The Good Vibes, a group of four current and former Flowing Wells High School students, recently competed in the Rising Star Quartet Competition in Nashville, Tenn., and earned a respectable place among the competitors.
The competition, sponsored by Sweet Adeline International, has young women ages 14 to 25 singing in barbershop quartets.
For Bree McCreery, Samantha Schneider, Alyssa Emery and Taylor Wilson, the experience was the chance of a lifetime to sing in an arena filled with music lovers. Good Vibes placed 12th out of 20 entries, even though they had only been singing together a brief time.
"The competition was intense because we had only been together a few months," McCreery said. "But it was really fun to experience the competition, especially because I'm the newest member of the group. We were in a huge arena, which was intimidating, but it still was a lot of fun at the same time."
McCreery, 16, is a junior at Flowing Wells and sings lead; Emery, 18, is a senior and sings baritone; Wilson, 17, a senior, sings tenor; and Schneider, 18, is a freshman at Pima Community College (having graduated from Flowing Wells) and sings bass.
Schneider is one of the original members of the group that formed into Good Vibes.
"There's been quite a bit of change in the group, so that with the four of us, we're very close, have a good balance in our voices, and get along really well," Schneider said. "We practice twice a week either here at school, or at Annie's Clubhouse if school isn't available."
Annie's Clubhouse is the home of Annie Hayes, a member of the Tucson Desert Harmony Chorus, who's served as liaison among high schools in the Tucson area and independent barbershop organizations to help with choral students so they have somewhere to continuing singing after high school. Hayes is one of the sponsors of the Good Vibes.
"Annie is a big proponent of the group," said Jordan Saul, a teacher and director of choral music at Flowing Wells High School. "She's been a big help in bringing these young women along with their singing. This quartet had been together a little more than two months and in that time they got the opportunity to compete on an international stage. That's pretty remarkable."
Emery found the competition to be inspiring and challenging, but fitting in with her musical background.
Wilson called the Nashville competition "awesome; really eye-opening and unlike anything we've ever done before."
All the quartet members come from musical and singing families. McCreery's father, Bill McCreery, sings and plays the guitar, while her mother, Sue Ann, "likes to sing, but is more comfortable singing to our dog, Rio, or my guinea pig."
Bree McCreery started singing in seventh grade choir, after taking piano and viola lessons in elementary school.
Schneider's father, Paul Schneider, is a singer and was one of the Choral Aires at Flowing Wells High School, a top choral group. He plays guitar and toured in the Tucson region for a while. Samantha Schneider has only been singing since she was a high school freshman, but then learned to play bass guitar and fell in love with the instrument.
Emery's musical roots come from her father, Henry Emery, who's a guitar player and has always been involved in music. Alyssa Emery said she's always loved music and singing, having had a voice coach at a young age when she sang children's songs. She's also played the piano and violin and is learning the guitar.
Wilson's father, David Wilson, is musically inclined, playing instruments and singing. Taylor Wilson has sung in choirs since elementary school, and in church musicals since the age of 5.
Bree McCreery sums up the Nashville competition for the group. "We felt a little bit of pressure, because it was something we had never done before in competition," she said, "but we wouldn't have made it through if we didn't care about singing as much as we do."