Crossroads Quartet Named NAfME’s 2016 Stand for Music Award Winner

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Much-admired barbershop music group promotes the value of lifelong music learning. Crossroads will join the National Association for Music Education on Capitol Hill in June to advocate for music education.

barbershop quartet

Crossroads Quartet, Barbershop Harmony Society's 2009 International Champion Quartet

Crossroads has advocated for the benefits of lifelong singing, which go far beyond the classroom. These phenomenal singers have taken a stand for including quality music education as a part of every student’s well-rounded education.

Singing with their families made a lifelong impact on four men. Singing together, they are making an impact around the globe.

Crossroads, the Barbershop Harmony Society’s 2009 International Champion Quartet, has performed its wide variety of musical styles, including vocal jazz, blues, pop, gospel, in venues around the world. But these four singers—Fred Farrell (tenor), Mike Slamka (lead), Jim Henry (bass), and Brandon Guyton (baritone)—all started as pre-teens making music with their families. Three of them, in fact, had previously won world championships singing with their fathers and brothers, part of a deep tradition of family harmony.

Crossroads is widely hailed as worldwide ambassadors to music educators, with landmark performances at national conferences in collaboration with Grammy-award winners The Fairfield Four that explore the common roots of gospel and barbershop harmony in African-American music.

The quartet’s broad range of performance, research, and collaboration, led to them being named the prestigious Stand for Music award winner for 2016 by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).

“Crossroads Quartet represents the best in vocal music,” said NAfME Assistant Executive Director Chris Woodside. “But beyond, that Crossroads has advocated for the benefits of lifelong singing, which go far beyond the classroom. These phenomenal singers have taken a stand for including quality music education as a part of every student’s well-rounded education. I am pleased to have them share their story of how they create a better world—singing, when we visit Capitol Hill policymakers in June.”

Crossroads bass singer Dr. Jim Henry is Music Department Chair and the Director of Choral Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. "Music is designed to be a community effort,” he notes. “It's people working together to create something brand new. You're depending on each other. These days, when everybody's looking at their screens, music is one of the last vestiges of true human interaction. People are working together, not just to learn for themselves, but to create something for the whole and to bring some art and beauty into the world. It's unique and extremely important in the lives of not only students who want to go into music, but students who need a creative outlet."

Multiple surveys of choral singers found benefits ranging from sense of greater personal, emotional and physical well-being to the development of constructive, collaborative relationships, to a sense of contributing to a product (performance) which is greater than the sum of its parts. Truly the benefits of lifelong singing are invaluable.

The Stand for Music Award is bestowed upon artists who:

● demonstrate excellence in their craft of music;
● exemplify the qualities that music education and training create in those who practice it, such as: innovation, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and other 21st century skills described in the broader mindedTM campaign;
● speak to music’s power in the lives of students as they prepare to be our nation’s next leaders and innovators; and
● support music teachers and the schools and communities that support them.

NAfME’s Stand for Music Award is its most prestigious music education advocacy honor. Bestowed only upon select, appropriate recipients through the course of NAfME’s 100+ year history, the award recognizes personal commitment to the promotion of the music education cause, both through engagement with policymakers and outreach to potential music education supporters.

On June 23, NAfME will lead the single largest gathering of music education advocates to Capitol Hill. The event also will feature advocacy training, a special Collegiate Advocacy Summit, and an award ceremony, including the presentation of the Stand for Music Award to Crossroads Quartet.

NAfME welcomes Crossroads’ voices to the current national conversation on the importance of ensuring access to classroom music education programs, for all young people.


National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association orchestrates success for millions of students nationwide and has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. With more than 130,000 members, the organization is the voice of music education in the United States.

Follow NAfME on Twitter ( and on Facebook (

For additional information, contact Catherina Hurlburt at catherinah(at)nafme(dot)org or 703-860-4000, ext. 242.


The Barbershop Harmony Society is the world’s largest all-male singing Society, with more than 23,000 members across North America; affiliated men’s and women’s organizations in more than a dozen countries bring the total number of active singers to more than 70,000 worldwide. Through active programs in music education, publishing, performance and outreach, the Society preserves and extends the reach of a uniquely American close harmony musical art form whose roots lie in African-American improvisation and European harmony traditions. Founded in 1938, the Society now expends nearly $1 million annually in support of community and school programs that bring the fellowship, fulfillment and excitement of vocal music to a new generation of singers.

Follow the Barbershop Harmony Society on Twitter ( and on Facebook ( For additional information, contact Brian Lynch, pr(at)barbershop(dot)org or 615-673-4131.

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