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Sweden-Based Barbershop Quartet Performs at Dos Pueblos High School

The Ringmasters offered inspirational words to the teenagers in between the lively songs

Sweden-based The Ringmasters entertained students at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta on Wednesday with their a cappella singing style. Click to view larger
Sweden-based The Ringmasters entertained students at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta on Wednesday with their a cappella singing style. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

When Fiona Sonni was asked if she wanted to pursue singing after high school, she smiled ear to ear and answered without hesitation.

“I want to keep singing forever,” the Dos Pueblos High School junior said. “I love singing, and having the opportunity to watch a live performance is inspiring.” 

Sonni, along with more than 100 high school students, packed the front rows of the Dos Pueblos performing arts theater Wednesday afternoon to hear the Swedish-based barbershop quartet the Ringmasters.

“Music is a universal language,” tenor Jakob Stenberg said. “It’s a different experience every day.”

The group explained the four-part a cappella singing style, chords, vocal ranges and the barbershop harmony style of unaccompanied vocal music. 

The melody is sung by the lead, the bass singing the lowest harmonizing notes, the tenor harmonizing above the melody and the baritone completing the chord.

“Instead of just telling about what a cappella is,” lead Rasmus Krigström said. “We will show you.”  

The Ringmasters entertained the audience with a song from the Broadway musical “West Side Story,” a tune from jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, and a love song in Swedish.

Barbershop classics mixed with contemporary songs also filled the theater and made the audience move.

“When you end a song, it’s electric,” baritone Emanuel Roll said. “It’s fulfilling when you see new people learning to sing."

The Ringmasters have been performing together internationally for almost 10 years.

In 2012, they became the first quartet from outside North American to win the Society's International Convention, received first place at the 2008 Nordic Barbershop Quartet Contest in Stockholm, and won the 2008 Barbershop Harmony Society International Collegiate Championship.

Roll offered inspirational words to the teenagers in between the lively songs.

“We began singing in high school,” Roll said. “The choices you make now carry on and may impact you later. Singing has been life changing, and if you find something that inspires you, follow it. It may take you somewhere big.”

Courtney Anderson, vocal music teacher at Dos Pueblos, organized the show to introduce the a cappella world to the young audience.

“The music class gives the students a place to express themselves and be their own person, and find that vulnerable place that music touches in a safe community,” Anderson said.

Anderson’s third-period mixed chorus class and a variety of Dos Pueblos teachers and students lent their ears and joined the Ringmasters in a group sing-along during the concert.

“It’s important to support the arts and music,” math teacher Kendall Kuga said. “I’ve never seen a live a cappella group, and that added to the excitement.”

The Ringmasters are scheduled to perform two shows on Saturday at the Marjorie Luke Theatre in Santa Barbara.

The concert is a hosted by Pacific Sound Chorus, a men's a cappella chorus, and features championship quartets and choruses, including  C'est La Vie and the Carpe Diem Chorus.

For tickets and more information visit; http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2557362.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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