WEST CALDWELL, NJ -- On Saturday, February 8, world-class a cappella and barbershop singers will be performing at a free concert at the annual Jersey Harmony Explosion festival at James Caldwell High School in West Caldwell, NJ. 

Jersey Harmony Explosion brings student singers together with professional quartets for a day of community, collaboration and celebration. “It’s all very judgment-free,” said Ben Cupit, a student at Green Brook Middle School. “You’re trying something hard and people who are doing the same thing respect that.” 

Joining the festival as a mentor will be Deke Sharon, Music Director of “Pitch Perfect,” and considered the father of contemporary a cappella. “My life’s work is to spread harmony through harmony,” said Sharon. “There’s something that’s deeper and more powerful about the human experience when you live it through harmony with other people.”

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Other mentors on hand will be the quartets GQ and Vocal Spectrum, as well as Gimme Four, New Jersey’s top barbershop quartet, who currently rank as the number 14th group in the world. 

The festival runs from 8am to 6pm. Most of the day is comprised of young singers being coached by mentors and honing their singing skills. “The kids come in early in the morning, spend the whole day rehearsing together on some combined songs, getting coached as individual groups, rehearsing in small groups with the clinicians we have coming in,” said Will Downey, the Festival Director,” and they also take classes in all things a cappella and barbershop.” 

The culmination of the festival is the concert where all student groups and mentors perform. The concert is free, open to the general public and takes place at 7pm on Saturday. 

“When you’re around people who are different from you and you learn about how the sum is greater than the individual parts, then you realize that humanity wants those differences,” said Sharon. “There’s no place in the world that it’s taught better than when you sing together.” 

To read more about the Jersey Harmony Explosion festival, visit them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/914584595593888.