Barbershop Harmony Society News
A music educator once changed the course of Mike Rowe’s life, and in his new Facebook video series, he pays tribute to another influential teacher in a big way.
When health issues forced world-class trumpeter Tim Wilson to give up a performance career, he turned to teaching, and gave his talents and treasure to an instrumental music program in an impoverished school district. Mike sought him out and provided a tremendous surprise and… well, better you watch for yourself.
Rowe, who became an Honorary Life Member of the Barbershop Harmony Society in 2017, 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.)
In your first year as a Barbershopper, the entire world seems ready for harmony. The puzzled stares people throw as you hum along to your bari learning track while riding the bus now seem quaint, not embarrassing. You’ve become adept at explaining to airport security that the metallic disc in your carry-on brings harmony, not harm. Regretting that you hadn’t started barbershopping years earlier, you resolve to help young people discover this music and lifestyle right now.
But where? How?
Outreach programs of the Barbershop Harmony Society exist to create experiences that inspire people to sing in harmony for the rest of their lives. Our multifaceted approach is to
- reach and support music educators who become lifelong influencers; and
- reach students and young singers with “mountaintop moments” that will spark a lifelong love of singing together in harmony.
Notably, these aims are not “recruiting young people into barbershop membership today.” While our enthusiasm may be high, our local product may not be appealing or suitable for young singers. Most importantly, we want to ensure that by singing and competing alongside peers, they can attach themselves to the style and see a long horizon of opportunity for themselves.
Fortunately, we have a wealth of ways that you can offer to younger singers wishing to get a taste of harmony.Next Generation Barbershop events get young men and women singing
Our primary showcase activities are designed around the “peak experiences” principle. Our chorus and quartet events for male, female and mixed-voice groups provide singers with a pathway to perform for enthusiastic crowds at our major conventions.Easy access for high school singers
The Midwinter Convention, held each January, hosts the Next Generation Barbershop Junior Chorus Contest and the Next Generation Barbershop Junior Quartet Contest . Designed for male, female and mixed-voice groups age 18 and under, these are positioned as accessible activities for high school-aged ensembles.
Each group sings for adjudication and plateau recognition, but the depth of learning comes in individual coaching and group clinics. World-class clinicians such as Kirby Shaw, Deke Sharon (music director of the Pitch Perfect movies), and International Chorus Champion Westminster Chorus lead the combined choruses in workshops to develop a great ensemble sound, culminating in a command performance that caps the convention week.
The Barbershop Harmony Society makes it an attractive destination event because we’ll pick up the lodging and shows! Details: www.barbershop.org/nextgenerationShowcase events for college-age men
The BHS International Convention, held each July, hosts the Next Generation Barbershop Varsity Quartet Contest and the Next Generation Barbershop Varsity Chorus Invitational. Targeted at young men ages 18-25, these events offer more mature young voices a competitive event and full immersion in barbershop culture.
Founded in 1992, the quartet contest has been the launching point for hundreds of singers who have gone on to become world champs, chorus directors, Society leaders, and satisfied lifelong barbershoppers. The Barbershop Varsity Chorus Invitational is an extension of previous youth chorus festivals, providing a bigger stage and level playing field for more mature voices.
All Varsity Quartet and Chorus singers take part in an Honors Chorus that performs two songs in various venues throughout the convention week. World-class coaches work with the group to bring it to peak performance — an unforgettable growth opportunity. Details: www.barbershop.org/nextgenerationHow you can help
- Listen. Go to school music concerts, hear what local students are singing. Listen to what educators say they need. Be there to help, with no strings attached.
- Share with students and educators. It starts with showcasing the possibilities. Our YouTube Channel features hundreds of performances of men’s, women’s and mixed-voice youth groups. Your school could be among them.
- Provide a stage. Your chapter show stage offers an enthusiastic audience ready to applaud and motivate new ensembles. Help raise funds with a benefit show or free-will offering.
- Help subsidize travel. Nothing convinces the district arts supervisor like funds.
The Barbershop Harmony Society is proud to announce our host cities for our International Conventions in 2021, 2022, and 2023.
