WINTER HAVEN – Fueled by their positive experiences and direction in the Polk State College’s music education department, two current students and one alumnus recently were selected as new members of the Tampa Bay Heralds of Harmony — a barbershop style chorus currently ranked among the nation’s best.
Current students Jordan James and Zyan Busby, along with 2018 grad Shawn Klein, each said they are honored to be a part of the men’s a capella chorus. The group has a strong national brand, has received international acclaim and recently placed sixth at the Barbershop Harmony Society’s 2018 International Convention.
Being chosen to join the Heralds was no small task, either.
For six weeks, the trio participated in a demanding audition process. Each week, they progressed through the requirements and ultimately were selected at the end to be permanent members.
James, a 2016 McKeel Academy of Technology graduate, came to Polk State as a theater major, but after observing the music department at length, changed his degree focus to vocal performance.
“Polk State opened my eyes to the opportunities I could have as a vocalist,” James said. “I am concentrating on developing my voice in classes and with the Heralds of Harmony.”
The young men gave credit to the faculty, particularly Michelle Manzi. The trio agreed that the staff is an integral part of what make Polk State’s music program comparable to those of top four-year university music departments.
“This is the most demanding, but also the most rewarding, program I’ve been in,” James said.
Busby, a 2016 Lake Wales High School graduate, is working toward his Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and plans to transfer to Jacksonville University and finish his studies in Music Business.
“I tend to gravitate toward pop music and would eventually like to work in a studio with sound engineering or singing,” Busby explained.
Klein, who graduated from Polk State last semester, said the college’s music program is the most professional environment he has been exposed to. To continue his college music career, Klein has auditioned for music programs at Stetson University, Jacksonville University and Florida Gulf Coast University.
“Here at Polk State, there are a lot of opportunities to interact with the campus ... plus a lot of avenues for performing opportunities,” Klein said.
Klein added that past Polk State President Eileen Holden, and current President Angela M. Garcia Falconetti, have each shown quite a bit of attention to the music department and that, in his opinion, it makes a difference.
“The quality of our professors here is what I enjoy most about the program,” Busby said. “They have taught at the university level and have experience in the field. We are getting the exact same quality – if not better quality – lessons as anywhere else.”
The 60-member Tampa Bay Heralds of Harmony Chorus has been together for more than 70 years, performing a capella and in the traditional barbershop styling. The Tampa Chapter is part of the Barbershop Harmony Society. The Heralds of Harmony practice weekly for an intense three-hour session.
Their next performance is in Salt Lake City in July. For more information on the Heralds of Harmony, visit their website at heraldsofharmony. g3.groupanizer.com.
Join the trio and other members of the Polk State College music department for their “Rock Concert” on April 27 at 7 p.m. in the college’s Fine Arts Theater. The concert will feature small vocal ensembles with accompanying band members.
For more information on the concert and the Polk State College Music Program, visit https://www.polk. edu/music/.