MY OUTLOOK: The 405 Quartet
How did you discover acapella music?
Greg Rogers: We have all had a different road in getting here. Mine was through my father. He was a barbershopper since he was in college. I fell in love with barbershop listening to him sing. I started singing barbershop at the ripe old age of 14.
Caleb Henderson: It was my last year of college and an old high school buddy was singing in a barbershop chorus in the city asked me to visit the group during a rehearsal. I was too busy then, after I graduated, I eventually showed up, and when I did, I auditioned and signed up that very night and have been hooked ever since.
Austin Smith: I discovered acapella music when I was still in grade school. I was raised in the church by two musical parents. They introduced me to gospel quartets, I enjoyed it tremendously and continued to pursue that singing form since then.
Joey Allen: I grew up singing acapella. The majority of my family is musical and we sang acapella at church. When I was a child my mom and aunts started singing with the Sweet Adeline’s and when I was in my early twenties, I started singing with the OK Chorale, the men’s barbershop chorus in OKC. It’s the most natural thing in the world to me.
Who sings which parts in the quartet?
Greg Rogers sings lead. The lead delivers the melody and emotion of the song. Austin Smith sings bass. The bass creates the foundation that the chords are built on. Caleb Henderson sings baritone. The baritone sings a mismatch of notes that creates the chord. Joey Allen sings tenor. The tenor adds the high tone to the chord. This is what creates overtones. With a good tenor it can sound like eight people are singing when you only have four.
How do you prepare your voices and keep them strong?
Joey Allen: Like any other muscle of the body, it has to be used regularly and correctly. We sing a warm up before rehearsals and performances. But, it’s also being smart vocally all the time. For example, yelling at sporting events in cold weather, over-singing or talking until you’re hoarse aren’t good moves.
Austin Smith: Water. Lots of water. However, the best way to keep the voice strong is to use it as much as possible. I probably sing for an hour a day at minimum.
How often do you practice?
Greg Rogers: We try to practice at least once a week. It becomes two or three times a week about a month leading up to contest.
What kind of songs do you sing?
Greg Rogers: The great thing about the barbershop style is it incorporates many different kinds of music. Most of what we sing is arrangements of 30s and 40s tunes. There are young arrangers doing some very cool things now days. There was a chorus that took a barbershop arrangement of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to contest! Man, it was cool!
What is your favorite part about performing?
Joey Allen: Simple, seeing and feeling the audience react to what you’re doing. When the audience is “into” your performance, there is so much energy that comes back to you, it makes you want to give more of yourself. And that drives me to learn music, rehearse and perfect our craft.
Caleb Henderson: It’s great being able to demonstrate the joy the music brings to each of us in the group, and performing well and changing any stereotypical idea of what a barbershop quartet is.
When did you form your group?
Caleb Henderson: We all had gotten into singing at different stages of our lives. But this group started roughly five months ago. I wanted to find a good group to sing in and knew Greg was a great lead and had considerable experience. I then called the best bass I knew would be interested. Then we found a tenor and the rest is history.
Do you compete as a quartet?
Greg Rogers: Every October, the Southwestern District of the Barbershop Harmony Society has its district contest. In 2015 we attended our first contest as a group. We were only together for three months before going. We made a top five finish out of 36 quartets.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about your group?
We love to sing. We love to introduce more people to this style of music. This art form was started right here in the state of Oklahoma by two men, O.C. Cash and Rupert Hall in 1938. People hear the name barbershop quartet and they think of old men standing around in straw hats. We have an influx of young men getting into the art form, because there is nothing like it in the world. The more young men who start singing this style of music, the better it gets. We would love to sing for anyone else who wants to hear the barbershop style.
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