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Updated: 19 min 46 sec ago

Watch the Saturday Night Spectacular FREE, then relive every moment of the 2017 convention

July 14, 2017 - 7:07pm

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.

Quartets take over FOX5 News This Morning in Las Vegas

July 12, 2017 - 1:39pm

LABBS 2015 champion PZAZZ appears on FOX5 Vegas – KVVU

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.

 

Barbershop singers share love for harmony at Las Vegas event

July 12, 2017 - 10:25am
The Hanfris Quartet from Barcelona represents the Spanish Association of Barbershop Singers.

 

Our conventions are more than contests. This great story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal focuses on our extensive education offerings.

Barbershop singers share love for harmony at Las Vegas event – Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Masters of Harmony win world chorus championship

July 11, 2017 - 11:13am

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:

  1. Masters of Harmony, Santa Fe Springs, California – 2893 points, 96.4%
  2. Vocal Majority, Dallas, Texas, 2885 points, 96.2%
  3. Central Standard, Kansas City, Missouri, 2828 points, 94.3%
  4. Toronto Northern Lights, 2820 points, 94.0%
  5. Parkside Harmony, Hershey, Pennsylvania, 2761 points, 92.0%

For full scores, see www.barbershop.org/vegas.

Main Street wins International Quartet Championship

July 11, 2017 - 10:15am

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:

  1. Main Street, 8354 points, 92.8%
  2. Signature, 8329 points, 92.5%
  3. After Hours, 8199 points, 91.1%
  4. Throwback, 8149 points, 90.5%
  5. Quorum, 8057 points, 89.5%

 The international quartet contest included 55 quartets representing the US, Canada, Sweden, Great Britain, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. For full scores, see www.barbershop.org/vegas.

 

Member Center launches this week!

July 10, 2017 - 10:43am

After several months of user testing and feedback, we’re excited to announce that the new Member Center will launch on Thursday, July 13. Here’s the schedule.

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
Learn how to use the new Member Center Videos and docs online now

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  customerservice@barbersop.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)
Feature requests and bug fixes

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!

Month 6: Learning and growing as Barbershopper

July 7, 2017 - 2:44am

 

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 education

Chapter-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:

  1. Come prepared. Know your notes and words — use those learning tracks
  2. Listen! Reduce side chatter to a minimum. Absorb every minute’s worth of training that you’ve traded an evening to obtain.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
We can all learn in a chorus coaching session

“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!

  • Arranging
  • Vocal production
  • Theory
  • History
  • Performance practice
Directors College  

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 wins Youth championship

July 5, 2017 - 1:34am

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:

  1. Flightline  1449 points, 80.5%
  2. Ohana Means Family    1429 points,  79.4%
  3. Blindside    1416 points, 78.7%
  4. Eclectones   1402 points, 77.9%
  5. 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 Hypothesis

Highest Experienced Junior

Polaris

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

 

Pratt Street Power appears at music education rally at Capitol

June 29, 2017 - 5:02pm

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.

Stay Up All Night for “The Chew’s” BBQ Special

June 28, 2017 - 4:06pm

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.

Mike Rowe named Honorary Life Member of Barbershop Harmony Society

June 27, 2017 - 6:37pm

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

(See full list at http://www.barbershop.org/about-us/honorary-members/ )

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 .

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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.

Stop by the BHS Membership Booth in Las Vegas — you might win a great prize!

June 27, 2017 - 6:24pm

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

Plumbing the depths of our video archives

June 22, 2017 - 12:37pm

When I was hired as the new A/V Manager of the Barbershop Harmony Society back in April of 2014,my predecessor, Aaron Johnson,took me down to the basement to show me the media archive.

He unlocked the doors and walked me around a corner which featured stage apparel of previous gold medalists, O.C. Cash’s cigar sitting on an ash tray and all of Cash’s scrapbooks from the earliest years of our Society. While I was distracted by those artifacts, he yelled for me, and I snapped out of my daze. He then led me to the back of the basement where there were shelves upon shelves of old media.

Emphasis on the word “old.”

We completed an inventory project in early 2014 that revealed 5,141 pieces of unique media that could contain between 30,000 to 100,000 songs on 45 different media formats in various conditions ranging from “good” to “critical.”

Fast forward three and a half years. The A/V Department has posted several installments of Harmony University: Online, created and produced the daily recap videos from our various conventions and captured several other projects that are yet-to-be-released. Most recently, however, we’ve launched a Facebook poll wanting to know what classic performances you, our target audience, want to see posted on our official YouTube channel. We want to put all of your suggestions up. I mean, why wouldn’t we? It would satisfy our members’ craving (and our own) for vintage material, expand our digital footprint, help preserve our content and, with your likes and shares, promote our incredible artform. It’s a win-win for everyone!

That said, it’s not easy. It’s a costly and timely process, actually.

From the present to 2012, all performances may be raw and uncut but at least they are already digital files on hard drives. These are the easiest to access, which is why all convention performances from 2015 and 2016 are already up on our YouTube channel; 2014 is set to be released late next year (we’re required to wait four years due to a licensing agreement tied to the convention DVD that year).

