The Only Ever Internet2 Barbershop Quartet

A proof of concept musical performance by a distributed barbershop quartet was part of Megaconference II in 2000. On the evening of October 30th, an “open mic” event was held at the I2 conference in Atlanta. Musical and comedy performances were presented on stage in Atlanta and at a distance through I2 videoconferencing, including a barbershop quartet. What made the quartet performance a historic event was the fact that none of the singers were in Atlanta. The singers and their locations were:

Kent Bradshaw Lead Syracuse, New York
Theo (Greg) Economides Bass College Station, Texas
Jo Knox Baritone Fairbanks, Alaska
Brent Gerber Tenor Fargo, North Dakota

Though it was expected that the use of digital delay devices would be required, they were not. Stock, off-the-shelfe Polycom videoconferencing systems (all running the same software version) were used. And via Internet 2, the audience in Atlanta saw and heard all four singers simultaneously, one singer in each quadrant of the large screen display. The quartet received a standing ovation and Bob Dixon wore a stars and stripes top hat! Unfortunately, the video archive is not available, here is an image of the event.

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