Barbershop Harmony Society News

Subscribe to Barbershop Harmony Society News feed
Together making the music that's making a difference.
Updated: 29 min 18 sec ago

BHS announces changes to Membership and Associate Programs

February 21, 2018 - 11:10am

The Barbershop Harmony Society is making some changes to the Society Membership and Associate programs. These changes include both an increase in the base dues as well as the introduction of discounts to incentivize early renewal and online purchases and renewal using the Member Center. The new rates will go into effect for all new memberships starting May 1, 2018 and existing memberships with renewal dates on or after May 1, 2018.

Why now? What will change?

Membership dues for the Barbershop Harmony Society have remained at the same rate for the last 4 years, while inflation and other economic forces have increased the cost of doing business and services provided to our members, associates, and chapters. The Society Board of Directors and staff recognize that we must increase dues revenue in order for the organization to remain financially viable.  At the same time, we are introducing discounts so that members and associates have the opportunity to save up to 10% on dues, thereby limiting the impact of the increase.  In addition, changes to the Associate program support our Strategic Vision of Everyone in Harmony by offering the same youth and senior discounts to associates as are available to members.

These changes do not impact any current lifetime members and all current senior and youth discounts continue to apply.  The changes also do not impact district or chapter dues.

Please read below for complete details on the changes. We have also created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page with additional information.


Changes to the Society Membership Program

The annual Society dues for a regular member will increase to $144. All existing discounts for youth 25 and under (50% discount off regular dues, with first year free), Seniors (25% discount), Senior Legacy (50% discount), and Harmony Fellows/50+ Year Members (free) remain unchanged. The discounts described below are applied to the new base regular member dues.

A current member who renews on or before his annual membership expiration date will receive a discount of 5% off of annual Society dues.  This discount applies to full-year payments and does not apply to members who are paying in installments through EZDues (advance monthly payments).

A current or new member who purchases or renews online will receive a discount of 5% off of annual Society dues.  This discount applies to full-year payments and does not apply to members who are paying in installments through EZDues (advance monthly payments).

Please note that a member can qualify for both discounts, so early AND online annual renewal earns a 10% total discount.


  Changes to the Society Associate Program

The annual cost for a new or renewing associate will be $90.

A current associate who renews on or before the annual expiration date will receive a discount of 5%.

A current or new associate who joins or renews as an associate online will receive a discount of 5%.

Please note that an associate can qualify for both discounts, so early online AND renewal earns a 10% total discount.

New for the program, associates will be eligible for the same youth and senior discounts as members, which includes:

  • Associates age 25 and younger will be eligible for a Youth discount of 50% off of the regular associate rate ($45)
  • New associates age 25 and younger will be free for the first year
  • Associates age 70+ with 10 or more years of service will be eligible for a Senior discount of 25% off of the regular associate rate ($67.50) Note: Because qualifying for the senior discount requires 10 years of service, the associates 70 and older who have been associates since the program inception in 2009 will qualify upon renewal in 2019.



We have created a list of Frequently Asked Questions with additional information. CLICK HERE to read more. If your specific question is not answered there, please contact Customer Service at or by phone at 800-876-7464. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Society Membership and Associate programs

February 21, 2018 - 10:43am
  Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you raising membership dues?

Membership dues for the Barbershop Harmony Society have remained at the same rate for the last 4 years, while inflation and other economic forces have increased the cost of doing business and services provided to our members, associates and chapters. The Society Board of Directors and staff recognize that we must increase dues revenue in order for the organization to remain financially viable.


Why are you offering a discount for members/associates who renew early or on time?

On-time renewal is better for everyone! You receive fewer email reminders, there’s no danger of your status lapsing, and it’s a weight off of everyone’s mind. More than 50% of our members already renew early or on-time, so they will receive a 5% discount without doing anything differently.


Why are you offering a discount for members/associates who join or renew online?

Our Customer Service Team members who answer your phone calls and respond to your emails are trained to provide excellent service and assist with a wide variety of member questions and issues. The less time they can spend on administrative work like processing payments and renewals, the more time they can spend working with you on questions that require more staff time and expertise. The time of our CS team is so valuable that we’re willing to offer you a discount for NOT using them for your renewal processing. Modern technology can take care of the easy stuff automatically, so we encourage you to take advantage!


Why are you changing the Society Associate Program?

While associates are not members of the Barbershop Harmony Society and are not able to join a chapter or register a quartet, these barbershoppers are actively supporting and participating in many BHS programs and receive most of the same benefits as Society members. These benefits include The Harmonizer magazine, discounts on music and merchandise purchases at, access to our Member Center, discounted registration for the Midwinter and International conventions, discounted registration for Harmony University, and an associate pin.

Bringing the associate price more in line with Society membership and offering the same discounts for youth and seniors recognizes the alignment and similar benefits received by associates and members.


I’m an associate over 70 years of age. Do I get the senior discount?

Not quite yet, but soon! The senior discount for both members and associates is achieved by a combination of age (70+) and years of service (10+). The Society Associate Program launched at the beginning of 2009, so we look forward to recognizing the first group of senior associates in 2019.


Do I still get a free lifetime membership after 50 years of service?

YES! We look forward to honoring you when you achieve that milestone and thank you for your loyalty and dedication!


