Central Illinois can lay claim to three of the best barbershop quartets in the world, including this year's international champion.
A group called After Hours, which includes tenor Tim Beutel of Tremont, took the gold medal at this year's Barbershop Harmony Society global competition in Orlando.
“It all kind of floods through your brain quickly, but to be an international quarter champion is something that’s really hard to fathom at this point,” Beutel said.
Beutel is assistant director of the Sound of Illinois chorus in Bloomington and teaches choral music at Morton Junior High.
The quartet formed at Bradley University in 2009 and its members joined the Bloomington Sound of Illinois chapter. Beutel and Dan Wessler (bass) of Freeport are the only original members of the quartet who remain. They are joined by lead vocalist Drew Ochoa of Orlando and Baritone Bryan Ziegler of Greendale, Wisconsin.
Beutel added rehearsing can be a challenge since they live so far apart.
“(When) we have a show in Kansas or Nebraska or Florida, OK, let’s fly in a day early and just get some rehearsal in while we are doing the show,” Beutel said.
The other groups with local ties, The Committee and South of Normal, both made it to the quarterfinals.
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