Youth In Harmony Start 'em Young!


Youth In Harmony Vice President - Matt Suellentrop



Take the gold in AA Chorus competition at the 2013 Mid-Winter Convention in Orlando, FL.

Score: 85.2%
Audience Favorite Award
Superior Rating

Under the direction of Jonny Maroni

St. Louis YIH Day
Acappellooza 2011

On Tuesday, over 500 high school boys entered the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri- St. Louis. Every year Jim Henry acts as the clinician for the day, and we usually have local groups act at the teaching ensembles and section leaders. Sometimes it's my quartet, Progression, or Vocal Spectrum, or men such as David Wright, and Rich Knight. This year, we decided to give the kids a great experience, and we got the Florida half of Crossroads to come up for a few days.

The students start their day in the hall with Jim warming them up and teaching them great vocal techniques. They received two pieces of music, and after warm-ups, Crossroads stepped in to sing the first song that they would learn, "Hello, Mary Lou". As simple as the song is, Crossroads seems to step it up a notch, and the kids when crazy for them!. They then split into sections for awhile, and came back for a full group rehearsal for a half hour. The second song was "Irish Blessing". Half of the kids split into sectionals while the other half eat lunch, and then they switch. After a final group rehearsal, it's time for a small concert.

Because it's such a large group, and it's all during they day, we don't do a group concert that evening. Just at the end of the day so the kids can get on their buses and back to their schools. Both of the UMSL choral groups perform, as well as the head of our private voice studio, Dr. Stella Markou. Crossroads then sang about 5 songs for the guys, and out the door they went. You could just feel the energy pouring from the kids as the walked out of the doors!

Wednesday comes around, and it's time to welcome the girls. It's always been a little more difficult to get a women's ensemble to act as the teaching group.We've had various local quartets over the years, but nothing like Vocal Spectrum or anything like that. This was the year for that to change. We got a grant through the AIC, and flew in The Buzz, 2005 Sweet Adeline International Champions! These ladies are like nothing I've ever seen before. The way they connected with the girls, and got them excited was unbelievable. I also think it's save to say, that they are absolutely the best women's quartet singing today!

In order to try and help defray some of the costs of flying in all the quartet members, Crossroads and The Buzz put on a joint show on Tuesday evening. Emails over the past couple of weeks went out to all local barbershop chapters, high schools, and colleges. There was a great turnout, and both quartets put on amazing show sets!

You can check out the pictures that I took of the two days by clicking on the following link.

Although our event is a success year after year, we hate that we have to cap it and turn away students and schools. So we're starting planning on a week-long event to take place on campus next summer that will include both guys and girls. They'll spend the week learning music, vocal technique, barbershop history, and many other things. Then we'll put on a huge concert at the end of the week with quartets, AOH, and our plans are to bring in a high profile vocal group as well. The possibilities are endless!

Gotta love a successful YIH day!

Matt Suellentrop

Progression, tenor
2010 Central States District Quartet Champions

Ambassadors of Harmony, assistant tenor section leader, board member at large
2009 International Chorus Champions

Central States District
VP- Youth in Harmony (2012)





PAST CSD Collegiate Champions

1992 Water Street Junction & 1992 Int'l College Champs
1993 Varsity Drag
1994 3 Men & A Melody
1995 Gentlemen of Note

1996 Bungee Chords
1997 Bungee Chords
1998 Statesmen
1999 Millennium

2000 Millennium & 2000 Int'l College Champs
2001 Smashin' 3rds
2002 Out of Class
2003 Deluge

2004 Vocal Spectrum & 2004 Int'l College Champs
2005 Tomfoolery
2006 Against the Grain
2007 Blue Notes

2008 Smorgaschords

2009 Blue Notes
2010 Tag Team
2011 Ring It On
2012 Dominant Prep
2013 The Brovertones
2014 Shockapella
2015 Livewire


password is "bhd91011"

Experiencing the hobby through new eyes!
by John Donehower
The Choir Boys, Bass

On February 11th, the Fort Dodge Chapter sponsored their 4th Annual Youth in Harmony Festival. Students from 5 area school districts, ranging in age from Junior High to college, along with their teachers participated in an afternoon clinic and evening show designed to introduce them to some of the many joys of our hobby. Serving as clinicians for the day were a Internationally ranked Sweet Adeline quartet called "ICE" (Peg Cummings, Marcia Starnes, Karen Dunn, Denise Baber) from the Twin Cities area and "The Choir Boys" (Brian Medinger, Chris Medinger, Roger Akers, John Donehower) which hails from the Dubuque, Davenport and Linn County Metro Chapters. During the day, "ICE" worked with the young ladies and "The Choir Boys", with bonus help from the always awesome Ron Morden, worked with the young men. Then after an afternoon of singing and merriment, the Fort Dodge and Algona choruses, ICE, The Choir Boys and the "YIH" Men's and Women’s choruses performed a show for the community. The coaching and show went off with nary a hitch! (OK, the one hitch was that due to inclement weather, 2 of the original 7 schools which were signed up to participate in the festival weren't able to attend. What does Mother Nature have against barbershop???)

