Face of Defense: Sergeant Continues Harmonious Tradition
By Air Force Airman 1st Class Jacob Eckhardt
375th Air Mobility Wing
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., Feb. 22, 2013 Nearly a quarter century after he accepted his father’s invitation to join him in his barbershop quartet, Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Martin continues to uphold the family tradition that began with his grandfather.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Martin, far right, sings with the “Sounds of Harmony” barbershop quartet, Feb. 14, 2013, near St. Louis. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Martin was 10 years old when his father asked him to join the group. "It's a family thing," he said. "I wouldn't be singing if it wasn't for my father."
Barbershop music is sung in four-part harmony with no instrumental accompaniment. Martin sang with his father for 10 years, even while he attended community college. After two years of college, he said, he decided to join the Air Force.
After arriving here in 2002, Martin joined a local group called the "Sounds of Harmony." The group has 30 to 35 active members who range in age from 25 to 75, and its musical repertoire includes a variety of songs from the 1920s, 1930s, 1950s and 1960s.
"My dad used to be stationed here, and he sang with a guy in the chorus, so he called the guy and said, 'Hey, my son's going to be stationed there. Could you show him all the choruses around?'" Martin said.
To satisfy his dream of singing competitively, Martin said, he sang with the "Ambassadors of Harmony" from St. Charles, Mo., in 2004.
"I got to compete in an international competition and won a gold medal," he said. "My father was there when I won. It made the moment more special to me."
Even though his group sings older songs, Martin said, he enjoys a variety of music.
"It's interesting, because I have the barbershop stuff, which is an older style, but then I listen to a lot of more current bands, like Motorhead," he said.
Martin said he keeps singing purely for the passion for it.
"It's all about dedication and a love for singing," he said. "If you come into this loving to sing, then you really don't need anything else."