-week stint in Africa, before returning to the Seattle area in March of 2011 for his current job as a database administrator for TCS, a Boeing subcontractor.
When Jim decided to get back into singing, he went online and searched for “Bellevue a capella” and came up with this this list of Puget Sound choirs provided by the Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA) of Washington. He scrolled down to the listings for Eastside, looked for the word “a cappella” in the group descriptions, and found Northwest Sound. Lucky us.
Jim’s kids, who live with his ex in Aurora, Colorado, are Lindsey, 22, who attends the Community College of Aurora and is interested in Business and Marketing, and Chris, 19, who’s working as a software tester intern.
Besides singing, Jim took six months of guitar lessons in Texas and has learned more from a game for Xbox called Rocksmith, where you plug in and really play your guitar. Guitar taken a back seat to singing for the moment, but he’s interested in picking it up again.
Of his experience with NWS so far, Jim says it’s a testament to how well things are set up that someone who has been out of singing for five years can get off to such a quick start. He’s impressed that a member can be as ambitious as he wants in a chorus like this but that the chorus accommodates and supports those who must strike balances. The biggest bonus, he says, is how welcoming everyone is.
If Jim’s chorus participation this early in the game and his ear singing at afterglow are any indication, he has a very bright barbershop future indeed. Make sure you say hi to him.