2021 – Cleveland, OH
2022 – Charlotte, NC
2023 – Louisville, KY
These cities rose to the top in a rigorous selection process that weighed the following criteria:
- Suitability of the venue(s) for events, including contests, shows, educational sessions, meetings, social activities, and tag singing
- Proximity of the venue(s) and hotels; walkability
- City attractions, both near the convention site (restaurants, nightlife, etc.) and in the vicinity
- Ability of BHS to engage the community and make a positive impact during the convention (community engagement, MegaSing, etc.)
- Accessibility for those traveling by air and car
- Cost to participants, including travel, hotel rooms, and meals
- Cost to BHS, including venue rental and labor
Prospective host cities first submitted proposals for consideration in 2016, which were reviewed by a BHS team led by Director of Events Dusty Schleier. After extensive due diligence and site visits, five cities were invited to Harmony Hall to make their case in Spring 2017. The finalist cities were charged with presenting a plan for how they could help the BHS create an event to support our goal of “A Better World. Singing.”
“I’m really excited about our upcoming convention locations,” says Dusty Schleier. “Each one has something different and unique to offer. One city is brand new to us, one city we’re returning to after more than half a century, and the third city has changed so much since the last time we were there that it might as well be a brand new location.”
Watch the videos below to find out more about where we will be in 2021, 2022, and 2023!
Photo: New York Times
Directors, have you wondered why your chorus sometimes seems out-of-sync or ragged? This choppiness might be something you’re demonstrating with your gesture, even though you might not be aware of it. This is due to something called mirror neurons.
Mirror neurons are the brain cells that pick up on social and emotional cues from other humans. If someone is hurt or upset, we can usually tell just by looking at their face or body language. This is not new information to us. What is interesting to note is that viewing someone hurt or upset can trigger a similar response a in our own brains, causing us to feel, at the very least, empathetic.
Dr. Jeremy Manternach demonstrates the lip-rounding condition.
How does this apply to chorus directors? Several studies measured the effects of nonverbal conductor gestures on singers. In one study by Dr. Jeremy Manternach of the University of Iowa, participants sang one phrase of song several times while watching videos of a prerecorded director. The baseline director videos showed the director with a neutral expression, while other videos showed the director with an identical expression but with rounded lips on two words. The research showed that participants rounded their lips significantly more during the rounded conductor conditions than in the neutral positions. Participants unconsciously mimicked the director.
This is a powerful position for chorus directors to be in, as it has a lot of implications for the conducting gesture. Effective gestures can turn ideas into music. Ineffective gestures can disrupt the singers’ storytelling. One way you can detect your effectiveness as a director is to film yourself from the front and honestly watch what you are nonverbally asking your group (watch with the sound off). If you are ever confused by a gesture (or shoulders or knees or lips, etc.) then adjust accordingly.
For more information about mirror neurons check out these videos: 1 , 2 and 3. For research on the effect of gesture on choral sound, check out the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing.
Join in the conversation in our Barbershop Chorus Directors group on Facebook. As always, feel free to reach out to the BHS Education Team for further resources and assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.876.SING.
For assistance, contact our Customer Service Team at 800-876-SING (7464) or email@example.com.
Faculty: Janice Bane and Scott Harris
One of the most frequent topics we hear about from members is Copyright. Our clearance expert and former Warner-Chapel employee Janice Bane is joined by longtime print music specialist and BHS Arranger & Repertoire Manager Scott Harris to explain some of the rules you need to know! They discuss clearing a new arrangement, guidelines for barbershop shows, and the difference between print music rules and audio recording rules.Click Here for even more HU Online Classes and Resources
Music gives meaning to life, and our visible support for music in our communities should begin with the people on the front lines: the music educators who each day awaken the music within school children.
Although our mantra in the Outreach area is “Music-Money-Men,” we should always keep in mind that these resources are all in the service of the fourth M: MEANING. To bring that meaning to the fore, BHS has teamed with NAfME to create the Barbershop Harmony Society/NAfME Music Educator Award. The annual award has been established to honor educators who give students the opportunity to learn and participate in the joy and power that music education brings in uplifting the human spirit and fostering the wellbeing of society. (Read about 2017 award-winner Heather Nail.)