Moving backward from there, the work gets a little trickier. Our wonderful history is saved for generations to come but it’s saved on various formats that require different ways of digitizing. And the digitization process for each format varies from a couple days of work to tracking down a production house that specializes in that format and then waiting several months for it to be done correctly and professionally (i.e., not at WalMart or CVS).

From 2012 to roughly 2002, the convention footage is on MiniDV. MiniDV is a cassette form of media and is one of the few formats that can actually be digitized by the A/V Department in-house. This is a little time consuming as the footage has to be watched in real time while transferring to digital through Final Cut Pro but, all in all, is pretty painless.

Prior to 2002, the media formats vary greatly. Everything from S-VHS (a higher quality VHS format that never became the “industry standard” like it was supposed to) to BetacamSP to Betamax to U-matic to VHS to DVCAM to Quadruplex to canisters full of 1” tape.

Our wonderful history is saved for generations to come but it’s saved on various formats that require different ways of digitizing. And the digitization process for each format varies from a couple days of work to tracking down a production house that specializes in that format and then waiting several months for it to be done correctly and professionally (i.e., not at WalMart or CVS).

The good news is, the Society currently uses an outstanding production house called PSU (Photographic Systems Unlimited) here in our headquarters city of Nashville. In the past, we’ve used them to digitize a few canisters of 1” tape, a couple dozen Betacam SP’s, and even some audio reels. They do tremendous work and have been a great partner of ours.

Up to now, we have been digitizing necessary footage (examples: for the Dealer’s Choice’s Hall of Fame video, for anniversary tribute videos, etc.) but we’ve also been digitizing found footage with a “spray and pray” mentality. You know, when curiosity gets the best of us and we say out loud “what’s in this vaguely marked box?” Luckily, this has never been a waste. We’ve found our oldest captured performance in color as well as found undiscovered footage of previous champions, all due to that mentality. At the end of the day, we know we’re doing this for you and we want to be more targeted in our efforts.

So, please, keep in mind that while you may suggest we post a performance from 1981, it may take a while to do it. You also may be surprised when you ask for a song from 1968, it may appear quickly. Just depends on the media type, the process and the time and effort required.

On a personal note, the Archive Project is near and dear to my heart. It has been since I saw the treasure trove of media in the basement three and a half years ago. I would love nothing more than to move my computer, equipment and bobbleheads downstairs and become the Society’s historian and archivist. That said, the A/V Department has to do that, along with the other requirements of the job, with only one position (and an intern). I welcome that challenge with open arms since it’s a passion project for me. I will digitize each performance as fast as possible and post to YouTube based on a schedule that the Marketing Department has worked tirelessly on in order to maximize exposure, budgeting and impact.

In short, we want to digitize it all. But we also want to digitize it right.  So hang in there. It’s coming.

Marty Lovick on Forefront: “Good ensembles make coaches look good”

June 21, 2017 - 3:10pm

By Marty Lovick, Performance coach

martylovick@shaw.ca

 

My first session with Forefront was on a blustery January day in 2015 in New Orleans. It was cold outside, but they were firing on all cylinders. At our first meeting, they showed willingness to go further down the path they had created for themselves. Given their penchant for doing “epic” material, this was no mean task; however some core principles were addressed and remain part of their quartet DNA to this day.

  1. Performance starts before the singing does! Forefront learned to bring the context of their songs to the stage, rather than be part way into a song before the afterburners would kick in. The goal became to be “into” the song before it started, then the development could go further.
  2. Mental preparation/focus/commitment all became stronger and clearer. Audiences felt like they knew the quartet because the quartet knew themselves.
  3. Trust in the vision and in each other. The quartet had more fun singing; almost as much as they have off stage (but that’s another story). Vision came first and technique supported it.
  4. Absolute specificity of physical/facial/interpretive storytelling.  Physical activity that needed to be crisp was honed precisely; silence became more powerful as stillness was supported by intent. The dynamic plans accordingly were more far reaching and impactful. Watch, “If You Love Me, Really Love Me” to see the result.

Armed with new awareness and having had many opportunities to perform with these precepts, in 2016 they were champions before the scoring was announced – champions of a model of performance excellence and audience engagement. I was but one of their coaches; however, the experience was life-changing for me, and reaffirms my understanding that “good ensembles make coaches look good.”

 

Instant Classic on Forefront: “We honestly thought they would hate us!”

June 21, 2017 - 2:56pm

 

Instant Classic and Forefront have always had a close – yet somewhat competitive – “barbershop bromance.”

The Hughes brothers and the Kitzmiller brothers tagged into the wee hours at many Cardinal District competitions and events. And the two quartets competed against each other many times at the district and international levels. Drew even served as one of Instant Classic’s coaches.

“Forefront always represented where we wanted to be as a quartet,” Theo Hicks, lead of Instant Classic, said. “Therefore, it was always a fun game to aim for just above where they were.”

And, at the 2015 competition in Pittsburgh, Instant Classic aimed and landed just above Forefront, taking the gold by 11 points.

