A Tribute to John Wiggins – Our Founder
This is a salute to one man who had a tremendous influence on the early history days of BABS. He started in 1974 when he joined the Reading chorus to sing in the first Convention in Newcastle. Although starting as a Bari he soon moved on to sing Tenor and had early success with his quartet “Union Jacks” in 1977 where they were quartet finalists.He repeated this in 1982 with “Yesterdays Dreamers” where they were again quartet finalists and in 1981 they were the very first BABS quartet to attend the S.P.E.B.S.Q.A Harmony College in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Later in 1975 he went on to form, with 7 others, the “Chesham Buckaneers” now know as “Knights of Harmony”. He has been with the Knights ever since except when he was the founder of the now-defunct “Gentlemen Songsters”. John worked hard to produce his “dream” chorus and it was a great disappointment to him when it folded.
He is unparalleled in the various BABS posts he has undertaken over his 45 years in Barbershop and these include, in chronological order:
- Harmony College Organiser 1981 and ran arranging classes at HC for over 20 years
- Guild of Judges Chairman 1984/5
- BABS Chairman 1987
- Special Events Director 1995
- Convention Show Producer for several years working with his wife Gina
In 2004 came the recognition of his contribution to BABS, when along with 17 others he was enrolled in the BABS ‘Hall of Fame’
John has been responsible for dozens of arrangements which many choruses and quartets included in their repertoire and he intends to continue even after retirement from chorus
It has been my great pleasure since I joined Chesham in 1980 to count John as a friend and his importance to the development of a hobby that has been loved by more than 10000 Barbershoppers to date cannot be underestimated