In his autobiography, Overcoming, W. Harry Davis described how vocal quartets would be formed at the Phyllis Wheatley Settlement House. His group, formed in the summer of 1941, was called the Four Notes, and included David Faison, Charlie Waterford, Hank Majors, and later Rufus Webster. They mostly imitated the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers. One day they sang for the Wheatley Board, which included Min Himmelman, whose husband was the manager of Brown’s Clothing Store. After arranging for the group to record a radio commercial for the store, she told them of another opportunity.
The Ink Spots appeared in Minneapolis beginning on November 22, 1941, at the Orpheum Theater. The group had a contest to see which local group could imitate them the best. They acted as judges at auditions at radio station WDGY. The Spokesman reported that the contest was sponsored by the Orpheum, WDGY, and Minneapolis Beautiful, Inc., headed by Mrs. M.D. Himmelman. The quartet that best imitated the style of the Ink Spots would appear at all performances at the Orpheum on November 28. Davis also said that the winner would get a two-week’s engagement at Curly’s, a downtown night spot.
The Four Notes won, but they were too young to appear at a club that served liquor. They pulled it off by growing moustaches, but Miss Dorsey from Wheatley refused to play piano for them. “We convinced our friend Rufus Webster to replace Miss Dorsey at the piano” and fulfilled the engagement. After Curly’s they played the Flame – one week in the Minneapolis location and one week in St. Paul. But after two weeks at the Happy Hour, draft notices began to appear, first for David Faison, then Hank Majors, then Rufus Webster. “The Four Notes had a short career.”