Educators often receive thanks from students’ parents, who see their impact directly. Occasionally, colleagues and administration take note. It is far more rare for recognition to come from outside that direct circle of influence — yet decisions about program support, budget, facilities and more are made from the outside.
To that end, the fact that a barbershop group (chapter, district, even an individual) takes notice and prepares a nomination for the award is noteworthy. As the eligibility and nomination process make clear, there are a wealth of worthy recipients whose stories should be told. So, tell it!
After preparing the nomination, you can further support the teacher by forwarding a copy of the nomination materials to the educator’s principal, district supervisor and school board. What is better for a career than a laudatory message from a third party?Why you’ll benefit
Beyond the intrinsic value of doing good for goodness’ sake, your chapter might see some other spin-off benefits. Naturally, your own credibility grows as an organization that takes seriously the role of the arts in education. Study after study have demonstrated positive links between engagement with music and academic achievement. Even more important is that it shapes the way students understand themselves and the world around them. It allows for deep engagement and nurtures skills critical for future success — creativity, curiosity, determination, communications and motivation. Your support for music actively makes better thinkers, doers and citizens for tomorrow.
As a chapter, you may find this project well-suited to the skills of a member eager to help with outreach purposes beyond personal performance. Former educators with connections who know how to speak ‘education’ are valuable here.
Your proactive stance in helping others with no strings attached will also be convincing evidence in future applications for arts grants.
This entire activity is a great way to honor someone praiseworthy. Do not treat it as a way to capture an audience for a barbershop sales talk. It’s not about you. Let the music educator grasp that the chapter truly cares what a good job he/she is doing for the students, school and community.
As a friendly reminder to Chapter & District Leaders, below is a brief tutorial on how to update the dues prices for your chapter or district for the upcoming year. If your chapter or district does not wish to change your dues prices, there is nothing else you need to do.
As a general reminder, it is not necessary to contact Society Headquarters to change your dues (Chapter or District) prices.Guide to Changing Dues Rates
The following is a guide to changing dues rates if your chapter or district has voted to change the price of dues. A similar tutorial can be found online for:
Authorized officers for making changes to chapter level dues prices are a Chapter President, Secretary or Treasurer.
Authorized officers for making changes to district level dues prices are a District President, Secretary or Treasurer.
Due to the fact that we create invoices well in advance of due date, the following policy will be in effect:URGENT – IF YOU WANT YOUR DUES TO CHANGE AS OF 1/1/2018
In order to implement dues rate changes that are expected to be effective 1/1/2018, the changes MUST be made before 11/1/2017 (more than 60 days in advance as has always been our practice). We will be running invoices for January in November and the amounts must be in the system prior to running the invoices.
Attempted changes with a start date within 60 days will not be accepted by the computer system.PROCESS:
Log into the Member Center (http://members.barbershop.org) – your login will activate your permissions.
- Click Chapters and then My Chapters on towards the left-hand side.
- Click through to the Chapter you wish to update.
- After selecting the chapter, select Dues Pricing towards the left-hand side.
- You should see a screen similar to below:
The entries under Current Dues reflect the information that is currently recorded in the Member Center. This is live information.
Enter Changes by selecting Edit Dues towards the top of the screen.
- Click the Member Class that you’d like to edit.
- Ensure the duration is currently entered as Annual.
- Enter the new Price
- Enter/Select the New Effective Date
- Ensure that the status is set to Active.
- Press Submit
The new amount will then show in the Future Dues screen with a start date as noted. This will also put an end date on the current price for that Member Class. Changes will automatically become effective on the start date so changes should be made with great care.Questions or concerns?
If you have any questions or need additional assistance, please contact the BHS Customer Service Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact our Chapter Leadership & Education team at email@example.com
Refreshed training manuals for Chapter Secretaries and Treasurers are now available online for download and reference by new and veteran officers!
