Aotea’s superstar barbershop quartet
They harmonised their way to success when they were at Aotea College, but where are these Porirua songbirds these days?
Knoxana Leasi, Olivia Samuel, Theadora Esera and Georgina Peniamina made up The Fource – an unstoppable schoolgirl barbershop quartet.
The group won several national competitions, including the Young Women in Harmony barbershop contest in consecutive years.
A highlight for them was a trip to Washington to compete at the barbershop harmony world championship in 2010.
Another big moment was winning the Rising Star under-25 international barbershop championship in Houston, Texas, in 2011. Their winning songs were My Baby Just Cares For Me and All the Way.
They scored 383 out of a possible 400.
They had finished second in the Rising Star event the year before, in Seattle.
Leasi, Esera and Peniamina are now living in Wellington, and Samuel now lives in Australia.
We tracked down Leasi who is studying at Victoria University and singing barbershop with Wellington City Chorus.
She said singing with the quartet was something she missed and hoped to reunite with the others soon.
‘‘Barbershop gave us the opportunity to travel overseas three times and exchange experiences with a lot of young singers,’’ she said.
‘‘Whenever we get the chance to catch up, we laugh and reminisce about the times we stuffed up on stage, or our travelling antics.
‘‘Although we won the barbershop nationals three times in a row, it wasn’t anything easily earned. It was a goal we aimed for since we started together.’’
She said they worked hard and practised almost every day leading up to competitions.
‘‘That’s something we’ll always remember and take with us through our life goals.’’
Leasi said the group wouldn’t have made it so far without the ‘‘super help’’ of their ‘‘musical mother’’, Marilyn Baigent, and the ‘‘musical genius’’ of David Brooks, with whom they still keep in touch.
Brooks had fond memories of The Fource.
‘‘They enjoyed each other’s company and were great friends,’’ he said. ‘‘They were very receptive to coaching, yet had strong views on what they wanted to do.’’
He said they had a sensational natural blend.
‘‘They had very good ears for harmony, depth to the voices which made them stand out, plus the ability to focus well.’’
The Fource barbershop quartet from Aotea College in 2010. From left, Knoxana Leasi, Olivia Samuel, Theadora Esera and Georgina Peniamina.