ONYX Vocal Band

Onyx News
Fall 2013


Summer’s gone, autumn’s colours have disappeared and everyone in Newmarket Ontario Canada is hunkering down for the long haul.

In the previous issue, we told you about the new music on our agenda. Since then, two of those songs…”Cotton Fields” and “You Are Always On My Mind”…have moved into ‘performance-ready’ mode; we were pleased to present them as part of a recent program for the residents and staff of AMICA Newmarket. What a fun evening in front of a full house at one of our favourite spots!
We’re now working on “Mary, Did You Know?”, written by Mark Lowry, baritone of the Gaither Vocal Band.

The above three songs were arranged for ONYX by our primary go-to man, Murray Adams. Murray has put his creative slant on no less than ten of the songs in our active repertoire.


Murray Adams grew up in Scarborough ON where, at an early age, he was influenced by the harmonies of the Everly Brothers, Beach Boys, Mills Brothers and, later on, Crosby, Stills & Nash.
During his 33-year elementary teaching career, which included music, Murray no doubt influenced a lot of young people with his love of vocal harmony.

It was during this time that he got the ‘a cappella bug’, singing with “East York Barbershoppers”, his first group “Acapella” and, eventually, his current group “Cruisin’”; old friends Rob Swann, Dave and Chris Beetham round out this contemporary-music-based quartet.
In addition to singing, Murray does the arranging for Cruisin’ and is the ‘engineer’ behind their recordings.

These skills have lead him to creating arrangements for other performers, including ONYX Vocal Band.

Retired since 2012, Murray enjoys his home on Lake Simcoe and time with his newest family member, daughter Kristin’s son, Leo.


Following the success of our Cabaret earlier this year, we are having talks about another one, in a location other than Newmarket, somewhere in South-central Ontario.
As you read this, if you know of a restaurant or bistro, with seating for approximately 100 to 150, the owners of which may be open to partnering with ONYX on this venture, please contact us with details.

Like Steve and Wilf, our tenor since 2007, Paul Widdifield, was also born at an early age. In Paul’s case, it happened in Newmarket, ON sometime before 1950; he has never really left.

Paul had his first taste of four-part harmony…a la Freshmen, Four Lads…in a quartet that was formed thanks to Newmarket High School football coach, George Kelly, who also introduced them to the barbershop style.

In the mid-60s, following university, long-time friend, Dave McCaffrey, introduced Paul to organized barbershop chorus singing and, soon after, he and Dave found themselves in their first quartet, Sound Recollection (four more collaborations would follow), with Murray Jelley and Phil Holbrook.

Paul continues to be involved in barbershop chorus and/or quartet singing to the time of this writing, fortunately for ONYX Vocal Band. His keen sense of hearing and pitch accuracy keep the quartet musically ‘honest’.

Paul, an avid golfer and fisherman, and his wife, Barb, both retired, reside in the rural Newmarket area, enjoy their combined family of three daughters, a son and a dog, as well as much deserved time away, either at the family cottage in Haliburton, or, in some tropical paradise.




ONYX is getting closer to finalizing some ‘new look’ changes to our website. Keep your eyes…and ears…peeled.

In case you’re reading this from the other side of this planet, or, in the southern hemisphere, the impending winter will mean something different to each of you. Wherever you are, make the best of it.

2009 Early Fall
2009 Late Fall
2010 Early Spring
2010 Late Spring
2010 Summer
2010 Fall
2011 Winter
2011 Spring
2011 Summer
2011 Fall
2012 Winter
2012 Spring
2012 Summer
2012 Fall
2013 Winter
2013 Summer
2013 Fall - This Issue
2014 Winter
Home | About Us | Mission & Vision | Availability | Friends | Gallery | Repertoire | Newsletter | Media Kit | Contact