Barbershop Harmony Society News
Watch… and share!… your favorite performances from the 2017 International Convention!
2017 Top Twenty Quartets
2017 Youth Barbershop Quartet Contest
2017 International Chorus Contest
2017 Quartet Quarterfinalists
The Detroit Free Press ran a great profile of a Barbershopper who held his Afterglow before his funeral.
Three weeks ago, Johnny Wearing learned that the liver cancer he’d been battling for years had progressed for the worse. The 92-year-old World War II veteran has a few weeks, maybe a few months, to live.
Despite a long and fulfilling life — one filled with children, grandchildren, tons of friends and a love for singing in a barbershop quartet — the news was depressing and difficult to digest.
Then friend and confidant, Matthew Seely, 55, pointed out a bright spot.
“I said, ‘Johnny, you have a chance nobody gets. You can say good-bye,'” recalled Seely, whose father Russ had been best friends and singing partners with Wearing.
Singing was an integral part of Sunday’s festivities. Since Wearing has been in more than 40 quartets over the years, many singing partners were on hand. Impromptu a cappella sessions occurred throughout the day, including many with Wearing himself.
“He likes being on stage, that was what he was all about, singing, being on stage, that was what he was all about,” said son Tom.
Barbershop can be many things to singers: an art form; a competitive sport; a casual get-together with some chords thrown in. Where you live in this spectrum shapes your approach to the opportunity to appear in BHS contests.
As the old saying has it, “What gets measured gets improved,” and in the service of those two ends, a cohort of devoted barbershop teachers have evolved over the years around the contest system:
- A barbershop contest judge adjudicates BHS competitions and provides immediate feedback to singers as a part of the contest experience.
- A coach helps individuals, quartets, or choruses develop their skills during longer, individualized sessions, often building a working relationship that grows over time.
Coaching and judging are essentially two sides of the same coin of learning how to deliver quality, entertaining performances. Ideally, the intensive effort leading to a contest will yield better scores coming out, and the adjudication process will not only measures and rank success, but also provide feedback for continuing improvement across all performances.Why go to contest?
Some chapters (or quartets) live and die by contests, with intense preparation, high expectations, and rigorous qualification requirements for members. Some ensembles have not competed for years and never will.
It’s easy and understandable for a chapter of limited resources and modest musical abilities to look at a powerhouse perennial champion chorus and think, “Why bother with contest? We’ll never touch them.” Certainly, competition feeds a hunger for achievement, and so it is not necessarily the driving force for many members. But ideally, it can also serve as a focal point for your barbershop musical education, self-improvement and ultimately, for building skills that transfer into all your public performances.
Of course, the contest is just one part of a barbershop convention weekend that includes informal singing, (tags, Polecats, Afterglows) and other formal activities such as All-Chapter Choruses and Senior choruses.
The BHS Contest and Judging system exists to serve all performers, and an increasing number of ensembles are choosing to enter contests “for evaluation only,” taking advantage of the educational aspects without publishing a score for comparison.
How you will be judged in contest
After your time on stage, your ensemble will have time with three of the contest judges to hear feedback, ask questions, and have a short coaching session. In BHS competitions, there are three main Judging Categories:
- The Music Category judges the arranger’s skill and the performer’s musicianship in bringing the mood or story of the song to life, and the suitability of the material to the barbershop style.
- The Performance Category judges evaluate how effectively a performer brings the song to life. They judge the entertainment value of the performance; the art of the performance.
- The Singing Category judges artistic singing in the barbershop style – listening holistically for ringing in-tune voices that use a free, beautiful, and rich vocal quality, which is wonderfully unified and vocally expressive.
BHS contest judges — men and women, all volunteers! – are rigorously trained across a three-year cycle of instruction and practice A fourth group of certified judges, the Contest Administrators, tally scores, publish the results, and manage the flow of the event. Any interested BHS Member or Associate can apply to take part in this process.What to expect from a judge
- Objective, but compassionate scoring — Judges are certified every three years to ensure accuracy, consistency, and effectiveness in teaching and encouraging ensembles. Expect a number that reflects the actual performance, evaluated without bias, personal agenda, or external influence.
- Reasonable discussions of your performance and ways to improve. If a judge loves something, you’ll hear it. If something needs work, you’ll hear that, too. Judges are on your side; they want you to get maximum satisfaction and success from your efforts.
- Questions about your approaches and preparation, with recommendations for study, coaching and further improvement.
- Actual live coaching of the ensemble, when available, with judges providing brief, direct instruction of concepts noted in the stage performance.
In common usage, a coach is someone from outside the regular ensemble who provides instruction and assistance. Coaches can come from many disciplines and backgrounds: from BHS, other barbershop organizations, theater, dance, vocal specialists, and more.
