This year's winner: the audience!
Ontario District returned to Brantford this past weekend for our fall convention. Attendees met with friends from all over the province, barbershoppers sang until the wee hours of the morning, and the district awarded hardware to our winning quartets and choruses. Audience members were treated to performances by over 20 quartet and 8 choruses.Here are some of the highlights from the weekend, in no particular order:
- Ontario's first ever mixed chorus contest was a great success, with the vast majority of surveyed attendees saying it added to their convention experience. Baldwin Blend chorus from Harmony Ranch walked away with the trophy, sponsored by Digger and Nancy MacDougall, and a good shot at qualifying for the First World Mixed Chorus Contest in Munich, Germany in April 2018.
- Supertonic quartet hosted an extremely successful hospitality room on the Friday night of convention. The hospitality room raised over $250 that will be split between Ontario District's charitable projects, Sing Canada Harmony and Harmonize for Speech. Beyond that, it gave a more social feel to the first night of convention which seems to have been missing in recent years.
- Hosting Friday's hospitality room didn't seem to have a negative impact on Supertonic's contest performance, as they went on to win District Quartet Champion title the next evening. This is the second District win for both tenor Jordan Travis and baritone Chris Scappatura, and the first win for lead Pat Brown. Chris Arnold, bass, became only the second man in District history to earn the title five times. Perennial favourites The Aristocrats placed second, and a new quartet, Eclipse, placed third.
- The Simcoe Gentlemen of Harmony did a phenomenal job as convention hosts just one week before their big annual show. The convention theme, "The Maple Leaf Forever", celebrated the 150th anniversary of Canada's confederation. Past convention surveys have revealed that non-competitors want to do more singing at convention, so Toronto Northern Lights director Steve Armstrong taught and directed the titular convention theme song throughout the contest sessions.
- Steve Armstrong presented a tribute to International Chorus Champions the Scarborough Dukes of Harmony during the Saturday night Show of Champions, alongside past Dukes directors Ray Danley and Rob Whiteside. In 1977 the chorus became the first from outside the US to win the international contest, and they repeated their win when they returned to competition in 1980.
- For the first time in a few years, the district was able to present the Jim Smith Bulletin Editor of the Year Award to recipient. Ken Dodge, from the London Men of Accord, was awarded the trophy by historian Waldo Redekop and awards chairman Gerry Selkirk.
- For the fourth time in their history, the Hamilton Harbourtown Sound qualified for the International Convention next July in Orlando. The chorus averaged a score of 81.5 over their two-song set of Someone Like You and That's Life.
- C Suite quartet earned the right to represent Ontario District at the Midwinter Convention this coming January in Orange County, California.
- The Barrie County Chorsdmen, Middlesex Centre Forest City Fire, and Strathroy Vocal Federation all took home trophies for their performances this past weekend. Barrie won both Plateau 2 and the Most Improved Chorus, Middlesex Centre too Plateau 3, and Strathroy took home the Chorus Encouragement award.
- Perpetual E-Motion was awarded the trophy for top novice quartet in the contest. The award only requires that at least two members never have competed on the district stage before but, like their predecessors in Shenanigans, this quartet had all four members as contest stage newbies.
- For the second year in a row, the Maple Leaf Chord Company, under the direction of Ray Danley, earned a spot at the Society's Seniors Chorus Contest at Midwinter Convention.
- The Joe Barbershop Chorus, under the direction of Richard Frenette, served as mic testers for the chorus contest. Despite more difficult repertoire choices than usual, pulled from the OQE 2017 repertoire, the chorus sounded wonderful as usual.
- Choruses and quartets recieved stellar coaching and evaluations from a panel of top judges and candidate judges from around North America.
- The Hamilton Harbourtown Sound and the Ontario District both hosted hospitality rooms on the Saturday night. Men and women alike sang late into the night. Reputable sources have the final singers heading to bed around 6am!
Scores are available here. Whether you were able to attend or not, we would appreciate your feedback in our convention survey linked below, open until Monday, November 6.
See you in Belleville for Spring Convention 2018!