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The Great Western Timbre Company owes it existence to the 1978 Program Vice President of the Fresno Chapter, S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A., Frank Taylor. During a chapter meeting in November of 1978, he called on the four original members of the quartet (dubbing them the B.L.T.'S. for the initials of their last names: Black, Liddell, Turnmire & Smeds) to render an impromptue song for the other chapter members. Following their performance, he asked them to represent the Fresno Chapter at the Fresno Sweet Adeline show afterglow on the following Saturday. Temporarily retaining the name of the B.L.T.'S., the quartet sang for several engagements during the next few months. The original members and their voice parts were: Roger Smeds, Tenor; Jack Liddell, Lead; Ron Black, Baritone and director of the Fresno Gold Note Chorus and Jim Turnmire, Bass.

Original GWTC - Roger, Jack, Jim & Ron
Original GWTC - Roger, Jack, Jim
& Ron attend Harmony College as a quartet, circa 1980.

GWTC with parts of Frog City family
GWTC with parts of "Frog City" family at their first competition, the Nor Cal East Division, Reno, NV, 1979.

In March of 1979, the decision was made to establish a longer term relationship, and the Great Western Timbre Company registered to compete in the Nor Cal East Division contest which was only three weeks away. Since that time, the quartet has performed on many Sweet Adeline and S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. chapter shows and won the Nor Cal East Division contest in 1980.

In early 1982, following a brief period of inactivity, the quartet reformed adding a new lead and retaining three of the original members. The new lead was Dwight Holmquist, who came from Lodi, CA and was formerly the lead of the Steamboat Round the Bend quartet who were the 1979 Nor Cal East Division champions. Tenor Roger Smeds is the only original member of the quartet still singing the same part. Jack Liddell, the original lead of the quartet. moved to the baritone slot, and Ron Black originally the baritone, moved to the bass position.

GWTC 1982 version with Dwight Holmquist as lead.
GWTC 1982 version with Dwight Holmquist as lead.

May 1985 Westunes magazine
May 1985 Westunes magazine, showing GWTC as NorCal East Divisional Champs.

In this new configuration. the quartet placed third in 1984 and second in 1985 at Far Western District competition.

Since its inception, the quartet has enjoyed a close personal as well as vocal relationship. Their families traveled with them on many occasions to contests, singing engagements and group camping events. This travelling, singing enrourage became known as "Frog City" and often numberd as many as seventeen people, not counting the occaisional honorary member.

GWTC in impromptu rehearsal
GWTC in impromptu rehearsal at one of the many "Frog City" campouts.

Some of the Frog City kids with the quartet at yet another Frog City campout.
Some of the "Frog City" kids with the quartet at yet another "Frog City" campout. L to R - Lisa Holmquist, Ken Smeds, Kevin Smeds and Melanie Schmidt with the quartet in the background.

GWTC wives were, of course, a very supportive component of the quartet and their contributions to the success of the quartet were unmatched.

GWTC wives, Kim Liddell, Susan Holmquist, Paddy Smeds & Elaine Black
GWTC wives, Kim Liddell, Susan Holmquist, Paddy Smeds & Elaine Black in a parody of one of the quartet numbers.

GWTC Wives expressing their displeasure with one of the contest judges
An infamous picture of the GWTC Wives expressing their displeasure with one of the contest judges following a competition.

In 1986, Jack Liddell moved his family to Stuart in Martin County of South East Florida. This created an opening in the quartet at the baritone slot. The quartet asked Gary Bolles, a long time quartet man, Interpretation Judge and director.

Gary helped continue the fine progress of the quartet and GWTC went on to win the Far Western District Championship in 1986.

GWTC with Gary Bolles filling the baritone slot
GWTC with Gary Bolles filling the baritone slot.

November/December 1986 Westunes Magazine
November/December 1986 Westunes Magazine showing GWTC as Far Western District Champions.

After winning the Far Western District Championship, the quartet continued to perform on numerous S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. and Sweet Adeline chapter shows around the Far Western District.

The GWTC continued to improve and qualified to represent the Far Western District at International Competitions in 1987 and 1988. They placed 23rd in Hartford, CT (1987) and 15th in San Antonio, TX (1988) in International Competition.

April/May 1987 Westunes Magazine
April/May 1987 Westunes Magazine showing GWTC bound for Hartford, CT International Competition. The quartet finished 23rd.

September 1988 Westunes Magazine
September 1988 Westunes Magazine listing GWTC as being ranked 15th in the world.

In 1989, Roger Smeds moved his family to Stuart, Florida, following Jack Liddell's lead (sic).

The quartet decided not to continue with active performance/competition and entered a period of relative inactivity meeting occaisionally for reunions, typically on a semi-yearly basis.

Since 1989, Ron Black has maintained the registration of the quartet in its second format consisting of Roger, Dwight, Jack and himself.

In 2006, Dwight, the youngest member of the quartet turned 55, making the quartet eligible to compete in the Senior's division of the Barbershop Harmony Society (formerly S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A).

The quartet met at Dwight's home in Lodi, CA over Memorial Day Weekend 2006 to decide if competition should be in their future. The results were positive and more rehearsals are scheduled.

Roger Smeds and Kim Liddell both, independantly came up with the idea that the group should be called "Old Growth Timbre" and since the quartet is registered as "Great Western Timbre Co." it seemed appropriate that the quartet be called "Great Western Timbre Co. dba Old Growth Timbre"

GWTC dba Old Growth Timbre (2006 version). Rehearsal at Dwight's home over Memorial Day Weekend.
GWTC dba Old Growth Timbre (2006 version). Rehearsal at Dwight's home over Memorial Day Weekend. Recording repertorie for practice purposes when the quartet is apart.

GWTC performs over Memorial Day Weekend 2006 cementing the decision to enter Senior's competition.
GWTC performs over Memorial Day Weekend 2006 cementing the decision to enter Senior's competition.

At the Sunshine District Fall Convention, October 6-8 2006, the quartet won the honor of representing the Sunshine District at the 2007 Barbershop Harmony Society International Midwinter Senior Quartet competition in January 2007 as the Sunshine District's 2007 Senior Quartet Representatives.

GWTC at Sunshine District Fall Convention
GWTC just after winning the Sunshine District Senior's division competition.

GWTC in the Martin/St Lucie Mariner's Hospitality Room in the Omni Jacksonville Hotel, October 2006
GWTC in the Martin/St Lucie Mariner's Hospitality Room in the Omni Jacksonville Hotel, October 2006.

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