HCamp Pole Cat: Wonderful World

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After months of wrangling, we have the first and main new polecat for Harmony Camp 2017. The song deserves much more than just an introduction from me, so here are some words to introduce it from three times International quartet Champion, Kipp Buckner.

The song What a Wonderful World was written in 1967 and released by jazz artist Louie Armstrong which instantly topped the pop charts in the UK. After being popular in many different countries, it finally became a hit in the USA. In 1988 a movie with Robin Williams called Good Morning Vietnam was released and Louie’s version was featured. It became popular once again on the charts. 

My father’s quartet The Citations learned the song in the mid-1960s. It became one of their most requested songs. As a small child, I remember listening to it at their rehearsal sitting on the floor as they circled around me. 

When my first quartet The Interstate Rivals formed, it was a song that we knew we wanted to use. My father (Ken Buckner) and the lead of the Citations (Jim Miller) were our main coaches. Also, Jim was father in law to our bass Jay Hawkins. We had deep connections to them in family and barbershop. They were our mentors. In spite of the fact they never placed higher than 7th at the international contest (1972), their teachings helped future gold medal quartets like The Bluegrass Student Union, Second Edition, Marquis and of course the Interstate Rivals. 

The most interesting part of the song is one of those stories where you are not 100% sure that it is accurate, but you REALLY want to believe so as it is so amazing! The Citations did a USO Tour in 1972 to Vietnam. They entertained the troops over there in those famous USO Shows. They sang Wonderful World at every show and it was a huge hit. So much so that soldiers asked them to sing it over and over in private settings. It brought tears to many eyes that missed home and their families. The quartet was lead through the war zones and show sites by several fairly high ranking officers. They really had a great bond with everyone they were with on that tour. 

Flash ahead to 1988. The director of Good Morning Vietnam used many US Military consultants to make sure they were as realistic as possible in the film. One of the consultants was an officer that was in charge of the Citations while they were there in 1972. The story is, that their performance of Wonderful World impacted on him so much that he suggested the song to the director and that’s why they used it in the film. So, my father’s quartet might just be the reason for that touching dramatic scene in the award winning movie! 

The Rivals closed many a performance with this song and many tears were shed as well when we think about our love for each other, our families, the people we are performing for and music itself. This is more than just a song to many people. I am honored that it will be performed at Harmony Camp and keep the message and the music alive!

Thank you! 

Kipp Buckner 

The Interstate Rivals 1987 Champions 

The Gas House Gang 1993 Champions 

Old School 2011 Champions 

Listen to the re-keyed Harmony Camp teach tracks:

Find all the teach tracks on our new “attendee” information page, which will continue to grow over the next few weeks with all the essentials you need to get the most out of Harmony Camp 2017.

As we have needed to purchase copies of this licensed using your attendance fees, there is a password which will be included in the email version of this update – or contact hello@harmonycampuk.co.uk for details.

Thank you to Lisa Robathan for re-keying the sheet music for us to match the tracks.

Quick updates and links:



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