Most of us encounter coaches in the preparation stages leading to contest, bringing an ensemble to its greatest potential on a few songs. But their ultimate goal is to reinforce the teaching that happens each week, and transfer that into every performance.What to expect from a coach
- Fresh eyes and ears — After six weeks on a song, directors and singers alike lose the ability to hear things in a new way.
- Different/broader perspectives — many coaches are plugged in to more barbershop groups throughout the Society, and bring knowledge and ideas from outside.
- Additional skill sets – a great vocal teacher in front of your chorus might have no ideas on visual presentation. A coach can augment the existing skill set.
- Train the trainers – A good coach will work with the director/music leadership team to make sure the lessons learned are sustained in the weeks following after the session.
- Overnight transformation
- Guaranteed increases in scores
Contest judges are themselves often coaches. (Note: BHS rules prohibit judges from coaching any ensembles they will judge within thirty days.) You’ll also find qualified coaches in the ranks of district education teams, other chorus directors, quartet singers, and BHS faculty.
Are you interested in sharing your skills as a coaching? Learn more about the Coaching Apprentice Program
A search through the vaults of National Public Radio unearthed this 2002 story into the historic roots of barbershop harmony, featuring musicologist Gage Averill, Dr. Jim Henry, and performance by The Gas House Gang.
We’ve received a number of frequently asked questions related to the new BHS Member Center these last few weeks, specific to your role as a chapter or district leader and wanted to take the opportunity to share some additional information & resources with you.
Available online are training videos and documentation on how to utilize the Member Center as a chapter or district leader: help.barbershop.orgUpdating Chapter Contact Information & Visitor Information
Please take a few moments and review your chapter profile in the Member Center. It is important that this information is up to date, so that our staff, our districts, our members/associates and even people who are interested in visiting or finding a local chapter can reach out.
To update and review, log in by visiting: members.barbershop.org and selecting on the left-hand side Chapters -> My Chapters.
Chapters now can designate generic chapter contact information (instead of it being determined by a particular role in our system.) Chapters can provide a contact email address, phone number and fax number (if applicable), to display publicly. This same area also hosts website and social media information for your chapter.
The Visitor Information section now replaces the area where your meeting date and time would display in our former system. Further, this new functionality provides a designated area for you to provide custom and additional instructions. Here are some common examples of what can be added to this area:
- “We meet on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm”
- “Enter through the Backdoor”
- “We enjoy singing in the community and do not meet every Tuesday night. Please contact us prior to visiting!”
- “ We have a holiday show coming up this December. Join us on Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm for a time of fellowship, singing, and community”
For a specific tutorial on how to update your chapter contact information or visitor information, visit: http://help.barbershop.org/article/9-chapter-general-profileAdding New or Existing Members to Your Chapter Online
New or Existing Members (with the exception of transfer applications) can now be added to your chapter using the Member Center! For a tutorial on how a Chapter Secretary can add a member online, visit: http://help.barbershop.org/article/22-chapter-add-a-member
Our goal is to make it easier for Chapter Secretaries to add members without the hassle or responsibility of managing paper applications that host sensitive information (birthdays, credit card information, addresses, etc.) You can add members using your computer, tablet, OR mobile device. The information that you need to add a member:
- First and Last Name
- Email Address
The new member will then be invited to finish their application online, providing information such as their contact phone number, address, etc. (the same information found on a paper application!) as well as pay directly for their membership.Paper Membership Applications Still Accepted!
Paper BHS Membership Applications will continue to be accepted, but a check fee of $10 will be added for those who choose to pay by check.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The paper BHS Membership Application has been revised. To download the newest Membership Application, please CLICK HERE.PLEASE DISCARD ALL FORMER COPIES OF THE BHS MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION.
This policy explains how we collect, use, disclose, and safeguard our member’s information when visiting our website members.barbershop.org, including any other media form, media channel, mobile website, or mobile application related or connected.Member Center Virtual Info & Tutorial Sessions
This past week and for the month of August, we are hosting online video sessions to provide more comprehensive assistance and training. Here you will be able to video chat with someone who can answer your questions and show you how to navigate the Member Center. These are available on a first come, first served basis on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays beginning August 2 from 1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. CDT.
To join these webinars on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday (from 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. CDT), CLICK HEREReporting Issues & Feedback
If you experience any technical or other errors while using the system, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.876.SING.
If you have any suggested feedback or areas of improvement for the Member Center, we encourage you to utilize our feedback form found by CLICKING HERE.
By Jeremy Gover Society A/V Manager — email@example.com
According to Merriam-Webster, the word harmony means “the combination of simultaneous musical notes in a chord.” That’s how we, a community of artists inside the Barbershop Harmony Society, know it.
