Johnson, Adrenaline victorious at Rising Star competition

Adrenaline -- Glenn Korff School of Music's Jadyn  Johnson is on the far right.
Adrenaline -- Glenn Korff School of Music's Jadyn Johnson is on the far right.

Johnson, Adrenaline victorious at Rising Star competition

calendar icon07 Aug 2017    

Jadyn Johnson is a Barberbrat. The senior Music Education major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music is a third generation barbershopper as her grandpa got her family into singing barbershop.

This past weekend, Johnson, along with three other members of her quartet, Adrenaline, won the 2017 Rising Star Competition (the International Youth Division). The Rising Star competition is part of the Sweet Adelines International Quartet Contest that took place August 5 at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md. 

Adrenaline is a quartet formed of four women from four different states. Johnson (baritone) is from Denver. Sara Littlefield (bass) is from Orange, CA and she's is a junior studying art and photography at Cal State Fullerton. Maggie McAlexander (tenor) is from Indiana, living in Nashville, and a senior at Vanderbilt, studying public policy. While Amanda Pitts (lead) is from Providence, Rhode Island, just graduated from Bridgewater State University in communications and works at a television station in Rhode Island.

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“So, the group kind of formed weirdly,” Johnson said. “I've always wanted to sing with Sara since I was 14. I met Maggie last year at an event called Harmony University and I actually met Amanda at our first rehearsal because Sara suggested her.”

However, despite their coverage of the United States, their mutual connection is that they are all Barberbrats.

“We are all what the society calls "barberbrats" because we've been in the organization our entire lives. Maggie and Sara are both second generation barbershoppers and Sara's dad has won two international quartet competitions on bass. Maggie's brother is a well-known arranger for the organization. My uncle won the international competition and Amanda is a first generation barbershopper but I think she started when she was like 8 years old.”


The competition itself was very intimidating, Johnson added.

Watch Adrenaline's performance here


“Usually there are more people from other countries but it's just so expensive for college students. It was held in New Zealand last year. We usually have coaches that take us through this thing called the pattern and keep us calm before we go on stage. Ours were two people from last year’s adult women's winners. Their quartet is called Frenzy.”

Sweet Adelines International is a highly respected worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education, competition and performance. It was founded in 1945. This independent, nonprofit music education association is one of the world's largest singing organizations for women. Geographically, there are more than 500 choruses and 1,200 quartets located throughout the United States and 14 other nations (Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and Wales).

“Sweet Adeline's is basically making us the poster children for the organization for the year,” Johnson said. “We will sing at the big girl international for mic testing -- the Top 10 quartet competition. We also have to sing at an event called Midwinter (that's through the men's organization called the barbershop harmony society) and we've already been asked to sing on a couple shows throughout the country as well as New Zealand.”