Smoot to present Four Freshmen

PARKERSBURG – The Smoot Theatre will present its final performance of the 2012-2013 season when The Four Freshmen take the stage at 8 p.m. May 11 at 213 Fifth St. in downtown Parkersburg.

Tickets will be $29 for adults and $15 for students high school and younger. Ticket information is available by calling the Smoot at 304-422-PLAY (7529) or online at

During the performance, The Four Freshmen will be joined by the Smoot House Band.

The Four Freshmen’s influence on American jazz and pop singing began in 1948 with four students at Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind. Hal Kratzsch, brothers Ross and Don Barbour, and their cousin Bob Flanigan created a brand new vocal sound.

Working without written music and choosing notes by ear, they spread their jazz voicing over a wider range than other groups, and they imitated the phrasing and aggressive feel of a big band brass section.

When band leader Stan Kenton heard the group at the Esquire Lounge in Dayton, Ohio, he immediately recognized their potential. At his urging, Capitol Records signed the Four Freshmen in 1950, initiating a string of hits with “It’s A Blue World,” “How Can I Tell Her” and “Day By Day.” The Freshmen have produced over 70 singles and albums.

Wherever The Freshmen went, they won fans and inspired vocal groups. They played nearly every college in the U.S.A., performing in all 50 states and 44 countries from Asia to Europe to Australia. Bob Flanigan retired from performing in 1992, but he continues as the group’s mentor and personal manager.

There have been 22 different line-ups, and the current group consists of Brian Eichenberger, Curtis Calderon, Vince Johnson and Bob Ferreira.

While the concert is the final performance of the current season, the Smoot will remain active this summer through its annual Camp Vaudeville program for children and Camp Broadway program for teens, providing instruction and experience with live theater.