Acoustix

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Acoustix
Acoustix is the Barbershop Harmony Society's 1990 International Quartet Champion.


Quartet Members

Winning Members:

  • Tenor: Todd Wilson
  • Lead: Rick Middaugh
  • Bari: Jason January
  • Bass: Jeff Oxley

Repacement Members:

  • Bass: Joel Rutherford


Contest Placement

International

Recordings

New Science of Sound (1991) Stars & Stripes (1993) Jazz Jazz Jazz (1998) Cool Yule (1999) O Worship The King (2002)
When It Comes To Lovin' The Girls / They're All Sweeties Medley Stars and Stripes Forever Jazz, Jazz, Jazz Silver Bells O Worship the King
So Long, Mother The Star Spangled Banner Shine On Your Shoes / Steppin Out With My Baby Medley Mr. Grinch My Lord and I
World War I Medley God Bless The USA Day By Day The First Noel You'll Never Walk Alone
River Of No Return (1962 excerpt) A Song Like Daddy Used To play Answer Me, My Love Auld Lang Syne Fear Not, My Child
River Of No Return (as sung by the Suntones) Blackbird Medley Straighten Up and Fly Right Happy Holidays / Holiday Season Medley I'll Fly Away Medley
I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover Unchained Melody Orange Colored Sky O Little Town of Bethlehem Hymns of the Cross Medley
That's An Irish Lullaby And So To Sleep Again The Nearness of You The Christmas Song Breathe on Me, Breath of God
Tonight, Tonight If There's Anybody Here From Out Of Town Poinciana Mary Had A Baby Swing Low, Sweet chariot
If I Loved You God Bless America Unforgettable Cool Yule My Tribute
After Today This Is The Moment Graduation Day / It's A Blue World Medley Jingle Bells What Wondrous Love is This/O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
Irish Blessing So Many voices Sing America's Songs All The Way Little Saint Nick The Lord's Prayer
I'm Afraid The Masquerade Is Over Route 66 Medley - Pine Cones & Holly Berries / It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas Anthems/Ode to Joy
Simon & Garfunkel Montage

Extended History

written and researched by Grady Kerr
adapted from Golden Memories - The History of the Southwestern District - pub 1996

This "Cinderella story" is unique and interesting when one considers what they accomplished in such a short amount of time. These guys can boast of winning the International quartet championship just six months after first singing together. There is, however, a Paul Harvey-like "rest of the story".


Family Tree

You have to trace their family tree back to a quartet called the Class of the '80s. Through several personnel changes the originals were Greg Clancy, Dan Bell, David Kenner, and Mike Tolley) the 80's finally consisted of Greg Clancy on tenor, Dan Bell on lead, Jason January on bari and Todd Wilson on bass. They were a very popular show quartet with many innovative arrangements and even sang a few songs with accompaniment.

In 1987 Class of the 80's did a huge show of their own, selling out the Majestic Theater with the Dallas Jazz Orchestra and the Rich-Tones. Their influence and devotion to the Four Freshmen was evident that night with their performance of Freshmen original charts.

When gold medalist Jeff Oxley moved to Dallas in 1986 they all became fast friends. Jeff spent time coaching the quartet. Greg decided to quit and join the reunited Dealer's Choice in the fall of 1988 so Todd moved to tenor and Jeff stepped in to fulfill the last scheduled performances. As the 80's came to an end, so did the quartet with Dan Bell deciding to retire from the quartet. The multiple combinations had lasted ten years, produced two recordings and won the 1987 Southwestern District quartet championship.

In December of 1989, Jeff, Todd and Jason auditioned Rick Middaugh (lead of the Yankees) for a new quartet geared toward competition. With just minor adjustments the foursome created some awesome sounds that convinced them that this was going to be something special. They continued to rehearse but kept a low profile.

The Class of the 80's made their final appearance at the January 12, 1990 Vocal Majority installation banquet where Dan announced his retirement. The new quartet (still to be named) then sang and were very well received.

On February 17, 1990 they took part in a new society program called "Top Gun" with the Southwestern District bringing in top notch coaches and inviting some of the Southwestern District's top quartets to a weekend of intense instruction. The coaches participating were Steve Plumb, Larry Ajer, Darryl Flynn, and Don Clause.

The seminar was a huge success and this new quartet was the hit of the weekend. This unique new sound needed a unique new name and Acoustix" was chosen just before prelims. The impact they made was reminiscent of the Dealer's Choice when they first sang. Everyone knew this quartet had great potential.

