For Maurice Debar, longtime Musical Director of the Long Island Harmonizers, and recently named the organization's Barbershopper of the Year for 2015, the idea either music classes nor a regular chorus. At that point, he says, he actually hated singing -- a feeling that would eventually take an 180 degree turn. 

But music continued to play an important role in his growth. He played baritone horn in high school as well as violin and bass in the orchestra, and when he enrolled at Hofstra College, he majored in Music Education, choosing piano to replace his studies on the accordion. During his college days, Debar played bass clarinet in the band, and helped in the percussion section of the orchestra. After being forced to sing in the chorus, he started to like singing and feel rewarded in this regard.

Shortly after graduating from college, Debar landed his first job teaching in Levittown, LI and after three years transferred to a school in North Babylon. He initially taught band instruments in the elementary school but after about 15 years, moved up to the Middle School. Along the way, he managed to teach in every school in the district as well as conduct the High School marching band, direct the district orchestra and teach vocal music. Although trained to teach band instruments, he ended up not only teaching all the band music, but teaching strings and vocal music as well. "Eventually," he admits, "I really got the singing bug bad," and after retirement found himself singing in two choruses and, at times, even three, as well as singing as part of a quartet.

Aside from his responsibilities as longtime director of the Long Island Harmonizers (the Nassau Mid-Island Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society) Debar  currently is a member of Five Towns College (Long Island Sound barbershop chorus), and performs as the bass in a Nassau Mid-Island quartet called Just Duckie. He began teaching the accordion when he was 13 and still teaches piano today. Although retired for more than 10 years, this is an active time in his life, and one that he thoroughly enjoys.

Debar, born in Biloxi, MS, is married and though none of his three children has pursued a music career, he has instilled in them his love of music.

He has a BS and MS in Music Education, is a certified piano judge in The New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) and holds a director's certification from the international Barbershop Harmony Society.

His other current interests include travel, antiques, dance and photography.

 

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