Annapolis barbershop quartet competing in world championships

| June 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

For the first time in over three decades, the Barbershop Harmony Society’s International Quartet Competition will include a foursome representing Annapolis. Last Men Standing, comprised of four veteran barbershop singers, will compete against fifty of the world’s elite quartets beginning Wednesday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Quartet members are TJ Barranger, tenor; Drew Feyrer, lead; Ed Bell, baritone; and Mike Kelly, bass. The quartet will represent four different chapters of the Society, including Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

(l to r) TJ Barranger, Drew Feyrer, Mike Kelly, and Ed Bell.

(l to r) TJ Barranger, Drew Feyrer, Mike Kelly, and Ed Bell.

 

Tenor singer TJ Barranger is a member of the Anne Arundel County chapter, and serves as music director of its Sons of the Severn chorus, which rehearses every week in Annapolis.

The last quartet to represent the Anne Arundel County Chapter was the B&O Connection, whose legendary lead singer, Bob Disney, also served as director of the Sons of the Severn. Disney’s quartet won a bronze medal in the 1979 international contest, finishing in third place.

“A very humbling bit of trivia,” admits Barranger, who has directed the Sons since 2005. “Just being able to compete is a huge honor for myself and for my chapter. Out of 30,000 barbershop singers around the world, only fifty quartets qualified for the big show. It’s our equivalent of the World Cup.”

Barranger and his quartet mates earned their spot by achieving a qualifying score at the International Preliminary contest in Reston, VA in March.

“At the time, we had only been together for a few months, and we had yet to sing in front of a live audience. Still, we earned a standing ovation in the second round. Since then, we’ve done some shows, refined our sound, and we feel much more at ease on stage.”

Between 8,000 and 10,000 barbershop enthusiasts are expected to attend the Barbershop Harmony Society International Convention, which runs Tuesday through Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. Last Men Standing will compete in the quarterfinals round on Wednesday evening in the resort’s popular Grand Garden Arena. Ironically, in a random draw for order of appearance, the quartet was selected to go last.

“We’re happy to take the hammer slot,” quips bass Mike Kelly of Laurel, MD, who has competed in several international competitions.

After the Wednesday quarterfinals, the top twenty quartets by score will move on to the semifinals round on Thursday. After that, the top ten quartets will compete in the finals round on Saturday evening. The convention will culminate with the announcement of the world’s top five quartets, and the naming of the next International Quartet Champion. All events will be webcast live at www.bhswebcast.com.

Last Men Standing will also represent the Alexandria, VA, and Allentown-Bethlehem and Bucks County, PA Chapters. The quartet will chronicle its experience in Las Vegas throughout the convention week on social media. Links and details are available on their website: www.LMSQuartet.com.

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Category: Entertainment, LIFE IN THE AREA

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