How do these changes affect lifetime membership?

Members who currently hold lifetime membership are not affected. Anyone who would like to purchase a new lifetime membership will pay $2,400 until April 30 (20 x $120) and $2,880 (20 x $144) starting on May 1.  Lifetime membership purchases do not qualify for the early renewal or online discounts.


Does this affect my chapter or district dues?

No, it does not. Chapter and district dues are set independently from Society dues by chapter and district leaders.


Does this affect my quartet dues?

No, it does not.  As was recently communicated, starting April 1, registered quartets will pay $60 per quartet ($15 per additional member).  The discounts for online and early renewal do not apply to the quartet fee — only to the Society dues of the individual members.


Why is this happening on May 1 and not January 1?

Any change to membership dues impacting the budget requires both Society Board approval and 60 days notice. It was not possible to meet both of these requirements for an implementation date of January 1, 2018. Now finalized, these changes are being communicated as early as possible.


My renewal date is coming up soon. When can I renew? How much will it cost?

As usual, you are able to renew anytime starting 60 days before your renewal date. Renewals due on May 1 or later are able to be paid on March 2 and will fall under the new annual rate. Renewals with a due date of April 30 or earlier do not change until 2019.


I’m paying my dues through the EZDues monthly program. How does this change affect me?

Because you are paying dues a year in advance, your monthly payment will increase to the new rate with the payment at the end of March 2018. This will happen automatically and you do not need to do anything differently.


Will I get the discounts for renewing early and online if I’m paying through EZDues?

No, those discounts are applied only to dues payments for a full year. However, you will continue to get any senior or youth discount for which you qualify. While there isn’t currently a discount, the advantage of EZDues is all about providing members with an alternative to a single payment — smaller amounts each month instead of a large lump sum once per year.


Your barbershop memories last a lifetime. Your membership can, too.

February 16, 2018 - 4:55pm

By the time you’ve hit five or ten years as a Barbershopper, you’ve probably crossed that tipping point where you know this is going to be forever. You’ve passed through the stages in which interest has progressed into hobby, and from there into a lifestyle, then into a mission, until at last, barbershop is your identity. 

If barbershop is your life, you should consider becoming a Lifetime Member. As the name implies, you are all in — a member for the rest of your days.

Make a one-time payment of dues equal to twenty times the current Regular dues rate, and that’s it: your Society dues are paid forever. If dues rates change through the years, no worries — you’re all paid up.

You might consider Lifetime Membership if… 

  • You expect to be a member for another ten years or more
  • You want a permanent connection to the Barbershop Harmony Society
  • You want to commemorate a special barbershop occasion

Lifetime Members of the Barbershop Harmony Society include famous arrangers, quartet champs, directors — and guys like HotShots, 2006 Sunshine District Quartet Champion and 2010 International Quartet Semi-Finalist. Noted for its comedy, the quartet had a busy show career. “Hot Shots all joined as Lifetime Members as a way of remembering achievements for the rest of our barbershop lives,” said bass Paul Agnew. Lead Andrew Borts added, “We worked our butts off doing shows and were able to to reward ourselves with a permanent thing that always makes us appreciate our past, rather than investing in hot wings and diet soda.”

Interested in Lifetime Membership? Drop a note to 

Some restrictions apply:

  • Applies to BHS dues only – districts and chapters will continue to bill you annually.
  • Rate will be twenty times the Regular dues rate on date of purchase. No other discounts apply.
  • Non-refundable. A single one-time payment is required; not eligible for EZDues payment system.


Society Board now accepting applications for 2019

February 16, 2018 - 1:59pm
Service on the Society Board of Directors is an opportunity afforded to our membership. It provides a member with an experience of a lifetime and the chance to participate with other men of good character who strive to govern our Society, create vision and set policy that will affect our membership for years to come, and to develop, support, and monitor progress in the successful implementation of a dynamic and forward-thinking strategic plan. The Society Board of Directors is a governance, not an operational management, board. It provides the vision and sets the goals necessary for the Society’s professional staff to manage the organization to a successful future. CLICK HERE to apply!   Men who have a wide range of experience in the Society, in business, in non-profit service (including the BHS), in public service and/or in other endeavors that offer experience in leadership and governance are the focus of our efforts to secure the best-qualified men for service on the Board for a term beginning in 2019. Further, the Nominating Committee is committed to creating a more inclusive and diverse Society governance structure beginning with the Board of Directors and welcomes all candidates who may help us achieve that goal.   The Nominating Committee is seeking qualified applicants for the positions of Society President, Society Executive Vice-President, Society Treasurer, and Board Member-at-Large.   General qualifications include (but are not limited to):
  1. Willingness to further the purposes of the Society and the attainment of its objectives.
  2. A desire to preserve the Society’s ideals’ and further the extension of barbershop harmony throughout the world.
  3. Willingness to be responsible for all matters affecting the affairs of the Society.
  4. Be an active member in good standing of a chapter (other than the Frank H. Thorne Chapter).
  5. Experience in creating strategic plans, setting long-term goals, and monitoring progress toward achievement of those goals is essential.
  6. Exhibit the ability to maintain a Society-wide perspective that is basic to the success of a board member.
  7. In the instance of the Society Treasurer, experience with:
    • Financial oversight of an organization’s budget
    • Presentation of an annual budget and recommendations to an organization’s Governing Board
    • Supervise the development of fiscal policies and practices for recommendation to an organization’s Governing Board
    • Maintain a record of an organization’s assets
    • Require monthly statements from designated depositories of the Governing organization
    • Provide reports to the organization’s Board as required including an annual report
  Applicants are encouraged to review the Society’s By-laws which can be found at:  It is essential that applicants review Articles IV and V of the Society By-laws regarding the Society Board and its officers.   Applicants are informed that the selected nominees are expected to be present at the International Convention in Orlando, FL from Sunday, July 1, 2018, through Tuesday, July 3, 2018, and that they attend all sessions of the Society Board meetings on those dates. Further, anticipated meeting dates in 2018 and 2019 that the newly elected Board members are required to attend are scheduled for November 2018, January 2019 (Midwinter Convention), March 2017 (in-person or telephone conference call), July 2019 (International Convention), and late Fall 2019. Elected members are also asked to hold the 3rd Sunday of each month, between 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. CT for additional teleconference Board meetings as-needed.   Applications may be found on the Society website. Completed applications and letters of recommendation must be submitted by midnight CDT on March 15, 2018, to be considered. CLICK HERE TO APPLY

