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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Local barbershop quartet hoping to make run at international championship

August 18, 2013

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Maybe the Jayhawks men's basketball team won't be the only Lawrence group getting preseason championship consideration this year.

A Lawrence-based barbershop quartet has high hopes at making a run for an international championship after a strong showing last month at the genre's premier event.

BoomTown Quartet finished No. 38 in the world at the International Barbershop Quartet Contest held last month in Toronto. The group was one of 50 that qualified for the championships.

BoomTown members, who were featured this summer in an article on LJWorld.com and in the Journal-World, figure that's pretty good considering that the group had only been together for nine months at the time of the competition.

"Our goal now is to come out strong in the fall competitions and shock a lot of people, so that when spring comes around, maybe we'll be one of the favorites," said Shaun Whisler, a Lawrence resident and a leader of the group.

BoomTown was one of 12 quartets making its first appearance at the international championships. It finished fourth among the 12. But it also picked up some special recognition at the event. The CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society was impressed enough that he invited the quartet to sing at a private event he was hosting during the week of the championships.

Since the group returned from the competition, it has been busy performing shows across the region. Whisler said the group is now booked through May, with some shows as far away as Nebraska and Iowa.

The group, however, will begin focusing on regional competitions in September and October. Those fall competitions will determine whether the quartet again qualifies for the international championships.

"We surprised a lot of people this year," Whisler said. "Now, I think the expectations will be a lot higher. It has been amazing so far."

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