Jersey Harmony Explosion


On Saturday February 8th, the Jersey Harmony Explosion barbershop festival was held at James Caldwell High School in West Caldwell, NJ. Jersey Harmony Explosion is a “one day festival during which men’s, women’s and mixed ensembles will rehearse and be taught by young, top-ranked barbershop talent.” The day also included opportunities to be coached by the clinicians and to take classes on different topics and techniques in barbershop singing.  The 14-hour day ended in a concert open to the public. 

The festival was run by several award winning barbershop groups who served as clinicians. Deke Sharon, known as the “Father of Contemporary A Cappella”, was the combined chorus director. Sharon’s credits include producer of the show “The Sing-Off” and on-site music director and vocal producer for Universal’s Pitch Perfect 1, 2 & 3. He has arranged over 2,000 songs. The female barbershop and contemporary a cappella quartet GQ was there as well. GQ has won several competitions, including Sweet Adelines International 2012 Rising Star Champions and 2020 3rd place medalists. The final professional group was Vocal Spectrum, a male barbershop quartet. They were the Barbershop Harmony Society 2006 International Champions. Vocal Spectrum travels all over the world singing for various shows and conventions and teaches high school students about barbershop harmony.

Throughout the day, students participated in workshops and classes to develop barbershop skills. Some of the workshops offered included arranging a cappella music, vocal percussion, and overall technique. A few of the groups attending even had the opportunity to be coached by professionals, including WMC’s Loreleis. The rest of the day was devoted to ensemble rehearsals for the three combined pieces. These songs, along with songs from groups attending the festival, were performed at the concert that night. The WMC Loreleis performed their song for the festival attendees during the day.