Another definition offered up by the nearly 200-year old publication is “a pleasing combination or arrangement of different things” as in “when people are in harmony or in harmony with each other, they live together in a peaceful and friendly way.”The Ambassadors of Harmony are attempting to do both.
Along with their artistic neighbors, the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus, the Ambassadors of Harmony put on a show this past spring. The show reverberated throughout the barbershop world; not just because it was sold out or because the lineup was all-world or because it was a collaborative effort between two musical powerhouses in one community. Another reason was because the “Then Sings My Soul” concert was held in Ferguson, Missouri.
Yes, that Ferguson.
The city has been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, for all the wrong reasons. In the summer of 2014, a white Ferguson police officer shot black teen Michael Brown, and conflicting reports on the nature of the incident surfaced in the national media daily. The predominantly black St. Louis suburb became the national epicenter for heated conversations regarding police violence, inequality, crime, and racism. Many protestors traveled to Ferguson, and some rioted. The U.S. president sent the U.S. Justice Department to investigate. In March of 2015, the local police chief resigned and two police officers were shot. Then, a month later, Ferguson saw more protests/riots in response to the death of Freddie Gray while in Baltimore Police custody.
In short, the name “Ferguson” has been shorthand for “negative race relations” for some time now.
“Ferguson has been through a lot,” said Stanley Johnson, a member of the Ambassadors board and a singer in both ensembles. “A lot of struggles. A lot of division. A lot of things that tried to tear the community apart. It was portrayed as a separation between black and white. What you found out was that really wasn’t the case. There were a couple of separate instances that happened that were being spun in a way that would divide African-Americans from our Caucasian brothers and sisters in our community. But when you looked at the marches and you looked at the protests, you saw everybody there.”
Johnson is very proud of that.
“Everybody was pulling for the same cause because what’s wrong is wrong and what’s right is right,” he said. “It’s not about what I feel about this person or this officer or this community. We want to stand on the side of what’s right. And I was really happy that so many people came together and stood together. That’s how it’s supposed to be.”Dr. Jim Henry directs the Ambassadors in “When I Lift Up My Head.” Together in harmony
People coming together and standing together in harmony. A real-life example of what the Ambassadors were trying to accomplish with this concert.
“This event culminates the mission of the Ambassadors of Harmony,” co-director Jonny Moroni said. “We’ve really made a conscious effort to get out into the community more and impact more youth. That’s been a focus of ours in the chorus, reaching out into communities that we don’t necessarily touch frequently.”
But where to hold the concert? Ferguson, yes, but where within the city? What venue would work hand-in-hand in promoting the Ambassadors’ vision of community harmony?
“We looked at other churches that Dr. David Wright spoke to and, when we came here, it was instant,” Johnson said about the selection process.
“We were searching for a venue different from our usual one—the Touhill Performing Arts Center—because we wanted to attract a wider, more diverse audience,” Dr. Wright explained. “When Bishop Larry Jones welcomed us and became excited about the proposed concert, we knew we had found the right place.”
That right place? Greater Grace Church located just off of Interstate 270 in Ferguson, roughly 20 miles from the heart of St. Louis.
“Greater Grace was very influential during the troubling times,” Moroni said. “They immediately opened their doors to the community [during the unrest] so we reached out to them.”Director of the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus, Kevin McBeth, leads his ensemble in song during the concert’s opening set.
Reaching out is one thing, but how does a predominantly-white chorus drum up enough interest in a seemingly predominantly-old fashioned art form to put on a successful show in a predominantly-black area like Ferguson?
“The main challenge was advertising to attract people who are not familiar with the Ambassadors,” Wright said. “We have a great marketing machine but it’s oriented in the direction of our usual patrons. So the chorus visited a Sunday morning worship service at Greater Grace to sing and announce the concert.”
Not a bad stroke of genius. Seek permission from a future venue and perform for its (in this case) congregation in order to promote a show. Even if said congregation is made up of people who don’t look like most of the chorus.
“At the end of the day, we all have to live together,” Johnson said. “To see Ferguson host this event—with Brian Owens, a son of Ferguson, a product of both choruses and a product of what their missions are—it was very important for Ambassadors to partner with IN UNISON in Ferguson for this particular concert.”
Owens is a soul singer and the Artist-in-Residence and Program Manager at the St. Louis Symphony who released his latest album “Soul of Ferguson” this past February.
“I’m a longtime barbershop and a cappella enthusiast,” Owens said. “I’ve had a relationship with the Ambassadors of Harmony and Jim Henry since high school. To have them come to my hometown of Ferguson, along with Crossroads, Fairfield Four, and the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus, was nothing short of spectacular.”
