What Can Baritones Do? A Case Study
This video is a case study in what a baritone can do to support a lead singer carrying the melody:
Tony Gore has the melody; a young Jonathan Wilburn, who is one of the most dynamic stage performers our genre has ever known, is singing baritone. Wilburn does at least as much as Gore to get the audience engaged with the song. Several things stand out:
First, too many singers in our genre look disengaged when they’re not featured on the solo. Wilburn, here, clearly shows that he is in the moment and cares about the lyric.
Second, Wilburn’s interjections between lines (i.e., “Look what my God did!”) aren’t random or distracting; they draw the attention back to Gore and/or to the lyric.
Finally, and most crucially: Wilburn shows as much energy onstage as Gore, but he doesn’t take it over-the-top. He doesn’t steal the spotlight; his gestures and exclamations match the intensity of Gore’s vocal performance. He could have distracted the audience from the lyric by taking it farther, but he didn’t. By matching Gore’s intensity, he made the whole greater than the sum of its parts.