Youth quartet wins comedy contest

Glasses Half Full, a quartet of young men from La Habra High School, won the 2016 Southern California Comedy Quartet Contest.  Mike Werner presented the trophy to tenor Jaysson Yriarte, baritone Mark Halsig, lead Justin Gabriel, and bass Andy Au.  With two members graduating in May, Mark and Andy joined the quartet to fill the empty slots, and the quartet worked through the summer to prepare for the contest.  A coaching session with Metropolis bass and comedic genius Brian Philbin helped them with their comedy chops.

They were clearly the audience favorites, generating lots of laughs with their antics, but to win the contest, they had to sing well, too.  Of the three judges, Craig Ewing is a certified Barbershop Harmony singing judge, and Steve Katz is training as a performance judge.  Both judged the contest according to official BHS standards.  Only one judge, Dave Lowerre, judged the quartets specifically on their comedic effect.

I told them not to worry about winning the contest and just to have fun on stage, because that’s what it takes to connect with the audience.  So they were bowled over when they won.  It was an exciting, emotional moment for the quartet.  One boy’s mother said, “He just loves barbershop,” but it was clear that she spoke for all of them.