Owens, like Johnson, has spent time with both ensembles, making him a perfect unifying choice to bring both headliners together under one roof. One could say he acted as a symbolic bridge.“It seems as though everybody’s divided,” said Jacob Evans Teasley, a bass in the Ambassadors. “Everyone’s torn apart, angry and fighting. An event like this is exactly what we needed to show everybody that music truly can heal and truly bring people together. Seeing two different choruses, on the same stage, on the same risers, singing ‘A Change is Gonna Come,’ that’s a powerful message.”
Indeed. Every performer on the bill shared the stage for a finale that featured Sam Cooke’s classic and impactful song.Vision? Check. Performers? Check. Venue? Check.
“I think our goal with this event was to heal divides,” Moroni said. “To bridge gaps and bring people together through the power of music. Our mission statement says that, yes, we want to be a great singing ensemble but, ultimately, we want to change the lives of those we sing for.”
Music has enough of an impact to change lives in and of itself, we all know that. But when the Ambassadors of Harmony, IN UNISON, the Grammy Award-winning Fairfield Four and the 2009 BHS quartet champ Crossroads all perform at the same event—with that event being hosted by Owens—it’s safe to say that impact can be accelerated.
“It’s almost better than performing for a specifically barbershop or specifically not barbershop audience,” Teasley said. “You get to see those expressions of the non-Barbershoppers who are hearing that first ninth chord that they’ve never heard before and they’re looking around in amazement like ‘What is that?!’ The Barbershoppers sitting next to them are then able to lean over and explain ‘That’s an overtone.’ It brings together a different type of people. Not black or white but musicians and non-musicians, amateur musicians, people who sing in the shower.”
Members of the audience aren’t the only people impacted by a show like this.Fairfield Four and Crossroads belt out the soulful gospel tune “Roll Jordan Roll” in front of a sold-out Greater Grace Church.
“This is one of those moments where words can’t explain,” Teasley said. “No word, no sentence, no phrase can truly express how much pride I have being on this stage with these amazing musicians and with these amazing people. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Johnson, in particular, has a unique perspective on the night as he sings in both of the events’ featured groups.“It was an amazing opportunity to have our love for barbershop music and our love for the music we do at IN UNISON because both of them have strong ministries together,” Johnson said with a giant smile. “UNISON has a particular sound in particular genres of music—so does barbershop—but the message and the mission are still the same. In the moment, it was what it’s supposed to be like. No division. No separation.”
Side note: being a part of two choruses on the same show can’t be easy.
“IN UNISON has a very rigorous rehearsal, as do the Ambassadors,” Johnson chuckled. “We rehearse two and a half hours [a week] and, at Ambassadors, we rehearse three. It’s difficult but, when you love it, it’s not work. But yes, it was extremely difficult.”
As is reaching out to others outside our comfort zone. But the Ambassadors and IN UNISON both managed to do that with this one concert. Without question, those efforts, songs and performances left a last impression on the diverse audience.
“To be a man, not just an African-American man but a man that’s making a movement like this to join our communities and different audience’s together through music,” Johnson said. “It’s my new passion. Since I retired from football, music is my new thing. It’s our passion and I’m joining with hundreds of others that love music the way I love music. It’s a unifying thing.”Tens of thousands of others, actually, Mr. Johnson. Because we all stand with you in an effort to bridge divides, come together and change lives through music.
In other words: everyone in harmony.In their own words: Why the Ambassadors reached out
Our communities move to become a great place for us to live, work, and raise our children. But not very often do we have a chance for fellowship outside of our circle. The Ambassadors have been seeking ways to become more inclusive and diverse with all of its community near and far.
There was special need to bring our community together because of the negative direction race has taken us in over the years. One thing that crosses all of those boundaries is the love of music. Then Sings My Soul grew from a need for the African American community and the shared community to heal some very deep wounds of misunderstanding and misguided hate. Music was the medicine that would start this process and would be the common ground where all of God’s children would come together for a night of joyous music.
The collaboration with the Greater Grace church, Ferguson community, the Ambassadors of Harmony family, The Fairfield Four, Crossroads, and the St. Louis Symphony’s InUnison Chorus was a true sign of unity and was a life-changing spiritual experience. These communities that were brought together in Ferguson may have never crossed paths had it not been for this concert, which quickly turned into an evening of unity.
This gathering of diverse people was a true expression of multiple races saying we are all the same and are brothers and sisters brought together by the love of music. People stood hand in hand to embrace one another, charged with the mission to see people not color, but rather “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” [Ephesians 5:19]. This exposure to diverse audiences has been a true blessing for all and has opened many doors of opportunity for continued growth.
