Barbershop Harmony Society (engl.)
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 [email protected] or 800.876.SING.
For assistance, contact our Customer Service Team at 800-876-SING (7464) or [email protected].
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 [email protected]. You can also contact our Chapter Leadership & Education team at [email protected]
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