Last year, After Hours, a barbershop quartet, finally took home the title of champions from the International Barbershop Competition.
The quartet is made up of a lead, Drew Ochoa, a tenor, Tim Buetel, a baritone, Bryan Ziegler, and a bass, Dan Wessler. They came to Rexburg to perform at the Barbershop Festival at BYU-Idaho.
After Hours started performing 10 years ago. Buetel and Wessler started the group in college. They met at Bradley University in Illinois and formed a quartet with two other guys.
“We discovered that there was this competition, we didn’t really know about it, Tim had just sung barbershop in high-school he kind of got us together kind of for fun,” Wessler explained.
Eventually, the other two members moved on and left to open spaces in the quartet. Wessler and Beutel found Ziegler and Ochoa at Barbershop conventions. Conventions are typically competitions for quartets.
They are all from the Midwest, Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Now one of them, Ochoa, lives in Orlando, Florida. Now that they’ve moved away from each other it can make practicing difficult.
“We can kind of get together when we have shows, maybe get in a day early, leave a day late or whatever, and have that rehearsal time when we actually have performances in different places,” Buetel said. “We just get as much rehearsal time as we can on the weekends that we are together.”
They are all experienced musicians so the limited time doesn’t limit their ability. Buetel and Wessler are both music teachers, Ziegler has a degree in music theory and Ochoa has a degree in music education and performance.
“We’re all really good sight-readers overall and that helps a lot, so it’s nice to not have to pay the extra expense to have a learning track,” Ochoa said. A learning track is a method most barbershop quartet’s use to nail down their individual parts.
“We can just come in, sight read it a couple times, figure out some tweaks and hopefully have it on a show in the next coming month or so,” Ochoa said.
Although they’ve been performing and competing for quite some time, they were pleasantly surprised to win the coveted first place.
“We knew it was possible but we never kind of made it our main goal, it was more of just wanting to entertain our audiences,” Ochoa said. “We were all kind of in a state of shock hearing us announced as the champions.”
With a solid win under their belts, they are now shifting their focus to other endeavors.
“Right now, we’re recording our next CD…. now we can kind of focus ourselves on creative projects that we are drawn to more so than just needing to be ready for the next contest,” Wessler explained.