The Southwestern District showed the world why it's known as "The District of Champions" last week at the BHS International Convention with three choruses and five quartets entered in the competition.
Choruses wow the crowd
The Vocal Majority won their 13th gold medal and two other choruses finished in the top 20: The Marcsmen - finishing 13th in the world, and Space City Sound, finishing 14th in the world. The Marcsmen have been to the International stage several times, but this was the first appearance for Space City Sound.
The Vocal Majority at The 2018 BHS International Competition
The Marcsmen at the 2018 BHS International Competition
Space City Sound at the 2018 BHS International Convention
Chorus member Dominick Finetti said this about Space City Sound:
Ever since Space City Sound came together for the first time on September 15th, 2015, we’ve dreamed of qualifying for the International Barbershop Chorus contest. We had no idea how soon we’d get the opportunity to live this dream, but to say we are humbled to have done so in our first 3 years of existence is an understatement. We’ve worked tirelessly since day 1 refining our singing, performance, and musicality, all the while doing our best to expand our numbers. After we competed in our first District Contest ever last Fall, we were ecstatic not only with our score at the time, but also with the fact that we were given a wildcard slot to finally compete in the 2018 International Barbershop Chorus Contest.
As soon as we received our invite, we began working harder than ever before, bringing in coaches like Tim Waurick, the tenor of the 2006 Gold Medal Quartet Champions, Vocal Spectrum, and Music Judge & Category Specialist, Kevin Keller, to whip us into shape. Our contest set consisted of John Brockman’s beautiful ballad, The Nearness of You, and Dan Wessler’s swinging arrangement of You’re a Heavenly Thing, the same arrangement his quartet, After Hours, sang just before taking home the 2018 International Quartet Gold Medal. While we did work tirelessly to make this set the best it could be, we really didn’t know what to expect. That’s why we were elated to receive our highest contest score ever, an 84.2%, with only 24 men on stage! We are on cloud 9, and to some of us, the experience still doesn’t feel real. Even so, we know our 2018 International Chorus Contest performance was just the beginning, and we can’t wait for what comes next. If you live in the Houston, TX area and are interested in joining us on our musical journey, stop by Pines Presbyterian Church Thursday nights at 7PM CST!
Quartets conquer competition
Clutch has competed at International previously and this time grabbed the number 11 spot to perform as Mic Testers for the Quartet Finals Saturday night, July 7.
Clutch at the 2018 BHS International Competition
Current 2017 SWD Champion quartet, Rhapsody finished in 21st place on their first International appearance, and performed as Mic Testers for the Quartet Semi-Finals Thursday, July 5.
Rhapsody at the 2018 BHS International Competition
Showpiece earned the #37 spot in the world in the Quartet Quarter-finals Tuesday, July 3.
Stranger Rings, placed 16th in the Next Generation contest.
Finetti also sings with the Stranger Rings and said this about their experience:
Stranger Rings has been singing together in various iterations since early 2017, first identifying with the name, “The Space City Sound Baritone Section Except 4 Jacob.” After taking a year to refocus and have a few member changes, we were lucky enough to finally qualify for the Next Generation Varsity Quartet Contest with a 69.0%, where we would end up being the Southwestern District’s only representative. Unlike many young quartets, all of our members lived in the Houston, TX area, allowing us to rehearse almost every week and put together a contest set that would be truly entertaining.
The first song we prepared was Jeremey Johnson’s heartfelt ballad, Gee, I’m Glad It’s Rainin’. From our very first listen as a quartet, we instantly connected deeply with this song. As for our second, we actually had a lot of trouble finding a song that truly fit us, that is until I stumbled upon a mysterious and uncommon arrangement by Roger Payne titled, “VWS,” which I would later find out stood for “Very Weird Song.” This truly wacky and original uptune embodied everything we care about as a quartet: singing well while at the same time making the audience scratch their heads. Along the way we had the pleasure of being coached by fellow Space City Sound members, Robby Black & Jacob Bankston, and even got to spend some time during the week of International with Drew Wheaton, the tenor of the 2016 International Gold Medalist Quartet, Forefront, all of which we can’t thank enough for the support. We had an amazing time crossing the International stage, and truly did provide “stranger rings.”
Aggienizors competed as part of the Singing Cadet tour from Texas A&M.
Aggienizors on the interview set after their performance
With all this talent displayed and experienced at the BHS International Convention, the future looks very bright for the Southwestern District of Champions!