The Kirkland-based Frenzy Quartet won the title of 2017 International Quartet Champions at the Sweet Adelines International Competition held in Las Vegas. The win is the first for a Seattle-area quartet since 1962.
The win is six years in the making for the group, which formed in 2010. The a cappella quartet has gone through some personnel changes over the years, but the current lineup of Kirkland lead singer Nikki Blackmer, Bothell tenor Melissa Pope, Burien bass Judy Pozsgay and Langley, B.C. baritone Anne Downton has been in place since 2013.
They all have backgrounds as competitive singers and coaches, which is how they met. “We’d sung with each other in different areas,” Blackmer, who directs the a cappella Joy Chorus in Kirkland and has been in the group since the beginning, said.
Frenzy represents both the Western Canada and Northwest United States regions of Sweet Adelines International, and the quartet has won local championships in both areas. Blackmer said making the trips to rehearse together is a challenge that has only made Frenzy stronger.
Blackmer first got involved with Sweet Adelines in 2003, when she became the Joy Chorus director after finishing her master’s degree in voice from the University of Washington. The chorus has 60 members, and she wanted to be involved with a smaller group as well.
“It’s a lot more responsibility, but it’s super fun,” Blackmer said of performing in the quartet.
Blackmer said coming up with the name Frenzy was a weeks-long process. “Finding the name and what to wear are two of the hardest things when you sing in a quartet,” Blackmer said.
“The name Frenzy seems to suit us well,” Blackmer added, saying it reflected the group’s personality. Their performances have a lot of comedic and creative elements, including a costume that lights up.
Because of that creativity, Frenzy also won Most Entertaining Audience Choice Award at this year’s competition, its third win in a row in the category. As part of their win as International Quartet Champions, the ladies were crowned as Queens of Harmony and will be wearing their crowns during the performances they have scheduled for local, national and international audiences over the next year.
The quartet is planning to perform a local show next September, most likely at the Northshore Performing Arts Center in Bothell. “Everything’s kind of being finalized right now,” Blackmer said.
Ahead of that show, Frenzy will hold a one-day workshop for young girls who’ve never done an a cappella or barbershop performance. The workshop participants will then have the opportunity to perform with the quartet at the September show. “I never even knew about barbershop when I was kid, and I would’ve loved to know about it sooner,” Blackmer said of the reasoning behind holding the workshop.
For more information about the Frenzy Quartet, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/FrenzyQuartet.