BHS Contest Entry Using Barberscore: Information and Tutorials

February 16, 2018 - 10:42am
The Barbershop Harmony Society is utilizing a new platform called Barberscore for contest management and entry for all chapters and quartets for division, district, and international contests.    To better understand and be able to assist our members, please review the following resources: Access to Barberscore for choruses will be derived from Chapter Leader roles in the Member Center for their chapter. For quartets, we also provide access based on your Quartet contact as listed in the Member Center for your quartet.  Chorus Entry Information As documented in the FAQ and the Chorus tutorial, only the following Chapter Leader roles for a chorus (identified in the Member Center) will have access to Barberscore for contest entry. They are:
  • Chapter President
  • Chapter Secretary
  • Chorus Director
  • Chorus Associate or Assistant Director 
  • Chorus Manager
If a chorus member has not been designated as a role listed above, they simply can’t enter their chorus into a contest. Contact your Chapter President or Chapter Secretary if you believe you should be listed as one of the roles mentioned above, to edit your chapter leadership listing. A tutorial on how to update chapter leaders in the Member Center is available by clicking here.    General Questions or Concerns If you have questions, please contact your District Representative for Contest and Judging (DRCJ) or contact our Customer Service Team at or call 800.876.7464. 

Updates Regarding Harmony Fellows (50+ Year Members) Renewal Process

February 15, 2018 - 6:47pm
We wanted to provide you an update specific to the members of your chapter or district who have 50 or more years of service in the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS). 

As you likely know, when a Barbershopper has been a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society for 50 years, he enters a fraternity of folks know as the “Harmony Fellows”. In recognition of this tremendous achievement of loyalty and service, the Barbershop Harmony Society no longer charges him International dues. We continue to provide the same services and benefits of membership at no charge to the member (sometimes districts or chapter dues might apply). However, as we try to make the best use of the human and technological resources available to us to steward paying members’ dues dollars as equitably and fiscally responsible as possible, we do need to ensure that a non-dues paying Harmony Fellow wishes to continue receiving the benefits of membership. To that end, please read on for new procedures regarding the renewal process for our shared members. 

On an annual basis, Harmony Fellows will receive a renewal letter asking if they’d like to continue to renew their membership with the organization. If they do not owe chapter or district dues, they will simply need to send the form back, renew online using the Member Center or contact the BHS Headquarters to renew over the phone. While renewing, all members affirm their commitment to the Society code of ethics, policies, bylaws and youth policy. If they are responsible for chapter or district dues, the amounts owed will appear on the renewal notice. 

Here is an example renewal letter: 


Chapter Presidents, Secretaries, and Treasurers can renew for a member of their chapter through the online Member Center. If there is a Harmony Fellow in your chapter who would like to continue as a member, and who do not have access to a computer or cannot reach out to BHS Headquarters, you can login to the Member Center and ‘Pay Dues’ for the member (which would be $0 if they do not owe chapter or district dues). 

  • Login to
  • Click “Chapters” towards the left-hand side
  • Click “My Chapters” select the chapter you’re looking to view
  • Click “Chapter Roster” towards the left-hand side
  • Toward the bottom, you will see your chapter roster. Select “Lapsed” under the status options. The members who currently have lapsed in membership will appear. You should see the option to (Pay Dues) next to the name of the individual that you’d like to renew for. 
  • After selecting “Pay Dues” you will be asked to press “Submit” which confirms their wish to renew. 
By doing so, they will be renewed and their new membership cards will be mailed accordingly. Please Note: If a chapter leader is renewing on behalf of a Harmony Fellow, you are attesting their understanding and commitment to the Society code of ethics, policies, bylaws and youth policy.A tutorial for chapter leaders on paying another person’s dues is available here:

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the BHS Customer Service Team at or 800.876.7464 

Barbershop Harmony Society celebrates Black History Month with announcement of scholarships and endowment

February 15, 2018 - 4:34pm

With a commitment to its vision of Everyone in Harmony, the Barbershop Harmony Society will announce a new scholarship opportunity on February 20 for persons of color to explore a musical art form whose origins lie in African American communities of the South in the 19th century.

