Fermata NowhereBACK

(l to r) Pauling, Conner, Burns, Gougeon
TenorJeff GougeonLeadTom (TJ) Conner
BariSteve PaulingBassJohn Burns
Formed in Fall 2000, Fermata Nowhere has more than 100 years’ musical performance experience amongst its members. Based in southeastern Michigan, FN is a perennial top performer in contests—the most 2nd place finishes in Pioneer District history; and, as of October 2006, the current Pioneer District Quartet Champions. In July 2006, in Indianapolis IN, the quartet was honored and proud to represent Pioneer District in the Barbershop Harmony Society’s annual International Convention and Contest. Three of the men have been good friends for more than 25 years and all four love to sing and perform together.

Steve Pauling—baritone—Originated the amusing play-on-words of the quartet’s name. A busy family man, Steve is husband of Sue and father of three vivacious daughters Sarah, Emily, and Hannah. He is the eccentric ‘barefoot director’ of the Grosse Pointe MI ‘Lakeshore Chorus’ men’s barbershop chorus.

Tom ‘TC’ Conner—lead/melody—A retired territory sales manager for a large consumer goods company where he was awarded ‘Salesman of the Century’. TC is the dutiful husband of the delightful—and long-suffering—Tina, whose ‘selfless’ contribution to the quartet is encouraging Tom to “get out and do something!”—so he sings!—and he golfs.

Pete Burns—bass—This ‘singing plumber’ provides the big pipes in the basement of the quartet. Pete’s wife Sally—affectionately referred to as the quartet’s ‘lovely laundry lady’—is a Sweet Adeline and performs in her own wonderfully hilarious and successful comedy quartet—Novelty Shop.

Jeff Gougeon—tenor—The single guy in the group and an ‘American Material Culturist’. Other than vocal music, Jeff’s interests and passions include history, art and antiques, museums, and reading. Jeff’s shining light is his 5-year-old nephew Alexander who calls Jeff ‘Uncas’ because he has another Uncle Jeff.

Beween 2001 and 2004, Fermata Nowhere finished in second place six times. Three of the four were members the quartet Resolution, which finished second in 1997 and 1998. The total: eight second place finishes to seven different quartets. Then things got close: in fall 2004, they lost the district championship by just one point. In fall 2005, they lost by two points. But just as 2006 proved to be a magic year for the Tigers, it was magic for Fermata Nowhere, which won its first contest in spring 2006, winning 1,770 points or 73.8 percent as they beat three recent district champs who had previously beaten them. Their spring win against past champs gave them the right to represent Pioneer District at the 2006 International Convention where they finished 39th, winnng 2,298 points or 76.6 percent. This fall’s score of 74.1 percent was 2.4 percentage points lower than the summer score but three tenths of a percentage point higher than their spring 2006 score. And finally, the District trophy, designed by a fellow member of the Grosse Pointe Chapter decades ago, is there’s for a year. Party of Four, which has its own connection to Grosse Pointe and narrowly beat them last fall. proudly presented them with the trophy then welcomed them into the District Quartet Champions Association. Russ Seely, also a Grosse Pointe member and president of the associtation, proudly welcomed them into the exclusive club. His wife, Shirley, who has been coming to these conventions for four decades, called it one of the most emotional contests she could remember. Fermata Nowhere bass Pete Burns pulled out a lengthy list of people to thank and repeated the line that they would win a championship when the Tigers went to the World Series. At their chapter after glow, fellow Grosse Pointer Al Cole quipped that they will win the International championship when the Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl. Never say never.