The ladies of the Perfect Fourth youth barbershop quartet were gathered at the home of their tenor, Gabby Galanti, on a Friday afternoon. The group excitedly discussed their biggest challenge of the year – the International Rising Star competition in Manchester, England. They had their sights set on competing but realized they’d need to raise funds in order to make it happen.
The members of the quartet, Gabby, Kristina, Catrina, and Katie are recent graduates of Liverpool High School (LHS) where they were actively involved in music, theater, and academics. They have been singing together for more than two years, performing at various locations including nursing homes, schools, and even at airports during flight delays.
Last summer, the group placed 4th in the Rising Star competition among other female youth quartets around the world. This year, they are hoping to make it to England.
“Ever since last year, the girls have been beyond thrilled about the upcoming competition,” said Sky Harris, music teacher at Liverpool Central School. “They’ve been working so hard all year and in spite of their long-distance challenge, they have stayed focused on their goal.”
The group began to brainstorm how they were going to raise the funds they needed in time for the competition on July 27. That was when they thought to apply to the Carrie Lazarus Fund for Extraordinary Talent, which is a long-time supporter of young barbershop quartets in the region.
The fund, administered by the Community Foundation, has been supporting expenses for local performing arts students for the past five years. Carrie Lazarus, of WSYR News Channel 9, established the fund to help musicians, singers, and dancers who lack the financial means to further their training. The fund helps students reach their fullest potential by funding the expenses of lessons, instruments, and other special opportunities.
Perfect Fourth received a $1,500 grant from the fund to help with travel expenses for the competition.
“When I saw how dedicated and talented this group of young ladies was, I knew their potential was endless,” said Lazarus. “I am thrilled that we could help them with their fundraising goal and am looking forward to what’s to come.”
Coming off its high achievement last year, the quartet is more driven than ever to make their presence, work ethic, and love for music known.
“I am so incredibly proud of the girls for their determination and hard work,” said Harris. “They are such talented young women and I am inspired by their passion and I know they will go far in life musically and academically.”
The group members are also a part of an award-winning women’s barbershop chorus, Spirit of Syracuse. Catrina Tulowiecki (baritone) graduated from LHS in 2018 and just finished her freshman year at Belmont University in Nashville, where she is studying music education. The other three ladies are headed off to colleges around New York State this year to study music, education, and communication.
The girls first began as a quartet for an LHS concert two years ago and have been performing together ever since. They have no intention of giving up music as they go off to college in the fall.
“I know a lot of people who stop singing when they get to college, but the thing that makes this group so special is that we can keep singing together for the rest of our lives,” said Katie Sheerin, who sings bass for the group. “We’ve met a network of singers from all around the world and we can’t wait to show them what we’ve got in July!”