Mountain View High School choral students have been learning to chop a chord from a veteran barbershop performer whose music has long outlasted his formal career. Marvin Bertelson spent a first lifetime teaching music to elementary school students before he retired in 1990. But the dedicated barbershopper, born in 1925, is now singing – and teaching – into his 90s.
When Bertelson moved to the Bay Area in 1958, “every corner had an apricot orchard on it – you got lost,” as he described it. He worked as an educator throughout his career after leaving the military, teaching music in what was then the Mountain View School District. After retiring, he continued leading a church choir and performing barbershop, and began coaching Mountain View High School students in the barbershop tradition.