School quartets place first and fifth overall at Harmony Explosion

The Swoops N’ Curls and The Foxtrots competed Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Grace United Methodist Church

Sophia Estes and Abby Warren

Two barbershop quartets composed of school choir students competed at Harmony Explosion Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Grace United Methodist Church. The competition is part of a one-day clinic that seeks to promote 4-part a capella harmonic singing, focusing on Barbershop style music. The Kansas City Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society and the Kansas City Chorus of Sweet Adelines have sponsored the event for the past 30 years.

The Swoops N’ Curls, seniors Brayden Heath, Carter Harvey, Finn Campbell and Brody Shulda, received a Gold Rating and placed first overall. The Foxtrots, senior Asa Esparza and juniors Grace Cormany, McKinley Graves and Sarah Coleman, earned a Gold Rating and placed fifth overall. 

The quartets prepared music for the competition on their own time, practicing during seminar and after school to perfect their songs with the help of choir director Jessie Reimer. Graves said the competition was her way of showing audiences her love of music.

“We chose to compete because it’s a fun experience and a good way to get us out there and show people our passion,” Graves said.

Shulda shares what he took away from the experience.  

“My favorite part of the competition was winning and getting to sing our song again as well as another piece while wearing our gold medals,” Shulda said. “The biggest takeaway was interacting and getting to spend time with people who had the same passion, professionals and students.”

Additionally, Graves said she is proud of the group’s performance.

“Personally, I feel like I did really well individually and I feel like the whole quartet performed really well as a whole group,” Graves said. “One thing I would change about our performance was giving more energy during the performance. I would also maybe pick a more traditional barbershop song because there would be more of a chance that the judges would recognize it.”

Overall, Shulda said the experience helped him improve as a singer.

“I would definitely participate in Harmony Explosion again,” Shulda said. “It was so fun getting to hear all the different quartets’ performances and receive teaching from professionals.”

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