In prior years, both the chapter secretary and treasurer manuals also had a separate “exhibits manual”. We’ve since consolidated the two into one! The new manual includes increased appendices towards the end of both documents for reference and guidance for our chapters.
- Click Here for more information about the Chapter Secretary Manual
- Click Here for more information about the Chapter Treasurer Manual
Learn from classroom music teacher, chorus director, and BHS gold medal quartet singer, Theo Hicks, on how to plan and implement effective rehearsals for your barbershop group. Theo discusses how it is not just about the rehearsal, it revolves around the barbershop chapter experience and your singer’s ownership over their product. Great experiences and rehearsals blend art and science. This 23-minute video will give you both concepts to build on and content to share. Change a few things in your approach and make a big difference, even as soon as next week.
Click Here for more videos from Harmony University Online.
International Quartet and Chorus Contests Orlando, Florida | July 2 – 8, 2018
Open Quartet Contest: The automatic qualifying score will remain at 76%. There is no change to the qualification process for the 2018 contest.
As a result of the growth in the number of quartets achieving this plateau over the past 2-3 years, for 2018 we’ve decided to add a third quarterfinals session instead of increasing the automatic qualifying score. In place of the traditional two quarter-final rounds, we will add a third round, and the traditional contest session schedule will change. This schedule reflects estimated times and is a pilot for 2018 only.
- Tuesday, July 3rd – Noon – 4:00 p.m., 1st session quarterfinals
- Tuesday, July 3rd – 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., 2nd session quarterfinals
- Wednesday, July 4th – 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 3rd session quarterfinals
- Wednesday, July 4th – 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Varsity Quartet Contest (formerly YBQC) and Varsity Chorus Invitational
Open Chorus Contest: No change. The International chorus contest will consist of 17 BHS district choruses and ten wild card choruses, in addition to invited Affiliate choruses.
Varsity Chorus Invitational: Full registration process to be announced soon. Event information can be found here.Midwinter Convention Costa Mesa, California | January 16 – 21, 2018
Seniors Quartet Contest: There is no change to the current qualifying process for Senior quartets.
Seniors Chorus Festival: The draw for the Festival is based on a four-year cycle, starting with the 2018 Midwinter convention. A random draw was held with district leaders, allowing each district to select one of three competition years: 2018 in Orange County, 2019 in Nashville, 2020 at a location to be announced. The fourth year (2021) will feature the top 5 scoring Senior choruses, as determined by their district competition results that year.
2018- FWD (host), EVG, ONT, LOL, SUN
2019- SWD, DIX (host), JAD, NSC, Ill, SLD
2020- CAR, MAD, PIO, RMD, CSD, NED
2021- Top 5 qualifying scores at District
Youth Chorus Festival: Participants have already been selected and invited to participate. Details on how to apply for 2019 Junior Chorus Invitational and the Junior Quartet Contest will be announced soon.
Ringmasters, the Barbershop Harmony Society’s 2012 International Quartet Champion, headlines a wide-ranging cast of barbershop performers on WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Show, coming to RFD TV on Friday, September 29, 6:00 pm Eastern.
Recorded live in July 2016 at the historic Lyric Theater in Lexington, Kentucky, WoodSongs is a weekly celebration of Americana and roots music, and they were delighted to devote a full hour-long show to barbershop.
You’ll find it in TV listings as WoodSongs, “Celebration of Barbershop Harmony With the Ringmasters, Vintage Mix, the Wildcat Harmonizers & The Time Bandits.” (Click here to locate RFD TV on all major cable and satellite services.)
This is a great way to share top-quality barbershop of all generations with your family, friends, and network of patrons, show audiences, etc.
Sneak preview: Time Bandits
Sneak preview: Vintage Mix
Sneak preview: Wildcat Harmonizers
If you (or someone you know) should be teaching with us at Belmont next July 22nd-29th, apply using the application link below. It should only take 15 to 20 minutes. We will let all applicants know our decision via email in early December.
If you were HU Faculty between 2015 and 2017, you do not need to fill out this application. You will be contacted by Harmony University staff directly to discuss potential participation in 2018.