The Grand Central Red Caps Endowment has been established to provide scholarships and other supports to encourage the broadest possible participation of promising barbershop singers, music educators and directors of color. An initial $50,000 commitment by the Barbershop Harmony Society and a $50,000 gift to Harmony Foundation International from Dr. Bart Campbell of Nashville launched the initiative.

BHS President Skipp Kropp will be joined in making the announcement at Harmony Hall in Nashville on February 20 by CEO Marty Monson; Perry White, CEO of Harmony Foundation International; Dr. Campbell; and H. Beecher Hicks, CEO of the National Museum of African American Music, which soon will make its home next door to BHS in a 56,000 square foot facility located at the Avenue of the Arts in the redevelopment project of the former Nashville Convention Center.

The fund commemorates the members of the Grand Central Red Caps, a quartet of African American singers who in 1941 were denied entry into a national contest of the Barbershop Harmony Society, which in a regrettable reflection of widespread practices of the era, limited its membership to white men. (See link to complete story and video.)

Although the restriction was eliminated in the 1960s, its lingering effects are powerful, says Marty Monson: “A musical art form rooted in the African-American communities of the South, especially the Americana music triangle of Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans, now has a majority of white members and singers today. That means that the richness of the entire social experience of singing — of shared harmony and shared friendship — is incomplete. We can change that, by reaching out through education, collaboration and musical research.”

Last summer, the Barbershop Harmony Society began an ongoing effort to acknowledge and begin to rectify the injustices of the past, beginning with the Grand Central Red Caps. (See link to complete story and video.) As a first step, the four members of the Grand Central Red Caps were posthumously named Lifetime Members of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

“The National Museum of African American Music will be the place that educates, preserves, and celebrates the rich influence Black people have had on America’s music — including barbershop harmony,” said Mr. Hicks. “This effort by the Barbershop Harmony Society rebuilds historical bridges and points to a richer musical future that brings together everyone in harmony.

“We see this as just the first step in a campaign of awareness to invest in the engagement of future harmony singers, directors and educators of color. Our musical heritage can become a medium through which we create dialogue, friendship and a binding sense of community,” said Monson. 

Tuesday’s event will announce the first scholarships proceeding from this effort, to encourage the broadest possible participation from four individuals to experience a week of instruction at Harmony University in Nashville in July 2018. We hope to assist promising barbershop singers, music educators, and directors of color. Men and women are encouraged to apply. For full details, see





GigSalad is delivering the bookings for Singing Valentines!

February 8, 2018 - 2:31pm

Our partnership with GigSalad is yielding results! Several groups that have signed up using our promo code BHS2018 have already gotten leads and bookings for this month. We’ve already seen nearly 30 confirmed February bookings on the platform through February 7th.

Pro and Featured accounts automatically bump to the top of any searches for “singing valentines”, “singing telegrams” and other singing activities, so an inexpensive investment of less than $20 for your first month and 20 minutes of work can yield instant results.

Test this: go to and search for “singing valentines” in your market. It will likely deliver results for “singing telegrams.” No barbershop groups? Boom! Sign up now and be among the first search results in both categories. 

GigSalad is supporting Singing Valentines with Facebook advertising and links in its newsletters to existing customers already accustomed to booking entertainment online. GigSalad’s strong SEO position (search engine optimization) means general searches on Google are enhanced by your GigSalad placement, too. 

Get on board with a Pro or Featured account using promo code BHS2018 and save 35%! Your listing can be live tonight, with plenty of time to pick up more Singing Valentines gigs. Walk through our tutorial to get up and running fast.  

Sample of the email marketing GigSalad is sending its existing customers. 


Important Changes to Chapter Billing

February 1, 2018 - 1:45pm

The Barbershop Harmony Society will be sending chapter bills and statements for insurance for January 1, 2018, through January 1, 2019, to all U.S. and Canadian Chapters.
New this year, chapter treasurers will be receiving an email bill/statement for payment. We will not be sending a printed/mailed copy. However, if your chapter treasurer does not have an email address, we will send a printed/mailed copy. 

This change will be for all future bills and statements through the Barbershop Harmony Society. It is important that your chapter treasurer is properly listed in the Member Center with an active email address. (Don’t have an email address? Consider creating a free account with Gmail or Yahoo) 
For this year, if a chapter does not receive their chapter bill/statement by Friday, February 9, 2018, they should contact our offices at or 800.876.7464 x4119.
As a reminder, ALL chapters (U.S. and Canadian) are required to be enrolled with our general liability and accident insurance. Property insurance is optional coverage. If you are enrolled in our property insurance program, you should have already received your bill/statement for that coverage. If you haven’t, please contact
For descriptions of coverage please visit our online Document Center here:
IMPORTANT NOTE: We are working on solutions to accept payment of insurance online (credit card/debit card, bank draft, etc.) Unfortunately, today, BHS can only accept check/cheque payments for insurance from chapters. There is no additional processing fee for submitting a check/cheque for chapter-related billing (like there is for membership applications).
Payment of Society Bills is considered a matter of compliance. Chapters have 30 days after receiving a bill/statement from the Barbershop Harmony Society for payment. According to our policies, if a chapter fails to remit payment, it is grounds for suspension of their chapter charter.


