The Fairfax Jubil-Aires are proud to have Richard R. Lewellen as their Director of Music and Performance. Richard is well known in the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) as an accomplished a capella vocalist (see below), chorus director (see below), barbershop harmony coach and Singing Category judge. He started his career in barbershop as a teenager and has over 30 years of experience, and he is repeatedly invited to serve as a faculty member for the Society’s annual Harmony College/Director’s College, the premier educational event for the BHS. He has also produced professional recordings, contributing as a vocalist and managing a significant portion of the post-production process. Before expanding on Richard’s barbershop career, though, let us introduce you to his many other accomplishments.
Richard earned a BS in Behavior Science with emphasis in government relations and politics at National University in San Diego, CA in 1989. He attended Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA, from 1988-1991. Over the years, Richard has become increasingly involved with those with special needs – not only as the parent of a child with Autism who receives many kinds of therapy, including music therapy, but also as the office manager of a busy speech and physical therapy agency that provided services for children. He also worked as a trained lay advocate in New York State. Richard recently completed a graduate certification degree in “Music Therapy” at Shenandoah University’s Conservatory in Winchester, VA. His business, New Leaf Therapy, is now providing services to schools and other organizations in the area. The Jubil-Aires are excited about his work and look for ways to contribute to such a worthy cause.
Richard began singing barbershop harmony in his first year of high school at Beverly Hills HS in 1978. “During my first year of High School, I met a guy who became my best friend,” he recalls. “He had just started barbershopping and his Dad had started a few months earlier. I’ve enjoyed being a part of the Barbershop Harmony Society ever since.”
Lewellen’s mother was the first musical influence in his life. During college she studied to be a concert pianist, and Lewellen and his sister both took a few years of piano as children. Lewellen has fond memories of the beginning of his love for music. As a child, one of his favorite possessions was a recording of the story of Aladdin. The background music was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade”, which Richard still claims as his favorite piece of music.
Disney also proved to be a large musical influence as “Fantasia” had a large impact on Lewellen. It was Disney’s adaptation of Kipling, however, that he really loved. “Jungle Book” featured a vulture barbershop quartet and I couldn’t get enough of them,” Lewellen said.
Like many barbershoppers, Richard has moved around the country with his day job and family requirements, but wherever he called home, barbershop was a huge part of his life. Listed below are some very impressive highlights from his musical experience over the years and the awards and recognitions he has received:
2008‐2010: Musical director, Seneca Land District Youth Chorus (SLAM), Warsaw, N.Y. (Barbershop
2007‐2010: Musical director, Friends of Harmony, East Aurora, N.Y. (Barbershop Harmony Society)
2007‐present: Certified Singing Category judge, Barbershop Harmony Society.
2003‐2006: Musical director, Alexandria Harmonizers, Alexandria, Va. (Barbershop Harmony Society).
Led the chorus to 9th, 6th and two 4th place finishes at International competition, and four district
2000‐2002: Musical director, Voices of the South, Birmingham, Ala. (Barbershop Harmony Society)
2001‐2002: Musical director, Magic City Performing Arts for Children, Birmingham, Ala.
1993‐2000: Assistant musical director, Big Chicken Chorus, Marietta, Ga. (Barbershop Harmony
1992‐1993: Musical director, Los Angeles Harmony Express Chorus, Los Angeles, Calif. (Barbershop
1990‐1993: Lead section leader, Masters of Harmony, Santa Fe Springs, Calif. (earning the first two International Championships with the multi‐time gold medalist chorus of the Barbershop Harmony Society)
1990‐1991: Tenor, Harvard‐Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, under the direction of Jameson Marvin
Awards and recognition
2009: Seneca Land District Quartet Champion, singing baritone with Empire State Quartet
2005: Mid‐Atlantic District Quartet Champion, singing baritone with Four Aces
2005: 4th place International Chorus Contest medalist, director of Alexandria Harmonizers
2004: 3rd place International Quartet Contest medalist, singing baritone with Riptide
2004: 4th place International Chorus Contest medalist, director of Alexandria Harmonizers
2003: 5th place International Quartet Contest medalist, singing baritone with Riptide
2003: 6th place International Chorus Contest medalist, director of Alexandria Harmonizers
2002: 4th place International Quartet Contest medalist, singing baritone with Riptide
2001: 4th place International Quartet Contest medalist, singing baritone with Riptide
2000: 6th place International Quartet Contest finish, singing baritone with Riptide
1993: Dixie District Quartet Champion, singing lead with Atlanta Power Co. Quartet, Marietta, Ga.
1993: Barbershopper of the Year, Marietta, Ga., chapter
1990, 1993: Gold medalist as singer and lead section leader of Masters of Harmony Chorus, Calif.