Slane College Barbershop Quartet is District Champ

October 11, 2010

By: Melissa McGuire

Growing up, Tim Beutel, a 2009 Bradley graduate, was surrounded by music. He was raised in a musical family, sang for his church and at family gatherings. His love for music grew in high school thanks to a very inspiring music teacher. It's no wonder that Beutel went on to start Bradley's own barbershop quartet, After Hours.

After Hours Barbershop Quartet consists of Dan Wessler, '08 Music Education; Ben Harding, Music Performance; Kevin McClelland, Communication/Sports Communication; and Beutel, '09 Music Education.  Harding and McClelland are current students in their senior year. 

The quartet has come a long way since it started competing in 2009. In fact, the crooners were just named 2010 Illinois District Quartet Champions. Beutel and McClelland were thrilled with the award.

"When we won, I'd say the best feeling came not from actually holding the trophy, but it was knowing we won with confidence," McClelland said with a smile. "We had a goal for the contest weekend of just singing our songs and getting our message across, and if we won, awesome. Our focus wasn't just to win; it was to really impact the audience. But, winning was nice too."

Beutel thought the contest was a great experience for the group.  "Wow, words can't explain [how winning felt]," Beutel said. "To be in the company with other great quartets that have won this contest is quite an honor. It is actually quite humbling, at this age, to have won the district contest."

Since Beutel, McClelland, and Harding are living around the Peoria area, they practice once a week for three hours. Wessler is at Western Illinois University, about 75 miles from Peoria, so it's not feasible for him to attend every rehearsal.

When the group does get together, good times and great music always unfold.

"The biggest thing I've gained is a deeper connection to the music, and I've met some really interesting people," McClelland said.  "A lot of people think barbershopping is 'weird' or 'out of date,' but nothing could be further from the truth. Barbershop is like all other music in the sense that we're talking about things that are near and dear to us- loved ones, friends, family, God, etc. We just sing it in a different way."

For Beutel, singing is also therapeutic.  "The quartet has always been an outlet from the rest of what I do," Beutel said. "So, when I was a student, it was an outlet from homework. Now that I am teacher, it is an outlet from work!"