Kean students launch barbershop quartet
Members of the Garden State Sound Quartet: Daniel Hutchinson, Michael Harris, Nick Buonvilino, and Christopher Neuman
By Bryan C. Kuriawa
In college, it isn’t uncommon for musically-themed students to set up acts dedicated to their music of choice. Often their acts will be related to popular genres including rock, pop and others. Yet for four Kean students, their musical act would be outside of the traditional norm, something both new and classic.
Since 2014, The Garden State Sound Quartet has been entertaining audiences with their renditions of classical songs. Following the tradition of such quartets, with their deep harmonic vocals, the four have made a niche all their own.
With members, Michael Harris, Daniel Hutchinson, Nick Buonvilino, and Christopher Neuman, they wish to share their voices with the world. But in the same manner as all musical acts, the Quartet had to find its voice over time.
“We started some male quartets, and other smaller assembles, here at the school,” Hutchinson said. “A friend of ours started a male choir, basically a bunch of guys who enjoy singing together. We did a couple of concerts as a sextet and a little quartet.”
With the graduation of one of their members, the group was left in the predicament of looking for their next idea. After holding several auditions, the 3 remaining members found their newest member in the form of Nick Buonvilino.
“They contacted me and asked if I wanted to be in a quartet with them, and I was actually thrilled about it because I wanted to do a quartet for some time,” said Buonvilino.
After gathering together all of their members, the group had to come to the question of what would be their new name. Following such ideas as “Rolling Tones,” “Keynotes,” and most controversially, “Cereal, no milk,” they finally decided upon their current name.
In the summer of 2014, the newly formed quartet had their first performance during a church mass, performing a popular piece entitled “O Love that wilt not let me go.” Performing at various churches and other private events, the Quartet found the experiences to be quite enjoyable. During these performances, they find that they have been warmly received by many of the older generation.
“It appeals more to that generation and some of the younger generation as well,” said Buonvilino. “It’s really interesting to see how happy these people are when they hear us sing, it’s a very great feeling.”
Referring to how audiences react, Hutchinson stated many saw their music as an old friend upon listening to it. It was also surprising to audiences that college-age individuals would be interested in singing this type of music. Despite many of the audiences being of an older generation, the Quartet feel they can appeal to a younger demographic.
“People can still appreciate good music, especially how good it sounds, when you get four guys who can click together that well and that closely,” said Harris.
Referring to the recent popularity of “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off,” they mentioned this can bring back A cappella music into the mainstream. In the same sense, they mention that even some modern songs can be transformed into such pieces for their own performances.
However, the members state that this style will always endure and appeal endlessly to any generation. Yet, they would always consider the possibility of doing a CD release if the opportunity was presented.
“It would be nice to handout some of what we do in a recorded fashion,” said Buonvilino. “We just have to find a place to record, and we do have some places in mind, we would just have to get in contact with them.”
At present, The Garden State Sound Quartet is currently looking into a summer tour, or as they jokingly put it as far as they were willing to drive. Considering their previous success, it will surely be a tour that will delight and entertain audiences of all generations.