Marcsmen Barbershop Chorus takes first at international meet

By Philip Hadley
University News Service
February 6, 2008

The student-led Marcsmen Babershop Chorus at Texas State University-San Marcos was awarded the trophy for top honors at the Barbershop Harmony Society’s first International Barbershop Youth Chorus Festival in San Antonio on Jan. 26.

The chorus, comprised of 35 members under the direction of Brent Dunavant, competed against 200 students from six states, Canada and New Zealand. The young singers took first place in their bracket and won the award for best overall chorus.

Manny Lopez, senior Spanish education major and singing coach, said the team gave an outstanding performance and set the bar for the rest of the competition.

“We all got on stage and did an amazing job,” Lopez, a San Antonio native, said. “We all went into the competition with the mindset that win or lose, we were all going to have fun. We worked really hard and are honored to be the first winners of this new competition.”

The youth chorus competition was judged by a panel of certified society judges in three categories: music, singing and presentation. The group was required to perform three songs, two of which were required to be barbershop style. This style is known for its four-part harmony and the “expanded sound” created by its unique chord structure.

Wallace Stanley, senior music education major and singing coach, said what makes the chorus unique is the diversity of its members.

“We are a pretty mixed group,” Stanley, a Grapevine native, said. “Some of us are guitar players or orchestra members. Most of us are new singers who have never sung in a chorus before. It is really cool to perform with people from different majors and all walks of musical life.”

Stanley said the bond the chorus members have makes the experience worthwhile.

“None of us are here because we are required to be,” Stanley said. “We are all here because we enjoy singing together and socializing with each other. We are like a brotherhood. We have a strong spirit. We come together with open minds and work as hard as we can to sing as one, and that is the reason for our success.”

The Barbershop Harmony Society was founded in 1938 and is the largest all-male singing organization in the world with more than 30,000 members. For more information about the Marcsmen, or to join, contact Manny Lopez at