The BCLA barbershop quartet receives a gold rating in the Harmony Explosion contest

The quartet entered the contest and received the highest rating Tuesday, April 5

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By Casey Cunningham

Juniors Brayden Heath, Carter Harvey, Luke O’Neal and sophomore AJ Lauer all stand in line at the spring concert Tuesday, March 29.

Sophia Estes, JAG reporter/writer

Sophomore AJ Lauer and juniors Brayden Heath, Carter Harvey and Luke O’Neal entered their student-formed Barbershop Quartet, BCLA, into Harmony Explosion, receiving a gold rating, the highest rating possible. 

O’Neal explains how they discovered Harmony Explosion.

Carter found Harmony Explosion through his voice teacher,” O’Neal said. “He came up to the rest of us with sheet music in hand and said, ‘Practice and learn this, we are performing it in a contest.’”

Additionally, choir teacher Jessie Reimer shares what Harmony Explosion offers for students.

“Harmony Explosion includes vocal music activities for students that wish to sing Barbershop music in quartets or in larger groups,” Reimer said. “They share a common goal to promote four part acapella singing in a mistake-friendly environment that encourages participation and performance with plenty of support and fun.”

Reflecting on the contest, O’Neal describes what a gold rating is and how he feels about receiving it.

“The gold rating is the highest rating possible that someone can receive,” O’Neal said. “I’m not exactly sure the point value required but I felt great when receiving this rating. It showed how much we had improved and the effort that we put forth in order to be great. The judges gave us our rating while also being honest about how we could improve. It was a great achievement and a great learning experience.”

Reimer defines the overall scoring of the contest. 

“This BCLA Quartet was critiqued by four judges on the quality of four part Harmony singing in tune, blending of voices, vocal quality and artistry,” Reimer said. “They were also judged on audience entertainment, vocal, artistry, visual agreement, believability, telling/selling the lyrics and level of effort and fun.”

O’Neal tells why they decided to form the quartet. 

“All four of us loved doing quartets and we discovered that with our first performance of ‘She is Evening,’” O’Neal said. “Ever since then it has grown and we enjoyed finding new songs to practice. We came up with our name with our most recent performance ‘Quick Break,’ which basically sealed the deal for all four of us.”

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