« Group enjoys performing for Villages audience | Main | Look I'm At The Albert Hall! »

July 21, 2006

Fab Four sing way to top of barbershop

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO):

A local group of a cappella harmony singers is king of the barbershop. Vocal Spectrum, a barbershop quartet formed at Lindenwood University, recently sang its way past 47 other groups to win this year's international Quartet Championship in Indianapolis. "It's unbelievable and pretty unexpected," said Chris Hallam, 26, a special-education teacher who sings bass for the group.

Hallam is joined in the group by baritone Jonny Moroni, 25, an insurance salesman, and Lindenwood seniors Tim Waurick, 25, and Eric Dalbey, 22. Moroni, Hallam, and Dalbey, all choir members, began singing barbershop together at Lindenwood when Moroni discovered the style on a public television program and thought it would be fun to try. Waurick completed the quartet after meeting the others at a barbershopping function in St. Joseph, Mo. "It was random luck," he said.

During the three-round competition, judges score a quartet based on the music it selects, the quality of its singing and how well it brings the lyrics to life through performance. Group members said they followed the same formula that led to Vocal Spectrum's 2004 victory in the collegiate competition: They sang to the audience. "A lot of quartets that compete worry about judges and scores," Dalbey said. "But we just leave all that behind and sing to the audience."

As part of their winning act, Vocal Spectrum performed a mixture of traditional barbershop songs such as the 1930s hit "South Rampart Street Parade" and modern show tunes such as "Cruella DeVille" from "101 Dalmatians" and "Cheer Up Charlie" from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Group members practiced for more than two hours every day in the months leading up to the contest and picked music they thought could be brought to life on stage. "It's like a second full-time job," Hallam said.

According to the rules of competitive barbershoping, a quartet that wins the championship cannot compete in future championships. But Vocal Spectrum members are unconcerned about this restriction, hoping to focus instead on traveling to perform for audiences of barbershop music fans. Already, the championship has netted them invitations to perform in St. Petersburg, Russia, and at numerous U.S. events from Hastings, Maine, to Honolulu. "We joke around and say it's kind of like being a rock star on a very small scale," Moroni said.

Posted by acapnews at July 21, 2006 11:46 PM