Changes to quartet program announced

January 30, 2018 - 2:34pm

Effective April 1, 2018, the Barbershop Harmony Society will be making the following changes to the Quartet program:

  • The fee for renewing or registering a quartet will be $60.  
  • Additional quartet members (more than 4) will incur a fee of $15 each person.
Frequently Asked Questions Why are we raising the quartet fee?

Over the last 10+ years, BHS has increased the services provided to quartets without changing the fee, and the increased fee better reflects the value provided.  Benefits to registered quartets include:

  • Exclusive rights to quartet name
  • Eligibility to compete in BHS contests
  • Exclusive access to quartet scholarships at HU
  • Inclusion in the BHS website and searchable quartet database (
  • Quartet card
  • Discount on exhibits, program book and jumbotron advertising at conventions
  • 25% BHS discount with
  • Access to the new and updated Quartet Guidebook
  • Coming soon: Access to coaches, marketing, technology and other subject matter experts
  • Coming soon: Quartet pins
My quartet renewal date is after April 1. Can I renew now at the current rate?

The fee increase goes into effect for quartets who expire on or after April 1 regardless of when the renewal payment is submitted. Quartets are eligible for renewal starting 60 days before their expiration date.

Why is this happening on April 1 and not January 1?

Any change to dues or fees impacting the budget requires both Society Board approval and 60 days notice.  It was not possible to meet both of these requirements for an effective date of January 1, 2018.

Want a safer car? Put a quartet in the back seat

January 30, 2018 - 12:38pm

Yep – those are Barbershoppers, all right. GEN GAP, a quartet from the Santa Monica Oceanaires, is featured in a new spot for the Toyota Rav 4, now airing nationally on TV and social media. This is the second national spot for GEN GAP, who previously have appeared in ads for Schick razors.

“The key to booking the spot was our ability to give a barbershop sound to the copy written by the ad agency,” says lead Bruce Schroffel, praising tenor Ben Lowe’s ability to  knock out some quick arrangements on the fly. Bari Bob Heron and his son, bass Vance Heron, round out the quartet.


Vocal Health: Voice Production and Resonance

January 30, 2018 - 11:22am

This regular series will examine different facets of vocal health in which we hope to dispel myths and inaccuracies. Most importantly, our goal is to provide support for those who have experienced vocal concerns and provide constructive solutions for singers.


This article is designed to be an introduction to how the vocal sound is produced and resonated. It also serves to clarify sometimes confusing instruction surrounding the same.


Human Voice = Musical Instrument

The human voice is in an instrument. Musical instruments require three components to generate sound: 1) a power source, 2) vibratory source, and 3) resonating chamber. In the case of the human voice, air is the power source, the vocal folds1 are the vibratory source, and the vocal tract is the resonating chamber. Vocal sound is then transmitted through the air to receptors (ears).

The vocal folds are located at the top of the windpipe and are housed in the larynx. Vocal sounds are created when the two vocal folds approximate and then vibrate as air passes through. Pitch is determined by the length of the vocal folds. The vocal folds are like rubber bands: the more stretched and thin they become, the higher the pitch.

The vocal tract is the resonator of the human body and has two main areas (see the teal portions of the graphic to the right):

  1. from the vocal folds to the soft palate and from the back of the throat to the back of the tongue is called the pharynx
  2. the mouth is called the oral cavity
  3. the nasal cavity is a part of the vocal tract only during nasal consonants (n, m, ng)
Variation in Timbre

Changes to the size and shape of the vocal tract give us different timbres. A full or thin sound is often the result of a high or low laryngeal position. In barbershop, we have embraced differing laryngeal positions. Low larynx examples: Acoustix and Nightlife. High larynx examples: Nighthawks and the Sidewinders.

The above examples of quartets can be tricky. Yes, they are representative of their respective laryngeal positions, but they also are examples of tongue position. Generally, the higher the blade of the tongue is, the more we perceive the tone as being bright. A higher tongue position is closest to speech and the tongue when at rest (it rests on the roof of the mouth). To see how changes in tongue position results in bright or hollow sounds, check out this fun website (the circle controls the tongue position). Are you aware of your tongue now?

Common Myths

An understanding of the human voice based on its function can help us avoid confusing instruction. Remember that vibrating vocal folds produce sound and then the air/sound leaves the body by way of the vocal tract; changes to the vocal tract give us timbre.

Here are a few commonly heard myths:

Placing a tone- this oft-used metaphor can be confusing to many. How exactly does one place a tone, whether it be forward or backward? Answer: you cannot. That’s not how air works in a tube. What you can change is the position of your tongue. Variations on this theme:

  • Sing into the mask: there is no such body part as the mask and we cannot direct air there anyway.
  • Sing out the top of your head: air leaves the mouth or nose only.
  • Sing brighter/darker: colors like these are psychoacoustic perceptions (our brain’s take); mostly dependent on tongue position.

