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Internationally acclaimed barbershop quartet performers make a splash with MHS singers: the Clementones, a foursome from Denmark, visit MHS, perform and interact with students

Clementones gave rousing performance
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There is no bad day that can’t be overcome by listening to a barbershop quartet. This is just truth, plain and simple. — Aldous Huxley

By Steve Freker

  It is just four simple parts – the lead, tenor, bass and baritone – but the combination has proved to be a crowd pleaser for close to 200 years and become a long-lasting genre of musical performance. A barbershop quartet came to Malden High School recently, and who would have thought it would be a foursome from Denmark who stopped by to perform!

  MHS Choral Arts Director Todd Cole is always looking for new ways and new forms of music to increase his students’ exposure, and so it was last week when he took up an offer from the Clementones, an established European barbershop quartet group, to visit with MHS students. Hailing from Aarhus – the second-largest city in Denmark, next to its capital, Copenhagen – the Clementones are tenor Erik Buchreitz, baritone Erik Fjendbo Lindstrøm, bass Malte Øster and lead Oliver Runge Skovbo Hansen.

  In the MHS Choral Room in Holland Building one recent afternoon, the quartet regaled the Malden High students with song after song – including several in Danish – not skipping a beat in switching languages while keeping the harmonies intact.

  “We love coming to the schools and informally performing and then interacting with the students,” said Buchreitz, who won over the students quickly with his engaging manner and performer’s smile.

  Buchreitz explained that the Clementones were in the United States, in Massachusetts and Connecticut specifically, on a 17-stop performance tour. In between performances, the young quarter – college students all in their early 20s – took time to visit local high schools, like Malden High, to introduce barbershop quartet-style singing and then incorporate the students’ voices into their own versions of the genre.

  “It was a tremendous opportunity for our students to meet and learn from such successful, talented young vocalists as the Clementones,” MHS Choral Director Cole said.

  Malden High Principal Chris Mastrangelo sat in at the session and visit and professed a newfound admiration for this type of performance. “It was amazing to hear these young professionals perform and then interact with our students,” Mastrangelo said. “We are grateful to the Clementones for stopping at our school and spending time with our kids.”

  The Clementones made a big step forward this past summer when they captured the international Barbershop Harmony Society’s Next Generation Varsity Quartet Contest championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “Mr. Success.” With their victory, the Clementones become the fifth quartet from the overseas Society of Nordic Barbershop Singers to win the youth contest, which is open to singers ages 27 and under. “Mr. Success” was one of the songs they performed for the Malden High singers in their visit.

  “We love coming to schools and seeing the young singers,” Buchreitz said. “We intend on making this a part of our visits to the U.S. and other countries as we continue to tour. It is just goodwill and we enjoy it so much.”

Art Students were all ears
Malden High Choral Arts students were all ears when the Clementones informally performed in the music room at the school.
The Clementones in NC
The Clementones performed at the Barbershop Harmony Society’s Next Generation Varsity Championship in Charlotte, N.C., this past July. (Courtesy Photo)
Erik B talks to students
The Clementones’ tenor, Erik Buchreitz, talked to the MHS students during the quartet’s visit.
Clementones gave rousing performance
The Clementones gave a rousing, informal performance on January 17, which included a rendition of their award-winning cover of Frank Sinatra’s “Mr. Success.”
Choral Arts hosted Quartet
The Malden High School Choral Arts class members hosted a visit by internationally acclaimed barbershop quartet champions the Clementones. The quartet is shown in front, from left: Erik Buchreitz, Erik Lindstrøm, Malte Øster and Oliver Runge Skovbo Hansen. (Photos by Steve Freker)

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