Great grizzly grads: Rinkenbaugh earns medals with a cappella group, continues involvement with Butler | Butler Community College

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Great grizzly grads: Rinkenbaugh earns medals with a cappella group, continues involvement with Butler

Sam Rinkenbaugh, Butler Community College 2020 graduate, earns placing with his Barbershop quartet, Tofu Concern.
Tofu Concern members (left to right) Marshall Crowl, Sam Rinkenbaugh, Austin Stephens and Donell Torres placed second in the Next Generation Contest. (Courtesy photo)
Published: Monday, September 18th, 2023

Tofu Concern will travel to Augusta High and El Dorado High to visit music classes and plan to visit Butler Community College to help coach the Smorgaschords and Noteables.

Augusta High School graduate Sam Rinkenbaugh is still living his love of song and performance with his four-member barbershop quartet, Tofu Concern. Rinkenbaugh and his quartet earned second place in the Next Generation Contest at the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) International Chorus Competition in Louisville, Kentucky, this summer. 

Rinkenbaugh, a 2020 Butler Community College graduate, and his group also competed with two other a cappella quartets at the BHS Competition. They performed with Ambassadors of Harmony, earning gold, and The Recruits, placing 14th. As Next Generation Contest silver medalists, Tofu Concern plans to return next summer with goals to take the gold. 

Having attended Butler on a vocal music scholarship, Rinkenbaugh was a member of Butler’s Headliners, SmorgasChords and Concert Choir.  

“I grew a whole lot in the two years I was at Butler,” Rinkenbaugh said. He believes his time in Butler’s vocal music department benefited his work with Tofu Concern.  

“Being super dedicated was something you just had to do when you were in Headliners and I think that instilled a really great work ethic in me...just a product of the directors pouring into us as much as they did,” Rinkenbaugh said.  

To give back, he regularly helps coach Butler’s two quartets, Smorgaschords and Noteables, when he is back in the area. “I am super proud of this Vocal alum,” Valerie Mack, Department Chair of Vocal Music and Dance, said. “He is coming back in November with his prize-winning quartet to work with our quartets. [Sam is] really a brilliant musician but also has a heart for education. It is very exciting when the student becomes the master teacher. It is why we do what we do.” 

Tofu Concern will travel to area schools, including El Dorado High School and Augusta High School, in the fall to encourage young men to sing for fun and introduce them to barbershop harmony. 

Sam’s skills as a barbershop quartet performer, as well as what the quartet has to offer the Smorgaschords and Noteables of Butler are available on Tofu Concern’s website at: 

By Caleb Sanderson