About Us

Meet the MOI

How to Join the MOI

Meet Tom Raab

We are truly an 'everyman' chorus. The Men of Independence is comprised of singers with a wide range of experience and varied ages - from 16 to 85. What we share is a passion for singing four-part harmony - especially barbershop! 

We thought it would be fun to introduce you to our members, one by one, and share a little about them, in their own words. Every so often we'll post a new profile here.

We hope you take some time to get to know the MOI!  Enjoy!

Affectionately referred to as TRaab (TEE-raab), Tom Raab is one of the greatest tenured members of the Men of Independence. TRaab is one of those guys who contributes as much OFF the risers as he does, ON. He served as secretary for the Independence Chapter for a number of years and is an unofficial historian for the chorus, providing insights into what we've done over the years and how we've grown and blossomed. TRaab is a classic 'straight shooter'. He tells you like it is and is also always ready when we need the 'dirty work' done behind the scenes. Thank GOODNESS for TRaab!

Click on the text below to learn more about TRaab in his own words.

                                          MEET TRAAB

Interested in joining the MOI?
That’s great to hear! We are looking for as many new members as we can possibly get! We love to sing, and we love share our passion for four part harmony with others! Before you take the next step, MOI feels that we should share what we’re all about, what you should expect from us, and we will expect from you as a new member. The best way to avoid any misunderstandings is to make sure both parties know what to expect of each other, right?
#1- Singing and Music- We are an “A Level” singing chorus that also likes to compete. We take great pride in our ability to learn new music quickly, with the assistance of learning tracks, and be “off the paper” within a few weeks of receiving the music. Once off the paper, we work in sectionals to form our unit sound. Our goal is “no heroes”, and everyone must learn to function as part of the section, as well as part of the chorus. So time to spend on listening and memorizing music is a very important part of who we are and what we do.
#2- Performing- MOI currently has five major performances each year. 1) Our spring competition in April, 2) our spring show, usually shortly afterwards, 3) our annual appearance at the International Contest, which can be anywhere in the United States or Canada. 4) Our fall contest, and 5) our Christmas show. In addition, we frequently have several other community style performances as well, such as singing for the Cleveland Indians, or the Cavaliers. While there is currently no “attendance policy”, obviously, we would want you to plan on as many of these as possible. Performing: It’s just part of why you should want to be a member, right?
#3- Costs- Our dues are broken down into 3 parts: Our International Society Dues, Our District Dues, and our Chapter Dues. As of 2015, the total was $195 for the year, and you must have your dues current to be a part of the shows and competitions. In addition, you will need a matching chapter tux, pants, shoes, vest, shirt, and tie, and possibly some other sundry items like a chapter short/long sleeve shirt. Currently, our tux package as mentioned above is $225. Of course you must also factor in the cost of attending the fall and spring conventions, as well as our International one. Hotel rooms, food, gas, etc…
#4- Fundraising- As with any organization, we do various fundraiser things all year long. We sell tickets and ads to our shows, tickets to Cavs games, etc… While you don’t HAVE to sell these things, again, it’s all part of funding our chapter and keeping it running like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, someone stole our money tree so there are things we must do to fund the day to day operations of the chapter. You will be asked nicely to contribute to the success of these things.

#5- Rehearsals- Our rehearsals are from 7:30-10:30 each Thursday night. As a big event nears, we may have a few extra rehearsals as well. While very few people make all the rehearsals, we try an emphasize this to be a priority for you, so you can keep current on songs, continue to understand your musical role in our chorus, and be a part of the comradery and brotherhood that IS MOI!
“OK, so you’ve told me about my part of the deal…so what do I get in return?”
Ah, my dear sir, you get to sing barbershop harmony with one of the top 20 choruses in the world! Most of us feel that there is little in this world, save our families and our faith, that is so rewarding as being a part of this musical family. Ringing chords, sharing your passion with the audience, using your ability to become a greater part of a collective, make it all worthwhile for most of us here at MOI. But to be specific?
#1- Music- Your dues and fundraisers make it possible to get music. But not JUST any music. THE best music from top arrangers. We stay on the cutting edge of barbershop harmony and have relationships with today’s top musical arrangers.
#2- Coaching- Our Director, Gary Lewis, is in high demand everywhere as a coach. We get to have him in front of us for 3 hours each and every week, and it’s always a voice lesson working with Gary. As we get closer to contest we might also bring in choreography coaches, and again, not just anyone, but the top coaches who work with the premier choruses in the world.
#3- Performances- we perform in great venues, for hundreds, and sometimes thousands of people. The standing ovations and cheers we receive is so rewarding. If you haven’t experienced it, it’s hard to explain. But you’ll feel it, we promise.
#4- Learning - Part Predominant Learning tracks sung by the society’s finest singers are available 24/7 on our website. You can sing directly from there, or download to your phone, burn a CD, whatever method you use the best. We will also have sectionals at our practice as we learn music, just so we can see if we’re having any problems with the music, blending, etc…
#5- Organization- On that same website are our many documents that explain all about contests, shows, what time rehearsals are, what to wear, what we will be singing, etc… our Secretary, Webmasters, etc… all do a great job of giving you as much detail as you can handle.
#6- Family- MOI members frequently call each other “brother” and we sincerely mean that. From the director on down, we work and get rewarded as a whole, as a “family” of singers. We lift each other up, praise each other’s efforts, and revel in our collective success. If you want to be a part of something greater than the sum of its individual parts, you’ve come to the right place!
So that’s it! You now know what is expected of you, and what you can expect from us! If we’re good with all of this information, we’re ready to take your application for membership! Let’s sign below to commemorate our reading and understanding of these notes. Once you’ve signed this, we’ll get you your audition song, music and learning tracks. When you feel you’re ready, please let the Membership VP know, and we’ll schedule your audition.

We look like we're having fun, right?
Well, that's because WE ARE!
Wondering how to join us? It's pretty simple, actually. Stop by a MOI rehearsal some Thursday evening at 7:30pm at the Independence United Methodist Church and one of the guys at the door will greet you, introduce you to 'the boys', give you a guest book with our music and you'll be on your way!

Looking for specifics on the process of becoming a member of the MOI? GREAT!
Click HERE for some details.