The Gentlefolk

Arlene grew up in a parsonage with two ministers, her father and her mother. It was church music that got her attention. She loved playing the piano for church, small groups, and for her own enjoyment.  At Warner Pacific College she studied piano and organ and sang in the a cappella choir and the oratorio society. While in college she found her calling as an elementary school teacher and as Rex’s partner for life. Together they raised their three children and added a fourth one during his high school years.  Four grandchildren are her delight along with volunteering as a Stephen Minister, gardening, bicycling with Rex, reading, and traveling. Her natural alto voice skips along above the other three voices, adding the glistening tenor notes.

 Rex grew up on a farm in Indiana.  His father and mother began singing together in high school and were called to sing at weddings, church revivals, funerals, and in quartets and trios. Singing was as natural to him as breathing. An aunt said she could hear him singing above the noise of the tractor as he cultivated the corn.  At Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon, he majored in voice and sang in their oratorio society.  It was during these college years that he met Arlene, a pianist.  He first asked her to accompany him as he practiced and found courage to ask her for a date. They have been making music together ever since. He is the father of four children and grandfather to four.  Rex is a retired elementary school teacher, a bicyclist, and a volunteer repairing inner city homes.  His clear natural tenor voice draws this quartet’s other three voices together in sweet harmony.


 Since she was a little girl, Grace has loved to sing, and she did so, usually as a second soprano or an alto during her high school years in Iowa and in Washington State. She also played the piano and trombone.  At Pacific Lutheran College, in Tacoma, she was interested in auditioning for the Choir of the West, but realized that it would be difficult to manage both the choir’s busy schedule and spring tour in addition to pursuing a premed course. She did play her trombone in the college’s band and took voice lessons for one semester as a graduation gift from her parents. Now, years later, as a retired pediatrician, she still loves to sing, and she does so regularly in her church choir, either as alto or tenor. As one of the Gentlefolk, however, she took the only part that was left, baritone, and decided to give it a try. It’s a crazy part, but she enjoys it, as she joins the other three members, her husband, Fred, and friends, Arlene and Rex, in making harmony.

Born into a musical family, Fred never could get the hang of playing the piano and failed miserably with the bass viol .  However, with the ability to read music he found himself in a variety of choirs and choruses as a child, relegated to providing harmony as an alto, never the soloist. He was a tenor for about two weeks as an adolescent and then his voice plummeted to the cellar of the vocal register. At the College of Puget Sound he was a member of the Adelphian Choir. In 1967 he discovered barbershop style singing and realized - for the first time in his life - that he could contribute to a quartet in equal measure with the other three voices. In medical school he fell in love with his classmate, Grace.  A long happy marriage and six children attest to the fact that they can make harmony together as a duo. At retirement he was happy to leave his beeper at the hospital and now has time to enjoy being the bass of the Gentlefolk.