WEST CALDWELL, NJ -- Deke Sharon, considered the “father of contemporary a cappella,” joined New Jersey’s top choral experts at James Caldwell High School for the annual Jersey Harmony Explosion festival, held every winter.
High school and middle school students from across New Jersey spent the day receiving choral and quartet instruction from a capella pros. The day concluded with a concert featuring student choruses and quartets, along with performances by guest instructors GQ, The Newfangled Four, and New Jersey’s top-ranked barbershop quartet, Gimme Four.
Deke Sharon, Producer, Author, Music Director, and one of the creators of the Pitch Perfect films, was on hand to mentor students. “He’s given the kids a lot of insight into teamwork and feeling the music,” said Katie McDonald, GQ Quartet Member.
“My life’s work is to spread harmony through harmony,” said Sharon. “I feel I have a duty to go back and work with students and let them know I was just like them,” he said. “Our society really needs this. We need students to have a powerful experience in the Arts,” he added.
National Barbershop Quartet Day commemorates the date of the first organized barbershop movement on April 11, 1938, which lead to the founding of the “Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America,” now known as the Barbershop Harmony Society.
“You learn a lot about yourself and a lot about each other while you’re singing. You really learn that you need each other,” said Sam Mulick, a student at James Caldwell High School. “It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in high school.”