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Chapter Anniversaries / Reunions 101

This organization is more than “a bunch of guys singing” each week
Written by Grady Kerr – Society Historian

The anniversary of a barbershop chapter is an important milestone and it should be celebrated in GRAND style.

This event gives the chapter many unique opportunities and convenient excuses to promote the chapter internally as well as externally. There are several valuable payoffs to be gained.

Imagine how many man hours have been worked and how many songs have been rehearsed and how many people have been entertained throughout these years. The results are remarkable and the journey has been unique.

It’s sometimes important to stop and realize all you have accomplished. It’s also vitally important to pay tribute to those who made it possible for you to be singing in this chapter today. Some chapters have not survived, yours has – why? Because of the dedication of those who stood on those risers in years past.

From the Riser Guys to the Coffee Maker to the Music Librarian to the Board Member and the Director; all have served this chapter through the years and it wouldn’t be what it is today without them ALL?

Here’s your chance to say thanks and tell them their time wasn’t wasted as you are carrying on their mission.

It’s also a chance to let the current membership know this organization is more than “a bunch of guys singing” each week. It’s much bigger and more important than that.

So, here’s a list of some ideas and tasks that should be considered in making this a successful once-in-a-lifetime event.

Things to Do: Organize

  • Name a chairman, select a committee, set a date and establish a budget.
  • Involve membership with committee – define tasks to accomplish the items below – set deadlines – follow up.
  • Promote to active membership via the bulletin, announcements and your website.

Research

  • Gather historical material – Bulletins – Photos – Recordings – Rosters – Oral Histories – Awards.
  • Organize and determine best way to use this material.

Gather

  • Locate and invite all former and inactive chapter members by PHONE – follow up by email.
  • Print and mail invitations.

Promote

  • Announce in chapter bulletin – website.
  • Run articles in chapter bulletin prior to event and recap in following bulletin.
  • Announce in District Bulletin.
  • Announce via the Harmonet and SAI SING and other BBS Yahoo Groups.
  • Publicize event to local press – invite local representatives (Mayor. etc.).
  • Get Proclamation from Mayor’s office.
  • Get Proclamation from Governor’s Office.
  • Inform your District Board – invite BOD members – get a letter from the President
  • Inform Society HQ – get letter from the Society CEO
  • Inform Society Board – get letter from the Int’l President
  • Invite local chapter presidents (including Sweet Ads)
  • Invite members’ wives and chapter widows

Celebrate

  • Book special guest quartet
  • Recognize chapter Presidents – BOTYs – Directors
  • Produce special hard copy, souvenir bulletin for that night
  • Create a booklet showing chapter history as a handout
  • Set up historical display showing chapter history (photos and bulletins)
  • Allow time to mix and mingle – include singing (talk to singing ratio: 60/40)
  • Use this special as a guest night.

Reunite

  • Reunite old chapter quartets

The Event

  • Give up ONE full rehearsal for this special event (one every 50 years is all we ask).
  • Create Name Badges with LARGE letters and returning member’s claim to fame.
  • Recognize special guests.
  • Have SHORT speeches by current chapter leaders and other presenters.
  • Play edited montage of past performances on big video screen.
  • Show photos and FACES of past members on big screen.
  • Pull out old songs once performed by chorus and sing again
  • Have a Reunion Chorus – a few pre-event rehearsals may be needed – have former directors lead
  • Have reunited quartets perform
  • Have a special guest quartet perform to show guests how it’s done and attract current members.
  • This is a celebration. Include finger foods and refreshments.
  • Invite women’s auxiliary to decorate hall.

Post-Event

  • Establish a Chapter Archive to hold the material collected
  • Establish and name a chapter historian to manage archives, collect new material, observe and collect memorabilia and write articles to chapter bulletin.
  • Set date for the NEXT reunion.
  • Recognize key member(s) who organized and ran the reunion and present award(s) at chapter banquet.

Payoffs

  • Membership better informed about history of their chapter.
  • Guests for that night will understand this is something more than “just a bunch of guys singing”
  • The locals will be educated as to the chapter’s place in the community.
  • Involves local community leaders.
  • An excellent opportunity for press coverage and PR in the community
  • Creates a diversion from normal rehearsals
  • Expands your exposure in the community thus more paid performances
  • Creates more esprit de corps among members and families past and present.
  • Gives the active members a better sense of pride in their organization.
  • Goes a long way toward showing appreciation and recognition of the members who came before.
  • Shows current membership their work and efforts will not be forgotten.
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