Happy Barbershop Quartet Day!

11 Apr

Today is a day to celebrate music!  In honor of that, below is a Q&A with Ashley York, a member of Rooftop Rhythm, a local Chicago-based barbershop quartet.

How did your group get started?

Our group, like a lot of barbershop quartets, grew out of a series of random connections.  Two guys are brothers.  One of the brothers sang with me in a quartet before.  The last guy sang with the other brother years ago.  When serendipity brought us all to the point of searching for a new quartet at the same time, it fell into place.

How often do you practice?  Have you taken part in any competitions?

We practice almost weekly, which is tough since we have members from Chicago and Madison, as well as Whitewater and West Bend, Wisconsin.  We make it work, though.

Our first competition will be April 29th.  Our goal is to qualify for the International Finals in Kansas City, MO this summer.  In the past, three of us have competed in the International Collegiate Quartet finals.  We also have members who have finished as high as 3rd in our District competition.  Our district covers Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and a huge chunk of Canada.

What do you love about barbershop quartet?

Barbershop singing is so different than other forms of music.  Using just four voices, we create songs that have intricate chords.  Unlike instrumentalists or lead singers for bands, we each have to lock in how we’re singing perfectly to make the chords sound as great as they can.  If our mouths are shaped just a little bit wrong, it doesn’t work as well.  We can’t do it by ourselves, either.

If we all hit it right, though, we create overtones.  Without giving a physics lesson, overtones are really high notes created by our voices coming together.  When we’re nailing our chords, you can hear 6, 7, or 8 different notes even though we’re only singing four real notes!  We’re real loud, too.

If you could tell the public one thing to stir up more interest in barbershop quartets, what would it be?

In this day in age, girls and money sell, right?  Well, we’re always popular with the ladies when we sing, especially when we bust out one of our sexy ballads.  We’re not exactly studs, either, so how about that?  Then there’s the quartet in England that got a million dollar recording contract.

Check out the Youtube video below if you want to give a listen to Rooftop Rhythm for yourself.


2 Responses to “Happy Barbershop Quartet Day!”

  1. Robin Oxley April 12, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    I heard these guys and they are better than the video sounds, so check them out if you can.


  1. Rooftop Rhythm Interviewed for Barbershop Quartet Day « Rooftop Rhythm - June 5, 2011

    […] out http://jacquelineklimas.com/2011/04/11/happy-barbershop-quartet-day/ to read an interview Ashley did for Barbershop Quartet […]

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