April 29, 2010
Barbershop quartet qualifies for national competition, follows in footsteps of Northwest alums
MARYVILLE, Mo. - A barbershop quartet composed of Northwest students is following in the footsteps of their predecessors after claiming the Central States District Collegiate Championship on April 25 in Sioux City, Iowa.
The quartet, known as Tag Team, consists of lead singer Sam Dollins, a senior music major from Pleasant Hill, Mo.; tenor Dan Rasmussen, a senior music major from Jefferson, Iowa; baritone John Carr, a junior psychology major from Cameron, Mo.; and bass Andrew Rembecki, a senior music major from Kansas City, Mo.
The quartet is now qualified to compete at the Barbershop Harmony Society's International Collegiate Quartet & Chorus Contest, June 30 through July 3 in Philadelphia. There, the quartet will compete against more than 20 barbershop groups from Sweden, Great Britain, New Zealand, Germany, Canada and other places throughout the world.
"It's really exciting," Dollins said, noting the group finished third at the district level last year. "We kind of went into the competition just hoping to do well and do better than last year. I was very excited when we won."
Tag Team has won over Northwest audiences at the Homecoming Variety Show the last two years with renditions of "I'm Afraid of the Beautiful Girls" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." But after their success at the variety shows, the quartet has continued competing in the spring.
To prepare for their competitions, the group has made regular mid-week treks to St. Joseph and Kansas City where they've worked with other ensembles to rehearse and receive coaching.
"This year we stepped it up and worked really hard on a lot of late nights," Carr said. "We go to Kansas City at least one night a week and go to St. Joe one night a week, and we usually get back about 2 in the morning. So it's a lot of late nights, but it's something that we really care a lot about."
Several Northwest alums have coached Tag Team along the way, including members of Millennium, a barbershop quartet of Northwest students that wowed variety show crowds during the late 90s and early 2000s, in addition to a win at the international competition.
Going back further, Tag Team members say the men of 3 Men & A Melody also have been instrumental in their success. 3 Men & A Melody, which has been together since forming in 1995, consists of Northwest alums Chris Droegemueller ('96, '02), Eric Derks ('89), Brian Bellof ('94, '97) and Brad Stephens ('96). They were Central States District Champions in 1998 and have been routinely ranked among the top 10 quartets internationally.
"He's a huge influence," Carr said of Droegemueller, who also taught Rembecki in high school. "He's always been there whenever we need anything. He's a past Bearcat. He's always really big about helping us out and making sure that his students are doing well."
Added Carr, "There's a lot of past Bearcats that are down there. They've sung in quartets while they were here in college and now they're keeping up the tradition while they're down in Kansas City. They provide us with all the time they can offer, and it's really nice to have that support."
To qualify for international competition, Tag Team scored 813 out of a possible 1,200 points, the highest of all the men's college quartets in the Central States district, which includes Missouri, Iowa, and the eastern portions of Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
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