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Chorus

Cape Breton revisited: Try thinking smaller

About this time last year, I was putting together the Jan/Feb 2010 cover story about the Cape Breton, N.S. Chapter called “Thinking Big.” (Read the article here.) They grew from 12 men to 40 in less than a year, and I wanted the barbershop world to understand how, seeing as I’m always on the lookout for the next big thing that could help chapters or the Society at large. In hindsight, maybe I was...
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Learning tracks: Too much of a good thing?

There can be too much of a good thing, and learning tracks are one of those things. Look, we sell learning tracks here at the Society, and some awesome musicians among us are creating masterpieces. They can be really helpful for learning. But has the pendulum swung too far? I’ve seen chapters scrap songs that were perfect for them, and only because there wasn’t a learning track available! I f...
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Philly will be Jim Clancy’s last contest as director

We'll let the VM's press release speak for itself: PHILADELPHIA CONTEST TO BE LAST COMPETITION FOR VOCAL MAJORITY DIRECTOR JIM CLANCY Dallas, TX (May 18, 2010) --- After nearly forty years and an unprecedented eleven gold medals in international competition, Director Jim Clancy has decided to make the 2010 Philadelphia performance his last international contest at the helm of the Vocal Majority...
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What’s the difference between an A-level chorus and a C-level chorus?

This question comes from a younger Society member who belongs to 52Eighty, 2010 Youth Chorus Festival Champions and Sound of the Rockies, 2009 international bronze medalist. He was a barbershopper elsewhere before moving to Colorado. We'll keep him anonymous so he can be blunt. Here's his question: Having come from choruses that post scores no higher than a 55% [high C-level], and now singing wi...
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Audience Behavior at Contest: Cheer and Holler or Simply Applaud?

Yea, I know, who cares?  Right? BUT...As a competitor, judge, and staff guy, I get around to many contests each year in several different districts and I always find it interesting how varying barbershop audiences can be with the way they welcome the competitors to the stage.  (more…)
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System reboot: If we’d started the Society today, what would be different?

Here’s something for all you snowed-in barbershoppers to chew on: How would we have structured things if 30,000 barbershop singers had somehow gotten together just today to form a singing Society? How would we be structured? What would we do that we don’t do now? What would we modify or drop that we are doing? On balance, we’re far too critical of ourselves as barbershoppers. We’re so intimately ...
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Up with reality, down with pessimism–the realist’s case for optimism

God bless the realists, the folks who tell it like it is—who call a spade a spade, who never stick their head in the sand, and who know they aren’t doing anyone any favors in varnishing the truth. The Barbershop Harmony Society needs all the reality it can get. If the preceeding words describe you, this post isn’t directed at you. On second thought, this post may be ESPECIALLY for you. What I ...
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The Hallmark 7th Chord: A proposed Music Category change

Thanks for visiting the blog concerning the 33% criterion.  The position paper mentioned on page 24-25 of the July/August 2009 edition of  The Harmonizer is here: 7th Chord Position Paper. A copy of the article in The Harmonizer is here: The Hallmark 7th Chord. Although this is not technically a change to the definition of the barbershop style, this criterion has been used for almost 40 years i...
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Orders for victory! “If our chapters do nothing else, they must ____?”

This is a VERY important post—so important that staff will be meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 16 to discuss your replies. It's a little long, but worth it. If you can fill in the above blank without hesitation, you probably misunderstood the question. Read on, your answer will require some pondering. Your answers could also help focus staff, Society, district and chapter efforts for years to come. ...
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Music we hear in contests

I have been musing about the variety of music we hear on the International stage and how much of it is, well, not so good. I don't mean it's not performed well - of course it's performed well, these are the best practitioners of our style in the world! I mean it's not all the very best music. Seems that, in an effort to do something unique, many of our competitors find some obscure song no one's d...
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