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Educator takes Guinness record for sustained singing note

Updated March 1, 2019 - 4:36 pm

Richard Fink IV was adrift at C on Monday afternoon. For a while, we didn’t know if he’d sink or sing.

“C” a reference to the musical note, not the body of water. Fink is a vocal coach and guru who now holds the Guinness World Record for the longest sustained singing note. He achieved this feat by singing an unbroken C for 1 minute, 53 seconds, a mark to be verified by Guinness as the longest note ever sung.

For perspective, Fink held the note for about as long as The Beatles’ No. 1 hit “From Me To You.” That rock ‘n’ roll classic from 1963 was spun in 1 minute, 55 seconds.

The winning mark was made possible for pure dedication and hard work.

“I trained every day for 168 consecutively, doing the breath work,” Fink, 43, said. “I trained for every circumstance, adrenaline and the dry climate. But I did what I came to do.”

Fink, a renowned vocal educator for the past dozen years and founder of the Throaga (“Throat Yoga”) vocal exercise program, set the mark at Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms. The resident of Rochester, N.Y., has conducted his Throaga vocal retreats at the Studio at the Palms, whose director, Zoe Thrall, was present as an observer at Monday’s event. So were official judges Las Vegas headliner Frankie Moreno, Grammy Award-winning guitarist, producer and engineer Neil Citron, and Roger Wood, a military and correctional officer who was in charge of overseeing measurements and that proper protocol was followed.

Two timekeepers were also on hand, to officially register the length of each of Fink’s attempts. Instruments were dialed in to ensure the vocal guru remained on pitch, that he didn’t “break” the note, and his singing reached the minimum decibel level to be heard at a distance of 2 1/2 meters.

The room was locked down for about an hour. Other than what was being recorded by officials authorized by Guinness, no outside video or audio was permitted. Fink often gave himself mini-pep talks and showed his frustration with the arid surroundings.

“(Expletive) mucous!” he said at one point, then laughed. “There’s a quote for you.”

In all, Fink made about a half-dozen passes. The goal was to overtake the previous record of 1 minute, 52 seconds by Turkish singer Alpaslan Durmuş at the Kipdaş Mühendislik in Istanbul, Turkey, on Feb. 8, 2016. It might take up to four months for Guiness reps to formally ratify the mark, but there was no reason to think they wouldn’t after Monday’s event.

Fink has actually held the record twice before — including a 1:43 time from 2009 that was broken by Durmuş. To train for Monday’s attempt, Fink cut out such favored but vocally ruinous dietary staples as sugar, flour and caffeine. He performed intensive deep-breathing exercises before each attempt, heaving heavily to prepare his body for the strenuous undertaking.

Fink hit his top mark of 1:53 on his third attempt and 1:52 on another, but never came close to exceeding that length despite repeated re-starts. Fink said his personal best mark is more than 30 seconds longer.

Knowing he can add several seconds to his own mark, Fink plans to take another record attempt this year.

“It’s like anything else, when you know there is more inside of you, you can’t help but strive for that,” he said. “I’ll just use this as a platform to take it to the next level.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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