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Students attend camp for barbershop quartets

As published in the Chronicle-Telegram Staff . Read full article here.

AVON — After sponsoring just 31 area students at the Singing Buckeyes Harmony Camp the past two years, Avon’s Golden Crescent Chorus has more than doubled that number for this summer.

Sixty-five local high school students will travel to The Ohio State University from Aug. 12 to 15 to get world-class training in barbershop singing. High school students from Amherst, Avon Lake, Elyria Catholic, HEARTS for Jesus Christ Home School, Midview and Wellington will be taking part.

And while the barbershop style may not be the most popular genre among today’s students, participants show great enthusiasm, according to Golden Crescent associate director Larry Coleman.

“The change in the quality of singing when the kids come back is amazing,” Coleman said. “They are so much brighter and so much more confident.”

For the second straight year, the chorus has seen an unprecedented number of students enroll in the camp. In 2007, Lorain County was represented at OSU by just two students before seeing a spike to 29 last summer — a year in which Coleman was expecting at most 10. But sending so many kids doesn’t come cheap.

Needing $12,607, the chorus has been seeking donations all summer and so far has come up with about $6,000, choosing to underwrite the remaining cost. Each student made a $50 down payment in order to register, with the chorus footing the rest of the bill.

There have been many personal and organizational donations including one from the Eagles Club in Amherst of $1,175 and a $900 donation from the Elyria chapter of the Sweet Adeline’s — an all-female singing group — for a female quartet. Students who had been the camp came back to their high schools and sang in front of their peers becoming “stars of the building,” Coleman said. And after seeing their friends’ improvement, many other students want to see the same for themselves.

“The kids sold it themselves,” Coleman said. “When the kids came back from Harmony Camp, their performance level was amazing.”

Justin Caithaml, a senior at Midview High School who has participated the past couple of years, is proof of the camp’s benefits. Justin said the camp’s lack of pianos has made him a stronger singer.
“It’s really grown my ability to sing without accompaniment,” he said. “When you go to harmony camp, there are no pianos to be seen.”

Not only that, it also inspired him to start a barbershop-style group at Midview called The Blue Jays. The eight-member group sings several times each school year.

“When you hit the chords, it’s that type of music that just gives you the chills,” he said.
The Golden Crescent Chorus has been a staple in Avon for 50 years and will be celebrating the milestone with a concert Nov. 7 at Daniel B. Ross, PhD Performing Arts Center, Avon Lake.

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