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FAQ: Next Generation Barbershop

Can I use a video and score from a BHS Fall District contest for my entry?

Yes! If the contest performance is recorded and judged between September 13 – January 28, 2018, the video and score can be submitted as your entry for the 2018 contest. 

Do I have to record my quartet’s entry video at a BHS event?

Entry videos may be recorded at any performance with an audience. It does not need to take place at an official BHS event. Of course, BHS audiences are always welcoming and enthusiastic, and that energy can add to your enjoyment and success. BHS events also provide opportunity for coaching, the chance to see other great performers, and the fun of casual singing after hours.

Other great places to perform and record:

  • At a school contest or concert
  • At state Solo & Ensemble contest
  • In your choir room for the chorus

Why are events split by age?

In part, we are responding to concerns that younger voices cannot fairly compete with older singers. There are also differing performance levels for these age groups that can be discouraging under a single contest format. In the Junior division, quartets are competing with their peers and within a modified scoring system that is comparable to their experiences in Solo and Ensemble or other scholastic competitions. The transition to Varsity introduces the BHS scoring system and contest culture, creating a bridge to the Open contest.

Offering Junior activities at Midwinter Convention and Varsity activities at the summer International Convention keeps each event focused on peer age groups, and allows for expanding the total number of participants for each.

What do U18 and U25 mean?

Patterned after typical age range designations for youth sports, we are using U18 to mean 18 and Under. U25 designates 25 and Under. Both refer to participant age at the time of the contest.

Why is there is some age overlap between U18 and 18-25?

The age ranges intentionally overlap at age 18 to accommodate the transition between divisions. Graduating seniors competing with their school groups and college-aged singers wishing to continue on with an older quartet can each participate in the division that fits their quartet. Quartets with any member 19 or older will compete in the Varsity division.

Example age combinations

  • 18-16-16-15   Junior or Varsity (parent/guardian must accompany minor to Varsity event )
  • 19-17-17-15   Varsity (parent/guardian must accompany minor to Varsity event )
  • 18-18-18-18   Junior or Varsity – or both (depending on age on event date)
  • 25-23-23-14   Varsity (parent/guardian must accompany minor to Varsity event )
  • 25-25-25-26   Not eligible for NGB events – eligible for open contest

Why do the Junior activities include mixed-voice and female ensembles?

A common mandate for high school choral programs is accommodating the participation of all singers. By including mixed voice and female ensembles, we make Next Generation Barbershop easier to implement for a school music program, providing opportunities for all students to participate… a must in order to appeal to music educators and their school administrators.

Why are the Varsity contests for men only?

The Varsity program is more aimed at being an entry ramp to the BHS culture and contest system, so it will continue to be open to young men only. Future evolution of the program may at some point offer similar Varsity events for young women’s and mixed ensembles.  

Why are the youth programs changing again?

We recognize that a certain amount of “change fatigue” has come with each incremental step taken through the past few years. Instead of continuing to make small adjustments, the choice was made to redesign our youth offerings and build a comprehensive program that provides a multi-staged and age appropriate experience, consistent expectations for performers, and a clear pathway from youth to adult opportunities. Aligning activities by age group at separate events helps achieve that, and solves a number of logistical and administrative issues as well.

With the introduction of Next Generation Barbershop, we expect these newly aligned activities to lock in and reduce growing pains in the coming years. There may be minor adjustments, particularly for the new events after the initial year, but we expect the basic program structure, registration process, and timelines to stay consistent for the next several years.    

Our goal is to make Next Generation Barbershop sustainable, scalable, and explainable.

What about the Youth Chorus Festival (YCF) and Youth Barbershop Quartet Contest (YBQC)?

The Youth Chorus Festival will remain as planned for 2018. Choruses may still apply for an invitation to perform here. In 2019, youth choruses can apply to participate in either the Junior Chorus Invitational (Midwinter) or Varsity Chorus Invitational (International), depending on their age range. 

The Youth Barbershop Quartet Contest at the International Convention will now move forward as the Next Generation Barbershop Varsity Quartet Contest for 2018. The Junior Quartet Contest will begin in 2019, at the Midwinter Convention. 

Does this announcement change anything for the 2018 Youth Chorus Festival?

No, the Youth Chorus Festival will remain as planned for 2018. Choruses may still apply for an invitation to perform here.

The new age divisions mean that my Junior quartet will not be able to compete until Midwinter 2019!

This change comes with some initial transitions to manage, and this is one of them. In an effort to simplify the registration process and maintain consistency year to year, we made the decision to adopt the new age distinctions all at once. This will affect a small number of Junior quartets, but will allow these groups to prepare for 2019 and beyond with confidence.  

We are very proud of our youngest quartets who are making names for themselves, and urge them to keep singing, performing, and competing. In addition to preparing for the 2019 Next Generation Barbershop Contest, young quartets might use the next year to:

  • Sing at District Convention for evaluation or score
  • Sing in state Solo & Ensemble contests
  • Sing in Junior Chorus contests or BHS Chorus Contests

Why is the entry deadline for the Varsity Quartet Contest so much earlier?

Through the years, waiting to find out who advances to the finals has been unwieldy, with invitations issued as late as June. This placed a greater financial burden on quartets for travel, and made it harder to prepare, obtain coaching, etc.

With an earlier entry deadline of January 28, 2018, there is much greater opportunity to fully prepare for the finals in July. Quartets are encouraged to attend Spring District Conventions to be judged for evaluation and receive additional feedback and coaching en route to the big show — and to build their fan/support bases as well.

For 2019, the entry process will begin in July 2018 with a December deadline — plenty of time to get started even now.

Why has the pricing changed for the Junior Chorus Invitational?

In its earliest years, the Youth Chorus Festival was an unproven concept, and the generous subsidy of full registrations and lodging was a persuasive marketing tool. Ten years later, we do not have room for all the choruses interested in attending–a great problem!

Proven demand for this activity makes it possible for us to expand its reach by offering two events, and making then sustainable going forward through a low chorus registration fee and attainable per-singer charge.

For the value received, Next Generation Barbershop chorus events are desirable festivals that are  competitive in the market. Every minute is filled with education and singing; this is not a vacation trip plus a few minutes of singing. Educators can proudly point to the world-class clinicians, extensive education offerings, and memorable group performances to fully justify the time and expense.

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