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About Us

A Brief History of the Contest

In July of 2006, The Thoroughbred Chorus decided to sponsor a $1,000 grand prize karaoke contest for adults aged 21years and over. The Thoroughbreds viewed the contest as an opportunity for both membership development and public relations.
The contest (then called the J-Town Idol Karaoke Contest) was held in September to coincide with the Jeffersontown Gaslight Festival. The timing was designed to maximize the public exposure that the festival presented. Members of The Thoroughbred Chorus and The Pride of Kentucky Sweet Adelines chorus served as judges for the event.

The inaugural contest was a resounding success. Sixty-seven adult contestants from across Kentuckiana competed at seven different locations in Jeffersontown over a nine-day period. The contest was one of the most patronized events to take place in Jeffersontown during the week of the Gaslight Festival, and the Thoroughbreds were so pleased with the results that they decided to make the contest an annual event. Not long after the contest had ended, the Jeffersontown Chamber of Commerce approached the Thoroughbreds about making the contest an official event of the Gaslight Festival.

Officially renamed the Gaslight Festival Karaoke Contest, the contest was expanded in 2007 to include six additional qualifying rounds and four quarter-final rounds. Seven different Jeffersontown establishments hosted various rounds of competition over an 18-day period. The contest also added divisions for both kids and teens, making it one of the largest events of its kind in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. One hundred and thirty adults, kids and teens competed in the 2007 contest!

The 2008 contest was literally a “whirlwind” of an event. Hurricane Ike blew through Jeffersontown on September 14 with wind gusts in excess of 85 mph. More than 300,000 homes and businesses across the Louisville metropolitan area lost power for up to ten days. The windstorm and power outage forced us to cancel one qualifying round for all divisions and we had to reschedule an adult quarter-final round. Despite the abbreviated schedule, the contest had its best turn out to date.

In 2009, the contest once again set a new attendance record and reached a milestone by topping 100 adult contestants. The huge crowd for the Finals at the PassTime Entertainment Tent demonstrated the popularity of this contest throughout the region.

The 2010 contest set yet another new attendance record, with more than 140 kids, teens and adults competing. Some innovative changes to the contest were introduced, such as the photo I.D. cards and a program of events that was distributed to competitors and many of the audience members. We will continue to tweak the system as needed and expect the contest to grow for many years to come!

About the Thoroughbreds

The Thoroughbred Chorus is a not for profit 501(c)3 charitable organization, dedicated to excellence in singing a cappella harmony music. As a chartered chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the Thoroughbreds have sung for dignitaries, civic functions, sporting events and all sorts of music extravaganzas. Audiences range from small, private groups to crowds as large as 13,000! 

The Thoroughbreds perform every year at the ribbon-cutting ceremonies of the Kentucky State Fair and they host an annual show on the first Saturday of December in downtown Louisville. And in an event that is as much fun for the members as it is for the audiences, numerous quartets from the chapter fan out over the city every February to deliver Singing Valentines.

In 1946, the Louisville No. 1 Chapter was established as a member of what was then known as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. (SPEBSQSA). In 1958, the “Thoroughbreds” entered and won their first district contest which qualified them to compete in the international chorus competition. In 1962, the chorus won its first international championship! Six more international championships followed, giving the Thoroughbreds a total of seven Gold Medals.

The Thoroughbreds have also been the home to a number of outstanding international quartet champions, including Bluegrass Student Union (1978), Interstate Rivals (1987), Second Edition (1989) and the 2003 Senior Quartet Champions, The Barons.

Today, the Thoroughbreds are actively searching the area for the next generation of outstanding male vocalists to help carry on their tradition of excellence in singing and performing. The Thoroughbreds proudly call Jeffersontown, Kentucky their home and the chapter meets every Monday night at Jim Miller Hall at 10609 Watterson Trail.

For more information about The Thoroughbred Chorus, go to the chapter website at or call 502-267-SING (502-267-7464).

Thoroughbred Chorus