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September 21, 2023

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Quartet overcomes distance, rehearses through Skype

BarbersNot many musical groups live 1,000 miles away from each other, but The Sunny Boys quartet makes it work.

Junior Nick Gordon started the barbershop-styled quartet, an a capella style, while working at Disney World in Orlando during November and December 2012. While he was there, he roomed with Christian Diaz, who is also a singer.

Diaz had two other friends, Eddie Mejia and Albert Rico, from Miami who sang, so he and Gordon formed The Sunny Boys in January 2013.

Gordon moved back to Ohio soon after the group formed, which made rehearsing difficult. Because of this, the group used Skype.

“A majority of our rehearsals were done through Skype,” Gordon said. “The three of them would get together and then I would Skype in and listen to them and try to coach.”

The group did, however, get together for the Barbershop Harmony Society’s International Convention in Toronto.

The convention is a competition between barbershop singers from throughout the world.

While Gordon didn’t get help from the University for travel, he did get a grant from Pro Musica, which is an organization that gives money to students who want to do things involved with music so they can further their musical skills, Gordon said.

The grant didn’t pay for all of the travel expenses, but it did cover a lot of the cost.

“I definitely wouldn’t have been able to afford it had it not been for the help they gave me,” he said.

The Sunny Boys placed second in the world during the competition. Gordon said although there isn’t a cash prize, coming so far in the competition brings status to the group.

“If you get higher status, the more popular you’re going to be and the more shows you’re going to get and the higher you’ll be able to charge,” Gordon said. “So I guess it does kind of come with a little extra money.”

Although the group does make money for shows, Diaz says he’s in it because he loves the feeling of singing.

“There’s something about the chords, about the music, it’s just something special,” he said. “When you ring a chord, your life changes.”

Diaz has been singing barbershop since high school and met Sunny Boys member Mejia during that time.

Gordon enjoys being in a quartet because of the friendships he makes.

“It’s almost like a little fraternity, like a brotherhood,” Diaz said. “When you do something together that you love you create friendships as well as music that you love.”

Gordon’s singing has been aided by associate professor Douglas Wayland, who has coached him throughout his college career.

Wayland also taught three other members of Gordon’s other quartet, Prestige, who placed first at the 2011 international convention.

“Coaching really means you try to blend the voices … make sure that the parts are all balanced,” Wayland said.

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