A lifetime of studying various musical styles took 2017 HU keynote speaker Kurt Heinecke down a wildly unexpected path. For over two decades, Kurt and a few of his imaginative “crazy” friends found themselves at the creative heart of an incredibly popular children’s computer-animated video series and International sensation called Veggie Tales, regularly using their own musical backgrounds to breathe life into a rag tag group of lovable “nude, limbless vegetables”.
Kurt treated the HU masses to a wide range of clips from the animated show’s Silly Songs With Larry and demonstrated how ensemble singing and instrumental performance from his own background shaped the creative forces behind one of the most popular children’s series of all time that led to over 75 million videos and CDs sold, two feature-length films being produced, and seven Dove Awards.
Kurt’s exposure to barbershop began back in college where he became good friends with BHS CEO Marty Monson, and their friendship through to today led Kurt into an compelling opportunity to record a short snippet of Barbershop music for a new animated film coming this summer called Animal Crackers. The film features the voice talents of Ian McKellan, Emily Blunt, Sylvester Stallone, Danny DeVito, and Gilbert Gottfried, among others. BHS staff members Eddie Holt and Donny Rose, plus HFI’s James Pennington worked with Kurt to arrange and perform a quick barbershop musical line that is now a part of the final product, so keep your ears open when you watch it!
And finally, Kurt reinforced what many of us already know, but need to be reminded of from time to time. “You have an opportunity to elevate beyond the ordinary. Don’t take this week together for granted. Drink it in. Making harmony together is one of the most united forces we know of in the world today.” #everyoneinharmony indeed.
Join the awesome combined choruses of the Ambassadors of Harmony and Vocal Majority with Crossroads, Vocal Spectrum and GQ, and you have the most incredible 350+ voices you’ll ever hear!
It’s FREE by way of the delayed viewing features of this year’s live stream! Here’s how to watch.
Go to live.barbershop.org
Existing subscribers with Gold All-Events or Single Event purchases should log in
Non-subscribers should create a new account and log in
Add the free Saturday Night Spectacular event subscription to your account at no charge.
Enjoy the show!
See every contest performance now
While you’re there enjoying the full HD video experience (looks and sounds great on your big screen TV!) , we hope you’ll also consider the full Gold Package (all contest events), or the AIC Show. Delayed viewing for these events continues until August 1, 2017.
Convention attendees who purchased full registrations can save $100 on the full Gold Package. Check your email for message on Monday, subject line: “Thank you for attending BHSVEGAS – $100 coupon code”.
More free stuff next month
For the patient: most contest content will be released on YouTube in mid-August next month. This “freemium” model ensures that a broad audience will have ongoing access to the state of the art in barbershop performance.
The quartets kept coming, and the anchors and entire staff of Fox5 News this morning in Las Vegas had a great time hearing a wide range of harmony. Reporter Peter Dawson toured groups all around the building and onto the rooftop for a dozen performances throughout the morning.
The Quin-Tones youth quartet started the morning by serenading the newsroom. Barbershop was not the only interesting act at the studio that morning. YBQC third place medalists Brothers In Arms sing from the the rooftop of Fox5. Vintage Mix Quartet sings on the rooftop of Fox 5.
Our conventions are more than contests. This great story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal focuses on our extensive education offerings.
The Masters of Harmony men’s chorus of Santa Fe Springs, California, reclaimed the gold medals that had eluded them in their previous two attempts, as they captured the 2017 international championship of the Barbershop Harmony Society on Friday, July 8 in Las Vegas.
A medley of love songs and a scorching performance of “Too Darn Hot/Fever” with extravagant choreography propelled the 112-man chorus to its ninth victory, second on the all-time list behind the chorus it narrowly beat out, the twelve-time champion Vocal Majority Chorus of Dallas.
More than 1500 men competed in 30 choruses representing the US, Canada, Great Britain and Australia in the contest, held in the Axis Theater at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. The top five finishers were:
- Masters of Harmony, Santa Fe Springs, California – 2893 points, 96.4%
- Vocal Majority, Dallas, Texas, 2885 points, 96.2%
- Central Standard, Kansas City, Missouri, 2828 points, 94.3%
- Toronto Northern Lights, 2820 points, 94.0%
- Parkside Harmony, Hershey, Pennsylvania, 2761 points, 92.0%
Main Street, a traditionally-styled barbershop quartet based in Orlando, proved there’s still a place for straw hats and arm garters in the upper reaches of a cappella singing, as it captured the 2017 international championship of the Barbershop Harmony Society on Saturday, July 9 in Las Vegas.
