After entering its first singing competition, a local barbershop quartet considers itself FOURTUNATE.
Competing at the International Quartet Preliminaries and District Chorus Convention in Orlando last month, the four-man harmonies of FOURTUNATE earned the group seventh place out of 17 quartets.
As it was their first competition together, C.J. Shaw, 26, Bob Tucker, 57, Mike Roth, 61, and Tyson Adams, 46, were happy to have placed in the top 10.
The competition was split over two days, and FOURTUNATE went to Orlando with one goal: to become International Quartet Preliminary Finalists and qualify to sing both days.
C.J. Shaw, a music freshman at Santa Fe College, said he jumped out of his seat when he heard the news.
“I was so excited,” he said. “The whole audience could hear me.”
Perhaps it was the hours of practice the group put in every Sunday paying off, but Shaw said he spikes his hair with gel and drinks a Powerade for good luck.
At the competition, FOURTUNATE sang “Wait Till the Sun Shines Nellie,” “The Story of the Rose (Heart of My Heart),” “Old St. Louie” and “Bye Bye Blues” in front of a crowd of about 1,000 people.
Scores were based on singing, presentation and the categories of music.
Bob Tucker, a UF accounting instructor and the baritone of the group, said he knew their group could be successful the moment they first sang together.
They all became acquainted through the BarberGators barbershop chorus in Gainesville. The four men sang together randomly at a chapter meeting and liked what they heard.
“I remember that magical moment,” Tucker said.
In October 2012, they became an official quartet.
Although they are a relatively new group, each member of FOURTUNATE has had outside signing experience separately.
Shaw, the youngest of the group, began barbershop singing at the age of 16. Performing for so long, Shaw said he has outgrown stage fright.
“My natural place is on stage,” he said.
Roth, the tenor of the group with 20 years of barbershop singing experience, described the feeling of singing with FOURTUNATE as a “buzz.”
“With the really good quartets, there is just an energy in the sound,” he said. “We buzz more than we don’t.”
Although they have only been a quartet for a short time, their relationship spans further than their harmonies. They laugh and joke as if they have known each other for decades.
But the members of FOURTUNATE said they owe much of their success to their quartet coach, Don Clause, whom they consider a legend in the barbershop community. He’s written competition rules and coached winning quartets.
“He’s got that magic touch that inspires others to do better,” Shaw said.
Tyson Adams, the newest member to the barbershop community, said the other men in the group are what make being in a quartet the most fun. Adams said he used to enjoy singing for his own enjoyment but joining FOURTUNATE has changed his perspective.
“I saw how much people enjoyed it, and I realized it’s not all about me,” he said. “It’s about [the audience] and making them happy.”
Contact Alexa Volland at [email protected].