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2021 International Convention: Changes to Quartet Qualification Options

Changes to Quartet Qualification - January 28, 2021 Update

With the announcement on January 26 that there will be no in-person chorus contest in Cleveland, many have asked about the quartet contest. While we remain hopeful that we will be able to hold a quartet contest in Cleveland, much remains uncertain and we recognize there is an opportunity to enhance quartet qualifications with additional safety considerations.

As always, regardless of our ability to hold an in-person International quartet contest in Cleveland, BHS encourages participating quartets to follow CDC and World Health Organization guidelines as referenced in the BHS COVID-19 Interim Guidance for Ensembles and Singing Communities on our website.

With that in mind, the following updates have been put in place since the original email went out on quartet qualifications on January 16, 2021:

  • The first round of video submissions, which were to be sent in from March 6 - 27, 2021, has been cancelled. As the March and early April live events were dropping from the calendar, this period stuck out as too early to encourage quartets to gather to rehearse and record. This means there will be only one window to submit videos: April 24 - May 1, 2021. This also means that the rule change that was to take effect this year to allow quartets two attempts to qualify will be deferred for a year. Quartets will only get one attempt.
  • We will accept any video recorded at the Salt Lake City (SLC) International Convention or later. Since many of our quartets have not been able to sing together since early in 2020, we did not wish to require groups to do something with which they might be uncomfortable if suitable video already existed. Furthermore, since our Internationals are scored by quintuple panels of highly regarded judges, there is no need for these performances to be rescored. Quartets get an automatic qualification if they score 78 or higher over four songs, so any quartet that made the semi-finals or finals in Salt Lake City have already earned an invitation based on their SLC scores and will not need to do anything further. Quarter-finalist quartets from SLC have up to two songs that they can include as part of their four-song submission. Again, any performances they include from SLC will not be rescored but all other performances will be scored by one of our video panels, even if it is from a Fall 2019 contest. We believe this decision will help to minimize the risk involved with quartets gathering to rehearse and record. Our top 20 won’t need to gather at all, our other SLC quartets will benefit from having that rehearsal and recording time reduced, and other quartets will still have the opportunity to submit previously recorded videos if they have any of a suitable quality.
  • The automatic qualifying score was raised to 78 for this year, and that will remain; however, the minimum score, which was to be raised to 76, will revert back to 74 for this year only. This is because the combination of quartets being less rehearsed and quartets potentially opting out of competing in Cleveland could mean that we will need to add quartets below 76 to fill out the wildcard invitations. For the same reasons, it also helps to ensure that each district will have a quartet representative.
  • Originally, we were going to treat all video submissions as out-of-district; we will now treat all video submissions, as well as in-person contests, as in-district. A score is a score. This could matter if no competing ensemble within a district reaches the automatic qualification score of 78, or if a district hosts a live event and they have a quartet submit a video and score higher than the highest quartet at the live event. In this case, the highest scoring quartet from the district (the one that submitted the video) is the representative and others could be added if they scored at least 74 and they earn a wildcard invitation.
  • Given the variety of ways that a quartet can qualify for Cleveland, there will be no official scoring summaries published. Quartets that compete at an in-person event or submit videos to be scored will receive their own scores, and if they achieve the automatic qualifying score, they will know they earned an invitation. Wildcards will receive an invitation if earned and the public will only know the list of who qualified and not any sort of seeding.

Please note that while we all hope it will be possible to safely hold the quartet contest in Cleveland, this is not a certainty and many of the changes we have made have been driven by a desire to minimize risk for all of our quartet competitors by allowing previously recorded performances and by postponing the dates for submitting newly recorded performances.

It is our hope that quartets will take advantage of these changes and defer unnecessarily gathering to rehearse, thereby avoiding the risks associated with that, until closer to the date of the in-person event or video submission deadline that they will utilize. Over the next couple of months it should be much more clear about what we expect can safely happen in Cleveland.