Even as the competition brought new sounds and stylish intensity to the contest, the six-time medalists stayed true to their vision of an olde-tyme quartet in the style of the Dapper Dans of Walt Disney World, where all four have sung at various times. Tap dance, hat tricks, and parodies of contemporary pop songs were capped by a tender rendition of the Charlie Chaplin signature piece, “Smile,” in which the quartet thanked its audience for years of support.
With the win, lead singer Tony De Rosa and tenor Roger Ross recapitulated their win 25 years earlier, as tenor and baritone of 1992 champ Keepsake. De Rosa also became only the second man in history to capture quartet gold medals in four different groups.
The members of Main Street are:
- Roger Ross, tenor
- Tony De Rosa, lead
- Mike McGee, bari
- Myron Whittlesey, bass
The quartet edged out strong challenges from their colleagues from Florida, Signature, whose passionate performance of Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father” was the highest-scoring song of the contest. The top five finishers were:
- Main Street, 8354 points, 92.8%
- Signature, 8329 points, 92.5%
- After Hours, 8199 points, 91.1%
- Throwback, 8149 points, 90.5%
- Quorum, 8057 points, 89.5%
Wednesday , July 12, 8:00 am CDT
eBiz.barbershop goes offline for transition to new system
- No applications or renewals will be processed online or internally.
- You will still have access to shop.barbershop.org and your 25% member discount.
Thursday, July 13, time TBD
members.barbershop.org goes live
- All data migrated to new system
- All launch functionality should be active
- Membership applications and renewals can be processed online immediately
We have training videos and documentation to assist you on using the new Member Center. These are available now and can be accessed by going to help.barbershop.org. There you will find all of the Member Center training videos and documentation to help you navigate the new system. As always, please contact Customer Service at (800) 876-SING (7464) or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unable to find the information you need.Live video support coming in August
Additionally, we will also have weekly online video sessions in August to provide more comprehensive assistance and training. Here you will be able to video chat with someone who can answer your questions and show you how to navigate the Member Center. These are available on a first come, first served basis on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays beginning August 2 from 1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. CDT.
- For Mondays, click here (August 7, 14, 21, 28)
- For Wednesdays, click here (August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30)
- For Fridays, click here (August 4, 11, 18, 25)
While navigating the Member Center, you may feel something is missing or want to request new features. Please submit those ideas via this form. We will review those submissions on a regular basis and use your feedback to determine what features to include in future releases.
Lastly, we recognize that any change comes with challenges. We appreciate your patience and grace through this transition. As always, we are here to help!
The Barbershop Harmony Society looks like a federation of singing groups, but just below that surface lies its true identity as an adult education organization. Anyone can sing a barbershop-style arrangement and sound pretty good (helloooo Jimmy Fallon.) But attaining the peak lock and ring, the dazzle — that’s an art which, like any worthwhile pursuit, can be mastered through a combination study, coaching and mentorship.
While on the one hand we count in our ranks many professional musicians and teachers, it’s something of a point of pride that most members have careers other than music; yet all of us can find joy along the entire spectrum running from casual singer to world champion. Being an insurance claims adjuster may put bread on the table, but singing together is an avocation, a lifestyle — something more than simply a hobby.
Because of this, we rely on a train-the-trainer model, in which an extensive network of directors, coaches and judges help every singer unlock his potential. The Barbershop Harmony Society supports these through centralized education events like Harmony University, online education videos, music publications and learning tracks, and financial support for directors wishing to extend their educationChapter-led education
Learning barbershop usually starts with your home chapter. A solid weekly music program includes not just singing the songs, but understanding how to sing them with quality vocal technique, heartfelt performance, and music artistry. Admittedly, not every music team can deliver in every dimension every week, so to fill that gap, there are powerful resources for personal study and music leadership alike.Recommendations on how to learn at your chapter meeting
Treat your time together each week as a precious few hours carved out for the barbershop fraternal experience. Singing together beats singing alone, so take every step to maximize singing time:
- Come prepared. Know your notes and words — use those learning tracks
- Listen! Reduce side chatter to a minimum. Absorb every minute’s worth of training that you’ve traded an evening to obtain.
- Be loose, be willing, be open to uncomfortable concepts. Habit’s powerful shackles bind us to old ways. New things feel funny not because they’re wrong, but because they are unfamiliar.
- Record yourself. Whether for personal study and feedback, or as part of a formal program of instruction and qualification, a pocket recorder or smartphone can help solidify changes in interpretation, vocal technique and note accuracy.
