Soldier Quartet Made Harmony in Wartime

Bernard Whaley (left), Larry Stayer (rear) with unidentified pals. i i

Bernard Whaley (left), Larry Stayer (rear) with unidentified pals. Courtesy of Terrance Whaley hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Terrance Whaley
Bernard Whaley (left), Larry Stayer (rear) with unidentified pals.

Bernard Whaley (left), Larry Stayer (rear) with unidentified pals.

Courtesy of Terrance Whaley

Larry Stayer and Bernard Whaley crooned their way through the military. It was 1950 and the National Guard had been activated for the Korean War. Stationed at Camp Polk, La., they began singing together to pass the time. The two soon found a baritone and bass in Jack Goza and John Mueller and formed "The Four Fifths," a barbershop quartet that performed and recorded locally.

Shipped to northern Japan, the group started a much-praised weekly radio show.

After the war, the men returned to their civilian lives in Ohio, Georgia, Michigan and Oklahoma. "We never could quite get a time to all get back together again," said Stayer. He's the last surviving member.

He talks about his favorite songs — among them "Laurabelle Lee" and the quartette from Rigoletto — and the group's days entertaining the troops in Sapporo, Japan.

Three from The Four Fifths

Audio is not available

Audio is not available

Audio is not available

"The Four Fifiths" of the 45th Division entertaining the troops.

"The Four Fifths" of the 45th Division entertaining the troops. Courtesy of Terrance Whaley hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Terrance Whaley

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