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12 Months of Barbershop

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Intro to barbershop: Building a habitat for harmony

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In your first year of barbershopping, you’ve been absorbing a tremendous volume of information. You’ve been learning the musical style, the nuances of performance, the many acronyms, and a few dozen baritone jokes. You may have had a chance to attend a convention, or sing in a major show, or even form a quartet. Many of the resources of the Barbershop Harmony Society are aimed at supporting you a...
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Intro to Barbershop: Launching the Next Generation of barbershop singers

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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, y...
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Intro to Barbershop: Have fun singing casual harmony!

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          Most folks come into barbershopping by way of singing in a chapter chorus. Starting with a written arrangement and maybe a learning track, you study and rehearse the chorus repertoire for contests and shows. But there’s a world of fun in more casual settings: singing tags, woodshedding and attending quartet Brigade events. These are all great ways to meet...
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Intro to Barbershop: Coaches and judges help you move from good to great!

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Barbershop can be many things to singers: an art form; a competitive sport; a casual get-together with some chords thrown in. Where you live in this spectrum shapes your approach to the opportunity to appear in BHS contests. As the old saying has it, “What gets measured gets improved,” and in the service of those two ends, a cohort of devoted barbershop teachers have evolved over the years around...
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Intro to Barbershop: Learning and growing as Barbershopper

  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 combina...
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Intro to Barbershop: Fuel for your barbershop fire!

So you show up at barbershop chorus rehearsal, and someone hands you a folder full of music. “Let’s get started,” says the director, looking sharp in his polo with the Barbershop Harmony Society emblem over the heart. “Pitch, please.” A reedy B-flat is sounded, and off you  go. Where did all that barbershop stuff come from? The music, the clothes, the pitch pipe -- where? Like any sport, the bar...
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Intro to Barbershop: Performing for audiences, judges, and the barbershop community

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Getting together with your quartet or chorus each week to sing is a pretty rewarding experience in itself, but most Barbershoppers like to perform for an audience -- any audience. Public performance and competition provide worthy goals, benchmarks to strive toward, and the rewards of applause, recognition and the exhilaration of a job well done. No matter the ensemble, your performance career u...
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Intro to Barbershop: Five ways you can sing in a barbershop group

Inevitably, when you tell someone you’ve joined a barbershop group, you will be asked, “How many in your quartet?”  Surprisingly, the answer isn’t always simple. Most men join the Barbershop Harmony Society as chapter chorus singers. Right away, then, the answer is “More than four.” Many singers will remain primarily chorus singers their entire barbershop lives. But chorus singing is only a sli...
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Intro to Barbershop: Learning the language of Barbershop

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Sort through the alphabet soup of barbershop acronyms and terms Heard in a chorus rehearsal: “Basses, we need a cleaner swipe going into the tag. Baritones, hold off on the tiddly until I bring you in.” What the heck? Every subculture, from sports to professions to hobbies, has its own dialect, the specialized lingo, terms, in-jokes and references that are unique to that world. Once you speak ...
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Intro to Barbershop: What is Barbershop?

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What is barbershop music, how is it arranged and sung? You’ve joined the Barbershop Harmony Society. You might have instead joined a church choir, a  symphonic chorus, or formed a small combo sing Central European  folk songs… but here you are in a barbershop group! What have you gotten yourself into? What kind of music will you be experiencing, how do you distinguish it from other vocal music, ...
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