- Bring the tools yourself
- Recorder – any smartphone will do
- Water bottle — stay hydrated not only through rehearsal, but also through the day. Hydration in the hours before singing are even more important
- Pencil — to keep track of the notes from the director
“Wait a minute – why do we need a coach? I thought we had a good director.” You do. And the best directors take advantage of all the brainpower available to them throughout the Society. No one director is sole master of all aspects of barbershop singing and performing. A good coach works at least as much with the director as he does with the singers. What’s a new way to extend the current teaching? How can the director guide the chorus consistently, firmly, and positively, to reinforce good practices and eliminate poor ones and do it again, consistently.Personal study and private vocal instruction
Athletes in team sports train together to coordinate plays and strategies, and also individually train themselves to be physically ready to perform. Similarly, you can enhance your capacity as part of an ensemble through your personal study of the craft and art of singing. That means engaging your mind (theory, notes, and words), your heart (emotional content and audience connection), body (physical readiness), and voice (full stack of posture, alignment, breath support, and placement.)
Take advantage of opportunities for private vocal instruction at Society Midwinter and International Conventions, or contract with a local voice teacher. Harmony University Online offers numerous vocal warm-up videos that are great for both private study and use in the chapter meeting.Learn how to run the business of barbershop
The music leadership of a chapter is core to its success, but without strategic and administrative support, it’s hard to sustain. The Barbershop Harmony Society brings a wide array of support by way of the Healthy Chapter Initiative, which marshals leadership resources and training materials to help found new chapters and build the viability of all. See more in the Healthy Chapter Initiative Website.Harmony University: the week-long experience
For more than five decades, the Society’s full-service summer education event has covered the entire spectrum of barbershop knowledge arranged in six distinct curricular colleges. Scholarships are offered for hundreds of students, directors, and music educators, to further extend the reach of barbershop knowledge.Harmony College
A course track for our barbershoppers (and the new and curious) who want to learn more about our style of music, leadership, and even history!
- Vocal production
- Performance practice
A course track to grow directors of ALL levels, including core classes and electives. From basic conducting skills for first-time or aspiring directors, to advanced training for professional music educators, the school provides powerful tools for the most influential musician in every chapter.Music Educators
This course track offers music teachers a chance to earn CEUs or Graduate credits, and learn how barbershop can bring more singers (especially men) to choral programs.Performing Arts College
This unique week-long experience offers world-class, intensive daily coaching for quartets and choruses — a capstone event for many ensembles.Next Generation Chorus
Guys 25 and under form a week-long chorus led by superstars, and have a chance to sing with their peers in a high-level musical setting.Leadership College
The keenest strategists in the Society train those who are willing to lead, to plan and execute, and who inspire others to pick up the mantle so that all can continue to sing.Closer to home
Most of the Districts (regional subdivisions) of the Barbershop Harmony Society host regular education events, mainly weekend events. You can locate education events closer to home at the District Schools Page.
Flightline, a quartet from Anaheim, beat out 22 other young quartets from around the world to capture the 25th annual Youth Barbershop Quartet Championship Tuesday evening in Las Vegas. The contest opened the Barbershop Harmony Society’s 79th annual convention.
Singing “The Nearness Of You” and “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)” the quartet posted A-level scores comparable to those in the open division contest, which begins Wednesday. This was the fifth year in competition for Flightline, which was last year’s silver medalist. Flightline consists of:
- Oscar Sotelo, tenor
- Daniel Huitt, lead
- Marcus Kang, baritone
- Kyle Williamson, bass
As champion, the quartet earns bragging rights, notoriety, and a springboard to the big contest, which has increasingly been dominated by past college champions, and offshore quartets such as recent champs Musical Island Boys, hailing from New Zealand.
The top five youth quartets were, in order:
- Flightline 1449 points, 80.5%
- Ohana Means Family 1429 points, 79.4%
- Blindside 1416 points, 78.7%
- Eclectones 1402 points, 77.9%
- Brothers In Arms 1395 points, 77.5%
Special recognition is awarded in top finishers in Novice division(first time in the contest for at least two singers), and by age — Juniors under age 19, and Varsity over age 19.Highest Novice Junior
Spontaneous Chordbustin’Highest Novice Varsity
Sound HypothesisHighest Experienced Junior
The youth contest launched a week of shows, contests and education for more than 5,000 guests from around the world. For full events and schedule, see www.barbersop.org/vegasc
Current youth champs Pratt Street Power appeared this week at the 2017 Collegiate Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC, part of the annual Hill Day event sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). The event draws music educators and music ed students from around country to speak and learn about ways to promote the essential place of music in our schools.
Pratt Street Power appeared with GQ at a rally at the U.S. Capitol building that launched a day of meetings with legislators in support of implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Both quartets appear frequently at music education camps, making them outstanding representatives for the barbershop world. Douglas Carnes, director of the Great Northern Union Chorus and a middle school music educator, represented the Society in a seminar with future teachers.
