Polyphony visits with the barbershop crowd tonight in a conversation with Tessa Walker of Hot Pursuit Quartet, Lindsay Chartier of Titanium Quartet and Southwest Sound Barbershop Chorus and Tony Colosimo of First Take, Better Together Quartet, and The Alexandria Harmonizers. Listen in as they chat about the challenges and successes of quartets and choruses amidst the pandemic. Hear it at 8 pm Eastern/5 pm Pacific!
After two rounds of the Harmony, Inc. Quartet contest, Hot Pursuit topped 30 other quartets to become the 2019 Harmony Queens. This Area 6 quartet and 2018 Sweet Adelines Rising Stars charmed the audience, accepted a standing ovation and scored a record 81.5%.
Earning the silver medal for a second time, Area 4’s Take 4 bettered their 2018 score to earn an 80.7%. Also from Area 4, Fierce finished third with a score of 79.1%.. Representing Area 5, Swing Theory scored 78.0% to finish fourth, and NewQ out of Area 2 finished 5th with a score of 76.9%.
The finals were filled with everything from classic ballads to moving uptunes, representing all of the best that Harmony, Inc. has to offer. While the results were tallied, the afternoon also highlighted the organization’s youth, with a fun, circus-themed performance by the Minor Chords and a swan song performance and presentation by the 2018 Queens, Aged to Perfection. Just before the new queens received the traveling crowns, Aged to Perfection was also presented with their permanent crowns, custom designed for them by Barbara MacIntosh.
Life’s A Pitch received the Image of Harmony Award for their service to the organization. As the highest scoring novice quartet, Resolution won the Findlay Plaque and SweetLife won the Accord Award for Most Improved.
Each year, Harmony, Incorporated kicks off the International Contests with the quartet semifinals, making for a exciting start to a long weekend of excellent singing.
With powerful ballads, charming uptunes, and even a handful of well-done parody pieces, 31 quartets put their best on the stage, likely setting themselves up for possible record-breaking scores.
The top ten features multiple Harmony Queens, longtime barbershoppers, a large number of cross-registered Sweet Adelines quartets, and a handful of quartets brand new to Harmony, Incorporated. These groups will compete in finals on Saturday afternoon in Sandusky. Which quartet will be the new Harmony Queens?
In order of appearance:
Check out the full semifinal results HERE. Scores for the ton ten quartets will be announced after finals.
After two full days of competition, 2014 Rising Star Champion Quartet ClassRing upgraded to crowns fit for Queens by topping the field with a score of 2769, edging out 2nd place finisher, Viva by just two points. 3rd place finisher, Titanium, also received the audience award for Most Entertaining.
The day started off with an extended set from this year’s Rising Star Quartet Champions, Hot Pursuit, and it was a shining example of the future of women’s barbershop – great harmonies and even a little bit of humor, it was a great kick off to the Quartet Finals.
Milli Blank, from the Nordic Light Region, came out to test the mics with a great energy kicking off their set with a quick clip of Hip To Be Square, as a nod to the fact that group is as wide as they are tall, making them the “perfect square” and then followed up with “Razzamatazz” and a dance parody that included everything from “Can’t Stop the Feeling” to square dancing to traditional Swedish music. Spoiler Alert: Eventually Lead Annika Kruk DID get into the spirit and dance.
Representing Great Gulf Coast Region 10, 2016 Rising Star Champions The Ladies took to the big stage with an energized version of “Luck Be A Lady Tonight.” They dedicated their next song, Bing Crosby’s “Cuddle Up A Little Closer, Lovey Mine,” to the loves, or “The Ladies’ Men.” They slowed things down with the ballad “When Sunny Gets Blue,” presented with a great deal of emotion and dynamics before bringing the tempo back up with Gershwin’s “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”
In dazzling gold, ClassRing, representing Spirit of the Midwest Region 5, kicked off their winning set with a building arrangement of “Seize the Day” that even included a little audience participation. Their second tune, classic “Sweet Adeline,” showed off an amazing dynamic range, while they showed off some attitude with “Shamey, Shamey, Shame.” They closed out with a message of sisterhood and bringing the world together through song with “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Last year’s Novice Champions and 6th Place International medalists, Titanium, started off their package with Peggy Lee’s “I Love Being Here With You,” representing Heart of America Region 25. Poking fun at their wide geographic roots, different accents, and vowel matching challenges, they sang a parody of “The Moment I Saw Your Eyes” as “The Moment I Heard Your ‘I’s”. The language puns continued with a little humor at the expense of the German language, which led into Sandi Patty’s “Love in Any Language” before closing with a joyful version of “Come On Get Happy.”
Back in the top ten after finishing 7th last year, Glamour started with humorous take on their album recording with an original song written by Larry Wright: “Glamour Girls,” followed by “I Love Jazz” by Louis Armstrong. After teasing with potential opera or rap, the representatives from Harmony Heartland Region 4, brought a little country flair with John Michael Montgomery’s “Be My Baby Tonight.” Gently easing from humor into their ballad, they finished with “Go The Distance.”
With a signature sparkle in their eyes, Northern Lights Region 6 representatives, Sparkle, started their package with the classic “Blue Skies.” Continuing the “blue” theme, they brought out the country tune “Painting This Whole Town Blue.” With three members in Minnesota and one ins Wisconsin, this quartet clearly was cherishing their time together on stage and off. The Beatles inspired their third tune, “Eight Days a Week,” and they ended their set with Connie Francis’ “Who’s Sorry Now.”
Back from intermission, Lake Ontario Region 16’s Spritzer looked fresh off a shopping spree as they started their set with Aaron Neville’s “Who Will Buy” before moving into a shopping-themed “Big Spender” parody. The shopping parodies continued with a group intervention and Ella Fitzgerald’s “You Turned the Tables on Me.” Turns out the group’s lead, Susann McKinley, will only stop shopping “When Elephants Fly,” but honestly, who doesn’t need a boa and a larger-than-life wine glass with sweet barbershop harmonies?
Last year’s mic testers, Renegade kicked off with “It’s Too Darn Hot” which appropriately fit their youthful, yet polished sound – not to mention their stunning red gowns! They followed that up with “Stormy Weather.” Their third song was a gorgeous rendition of Sara Bareilles’ “Beautiful Girl,” which included a (gasp!) ukelele, before their closer “Let’s Live It Up.”
Also representing Harmony Heartland Region 4, Tenacious, turned the convention into a SA Anonymous meeting and a little bit of Dear Abbey in the form of “Dear Tenacious.” They sang full Beatles package that include “Help,” “Blackbird,” “We Can Work It Out,” and “I Will.” “Blackbird” included ukelele accompaniment.
Golden in spirit and dress, last year’s runner up, Windsor, brought us a humorous love themed set which included “Can’t Help Loving That Man of Mine.” After a great story from lead Mary Sarah Johnson, they sang Michael Buble’s “Just Haven’t Met You Yet,” before Jenny Allen started off their final tune with a great bass solo. The group represents both Region 5 and Region 9.
Coastal Harmony Region 10 was represented with final contestant, Viva!, who brought a USO themed package that started with “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Complete with drum sticks, the group then sang “Billy-a-Dick” before doing a complete costume change for the second half of their set. Their song for the boys was Bette Midler’s “Stuff Like That There” followed by a song for the troops, Barbara Streisand’s “Not While I’m Around.”
The Starlettes Chorus, made up of all women who have won the Rising Star Quartet Contest, and Outgoing Queens, Lustre, entertained the audience while the final scores were tallied.