Several of the 11 performing groups got creative on stage during BYU-Idaho’s Barbershop Quartet Festival. The night’s opening performance included a male audience member wandering on stage to kiss a singer while the choir sang a love song behind them.
Other bits included a member of Lost Boys II Men wearing a Peter Pan costume while the group performed “You Can Fly” from the coveted Disney animation, and the chorister of the BYU-I Men’s Chorus was met with a pie in the face following their performance, sending whipped cream flying across the stage.
Performances included high school hopefuls, BYU-I groups, local choruses, a quartet from Salt Lake City, and the 2018 International Champion quartet, After Hours.
Multiple student barbershop quartets, Men’s Choir and Women’s Glee all performed classics such as “Mr. Sandman” and “Make ‘Em Laugh.”
BYU-I booked After Hours to perform before they had won the competition. Group bass and founder Dan Wessler compares it to winning the Super Bowl after finishing with the highest score in the 80-year history of the competition.
“You’ve spent your life watching quartets you admire climb the ranks, and idolize the quartets that win, seeing them as celebrities,” Wessler said. “Winning the gold medal is something every barbershop singer dreams of. It’s humbling to suddenly be included in the same group of quartets whom we have admired our whole lives, getting to be a part of Barbershop Harmony Society history.”
After Hours formed in 2007 when Wessler and Tim Beutel (tenor) met at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. Wessler and Beutel eventually picked up Drew Ochoa (lead) and Bryan Ziegler (baritone), completing their quartet. This is just the beginning for After Hours.
“After Hours plans on staying together for quite some time, performing on shows, recording CDs, and indulging in creative projects as a group,” Wessler said. “One nice thing about having won the competition is that we no longer have to compete to keep ourselves relevant; we have time to do other things. Being a competing quartet demands a heavy schedule of learning and coaching contest songs; that not being necessary anymore, we can broaden our horizons regarding which songs we choose to learn and which projects we choose to take on.”
Fan Annette Davidson was present for After Hours’ gold medal performance in Orlando, Florida, last year. Upon hearing of their upcoming participation in BYU-I’s festival, Davidson and her husband made the trek from Kaysville, Utah, to hear After Hours sing once again.
“Loved it,” Davidson said. “They are just beyond amazing.”
After Hours’ performance included a variety of music, from the Spiderman theme song to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story. Their rendition of “The Sound of Music” garnered the first of several standing ovations they would receive from the Rexburg crowd.
“The crowds were so great,” Ziegler said. “We’ve gotten such a great response and that’s all you can ask for as a performer.”
After Hours’ success is taking them on a tour over seas this fall to spread their music even farther.
“We also hope to inspire musicians through our music,” Wessler said. “In the same way that champion quartets from years past inspired us to take on the hobby and improve to the level we are, we hope to use our influence to motivate the next generation of singers to excel in this wonderful art form.”
“I loved seeing the student quartets and seeing the diversity. A lot of them I knew that were music majors, but I know a lot of others are not. So to see them up there portraying that talent was really exciting,” said Luke Powell, a junior studying music education.
Guest performances also included The Carousel Chorus, Bonneville High School and Sound Check Quartet.
Jimmy Schofield, the tenor for Sound Check, is a BYU-I alumnus — Schofield graduated in 2006.