If I were to name a few things that made the day exceptional...

1) Stellar communication and pre-planning: Glen Larsen and the men from Fort Dodge did an exceptional job in coordinating the event with the area schools, students and clinicians. The students were provided with music and learning tracks prior to the event. The songs were carefully chosen for their simplicity and for their appeal to younger singers. The day was carefully planned to give a vigorous but not overwhelming experience. Dinner was donated by a local Hyvee Store. (It seemed to magically appear!) The day was a well oiled machine. The clinicians and participants were left with the impression that putting an event such as this is a carefree endeavor. Bravo!

2) Pick the right clinicians: Choosing the right people to serve as clinicians can really make or break the day. At risk of seeming self-serving, The Choir Boys are well suited for this type of activity due to several factors: Two of our members are in their early twenties and relate well to the students; Three of our members are either music educators or barbershop chorus directors which enabled us to serve well as teachers and relate to the Music Educators; One of our members, despite being middle-aged, is quite skilled at being silly, immature and irreverent making him very popular with the students. While it is great to have a noteworthy individual or quartet serving as clinician, the simple fact is that contest success alone does not guarantee success as a clinician. Find someone who sings well and most importantly relates well to young people.

3) Get the teachers involved: As clinicians, we made a point of getting and keeping the local music educators involved in the process. We wanted to make sure that they understood how much we appreciated their time and talent. We constantly sought their input and participation to demonstrate to the students how closely our hobby dovetails with the choral world. It's all about good, healthy singing that can last a lifetime!

4) Make the day about the students: As much as we want to sell our hobby to the kids and to sign them up, we have to resist the temptation. Glen and the Fort Dodge guys did a great job of giving the students a great "no pressure" introduction to our hobby. The kids left with an idea of how awesome our hobby can be. The teachers left feeling that we are not trying to steal their students and that we truly appreciate the work they are doing. Since you shouldn’t “recruit”, gauging success for a YIH event almost comes down to a “gut feeling”. A more tangible measure of the success of our day in Fort Dodge day could be that 30 students and 2 of the teachers became “fans” of The Choir Boys on FACEBOOK in the days that followed the event. Just this morning, we got a post from Eagle Grove High School Sophomore Colby: “Hey, I'm a few months late, but I thought I'd thank you for directing the guys at the youth in harmony last February. You guys made barbershop singing fun and exciting. So fun in fact, that we established our own barbershop quartet. (but of course we're no good =]) So, yeah I just wanted to thank you for teaching us that barbershop music can be fun and exciting.”

On a final note, I’d just add that in my 25 years in the hobby, this was one of my “best days” as a Barbershopper. I felt great pride in our quartet, our new friends in Algona and Fort Dodge and for our hobby in general. Through the students, I felt like I was experiencing our hobby again for the first time. The joy of that first "rung" chord. What a feeling!



yih1  yih2 yih3

February 10, 2011 YIH
Harmony Explosion

Ft. Dodge, Iowa
Photos by Ron Morden


   2004 MBNA America Collegiate Barbershop Quartet Contest Champion is our Society’s 2006 International Quartet Champion.

The feat was first achieved by Four Voices, the 1996 Collegiate Champion, who went on to win the 2002 International Championship in Portland.

The Society’s Collegiate Quartet Contest is spawning many more International-level quartets as well. 
Reprise, who won the 2001 Collegiate Competition, won the Rocky Mountain District championship in 2001,
and placed in the top-20 at the 2002 International Convention. 
Men In Black won the 2005 Collegiate Competition as well as the Northeastern District championship,
and had a top-20 finish as an International Competitor.
  Men-so Forte, who placed 7th in the 2005 Collegiate Competition, qualified and was an International quarter-finalist.

Congratulations to all of these quartets!  The collegiate program continues to build our
young singers into great barbershoppers and International-level singers.

CSD 2008 Youth In Harmony Report pdf download


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