Lift the tone- this is also an impossibility. Typically what the coach or director is asking for is a change in laryngeal position, usually down. Variations on this theme:

  • Raise the soft palate: most singers don’t sing with a lowered soft palate, but many sing with a high larynx. An instruction to sing with a raised soft palate results in a lowered larynx for most (but also tongue tension).
  • Sing with a beginning of a yawn: this instruction does lower the larynx, but for many it also can induce root-of-tongue tension.
  • Sing with an inner smile: this usually results in a lower larynx too.

None of these instructions are inherently bad, but often the good habit requested are unconsciously coupled by another, bad habit (usually tongue tension).

Take a Look

The human voice is fascinating. Watch the video of a mixed, classical quartet getting scoped while they sing a motet.

(If you’ve never seen vocal folds up close, I offer caution. Some are uncomfortable with the sight!)

Happy, healthy singing, my friends!


1 In the past vocal folds were called vocal cords (never chords!) due to their appearance as bands. Vocal folds is the correct, modern nomenclature.


New stage options added to some quartet contests

January 30, 2018 - 9:27am

To all potential International Quartet Contest Competitors:

As many of you are aware, we experimented with modifying the lighting and microphone setup for quartets at last year’s International quartet contest in Las Vegas – designed to allow you to be more creative in your presentations. At our recent Midwinter meeting, the Society Contest & Judging Committee (SCJC) has now approved these enhancements to not only be used in this year’s International quartet contest in Orlando (and future International quartet competitions), but we will also be encouraging District convention teams to adopt a similar setup for their International quartet preliminary contests as well.

What are these enhancements?

  • Two additional quartet microphones on the downstage end of the stage. So in addition to the traditional center pair of microphones, we will be adding two more of these same type of microphones about 6 feet away from center on each side, with a slight 5-10 degree angle away from the center axis. As these are small diaphragm condenser microphones, they are meant to pick up a larger area at greater distances, similar to the pickup pattern of each of the center microphones.
  • Expanded quartet lighting of 16′ to 18′ that will provide full visibility for the quartet regardless of which microphones each of you are using at any given time.

You are free to consider using these additional microphones as you see fit (or not). Either way, we felt that every competitor needs to be equally apprised of these changes well in advance of the International contest.

An important note: While we are encouraging each district to consider adopting a similar setup for their International preliminary quartet contests this Spring, there is currently no requirement or mandate. Many may continue using the traditional quartet setup due to cost or technical resource constraints. If you have any questions or concerns prior to your Spring contest, please contact your District Representative for Contest & Judging (DRCJ).

Enjoy your contest experience – and best of luck to all competitors!

J. David Mills
SCJC Chairman 2016-2019



Apply for the Next Generation Barbershop Junior Chorus Invitational by February 1

January 25, 2018 - 12:37pm

The stage of the Grand Ole Opry will burst into harmony next January when the Next Generation Barbershop Junior Chorus Invitational comes to historic Music City.

Now in its twelfth year, the event welcomes high school-aged choruses from around the world for a weekend of clinics, adjudication, and world-class shows that spark a lifelong love of singing.

See this year’s audience favorite chorus, Hurricane Of Harmony, directed by NAfME/BHS Educator of the Year award winner Debbie Cleveland.


A small chorus registration fee and per-singer charge gets you:

  • Convention registration and show show tickets ($189 per person value!) — provided!
  • Luxury hotel accommodations for three nights (4 to a room), thanks to the generous donors of Harmony Foundation International — provided!
  • Clinics with world-recognized authorities
  • Unforgettable stage moments for enthusiastic audiences 
  • Click for full details and expectations
Applications are now being accepted for men’s, women’s, and mixed-voice choruses.
  • Simple application – no deposit required today!
  • Application may include video (but not required) demonstrating capabilities, past achievements, interest, unique qualifying circumstances
  • First-time choruses are eligible for scholarship assistance 
 Apply now

Have more questions?  Contact


Seniors champ: Best parts of convention happen offstage

January 25, 2018 - 12:09pm

What was the best thing about St Croix Crossing’s weekend in California at BHS’ Midwinter convention?

You might think that, of course, it was that after six near-misses we finally won the Senior’s Quartet championship. That was wonderful, to be sure. But was it the best thing?

The best thing might have been the morning Steve Hardy and I had breakfast at a local McDonald’s, spied a couple of guys with convention passes, and wound up singing a few Polecats with them. The transformation in the restaurant was immediate and striking. Everybody had been in their own little world, frowning into their telephones, but when we started to sing the heads came up, the smiles broke out and the place was brimming with warm good humor. Repurposed telephones then made sure that hundreds have now heard that harmony on Facebook.

Or the best thing might have been the hundreds of happy faces on the kids in the youth choruses. This part of Midwinter has become the real centerpiece of the event, and one of the finest things the Society is doing to build the future of our hobby. Those kids sing like angels, they look like angels, and they’ll grow up stronger and happier by leaps and bounds. How could that not be the Best Thing?

Then there are the “little” personal moments, like the one I had in the headquarters bar. I was told that the bass for Keepsake was sitting at the next table, so I went over to express my admiration, relate how I once spent a week in Paris glued to my iPod listening to him sing “New Gang On The Corner,” but that –alas!- my quartetmates had never wanted to sing that song. With a broad smile he gets to his feet (with a couple of other gold medalist friends) and with him singing tenor we sang “New Gang On The Corner” … together. And did those sevenths RING? MAN! What a thrill!

