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This time each year in Rexburg chords ring out for barbershop, and this year marks the 20th annual Barbershop Festival. Barbershoppers and clinicians Jim DeBusman and Beth Bruce come to us with their perspective on just what makes the annual Barbershop festival such a big deal.

February 9, 2018
Writer: Matthew Christensen

This time each year in Rexburg chords ring out for barbershop, and this year marks the 20th annual Barbershop Festival. With roots in the Ricks family and a tradition honored by the University, this festival is hailed as one of the greatest events in the area, and for the Barbershop Harmony society, it is a hidden gem. In years past, this festival has drawn in the crowds by the hundreds from all over Idaho and is sure to do so again, according to professional barbershoppers and vocal clinicians Jim DeBusman and Beth Bruce.

"Phil Ricks is the real originator of this. If it weren't for him we wouldn't have the barbershop festival here today," DeBusman said. "And of course the University has become an incredible support for this festival." Each year, the festival is a collaboration between BYU-Idaho faculty and students, as well as the local Carousel Chorus, a barbershop chapter that continues with Phil Rick's brother, Cecil. Additionally, nine local high schools will participate.

"The student's and the teachers are so wonderful," Bruce said. "The attitudes are so great and the kids are really well prepared with their music and everyone's sort of bonded through the music. It's such an enrichment to our lives."

DeBussman and Bruce are professional barberhop clinician's the BYU-Idaho brings in each year to spend time and effort to work with the student quartets participating in the festival. So who gets to participate? Well, really anyone who pulls together a quartet! Most importantly, each year, with the help of BYU-Idaho's Center Stage, the university brings in an award winning internationally acclaimed quartet. This year, it's Instant Classic.

The bass singer of the group, Kyle Kitzmiller, filled in with Vocal Spectrum in the 2016 festival and caught a glimpse of the hype. In a conversation with DeBusman, Kitzmiller expressed his view that Instant Classic would be thrilled to come to Rexburg. "‘I won't have any trouble convincing the other three members of my quartet to come,' and he didn't!" DeBusman said. "Two of them are teachers. They got time off, took professional days, and they're coming."

To learn more about Instant Classic, read this article by Don Sparhawk: Gold-medal quartet to headline BYU-Idaho Barbershop Festival.

There will be two showings of the event Saturday, February 10 at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale, $12 for community and $6 for BYU-Idaho students. You can find tickets for the festival by following this link: ev3.evenue.net

You can listen to the full interview with Jim DeBusman and Beth Bruce below.