For the next year, singer Tracy L.J. Robertson won’t have to worry about a sore throat.
That’s because the 2008 Indian River Central School graduate is a member of an a cappella group that won a national jingle contest with Luden’s throat lozenge company. As a part of the group’s winnings, the singers will receive a year’s supply of Luden’s throat lozenge products
Mr. Robertson, 22, a junior at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., and the other members of the a cappella group, Haviland, garnered the most votes — more than 100,000 of them — during the first-ever La La Luden’s Jingle Contest.
“It’s the first big thing we’ve ever done,” he said Thursday, the night before he was heading back to college, where he’s studying to be a professional musician.
He and the other four members of Haviland — Derek Jayson, Dustin Hyatt, Mark Joseph and Francisco Ruiz — also won a $2,500 cash prize. He and the other Berklee students or recent graduates elected not to receive tickets to “American Idol” or one of the other national talent search contests as part of their winnings, he said.
Instead, the company will cough up some additional cash that the group plans to use to go on a music tour next year with another Berklee-related vocal group.
Mr. Robertson, who performs as a vocal percussionist on the jingle, wrote all of the vocal parts and did the arrangements. All singers wrote the lyrics and melody. The group had to make a recording and music video of the jingle to submit an entry.
They were inspired to create the jingle because of the common knowledge that singing and performing often can be hindered by sore throats, he said. A cappella groups only use their voices, making them even more vulnerable to scratchy throats. The company was impressed that Mr. Jayson performed with a Luden’s drop in his mouth.
The jingle can be heard on Luden’s website, www.ludens.com. First, a panel of judges made it one of 10 finalists before the public got its chance to vote on the website from July 23 to Aug. 17. Entries were received from across the country, and from people of all ages. Other contestants used many different talents, including singing, playing an instrument and comedy.
The group has aspirations of becoming the next Take 6, a Grammy-winning Christian vocal jazz group. The jingle contest could help the singers achieve that goal, said Mr. Robertson, who also would like to become a music composer or arranger and teach part time after he graduates.
Mr. Robertson has been interested in a cappella and barbershop groups since he was a little boy. His father, Tracy L. Robertson, and mother, Kari S., met while the elder Robertson was the director of the all-female Northern Blend Chorus.
“This is a great opportunity for him,” his mother said.
The son recalled going to barbershop and choral conventions in Rochester and Syracuse when he was about 6 years old.
“It was like I had 30 moms,” he said about the members of Northern Blend.
He comes from a family with an extensive background in the region’s arts. His father also was director of the Islanders Barbershop Chorus, while Mrs. Robertson is a past president of the North Country Arts Council.
Local residents also may be familiar with the Berklee student from his performance with a different version of the a cappella group, Pitch Slapped, at last summer’s Enchanted Gardens: A Gala Celebration of the Arts, held at Thompson Park. The event supported the Arts Council.