But now we’re discovering that the best thing of all is the wonderful warmth and support we are feeling coming back to us from so many in the Land O’ Lakes District. So many were pulling for us, and now they are cheering, and we are humbled and grateful and so glad to be a part of the World’s Greatest Hobby.

It’s GREAT to be a Barbershopper!

Jared Hoke – Bass
St Croix Crossing

Society Board of Directors Amend Organization Bylaws, Standard Chapter Bylaws and Chapter Policy as of January 2018

January 25, 2018 - 10:48am

The Society Board of Directors adopted amendments to the Society BylawsStandard Chapter Bylaws, and Chapter License, Charter, Suspension, and Revocation Policy at their face-to-face meeting in Costa Mesa, California on January 18, 2018.

  • To download or view the current version of the Society Bylaws, please visit our Document Center: CLICK HERE
  • To download or view the current version of the Standard Chapter Bylaws, please visit our Document Center: CLICK HERE
  • To download or view the current version of the Chapter License, Charter, Suspension, and Revocation Policy, please visit our Document Center: CLICK HERE

Below is a brief summary of the amendments

Society Bylaws Article VII Nominations and Elections

Changes were made to 7.01 (c) 2. to remove the requirement that the Society Board in the fall of each year provides the Society Nominating Committee with criteria for selecting candidates for the following year’s election to the Board.

Former Language: 

7.01 (c) Nominating Committee
2. Annually the Nominating Committee shall select a pool of candidates based upon any Board member qualifications for the coming year(s) as established by the Society Board at its preceding fall Board meeting, and based also upon information on potential candidates developed by the Nominating Committee through recommendations received and inquiries made.

Revised Language: 

7.01 (c) Nominating Committee
2. Annually the Nominating Committee shall select a pool of candidates based upon information on potential candidates developed by the Nominating Committee through recommendations received and inquiries made.  

Article IX Society Revenue and Article XIII Associates

Changes were made to Sections 9.01 and 9.02 to shift the responsibility for setting dues and other fees from the Society Board to the Society Executive Director.   Given the changes in these sections, Section 13.03 dues for Associates, became unnecessary and duplicative so it was removed. 

Former Language: 

9.01    Society dues
Each member of the Society shall pay dues to the Society in the amount set by the Society Board. The Society Board is empowered to provide for the payment of dues in installments, to create and designate distinct dues categories for members of the Society, and to set qualifications and dues pertaining to each such category.

9.02    Enrollment fee, service charge, and reinstatement fee
Each new member of the Society shall pay an enrollment fee, each former member who re‑enrolls within six months of his expiration date shall pay a late renewal service charge, and each former member who re‑enrolls more than six months after his expiration date shall pay a reinstatement fee, all as set by the Society Board.

13.03  Finances

The Society Board shall establish the dues for participation in associate programs.

Revised Language: 

9.01    Society dues
The Society Executive Director shall set the amount to be paid as dues. The Society Executive Director is empowered to provide for the payment of dues in installments, to create and designate distinct dues categories for members of the Society, and to set qualifications and dues pertaining to each such category.

9.02    Enrollment fee, service charge, and reinstatement fee
All other fees charged by the Society shall be in amounts set by the Society Executive Director.

13.03 Finances (this section was removed from the bylaws)

Standard Chapter Bylaws Former Language: 

4.01    Initiation Fee
The initiation fee shall be set by the chapter board of directors, but in no case shall it be less than that required by the Society bylaws.

4.02    Service charge and reinstatement fee
Former members who renew their membership within six months of their expiration date must pay, in addition to the Society dues, the late renewal service charge set by the Society Board. Former members who renew their membership later than six months following their expiration date must pay, in addition to the Society dues, the reinstatement fee set by the Society Board.

Revised Language: 

4.01    Initiation Fee
The initiation fee shall be set by the chapter board of directors, but in no case shall it be less than that required by the Society Executive Director.

4.02    Service charge and reinstatement fee
Other fees shall be in the amount set by the Society Executive Director.

Chapter License, Charter, Suspension, and Revocation Policy

A project team of Harmony Hall staff has been working throughout 2017 on a project dedicated to compliance & transition of our chapters. Further, Harmony Hall has shifted the processes of chapter start-up, maintenance, and closing to be led by our Education team (specifically the manager of chapter leadership & education) as the primary contact in cooperation with our BHS Membership team and our local districts. One of the goals informed by the project was to make improvements to our current Chapter License, Chartering, Suspension, and Revocation Policy. The policy itself has not been updated in quite some time and needs improvement to coincide with current practices.

To view the summary of changes and tracked changes proposed to the Society Board of Directors, please CLICK HERETo download the amended version of the policy, please CLICK HERE

If you have further questions or need clarity on how these changes affect your chapter, please contact Antonio Lombardi, Manager of Chapter Leadership & Education at or 800.876.7464

2018 Midwinter Seniors Quartet Champ Crowned

January 20, 2018 - 7:48pm
Congratulations to our 2018 Seniors Quartet Champion St. Croix Crossing

After five years of winning medals at the Seniors Quartet competition, all their hard work finally paid off in Costa Mesa. The fine gentlemen of St. Croix Crossing have at last brought home the Seniors Quartet Championship GOLD medals! Congratulations to tenor Randy Lieble, lead Dan Heike, bari Steve Hardy, and bass Jared Hoke for their brilliant performances and musical excellence that helped them bring home the big prize!

