The first day of contest and shows at the 2019 BHS Midwinter Convention was especially significant. It started with the first-ever Next Generation Junior Quartet Contest and ended with a barn-burning Heritage of Harmony Show on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry.
The significance of both events is the demonstration of the Barbershop Harmony Society’s ongoing mission of “Everyone in Harmony” with a focus on youth and the roots of barbershop in African-American music tradition.
15 young quartets, all singers under the age of 18, took the stage in front of a rowdy crowd in the ballroom at Opryland. There were both men’s and women’s quartets and one mixed quartet. While most of the singers were in high school, Elementary Mix from Quinton, NJ – a quartet of elementary school students – charmed the crowd with their rendition of “The Chordbusters March.”
At the end of the contest, the Quin-Tones, a men’s quartet from Salem, NJ, took home the gold medals with a score of 219 points, edging out both 2nd and 3rd by just one point. Singing “My Ideal,” these young gentlemen demonstrated musicality and personality far beyond their years.
Tying for 2nd and 3rd were Singing Double, a quartet of two sets of twins from Tampa, FL, and Vintage Mix, seasoned barbershopping quadruplets from Milwaukee, WI.
The excitement carried right across the street to the iconic Grand Ole Opry for the Heritage of Harmony Show, featuring The Fisk Jubilee Singers, The Fairfield Four, HALO, Crossroads, Signature, After Hours, and a cameo from Throwback.
The evening was a true celebration of barbershop not only coming to terms with a segregated past, but celebrating a new path forward where diversity and inclusion is paramount.