Four IHS students: Joey Baunoch, Sean Kelly, Sam Knepper, and Xav Ferguson–make up the barbershop quartet that is “Chord of the Rings!” (TikTok – @chordtinsoc, youtube.com/@chordoftherings). They are quickly gaining popularity in the IHS/Indiana community, having already made appearances at many IHS events with many more coming up. They recently performed on April 30 at IUP: Guerell Hall. They are also performing at Baccalaureate on May 28 and Levity Summer Festival on June 10.
The four friends have been making music together for years. Music really is an outlet for people, and these students are using it as just that. “There’s something about four friends making music together and forgetting our problems that really makes me feel alive and loved,” says junior Joey Baunoch. In rehearsal or at performances, they can leave their worries behind and lean on each other.
Something I found interesting while interviewing the boys is that, despite all being interviewed separately, they all spoke with the highest regard for one another. “My favorite part of performing is seeing Sam, Joey, and Xav’s faces whenever we are performing and feeling how much fun we all are having,” notes junior Sean Kelly. “Though, it can definitely get difficult at times because we all have responsibilities and not everyone meets them all the time, guilty,” he adds.
However, despite this fact–one that would be true in any circumstance–the boys are a beautifully accurate depiction of friendship. Sophomore Xav Ferguson laughs about the group’s various inside jokes, another indicator of how close they are and how much time they spend together. Their busy schedules and difficult times are no match for their appreciation for each other and what they do; their music allows them to persevere and do it together.
As for what the future holds, there’s a level of uncertainty there. “Two of our members, Sean Kelly and I will be seniors next year. After that, we will be graduating, leaving half of our quartet behind…However, we will continue to live in the moment, no matter what might happen, and we will have a blast just being ourselves,” Baunoch remarks.
Kelly says he doesn’t see himself doing it after high school unless asked by one of the members; then he “would be there in an instant,” and Ferguson explains that he would love it if they could make it work, but with everyone likely at different universities around the world, it may prove impossible.
To me, the most beautiful thing about the friendship and business built between these students is how in the moment they live and stay. The future does not qualm them; they are happy to be in the now and with each other, which can be difficult to find. They work hard to spread the joy that they experience behind the scenes to the public; to dissolve the stress or sadness and make people laugh for a short while. “We perform to make people happy, and there’s no better way to do that than through comic bits and good music,” Baunoch conveys.