The Four Freshmen
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The Four Freshmen’s profound influence on American Jazz and pop singing began in 1948 four students at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. Hal Kratzsch, brothers Ross and Don Barbour, and their cousin Bob Flanigan created a brand new vocal sound. Working without written music and choosing notes by ear, they spread their jazz voicing over a wider range than other groups, and they imitated the phrasing and aggressive feel of a big band brass section. Flanigan says, “After we heard ourselves make the sound, we never wanted to sing any other way.”

When band leader Stan Kenton heard the group at the Esquire Lounge in Dayton, Ohio, he immediately recognized their potential. At his urging, Capitol Records signed the Four Freshmen in 1950, initiating a string of hits with “It’s A Blue World.” The sound track of the movie “Lucy Gallant” introduced “How Can I Tell Her,” and the flip side, “Day By Day,” became a hit in days. The Freshmen have produced over 70 singles and albums.

Wherever The Freshmen went, they won fans and inspired vocal groups. They played nearly every college in the USA, performing in all fifty states and forty-four countries from Asia to Europe to Australia. Bob Flanigan retired from performing in 1992, but he continues as the group’s mentor and personal manager. There have been 22 different line-ups, and the current group consists of Brian Eichenberger, Curtis Calderon, Stein Malvey, and Bob Ferreira.

Bob Ferreira is in his twenty third year as bass voice and percussionist for the celebrated vocal group. Ferreira auditioned for the Four Freshmen in 1992 while a music student at Central Washington University. The group asked Ferreira to join, presenting him with a difficult decision of whether or not to leave academics behind in lieu of a career in entertainment. Ferreira is pleased with his decision and has not looked back. Bob still enjoys being a part of such an iconic musical legacy having performed in fifty states, ten countries, and on nine Freshmen recordings. When not on the road with the Freshmen, Ferreira occasionally plays drums with a local Las Vegas rock band. He also enjoys bowling, cinema, and cherishes his down time with his lovely wife, Erin, and their two dogs.

Curtis Calderon Coming from a background of touring with big bands such as the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Curtis joined the Freshmen in 2001 and is going as strong as ever. He sings 2nd Tenor and plays trumpet and flugelhorn. Curtis has been touring with various groups since he was 18 and has found a home with the Freshmen. Trumpet was his first instrument, started at the age of 11. Though he enjoys taking his shoes off and emptying his bags at airport security, his favorite part of touring is visiting other countries. Japan is always a favorite. When he's not touring, he enjoys organic gardening, wrestling with his Rotties and simply relaxing at home.

Stein Malvey began his musical journey at age four, studying piano at St. Olaf College in his hometown of Northfield, MN. Growing restless with classical repertoire, he discovered guitar at age 12, and fell in love. Just two years later he was playing guitar professionally. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in guitar performance from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music. Stein spent years in both the New York and Minneapolis music scenes, recording and touring with groups in many genres: rock, pop, r&b, soul, funk, jazz, country, classical and avant garde. He sings the 2nd part and plays guitar for the Four Freshmen.

Brian Eichenberger sings the melody (top part), plays guitar, and is the chief vocal arranger for the Four Freshmen. He joined the group in 1996 at the age of 19 as a bass player / second part singer, later switching to guitar and top vocal as the group evolved. Off the road, Brian works as a songwriter and producer in his home studio in St Paul, MN. He enjoys running (two marathons so far!) and computer-audio nerdery. His beautiful wife and lovely daughter miss him terribly when he is away. Their three cats, not so much.

"They were a sensation and in the 17 years
I have produced the series at Tilles,
I can't recall such a great response from the audience."