Top barbershoppers to sing
TV show The Naked Choir has thrust choral singing into the spotlight. On the programme’s judging panel is Palmerston North Boys’ High old-boy Matt Gifford.
Gifford, who with show presenter Jeff Hunkin was in world champion barbershop quartet The Musical Island Boys, is helping pass on the barbershop baton to a new generation of singers who have strong connections to the school.
Daniel Medyckyj-Scott, Josh Ellery, Adam Tuiloma Sowman and Eddy Johnsen make up a Wellington-based barbershop quartet called the B-Flads.
The group is special guest performer at Solstice Harmony, the annual Manawatunes barbershop chorus concert on Sunday in the Speirs Centre.
Brought up in Palmerston North, Medyckyj-Scott, Ellery and Sowman all benefited from tuition by ‘‘inspirational’’ Boys’ High music teacher, Graeme Young.
‘‘Josh and I sang together in the OK Chorale,’’ Sowman said. ‘‘Daniel didn’t sing as much - he was in bands.’’
The boys met up again at the same hostel when they went to study at Victoria University in Wellington.
‘‘Eddy [Johnson], our fourth member, was also at the hostel, and told us about a barbershop chorus called Vocal FX. He had a car and would drive us to Tawa for rehearsals.
‘‘We just thought, why don’t we put a quartet together.’’
It was a great decision, and with coaching from Gifford and Hunkin, they won the 2015 New Zealand Under 25 Col- legiate Quartet title and were third in the Open Quartet section.
They performed for the 2015 New Year in The Square, and in 2016 retained their Under 25 title, and moved up to second in the open competition. They also went to Nashville for the Barbershop Harmony Society quartet contest and posted a creditable top 20 finish.
‘‘Matt and Jeff in the Musical Island Boys have won that competition, and they have been incredibly helpful to us.’’
This year, they are looking towards the 2017 Pan-Pacific Convention in Sydney.
The B-FLads will be joined for two shows 2pm and 7pm, by the Manawatunes, Palmerston North raised pianist Rose Wu, and brass quintet SoulE. $20 Solstice Harmony tickets are available at Beggs on Albert St.
Wellington barbershop quartet the B-Flads Daniel Medyckyj-Scott, Josh Ellery, Eddy Johnsen, Adam Tuiloma Sowman,