In February 1947, several La Crosse area men began gathering weekly to establish a chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. (SPEBSQSA). They met at “old” Central High School, located on the south side of the 1500 block of Cass St., where Weigent Park is today.
By April 1947, they were formally chartered by the non-profit society as the Coulee Chordsmen. They put on a show featuring their chorus as well as local and guest quartets. Membership grew to about 120 in the early 1950’s. Over the years, television and other societal trends impacted the number of men joining the chapter. Today, the current membership consists of 54 men with 30 to 35 regularly participating.
Since 1947, the Chordsmen have produced annual shows each spring. Every August they perform a show called Harmony Under the Stars (HUTS) at Riverside Park. The HUTS show every summer serves as a benefit performance with voluntary donations given to area charities and service organizations.
Through the years, the Chordsmen chorus and quartets have performed free of charge for audiences in schools, care centers, hospitals, and churches. We also participate in fundraising events in the Coulee Region. The total audience attendance ranges between 7,500 and 10,000 people in a year.