Bill Litz

Bill Litz started directing the Stockton Portsmen Chorus in 2002.

At that point, Bill's barbershop experience was very limited. Way back in college, as a Music Education major, he'd sung in a couple quartets without realizing the whole infrastructure that the Barbershop Harmony Society provided.

Music was a "fun thing to do", but Bill didn't see that as his career. So after a change of direction he was on track to become a computer professional. Music took a back seat while Bill embarked on a career and it wasn't until some "old guys" at church asked him to do some gospel barbershop that he found what a fun and gratifying experience barbershopping could be. Soon he, and his son Jordan were competing in division and district contests.

The Stockton Chapter has always had a friendly group of men that approach barbershop in a supportive and encouraging manner. Even though Bill had changed his career path from Music to Software Engineering, he'd still been very involved in music; singing, playing trumpet, guitar and bass; performing with church groups and his family - but not doing much in the way of directing. This supportive environment was the perfect place to dust off those old books and help the Stockton guys get more enjoyment from their barbershop experience.

The Stockton guys have had a history of doing entertaining shows and still have that as their main focus, but under Bill's direction the singing improved allowing the Portsmen to achieve district level scores for the first time in 25 years.

It had been a satisfying run of 15 years - preserving the barbershop style and having a place to meet and sing together. But as the old guard stepped aside, the new membership needed to find what they expect from their barbershop experience. The adding of a few women allowed the original mission of the chorus to continue, but suddenly the wants, needs and make-up of the chorus was different.

Bill finally recognized and embraced the revolution that seemed to happen so quietly - the Portsmen becoming a Mixed Barbershop Ensemble.

Bill has a new resolve to enable the chorus to be a group of serious performers, demanding personal dedication, striving for excellence from himself and each member, challenging the board and the membership to develop a vision and a strategy to achieve a level of performance that wasn't so important in the past.

Bill had the feeling for so long that "barbershopping allows ordinary singers to do extraordinary things". But through his experiences: singing in many quartets; studying at Harmony University; participating in Youth-In-Harmony functions; attending countless contest and conventions - Bill found that even though some singers may be untrained or lacking confidence, all are far from ordinary. Each person has special talents and desires that make-up their barbershop walk.

Bill is proud to work with these fine men and women, and hopes that you will consider being a part of their family, making music and experiencing the joys of barbershopping - Extraordinary people making extraordinary music!