Ripchords travel memory lane

Published August 11, 2003 / by Steve Berentson

Some five decades after they originally experienced success in the world of barbershop harmony, members of The Ripchords got together in Anacortes for several days culminating with performances at the wedding anniversary of one of their founders. When Don Coughlin gathered family and friends at the Skyline Cabana Friday night, he brought live entertainment with him. First up during the celebration event were the four original members of The Ripchords: Coughlin, Vernon Lewis, Dave Sater and Bill Lovins. Three of the four were Anacortes High School grads who added a fourth member while serving in the Air Force (hence the group name). In fact, the quartet won the Air Force Barbershop Quartet Championship in 1953. When Lewis left the group, Clayton Lacey joined. He drove in from Bremerton especially for the anniversary celebration/quartet reunion. They must have had fun last week, because Coughlin said they sang for eight hours one day! The lyrics come easy, he said. It’s the harmony that takes hard work…

About Steve Berentson
A fourth generation Skagit County native who was moved kicking and screaming from this island community in 1960. I finally reclaimed an Anacortes address in 1980, and I have been in constant celebration of my return since that time. Many of us who call Anacortes home love Fidalgo Island for its natural assets: among them are rugged beaches, pristine lakes, thousands of acres of forestland and some awesome views of the Skagit Valley and surrounding islands. Another element of my love affair with this community is its people, both natives and immigrants. They will “star” in many of my journal entries.

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