Wichita foursome wins BHS International NextGen contest

Type of post: Chorus news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: John Braden
Status: Current
Date Posted: Mon, Jan 15 2024
Wichita Northwest High School's quartet highkey! was named the 2024 International Next Generation Barbershop Junior Quartet Champion Jan. 11 at the 2024 Midwinter Convention of the Barbershop Harmony Society in New York. Highkey! represented the Central States District in competition with 14 other quartets.

Singing "You Can't Stop the Sun," the quartet tied Boysen Blue of Portage (Mich.) Northern High School with a total score of 59.4. The tie was broken by singing scores, with highkey! scoring 20.4 to Boysen Blue's 19.8.

With three judges officiating, highkey!'s other scores were 18.6 for music and 20.4 for performance. In addition to gold medals, highkey! also earned an Outstanding rating at the festival and won first place for the Audience Favorite Award. The quartet also was invited to sing on the Saturday night show, Jan. 13 at Midwinter.

Quartet members are tenor Maggie Vogt, lead Ayah Gharbi, baritone Cam Roberts and bass Lea'cher Kennedy. Their teacher is Michael Mays, choral music director at Wichita Northwest. Mays also is associate director of the SmorgasChorus Barbershop Chorus of South Central Kansas.

Ayah and Lea'cher were members of the Cleftomaniacs quartet, which won 12th Grade Gold Medals at the 2023 Harmony Explosion!, the youth barbershop clinic sponsored by the Heart of America Chorus.

Harmony Explosion Director Jerry Meier said highkey! would be invited to sing at 2024 Harmony Explosion! on Feb. 17 at Grace United Methodist Church in Olathe. Meier said he also would invite highkey! and Harmony Explosion! quartets to perform on HOA's annual show, April 6 at City House in Independence.