Tag Archives: Barbershop Harmony Society

This “Just In”: Miller, Paul Combine For Musical Gold

Back in 2001, 1/4 of a Staples High School music octet was named Justin.

Justin Miller — a senior — went on to a storied career as a music director. He led the Westminster Chorus of Los Angeles to the 2009 “Choir of the World” Pavarotti Trophy, and Barbershop Harmony Society International Chorus gold medals in 2007, ’10 and ’15.

A few days ago he did it again. Westminster recaptured the world title, in Salt Lake City.

Miller’s chorus did it decisively, setting a new record for the highest score ever: 97.9%.

But there’s more to the story.

The 100-man chorus paired the tender ballad “I’ll Be Here” from Broadway’s “The Wild Party” with “From Now On.”

That’s the tune from “The Greatest Showman,” written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

The same Justin Paul who, as a junior in 2001, sang in that famed octet with Justin Miller.

The director is proud of his friend’s work. He wanted to showcase it on his choir’s biggest stage.

So now — in addition to Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards — Justin Paul can say he’s “won” a Barbershop Harmony Society International Chorus gold medal too.

(For the full story on the competition, click here.)

Justin Miller: Master Of Harmony

Justin Miller has a storied career as a music director. The 2001 Staples High School graduate — and noted Orphenian — graduated with degrees in music education (vocal) and performance (conducting) from Chapman University. In his 1st job, he led the Westminster Chorus to a Choir of the World championship in 2010.

In 2010 he succeeded his own teacher, Alice Lipson, as choral director at Staples. Simultaneously, he directed the Big Apple Chorus. He left both in 2012.

Justin Miller

Miller’s roots were always in barbershop. His father, John Miller, won 2 international championships, singing with Grandma’s Boys in 1979, and New Tradition in ’85.

Justin attended his 1st Barbershop Harmony Society convention at the age of 2 (with his dad, duh).

At 18, Miller joined the Masters of Harmony. As a singer, he won gold medals at BHS international competitions, in 2002, ’05 and ’08.

Now Miller — whose full-time gig is director of choral music at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, California — is back with the Masters of Harmony.

Not as a singer. In 2012 he was named chorus director.

Two years later he led them to a 2nd-place finish at the international convention in Las Vegas.

This year, Miller’s men — 140 strong — won it all. Click the video below, and you’ll see why.

In another great testimony to the barbershop world, Justin’s father traveled back and forth between Connecticut and California so he could sing with Masters of Harmony, under his son’s tutelage.

In an emotional coda to the competition, Justin was able to hand a gold medal to his father and fellow international barbershop champion, John Miller.

The entire chorus erupted in — not song, but applause.

Justin Miller gives his gold medal to his father, John. And the barbershop crowd goes wild.