“It was such a rush of emotions–excitement, disbelief, and guilt,” Theo said. “Excited to be champions, but guilt that it was “their turn” and we messed it up! We honestly thought they would hate us!”

In fact, on the drive home from Pittsburgh, Drew called Theo asking him to arrange a song for Forefront, and both quartets spent portions of the drive home trying to figure out what that song would be! They later learned an eight-part arrangement for the Midwinter Convention, sang on several shows together, and Forefront even asked Instant Classic for coaching.

“The friendship between the two quartets flourished more than I ever expected it to,” said Drew. “Looking back, had we won in Pittsburgh, I don’t think the two quartets would have ended up as close.”

Theo agrees. “It was the best feeling in the world to put their new gold medals around their necks when they won,” he said.

Barbershop champs star in New Zealand singing show “The Naked Choir”

June 20, 2017 - 12:51pm

The path from high school quartet singers to world champs is already well-known to Barbershoppers, but now New Zealand television viewers have gotten a heaping dose of our pals from Musical Island Boys

TVNZ’s The Naked Choir, an a cappella singing show, featured tenor Jeff Hunkin as host and bass Matt Gifford as a judge in the recently concluded series. Along the way, they shared their stories with a broad audience in a part of the world that is exploding in vocal harmony.  

Says Jeff in an interview on Stuff.co.nz: “Often we’d sit there and think to ourselves, ‘Man, how did we end up here? How did four Pacific Island dudes who come from backgrounds that are certainly not amazing by any means – how did we end up doing all of these amazing things on the opposite side of the world and meeting so many amazing people, just from the pure fact of getting involved in this barbershop quartet singing program way back in high school? It’s been an amazing ride, for sure.”

Among Matt’s interviews is a great piece on MaoriTelevision.com, illustrating the breadth of the reach the story gets. “The Naked Choir judge Matt Gifford says acapella singing comes naturally for kapa haka performers. ‘We’re used to singing in groups from a very young age right through to old age. We sing every day. These aren’t new skills.’”

via Barbershop world champion to host new local singing show The Naked Choir

Westchester magazine raises the bar for addressing your audience

June 20, 2017 - 11:50am

Professional layout and design, “insider” feature contest, and loads of advertising combine to make the Westchester Chordsmen‘s Overtones magazine a model to emulate.

The full-size magazine format allows plenty of space for a clean, airy presentation, and showcases the numerous advertisers to best advantage. Evergreen content covers the chapter’s active performance schedule, outreach activities, and even history stories. The magazine can be used as both a standalone publication and a show program.  

Hats off to Editor John Fotia and his team for a first-class channel for reaching their audience. Be sure to look at the chapter’s attractive web site, too.

See more: The Westchester Chordsmen

Quartet resource project needs your insights

June 8, 2017 - 12:59pm

Quartet singing lives at the heart of the Barbershop Harmony Society, and a new project aims to inject additional vigor and resources into the formation and continued growth of quartets.

The initial research phase begins this month with a brief survey of existing male quartets regarding their activities/needs. The scope extend beyond BHS-registered quartets to include casual quartets, non-registered groups, and non-Society groups as well.

We need your help!  If you are aware of a quartet singing in your chapter, division, or district that isn’t registered with BHS, please help us connect to them by entering their basic contact in this  Google form. If you have any questions about this pilot project, please reach out to us at customerservice@barbershop.org.

 

 

Grand Ole Opry to host 2019 Midwinter convention

June 7, 2017 - 4:05pm

January 2019 event at Grand Ole Opry focuses on youth, seniors

Music City will again host a major gathering of close-harmony singers, when the Nashville-based Barbershop Harmony Society welcomes more than 2,000 guests to its Midwinter Convention, January 22-27, 2019.

The Midwinter Convention celebrates the intergenerational appeal of a cappella singing, with major events that include an International Youth Barbershop Chorus Festival and the International Seniors Quartet Contest.

The Grand Ole Opry will be the primary venue, and its availability was a major factor in the the decision to site the event in Nashville. “There are only a handful of halls that are truly iconic destinations,” said Dusty Schleier, CMP, Events Manager for the Society. “We know that we will see an uptick in attendance simply on the strength of the Opry. High school choruses will drive across the continent for the chance to appear on that stage.” The Gaylord Opryland Resort will be primary lodging for the event.

The Barbershop Harmony Society has previously hosted several major conventions in Nashville, most recently in July 2016, when more than 8,000 guests filled the city with harmony during the Society’s annual international convention. Harmony University, an annual week-long school, also draws 700 students each summer to the Belmont University campus.
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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.

Using Music To Boost Hearing In Noisy Environments

June 7, 2017 - 10:18am

Careful listening and pitch training may help reduce the effects of hearing loss, according to research at Ryerson University in Toronto.

…[O]ne way we follow a particular voice is by locking onto its pitch, allowing us to use frequency as an anchor. “When we’re listening to voices and speech, there’s a frequency trail we can follow, but it’s often buried under a din of noise. But if our brains have improved in tracking that anchor, we can better reconstruct the nuance of each speech fragment,” he says. “So that’s the presumed mechanism for why this pitch training is so important.”

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