Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quartet Highlight - Expedition

In this post, we will introduce you to one of the many quartets associated with the Midwest Vocal Express that we highlighted in an earlier post.

Expedition, the 2009 Land O’Lakes District Quartet Champs, boast two young men who both hail from lifelong barbershop families.

Bryan Z (Bari), now 20 years old, joined the MVE in 1999 at the age of nine. He had the experience of performing in his first International competition that same year in Anaheim, CA. (Rumor has it he was the youngest performer in the entire contest that year.)

Bryan has consistently competed in District contests with various quartets, as well as College prelims, since 2007. He’s currently matriculating at the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a major in vocal performance, under the tutelage of none other than the incomparable Jim Henry.

Left to right:
Jeremy Ganswindt, Tenor (MVE)
Jake Umhoefer, Bass (MVE)
Bryan Ziegler, Baritone (MVE)
Jay Fahl, Lead (seated)
Likewise, Jeremy G (Tenor) grew up hearing barbershop, and joined the chorus at the ripe old age of 11. His first claim to fame was as the “Kid playing with toy soldiers, vamping & unflappable for 15 minutes, while the chorus got organized & squared away with the stage crew” moment at the Montreal competition in 2003.

At 15 years old, his quartet, J-Crew, qualified for the International Collegiate quartet competition in 2007 at Denver, finishing eighth. His second quartet, Expedition, also competed in the 2009 Collegiate competition in Anaheim, finishing tenth. Their LOL District Championship in Oct. 2009 was Jeremy’s first experience competing on the District stage in a quartet!

Josh and Jake U. also lay claim to a deep family heritage in barbershop. Their Mom, DeAnne H. (wife of our own infamous Scotty H.) sings with 2 Sweet Adelines quartets, and has competed multiple times on the International stage.

These talented brothers have both won district championships twice – including Jake’s win with Expedition this year. Josh currently serves as MVE Performance VP, yet somehow finds the time to travel between Milwaukee & Kansas City to rehearse and perform with Central States District Champs Skyline (along with our very own Christmas Show director Tim Z.).

Expedition has been together for just over one year. At the 2009 International contest in July, they took 10th place in the Collegiate Competition, then at Land O’ Lakes District in October, won the District Championship. Jeremy has been a member of the society for 8 years, Bryan for 12 years, Jake for 4 years, and Jay for 3 years.

Top Ten Best things about being in a Quartet: 

10. Getting the chance to do what we love: SING!!
9. Learning from well known coaches
8. Becoming a better singer
7. Singing in shows
6. Learning new music
5. Sharing success with friends (MVE)
4. Meeting lots of people
3. Competing
2. Traveling together
1. Weekend Rehearsals

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lock & Ring! . . . . Spotlight on the MVE’s award-winning quartets!

As any man who’s spent even a week in the barbershopping hobby knows, quartet singing is the heart of the sport. Therefore, chapter quartets are, by extension, the heart of every chapter.

The MVE is no exception! The men who step forward to “Lock & Ring” those seventh chords take that extra step of commitment to the art form. Anyone ever seen that BHS T-Shirt, “Singing is Life. The rest is just details”….?

These guys make the art form - and their chapter – their main purpose in life. It’s a labor of love that commands the respect and admiration of their fellow members.

The hours they’re not singing or learning about singing, they’re working hard to improve their chapter life through Board and committee service, and training other members to step into their shoes some day.

It is this spirit that we recognize our quartets in this special feature. The diversity of age, experience, and accomplishment among these men is truly astonishing!

Easy Days
At Ease
Rich Tones
Side FX May Vary

Thanks to the editor of the MVE's in-house newsletter Expressions - Randy Will - for the material for this post. Additional posts to follow that will highlight some of these quartets accomplishments in more detail.

Monday, July 12, 2010

MVE Takes 8th Place at International Contest in Philadelphia, PA

The Midwest Vocal Express male a cappella chorus competed against the best choruses in the world at the annual Barbershop Harmony Society International Convention July 2, 2010, in Philadelphia, PA. and finished in eighth place.

This was the 12th consecutive appearance in the contest by the 50 man Midwest Vocal Express chorus.  There are over 800 Barbershop choruses worldwide, and MVE was the only competitor from Wisconsin in the 27 chorus field.  Invitations go to high-scoring groups from the previous year’s district competitions.  Each chorus presents two songs, scored by a panel of 15 judges.  In eleven of the last twelve years, Midwest Vocal Express has placed in the top ten, with three finishes in the top five.

Midwest Vocal Express, known for their “Storytelling through Song” style, brought a “Male Synchronized Swimming – Olympic” theme to the contest.
Photos posted via the Dan Proctor Fotki site. All photos are by Lorin May and are the property of the Barbershop Harmony Society
Previous appearances on the International Stage have seen the MVE as fish in an aquarium, Broadway waiters looking for a showbiz break, green plastic army toy soldiers come to life, penguins at the South Pole longing to go “up North” where it’s warm, and a workshop full of naughty “Pinocchios.”

Past Midwest Vocal Express contest entries are chronicled in the DVD MVEvolution available at