After taking third place at a barbershop quartet music festival last year, a group of McFarland High School boys was determined to get the top spot at the 2019 event. The four returned to the May 18 Wisconsin Youth Harmony Festival in Stevens Point this year and took first place with a rendition of the 1932 song “All American Girl” by Al Lewis.
Juniors Alex Daspit and John Stuntebeck and seniors Eric Augustine and Andrew Lindaas formed 4Tet during the 2017-18 school year. In their first year at the competition, they earned third place at the festival.
“Since taking third last year, we wanted to take first this time,” Stuntebeck said.
By winning the top spot at the invite-only contest, 4Tet ended the three-year winning streak of Arrowhead High School.
4Tet admits to have not taken its debut year very seriously but came back more determined and more prepared.
“We worked significantly on the things that made us better,” Lindaas said.
The group had a bit of assistance from high school choir instructor Paul Gregg, but did most of the work on their own.
“We’re more self taught than most of the other groups; we didn’t rely on Mr. Gregg to help us out with everything,” Daspit said.
There were some challenges with the song they selected to sing. 4Tet had entered the WSMA annual solo and ensemble competition and were given a limited selection of songs to pick from. When it was time to learn “All American Girl,” the boys could only find one audio track to use for reference that was recorded in the early 1980s.
Daspit and Stuntebeck are trying to determine how they will replace the graduating seniors, but the members of 4Tet will get the chance to perform together at least one more time – they were invited to sing in Stevens Point in October.