This cooperative effort builds on the Society’s ever-growing partnership with NAfME, which last year honored 2009 champs Crossroads with the Stand for Music Award, and last fall featured The Vocal Majority and Main Street in a stunning closing night performance at its national conference.
Look for international quartet quarter-finalists Up All Night making a number of appearances on “The Chew: The Best Backyard Barbecue in HISTORY!” (Missed it? You can still see it on demand through many cable and satellite services.)
The “Barbecue Shop Quartet” plays a prominent role opening and closing the show as well as singing intros to each menu course as Carla Hall, Mario Battali and Michael Symon are cooking. Barbershop fans will have fun playing “name that tag” for many re-worded pieces.
Executive producer and TV host Mike Rowe has been named an Honorary Life Member of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Rowe will receive the award on Saturday, July 8, at the Society’s international convention in Las Vegas.
A barbershop singer and fan, Mike credits his show business career in part to the influence of his high school choir director, Fred King, who also happened to be a world champion barbershop quartet singer. (Read Mike’s touching memorial tribute to Fred, or listen to him tell the story.) Under Fred’s encouragement, Mike became a Barbershopper, later sang in the Baltimore Opera, and eventually earned his title as “the dirtiest man on television” (Dirty Jobs, Somebody’s Gotta Do It,) narrator (The Deadliest Catch) and podcaster (The Way I Heard It.)
As CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Rowe speaks regularly about the country’s dysfunctional relationship with work and challenges the persistent belief that a four-year degree is the best path for the most people. His foundation works hard to debunk myths about the skilled trades and help close the skills gap.
Honorary Life Members of the Barbershop Harmony Society are performers and leaders who make an impact on the world through their passion and influence on close harmony and singing for everyone. Recent honorees have included:
- Grammy Award winning gospel quartet The Fairfield Four
- Deke Sharon, a cappella godfather
- Lynn Abbott, researcher into African-American foundations of barbershop harmony
- The Nylons, pioneer a cappella pop stars
- The Oak Ridge Boys, country megastars
- Bill Gaither, gospel music legend
- Gordon Lightfoot, folk/pop superstar
- Dick Van Dyke, Grammy/Emmy/Tony Award winning actor and singer
More than 5,000 singers and guests from around the world will gather in Las Vegas July 4-9 for the 79th annual convention of the Barbershop Harmony Society. See full details and schedule at www.barbershop.org/vegas .
The Barbershop Harmony Society is the world’s largest all-male singing Society, with more than 22,000 members across North America; affiliated men’s and women’s organizations in more than a dozen countries bring the total number of active singers to more than 80,000 worldwide. Through active programs in music education, publishing, performance and outreach, the Society preserves and extends the reach of a uniquely American close harmony musical art form whose roots lie in African-American improvisation and European harmony traditions. Founded in 1938, the Society now expends nearly $1 million annually in support of community and school programs that bring the fellowship, fulfillment and excitement of vocal music to a new generation of singers. The Society has called Nashville its home since 2007, and is proud to have been honored by the Nashville Business Journal as one of the Best Places Work in 2016 and 2017, and The Tennessean’s best Workplaces in 2017.
If you are attending the 2017 International Convention in Las Vegas this July, be sure to check out our Membership Booth located in the Registration/Marketplace area. Whether you are a member or an associate, a quartetter or just a Barbershop aficionado, there is fun to be had. We’re excited to present our members, associates, and registered quartets with a logo sticker for your badge to show off your BHS pride just for being with us.And that’s not all!
- Show us your Marketplace receipt and be entered into a drawing to have your Society dues waived for a year
- PRO TIP: Members and Associates can enjoy an extra 5% off on Thursday, July 6th and Friday, July 7th from 2pm-4pm
- Take a one question survey and be entered to win a prize
- Get a sneak peek at our brand new Member Center going live post-convention
- Visit the Membership Booth with your quartet, sing a tag, and you might win a free chart of your choice from Marketplace! (See Caki Gray at the Membership Booth for more details and to enter!)
Not a member or an associate? We’ve got opportunities and excitement for you, too. We’re waiving the enrollment fee for everyone who joins online or in person from July 1st-15th (www.barbershop.org/join-us). And, we will have prizes for new sign-ups throughout the week!
- First member and associate to sign up online (we’ll mail your prize)
- First member and associate to sign up at the Membership Booth
- First person under 15 to sign up at the Membership Booth
- First person over 70 to sign up at the Membership Booth
- First reinstated member and associate to sign up (online or at the Membership Booth)
- First family pair to sign up at the Membership Booth will each get a prize (father, son, daughter, mother, sister, brother, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.)
- Plus, one random prize each day of the convention for the person who signs up closest to a secret predesignated time