The top five medalists are:

1. 1367 (75.9%) St. Croix Crossing
2. 1352 (75.1%) Easy Street
3. 1340 (74.9%) Unfinished Business
4. 1336 (74.2%) Renaissance
5. 1332 (74.0%) Spotlight

Click here to download the full scores

Tampa high schoolers sweep national barbershop chorus event

January 20, 2018 - 12:38am

The Hurricane of Harmony Chorus from Gaither High School in Tampa was named Audience Favorite and earned a SUPERIOR rating in Friday’s International Youth Barbershop Chorus Festival in Orange County, California.

The mixed-voice barbershop chorus won the hearts of the sold-out audience with selections from the musical “Grease,” with vivid costuming and high-energy choreography

Now its eleventh year, the Festival featured nearly 600 young singers in 17 choruses from across North America, including men’s choruses, women’s choruses and mixed-voice choruses, all singing in the barbershop style. The event was presented by the Barbershop Harmony Society and underwritten by generous donors through Harmony Foundation International 

Earning top accolades was particularly fitting for the Hurricane of Harmony, whose director, Debbie Cleveland, was honored earlier in the day with the Music Educator of The Year award from the barbershop harmony society and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).

A full score sheet is available. In summary:


Audience favorite

Hurricane of Harmony


Presenter’s award

Grandview High School Supermen 


  • Anna Coyotes Chorus
  • Spartans Guys Ensemble
  • St. Louis Park Middle School Chorus
  • The Hallmen 


  • Pacific Suns
  • Prairie Chords
  • Sound of the Sierras


  • Chandler High School Men’s Chorus
  • Cleveland Heights Barbershoppers Men
  • Cleveland Heights Barbershoppers Women
  • Southern Gentlemen
  • OC Student Union


  • Chandler High School Treblemakers
  • Grandview High School Supermen
  • Grandview High School Superwomen
  • Hurricane of Harmony
  • Sounds of the Mouth Vocal Collective
  • The Recruits

Plateau A (Average Age <17)

  • Hurricane of Harmony


Plateau AA (Average Age 17<20)

  • Chandler High School Treblemakers


Plateau AAA (Average Age 20≤25)

  • Sounds of the Mouth Vocal Collective


Protected: A Grand Finale for the Saturday Show | Midwinter 2018

January 16, 2018 - 2:04pm

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


NEW from BHS Marketplace: Premium Digital Learning Tracks!

January 15, 2018 - 7:09pm

You asked for them, and now they’re becoming a reality!  The Barbershop Harmony Society is thrilled to announce the launch of new premium-quality digital learning tracks, made available for immediate download.

  • High-quality sound production
  • Pitch-perfect tuning
  • Immediate download — no waiting for the CD to arrive in the mail and no shipping costs
  • Clear indexing of tracks for quick learning
  • Digital sheet music also available

Available on January 18th: 11 titles released at the 2018 Midwinter Convention, including “Fare Thee Well Love” (arr. David Wright), “Faith” (arr. Kohl Kitzmiller), and “This Guy’s in Love with You” (arr. Dan Wessler).

Over the coming months, watch for more releases of some of our top-selling titles. Sign up for the Music Publications newsletter to stay on top of the latest releases!

  Frequently Asked Questions

What do the categories mean?

    • Premium:  Highest quality customized tracks and and latest new releases
    • Standard: Most of our learning tracks fall into this category, with digital quality that will meet the needs of most quartets and choruses
    • Legacy (CD only):  Basic tracks of varying audio quality, often without a full listening mix.


Can I still purchase learning tracks on CD (compact disc)?

    • Yes!  If you prefer to receive a CD, you will get the same high-quality sound as the digital track.  Standard shipping charges apply.


How do I download the tracks?

    • Once you complete your purchase, you will receive an email with the subject line: “Access to electronically distributed products is granted.
    • Open the email and click each of the underlined links below the bolded line (lines with file sizes listed in bytes). As you click each link, they will automatically be downloaded to your computer or laptop. Typically, files go to your Downloads folder unless specified otherwise. You may move the files to your My Music folder or transfer into your iTunes Library or other media player.
    • To play, open the folder and doubleclick on the file.
    • Note for iPhone or iPad owners: Files may not download to iPhone or iPads. You may first need to download the files from your computer, then transfer to your iTunes library or to your device using your cable.








What if I am buying for my chorus?

    • You can secure most per-copy permissions (mechanical licenses) for your song tracks through SongFile (, which is the online licensing services provided by the Harry Fox Agency. For more information about this process please visit, our copyright resource articles at or contact the Society’s Music Library ( for further assistance.


When will I be able to download a song in your catalog that doesn’t currently offer a digital learning track option?

    • We are in the process of prioritizing our most popular titles and recent releases to add digital learning track options.  Sign up for the Music Publications newsletter to stay informed of the latest digital learning track titles available.