If you were HU Faculty between the 1970’s and 2014, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you would like to return. Our selection process has changed since you were last with us and we’d like to learn about your previous experiences at HU.
If you filled out last year’s application and were NOT invited to join us, we strongly suggest you fill it out again! Our faculty choices are also driven by the types of classes offered so, if we have too many people already in category X and need more people in Y and Z, the solution for 2018 may be YOU.A word about our selection process: We receive many applications from great people… some are unknown outside their District, some are ” Barbershop famous”. Ultimately, our decision comes down to this: we are looking for exceptional teaching ability and a personable, encouraging demeanor. We want the best of the best. We welcome barbershop rock stars, local powerhouses, and hidden gems to apply. We review them all in the same way to create a vibrant, loving faculty that will teach our students well and leave them inspired. We aim for roughly 20% new faculty each year… in 2017, that was 17 new or returning-after-a-break faculty members! In the end, it comes down to excellent teaching skills and the ability to connect with our students. If this is you, we want to hear from you! Apply here:
Outreach programs of the Barbershop Harmony Society will continue to grow and evolve in 2018 as we work to further expand our impact on young singers and educators. The coming year will see numerous changes and additions to our contest programming, plus some new activities still in development that will offer new paths into the barbershop experience.
Central to the additions and changes are a few key outcomes:
- Programs should help music educators attract more young singers, improving the vitality and impact of their choral music programs.
- A better natural transition from one program to the next is essential. We need a more holistic approach that creates a sustainable model for its continuation into lifelong singing.
- The program must be easy to understand by non-members – parents, teachers, students; and simplified to be more efficiently implemented and executed by BHS staff.
- Dates and deadlines align with student/parent/educator/school year needs, rather than BHS legacy timelines.
- Divisions will be grouped by event: The Midwinter Convention (January) is the preferred time for schools to participate in BHS junior activities and the International Convention (July) is the preferred time for singers between the age of 18-25.
- Underdeveloped/changing voices (18 and under) are at a disadvantage when competing directly against more mature (18-25) voices. These age groups will be categorized differently moving forward (18 and under – Junior, 18-25 – Varsity.)
- Junior program activities will include men’s, women’s, and mixed ensembles to better support the needs of music educators.
- We will work within a financial model that is sustainable into the future.
- Separate events for Junior Quartets (U18) and Varsity Quartets (18-25)
- Expanded participation for Junior events, to include young men’s, young women’s, and mixed groups
- Earlier entry deadlines for Varsity Quartet finals at International Convention
- New events added: Junior Quartet Contest and Varsity Chorus Contest
New and revised quartet competitions Next Generation Barbershop Quartet Contests
We are unifying all contest and festival activities under a single title that is already familiar: Next Generation Barbershop. It describes both the style and the participants. More than a few people have noted that our oldest contestants at age 25 can hardly be called “youth,” when they have careers, families and mortgages. As we establish new age-based activities, Next Generation Barbershop will provide a consistent naming approach for all events.
To best serve the demands of high school programs and parents, we will add activities to the Junior events for female and mixed-voice quartets, too. The Varsity program, focused less on the needs of educators and parents and more of an entry ramp to BHS culture and contest system, will continue to be open to young men only. Future evolution of the program may at some point offer similar Varsity events for young women’s and mixed ensembles.Separate events for Junior Quartets (U18) and Varsity Quartets (18-25)
To further expand the reach of the program and provide level playing fields for peers, we are establishing a new event for younger singers at the Midwinter Convention: the Junior Quartet Contest.
Some important distinctions to note
- The age ranges intentionally overlap at age 18 to accommodate the transition between divisions: graduating seniors competing with their school groups and college-aged singers wishing to continue on with an older quartet can each participate in the division that fits their quartet.
- Quartets with any member 19 or older will compete in the Varsity division.
(up to and including) VOICES
Varsity Quartet Contest
Enter by January 28, 2018U18 U25 Male Female Mixed
Junior Quartet Contest
Enter by October 1, 2018U18 18-25 Male Female Mixed Earlier entry deadlines for Varsity Quartet finals at International Convention
Through the years, waiting to find out who advances to the finals has been unwieldy, with invitations issued as late as June. This placed a greater financial burden on quartets for travel, and made it harder to prepare, obtain coaching, etc.