Top notch quartets attract top notch support. Armed with new arrangements from Ed Waesche, more advice from Clause and Ajer, and new fans cheering them on, Acoustix won prelims and began preparing for their first International (the previous year Class of the 80's had come in 14th).


Veteran Barbershoppers

All were already veteran barbershoppers and musicians.

Oxley, came from Ohio and Bowling Green State University. He had sung in several operas with the Michigan Opera Theater. He joined the Society in 1980 and won the gold with his first quartet, The Rapscallions (1984).

Jason January joined the Dallas Town North chapter at the young age of 16 and by 19 was singing with the VM. He'd been ban section leader and an active member of the music staff for many years. Jason had also been a member of the New Orleans chapter while attending Tulane for a short time. He won his first Southwestern District quartet championship with Gatsby four years before winning with Class of the 80's.

Rick Middaugh (pronounced "Mid Awe") came from Ohio where his grandfather was an active quartet man in the 40's with the "Song Peddlers". Rick's dad was also a Society member and sang with the Limelighters. Rick had no choice but to join the Society when he was 15 and sing with his dad in "Status Symbol". Rick won the Johnny Appleseed District quartet championship in 1982 with New Regime. He joined the Dallas Town North chapter.

Todd Wilson's barbershop family tree is well known. A 25-year member of the Society, he grew up hearing The Suntones rehearse in his living room as his dad, Harlan, was the baritone. On moving to Dallas in 1982, Todd joined the VM and has been tenor section leader for many years.


The Contest

Acoustix showed up in San Francisco an unknown, but soon talk of "here's one to watch" was heard. By the time they had finished the first set wearing their "dress-white military uniforms" and singing their WWI Medley and So Long, Mother, rumor of an upset was spreading fast.

In the semi-finals they did their Irish set with Four Leaf Clover and Irish Lullaby. It had been 17 years since anyone had won on their first time out so such a miracle wasn’t even being contemplated by the spectators (with a few Southwestern District exceptions).

The quartet was actually in fourth place going into the finals but they had saved their best, and least rehearsed set, for last. Singing When It Comes to Lovin' the Girls Medley and I'm Afraid the Masquerade is Over they racking up the highest set scores by any quartet that week and leaped over the others taking the gold from sentimental favorites 139th Street Quartet by a slim 20 points.

The announcement and trophy presentation was emotional for the quartet as well as their fans. Jeff became the 10th and youngest society member to win a second gold medal. Rick became the first member of the Dallas Town North chapter to win and Todd became the first second-generation gold medalist. They were also the third championship quartet from the Dallas Metro chapter (The DC had also won on their first attempt). Of the seven first time winners, four were now from the Southwestern District. The only drawback of winning in 1990 was they never won the Southwestern District quartet contest. Although they are still eligible to compete on that level, they are in good company. The Confederates never won their district either.

This near-impossible feat of winning the first time out was accomplished with hard work and talent but since that time, Acoustix have been busy getting better and setting new standards. Their sound is truly unique - the lead/bass match is ideal for expanded sound and this quartet has the experience and skill to take advantage of that match.


Life After Gold

It's only natural that everyone wants to hear them and have them entertain their local barbershop patrons. Acoustix have kept up a rigorous schedule of performances averaging about 75 concerts a year. (As of 1996) they have sung in 37 states, four Canadian provinces, Great Britain, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Germany and Saudi Arabia. (win the gold, see the world!)

They've performed on national TV and radio (NBC, ABC, PBS), for several celebrities (Peter Jennings, Texas Governor George Bush, Charlton Heston), shared the stage with Mitch Miller, Isaac Stern, the Gatlin Brothers and opened sporting events for the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Dallas Sidekicks, Dallas Texans, SMU football and basketball and even the Houston Oilers, Detroit Lions and the San Francisco 49ers. They're even heard daily on Armed Forces Radio and Television and the Far East Network.

All total, Acoustix have sung for 60 Society chapters, 20 Sweet Adelines chapters totaling over 400 performances since 1990 (that's roughly over 700 thousand people).

Their most treasured performance came on April 16, 1994 when they appeared on stage at Carnegie Hall. It had been a long road for four young men who just liked to sing.

Acoustix has a combined Society membership of over 80 years.


Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson was born in West Palm Beach, Florida. He joined the Barbershop Harmony Society headquarters staff in August of 2004 and is responsible for providing vision and direction to the Society's marketing, merchandising and publications operations. During his first two years on staff, he also managed the membership department. Wilson served on the Society’s Board of Directors for almost three years before joining the professional staff. Todd has over 25 years of experience in the fields of sales, marketing and advertising and spent a dozen years as a business owner. He has provided classroom instruction in the areas of marketing, public relations and strategic planning throughout the USA, Canada and Australia. Todd is a member of the American Society of Association Executives, National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers, the Gospel Music Association, Chorus America, and the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America. During his 37 years of membership with the Barbershop Harmony Society Todd has competed at the international level sixteen times, earning six International Chorus Championships with the Vocal Majority and one International Quartet Championship singing tenor with ACOUSTIX. Todd was the first second-generation International Quartet Champion in the history of barbershop singing. His father’s quartet, The Suntones won the gold in 1961. Since 1999 Todd has also been singing bass with the Suntones. Over the last 30 years, Todd has served as a Musical Director for five different mixed, male or female choral ensembles, including two “Top 10” finishes in international competition with the 90-voice Houston Tidelanders. Wilson has served as a performance coach to countless quartets and choruses in the USA, Canada and Australia. For almost two decades, Todd’s quartet ACOUSTIX has been electrifying audiences in 11 countries around the world, making close to 1000 appearances and producing five critically-acclaimed studio recordings. Wilson is a member of the Hall of Fame of the Society’s Southwestern District. His adjudication assignments include an Australian Association of Men Barbershop Singers contest, two International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella regional contests and three years of judging the CARAS (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards). Todd has been married to Jennifer since 1989. They have two boys, Taylor and Travis and reside in Nashville, Tenn.


Rick Middaugh

Rick Middaugh was born in Akron, Ohio. His wife’s name is Tiffany. He has five children, Emily, Joseph, Aubrey, Lauren and Michael, and two grandchildren. He has been a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society for 30 years. Rick has served on the faculty of many music schools throughout the USA, Canada and Australia, providing coaching to vocal ensembles large and small. When he is not performing with ACOUSTIX, Rick sings baritone with another quartet called Glory Days. That foursome has earned International Quartet Finalist status for the last two years. He owns and manages Champion Home Improvement, a construction company in Houston, Texas. Rick and his family reside in Houston, Texas.

Jason January

Jason January was born in Dallas, Texas. His wife’s name is Laura and they have two boys, Matt and Jon. He has been a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society for 31 years. Jason has served on the faculty of many music schools throughout the USA, Canada and Australia, providing coaching to vocal ensembles large and small. Jason served two terms as President of the Association of International Champions. Jason is an attorney in private practice and spent 15 years as a Prosecutor and Assistant District Attorney for Dallas County. Jason and his family reside in Carrollton, Texas.

Jeff Oxley

Jeff Oxley is a native of Fremont, Ohio. He performed with ACOUSTIX from 1990 to early 2007. He the bass section leader and a frequent soloist with the Vocal Majority. Jeff has earned three barbershop quartet gold medals, winning with The Rapscallions in 1984 and Acoustix in 1990 and Max Q in 2007, seven gold medals with the VM, and one gold medal as musical director of California's Masters of Harmony Chorus. Jeff has been a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society for 27 years and makes his living as a studio vocalist in Dallas' jingle community. Jeff and his family reside in the Trophy Club, TX.

Joel T. Rutherford

Joel T. Rutherford was born in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. His wife’s name is Heather and they have a son named Joshua and a daughter named Grace. Joel has been a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society for 18 years. When he is not performing with ACOUSTIX, Joel sings with another quartet called Glory Days. That foursome has earned International Quartet Finalist status for the last two years. He has degrees in voice, opera and music education. He is proficient in music composition, jazz arranging as well as playing several musical instruments. He serves as Director of Fine Arts at Prestonwood Christian Academy. He has served on the faculty of many music schools throughout the USA, Canada and Australia, providing coaching to vocal ensembles large and small. Prior to joining ACOUSTIX, Joel performed in the smash hit musical production “Patsy!” and was offered a contract to perform the role of “Smudge” in the Drayton Festival’s production of the Broadway musical, “Forever Plaid.” Joel and his family reside in The Colony, Texas.

External Links


Barbershop Harmony Society - International Quartet Champions
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