The Gutierrez triplets at the University of Hartford have been called the Jonas Brothers of classical music. The identical brothers from Virginia are studying vocal performance and choral conducting at the University’s Hartt School, a place they call their second home. Though they have different voices, when they sing together they sound like one voice, their rich, satisfying harmonies coming at you like a wave of sound.
They were somewhat of a phenom in high school, performing together professionally as a group called “Three.” The trio, Zachary, Evan, and Chase, built a fan base in their hometown of Chesapeake, posted a song on YouTube, and made separate CDs of world, Christmas, and inspirational Christian music.
Amazingly, they first began harmonizing when they were only three years old.
“We would be in the car and my dad would hear a song on the radio,” Zachary explained. “He would just hum a note and tell us to sing a third above that note, then one of us would sing a third above that. That way we would figure out the harmony.”
It helped that their parents were musical. Their mother, Tammy Crook, was a professional country singer in a band when she was younger, while their father, Roland Gutierrez, a substance abuse case manager, played guitar and saxophone. The triplets began performing professionally at 14, singing in nursing homes and holding concerts around the region.
The three baritones say they knew immediately when they first toured the University of Hartford that they had found their college. “When we came here we were just enamored of everything. It just felt like home. We just love it here,” Zachary said.
At Hartt, they have learned about various types of music and possible careers. Evan and Chase are majoring in vocal performance while Zachary is studying choral conducting. Each is working with his own voice teacher to create his own sound. Evan said Associate Professor of Voice Robert Barefield knew exactly what he needed to work on right away. “He has helped me so much in terms of opening up my voice. He really cares a lot about his students and he really wants us to succeed. I’m very lucky,” Evan said.
The triplets like to banter back and forth, laugh, and tease each other. But when the bantering becomes too annoying, their friends invoke what they jokingly call The Triplet Rule.
“If we are at lunch, or even hanging out with our friends and we just get into a silly fight, the one who is being most annoying has to leave. They’ll just scream out ‘Triplet Rule,’ and one of us has to leave. We don’t really leave. It’s kind of a joke,” Zachary said.
After graduating, they all plan to carve out careers in music. Evan hopes to eventually perform, while Zachary is considering music education and Chase is exploring becoming a cantor. And, wherever they end up, they all plan to make singing, as soloists and as a trio, an integral part of their lives.