With an earlier entry deadline of January 28, 2018, there is much greater opportunity to fully prepare for the finals in July. Quartets are encouraged to attend Spring District Conventions to be judged for evaluation and receive additional feedback and coaching en route to the big show — and to build their fan/support bases as well. In the initial year, this will admittedly be a more compressed timeline than usual. For 2019, the entry process will begin in July 2018 with a December deadline — plenty of time to get started even now.New and revised chorus events
Similarly, the Youth Chorus Festival will evolve into separate events for the Varsity and Junior age divisions, to encourage broader participation and better align with the differing needs of educators and parents in the Junior event, and schedules and interests of Varsity singers.
The Midwinter Convention will continue to host a youth chorus event, now called the Junior Chorus Invitational, open to men’s, women’s, and mixed-voice ensembles up through age 18. The International Convention each summer will host a new event, the Varsity Chorus Invitational, aimed at male singers aged 18-25.
(up to and including) VOICES
Varsity Chorus Invitational
Enter by December 1, 2017U18 U25 Male Female Mixed
Junior Chorus Invitational
Enter by February 1, 2018U18 18-25 Male Female Mixed
The good you do today in bringing music to young people translates into a future world of more lifelong singers, and the Society’s 2018 Grants Program will help you extend your capacity to do just that.
Youth Outreach Grants, which range from $500 to $10,000, are designed to support youth outreach projects of a chapter/district/other non-profit organization, and might include activities such as:
- promoting singing among youth
- enhancing choral music programs
- expanding singing to include underserved areas or populations within your community through an event or workshop.
All proposed projects must focus on the art of barbershop music/arrangements and a cappella singing. However, applicant organizations are not required to focus exclusively on barbershop music.
We are now accepting applications from September 1 – 30, 2017, for projects occurring from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018.
After undergoing a competitive evaluation process, most applicants will be well-positioned to utilize the information gathered when competing for other local or regional grant opportunities.
Please note that the Vision Grant program has been retired. Projects outside the scope of youth outreach will have an opportunity to apply with a project plan in the Spring. Although we are not offering the Innovation Grant for the Fall 2017 window, changes to the Innovation grant application process will be announced at a later date.
Annual support from Harmony Foundation International makes it possible to leverage the generosity of donors through the manpower and brainpower of hundreds of Barbershoppers to make a difference in your communities.
The Barbershop Harmony Society has updated our Application for Show Clearance: SOCAN License Form and is now available for download on our Society online Document Center.
The general form updates are reflective of what the current process is for processing show clearance requests as an organization, alongside your District Leadership. This will also streamline and unify all methods of processing across the various districts.
Please note that the minimum fee for a SOCAN License is $35.00. There is a tool available through SOCAN to help you calculate the owed fee here: socan.ca/calculator/4A1
As a reminder, chapter secretaries should submit Section 1 of the SOCAN Show Clearance & License Form to their District for review and approval. After the performance, Sections 2 & 3 should be completed and sent directly to SOCAN with applicable payment. A copy should also be sent to your District Secretary and the Barbershop Harmony Society. Also, checks should NOT be stapled or taped to the form, only paper-clipped.
Please help us by encouraging and discarding older versions of this form, including the carbon forms (that we still see now and then).
There are three formats of form that your chapter you can utilize:
- Fillable MS Word Document – To be used and filled in electronically. You can email this fillable form to your District Secretary instead of mailing.
- Printable PDF Document – For easy printing and handwriting in information.
- Fillable & Printable PDF Document – For filling in on your computer and printing after completed.
After your performance, when sending a copy to the Society offices, you can email (preferred) it to email@example.com or mail to:
Barbershop Harmony Society
C/O SOCAN Show Clearance Copies
110 7th Avenue N
Nashville, TN 37203
United States of America
If you have further questions or need further assistance, please contact your District Secretary or Society.