What: Champions in Harmony
Where: Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts
Who: Ringmasters, Musical Island Boys, Mighty River Harmony, Gridlock and Young Women in Harmony
Reviewed by Andrew Buchanan-Smart
The very enjoyable entertaining concert where quality prevailed and one could recognise and celebrate the art of the 'Barbershop' style. Ringmasters the international champions from Stockholm and Musical Island Boys from Pacifica showed why they were the top quartets in the world. Not only were they individually talented, with good voices, but how they worked and honed their voices into one ensemble to become one voice with multifaceted colours of various hues and where clear diction, dynamics and intonation were finely controlled and polished choreography was an integral part of the performance.
The Ringmasters selection showed the depth and breadth of their talents, technical control and versatility which included some of their own arrangements; of note were Blackbird, Hearts full of Spring, Smile, Baby Driver and I can't give you anything but love.
The Musical Island Boys entertained with, Heard it through the Grapevine, My Girl, Childhood, Talofa Teine and a Frankie Valli and a Four Seasons medley.
The local quartet Gridlock, fared well amongst such illustrious company with their comic, My old man and Swing low, swing down chariot medley. Special guests YWIH with their ABBA compilation showed that there is a great deal of youthful talent, enthusiasm and energy coming through in this growing 'art form'.
Mighty River Harmony chorus produced a warm homogenous sound with clear textures, nowhere more so than in their colourful cadences and close harmonies. Of note were You keep coming back like a bird and 76 Trombones.
On an understandable but sad note, Mighty River Harmony acknowledged the contribution and achievements of Barbara Smith, who is retiring. Mrs Smith raised the art of Barbershop singing in both NZ and significantly the Waikato to a high profile and standard over a considerable period. Her success was evidenced by this concert. It was pleasing to see a full house and such an appreciative audience enjoying the gift of song.