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the Sound of a Chord barbershop quartet from the 1980s, with Russ Tobin, Al Mastrangelo, Fred Conway and Don Van der Kolk. Photo from Conway

“I’ll be singing for the rest of my life,” said Fred Conway, a longtime barbershop singer and six-time president of the local Harbormen Chorus barbershop group. 

Conway receives a Barbershopper of the Year award at a chorus event. Photo from Conway

Earlier this month, the Miller Place resident was honored by the worldwide Barbershop Harmony Society at an international convention in Salt Lake City for 50 years of talented service. 

“That was definitely a bucket list item for me, getting to 50 years,” Conway said. 

His career began innocently enough. Conway reminisced about that moment. It was the day of the 1969 Super Bowl and his neighbor at the time showed him an ad in the paper looking for barbershop singers. 

“It sounded interesting to me, I hadn’t taken any music lessons at the time, but I knew I had a good voice,” he said. “I went over there the following night and have stuck with it [singing barbershop] ever since.”

Since then, Conway has sung lead in nine quartets in his career, and he is currently a member of the Harbormen, Twin Shores Chorus as well as the Antiquity Quartet. Over the years, he has performed at some notable venues including the St. Petersburg Hall in Russia, Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden. The Miller Place resident has also received the Barbershopper of the Year award by the Barbershop Harmony Society. 

As much as Conway dedicates his time to singing barbershop, he also pursued another passion — teaching and counseling. He graduated from St. John’s University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education before attending C.W. Post to get a professional diploma. 

During his education career, Conway served as a guidance counselor and coached various sports team for the Miller Place School District. 

Conway coached women’s cross-country, the men’s golf team and men’s/women’s track and field. He would later become the first commissioner of cross-country and track and field in the Diocese of Rockville Centre for 12 years and has served as the first executive of Section XI for women’s cross-country for 10 years. 

“From about 1975-1986, Miller Place had some great teams,” said the Miller Place resident. 

David Lance, a fellow member of the Harbormen Chorus, can attest to Conway’s dedicated to the craft of barbershopping. 

“He is a real mover and shaker, he gets things done,” he said. 

Lance has known Conway for the past 15 years and first got introduced to the chorus when a member had to leave due to health issues. 

“They were looking for a tenor and they recruited me,” he said. “When I got there his voice [Conway’s] really stuck out to me.”

Conway leads members of the Harbormen Chorus in a sarenade at the TBR News Media offices February, 2018. File Photo

Lance mentioned practically everywhere they go and perform, Conway always seems to run into someone he knows. 

“He’s a great guy and friend,” he said. “His ambition is contagious.”

Lance, along with the other Harbormen members, have also performed at various senior and assisted living homes throughout Long Island and have welcomed returning veterans fighting overseas at MacArthur airport. 

Gary Wilson, a fellow member of the Antiquity Quartet, has known Conway for over 30 years 

“He asked me if I wanted to join quartet and I said yes,” Wilson said. “We found two other guys and we formed Harmony Hotline.”

The quartet performed together for some time but had to disband after two other members moved away. 

“He is a self-taught singer, he has such a unique sound,” Wilson said. 

Currently, Conway lives with his wife of 39 years, Lesley, and they have three children and six grandchildren. He is also a six-year Vestry member of St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church in Shoreham. 

“Through the years he has made a lot of people happy,” Lance said. “He is the personality of the quartet and brings a personal touch to his performances.”

The Miller Place resident said he doesn’t see himself stopping doing what he loves. 

“I’ll be singing forever,” he reiterated.   

The Harbormen Chorus are actively looking for new members and Conway said anyone interested in singing four-part harmony to visit them on Monday nights, except national holidays, at 7:30 p.m. for practice at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall at 380 Nicolls Road, East Setauket, which is north of the firehouse, next to the new synagogue. People can call 631-644-0129 for more information.

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Two men smashed the front window of the Rocky Point Barbershop in the Rocky Point business district and stole store memorabilia Feb. 20, store security camera footage shows.

Security camera footage from Rocky Point Barbershop shows two men robbing the front display case. Image from Rocky Point Barbershop

The two individuals, one wearing a hood and the other a bandana, broke the front window of the barbershop, located at 576 Route 25A at around 2:45 a.m., store owner Yavuz Can said. The robbers didn’t manage to trip any alarms as they went in, despite motion sensors on the inside. Store employees did not learn about the breakin until later in the morning, and police were contacted around 8 a.m.

The shop, known in the area for its $10 men’s haircuts, kept a number of expensive memorabilia in the front case under the register. Can said the men stole hundreds of dollars worth of collectible coins from the case. The robbers also took display hand grenades and eight display knives, which the shop owner said were valued at about $60 each. Also stolen was a 20-gauge shotgun and shells, worth around $175. Yavuz added the broken front door glass would cost the store around another $400 to replace. The robbers did not steal from the cash register.

“This hasn’t happened before,” the shop owner said.

One of the figures captured on video at the break-in. Photo from Rocky Point Barbershop

Suffolk County Police confirmed the shop had been broken into that morning and that items were taken, though they could not confirm any information on the ongoing investigation.

Yavuz asked anybody who might recognize the people in the video to contact Suffolk County Police.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, texting “SCPD” and your message to “CRIMES” (274637) or by email at www.tipsubmit.com.

All calls, text messages and emails are kept confidential.