I was born and lived my early life in Trail, British Columbia, Canada.
I guess I really started singing in high school, in the glee club, for no other reason than it was fun. A little later, I became a member of a high school quartet... something like the Four Freshman. We called ourselves "The Pastels."
I took my first year of college at an extension of the University of British Columbia. Show business had never entered my mind. At the time, I had two main interests: mathematics and writing. I wanted to bring these interests together: precision and creativity. I thought a career in architecture might do it... so I began in a roundabout manner by majoring in engineering. After the first year I switched to the University of Gonzaga in the state of Washington. My interests switched too... to business administration... I don't really know why. Later, I went back to engineering and finally ended up with majors in math and english. But singing for a career? It never entered my mind.
It was at Gonzaga that I first met Chad... in the Men's Glee Club. Chad was also singing folk songs with a friend of mine from British Columbia. The popular folk artist at that time was Harry Belafonte and they were singing his songs, in his style. I knew little about folk music. I had heard of Belafonte, Burl Ives and the Weavers, but my interest in folk music didn't develop until I had been singing it for a while, after the Trio had already formed.
In the fall of '59, the glee club was disbanded. But there was a great spirit of camaraderie among its members that could not be dissolved. Some of us sought each other out and started singing together on our own. It wasn't long before Chad and I and a fellow named Mike Pugh, were singing pretty regularly at various social functions... for kicks and beer money.
The one who really got the Trio moving, literally and figuratively, was Father Reinard Beaver. He was a good friend of Chad's and took an active interest in us, as individuals and as a group. At the beginning of the following summer vacation, when none of us had any real jobs lined up for the summer, Father Beaver quietly hatched the plan that started us toward a professional career.
Father Beaver casually suggested to Chad that, since we didn't have any definite plans for the summer, we should drive with him to New York, sing our way across the country, spend 6 or 7 weeks in New York while he attended an Army Chaplain School, and drive back in time for the fall semester. I am sure that Chad treated it as a joke, but the joke became real before we knew it, we were off... to conquer New York... with about $300 between us.