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About Our Strategic Vision
Everyone in Harmony: a bold vision for a bright future
The gift of harmony is too wonderful for us to keep to ourselves. It is a gift that we are not only compelled to share, but one that we now have the capability, resources and unity of purpose to share with everyone.
We need to share it with young and old, with people of every color and every strata, with city people and country people and everyone in between, because the world needs what we have.
Harmony compels us to blend, to cooperate, to create beauty. Indeed, to love each other. It’s time to think of the gift of harmony not just as a treasure for our own enjoyment, but as a tool for direct social impact.
Read on to learn more about the journey to our strategic vision, Everyone in Harmony, and how you can get involved!
Recent Updates and Announcements
Chapter and District Membership Updates
January 16, 2019
As the next step towards the strategic vision of Everyone in Harmony, the Barbershop Harmony Society announces changes in the governing bylaws and operational processes for chapter, district, and Society membership.
Everyone in Harmony Roadshow
Harmony Hall is Hitting the Road!
Join us in one of 20+ cities across the United States and Canada!
This free, interactive workshop mixes formal presentations with small group discussions and activities, reflection opportunities, and, yes, singing!
Take a deep dive into the Chapter Considerations Guide and learn more about our Everyone in Harmony strategic vision, operational and administrative updates for chapters, and how we're offering more ways to barbershop.
How it all started
June 2017 Launch
In 2017, following an intensive 18-month process of research and carefully listening to our members, the Barbershop Harmony Society Board of Directors adopted a bold new Strategic Vision: Everyone in Harmony.
In 2018, the Society board announced the next step toward Everyone in Harmony
A letter from the Society President
June 19, 2018
The Barbershop Harmony Society believes that what we offer – the experience of singing together in harmony – is meaningful to all people, and should therefore be accessible to people in all combinations. Since the announcement of the Strategic Vision last June, the Society Board and staff leadership have been involved in ongoing discussions about the best way to achieve the vision of Everyone in Harmony. Today, we are thrilled to announce our next step in the realization of that vision.
Effective immediately, membership in the Barbershop Harmony Society is open to EVERYONE. Beginning today, we welcome women to join the Barbershop Harmony Society as members...
Read the full letter
Everyone means EVERYONE – people of every age, of every background, every gender identity, every race, every sexual orientation, every political opinion or spiritual belief. Every person who loves to harmonize has a place in our family.
YOUR BARBERSHOP EXPERIENCE WILL ALWAYS BE YOURS TO CHOOSE.
Your participation — as a chorus singer, quartetter, leader, musician, fan — is what you choose to make of it. Ultimately, we want to ensure that every person who loves barbershop will be able to forge a path into the barbershop world in a personal, devoted, continuing way.
While Society membership for everyone becomes immediately available, district and chapter membership will be available beginning January 2019. In the coming months, we’ll be developing and sharing materials that will help your BHS chapter choose among many options. Your chapter can choose to stay exactly the same as you are today. Your chapter might choose to add a mixed chorus, or a new, distinct women’s chorus. New chapters might form — male, female, or mixed. This is about adding, not subtracting. More people, sharing more harmony, and more joy, in more ways.
WE BELIEVE THAT PRESERVING THE EXPERIENCE OF MEN SINGING TOGETHER AND WELCOMING WOMEN AS MEMBERS OF THE BARBERSHOP HARMONY SOCIETY ARE COMPATIBLE IDEAS.
Everyone in Harmony suggests that different participation options, much like the different voices of a barbershop quartet, are not in opposition but entirely necessary. In this way, we remain an organization that supports brotherhood and men singing together while also providing opportunities for everyone to experience harmony, barbershop music, and the benefits of group singing.
For decades, women have been deeply engaged in the Barbershop Harmony Society as directors, coaches, and as students and faculty at Harmony University. Women have directed choruses onstage in contests since 1994. In 2009, the Society began offering Associate status as a means for women to become more deeply a part of the Society, while maintaining a male-only membership model. With our Strategic Vision focused on Everyone in Harmony, we can support many kinds of barbershop activities — men’s, women’s, mixed — in many different ways.
The Barbershop Harmony Society will continue to provide all of the services it has offered up to this point, and will expand those offerings as new resources become available. There will be no immediate changes to our current International contests for men’s quartets and choruses, or to the current Next Generation Barbershop festivals. We will continue to publish music for men’s, women’s, and mixed voices and teach the art and craft of barbershop harmony at our events and online.
Everyone in Harmony means living your best barbershop life, the way YOU want to live it. The last decade has seen the emergence of new ways to participate beyond “membership,” from Harmony Platoons to online communities of multi-trackers, and that barely scratches the surface of possibilities. Our aim is to expand opportunities, expand relationships, expand ways to have fun singing together that may or may not involve a membership card.
In the coming weeks and months, you will start seeing updated language in our Society governing documents, on our website, and in our regular communications. Specific information about chapter and district membership options, women’s and mixed quartet registration, and expanded services is being developed, so you can expect a series of updates throughout the remainder of the year via email, in the Harmonizer, and on our website.
The Board of Directors and the BHS staff leadership are committed to supporting the many ways that everyone can enjoy a full, enriching barbershop life. Together, we will live our vision of Everyone in Harmony.
Resources: Brochures, Posters, and More
Strategic Vision Brochure
Back in 1938, O.C. Cash and Rupert Hall stumbled upon something quite profound: the joy and transformation sparked by four voices singing together. Rooted in African American traditions, this wonderful music — barbershop music — embodied the transformative power to change men for the better.
Resolved to preserve this fine tradition and propagate its growth, our founders brought 26 men together on a rooftop to sing, and thus our humble Society was born — the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America.
Now in our ninth decade, it’s time to pause and reflect on where we’ve been … and where we’re going.
Roadmap & Milestones
Our Strategic Vision of Everyone in Harmony describes a destination, not a "program."
Rather than an instant fix, it requires a planning framework of five, ten, twenty years and more, for ambitions broader than a single year of growth.
To get there, your team of Board and staff leadership created a Roadmap & Milestones document, which CEO Marty Monson introduced to participants in a Town Hall Meeting at the Midwinter Convention in Costa Mesa.
The Four Workstreams
Four workstreams comprise the roadmap, corresponding to the major strategies in the Strategic Vision. Milestones along the path mark dates by which specific achievements will be accomplished. Most of the milestones are in the next five years as we strive to sustain momentum and make meaningful impact on our membership, chapters, and communities.
The four workstreams include:
- Scale Participation and Engagement
- Scale Impact
- Scale Assets
- Scale Inclusion
Learn More about Each Workstream
Scale Participation and Engagement: Preserving and encouraging barbershop singing by helping people participate and engage in barbershop, rather than simply becoming “members.”
Scale Impact: Expanding the impact of barbershop singing and BHS to the broader community and world.
Scale Assets: Putting our assets to work on behalf of the whole world of barbershop, and eventually other choral groups as well.
Scale Inclusion: Being radically inclusive and welcoming towards all, so that we reflect the communities in which we live.
Show your support for Everyone in Harmony
You’re invited to show your support for the Strategic Vision by downloading these resources and using them as a reminder to you and your chapters about the ever-growing Strategic Vision that will shape the future of our Society for generations to come.
Would you like us to customize this poster for you with your own chapter photos? We will be happy to help create a custom version of this poster with your chapter and quartet photos to help better visualize your group’s role in helping promote the new vision. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on service and pricing options for this.
Want to learn more about the Society's strategic choice, the timeline for decisions and implementations, change management in the chapter, legal and contest considerations, and more?
Click on the button below to access our most frequently asked questions!
Want to help us implement our vision? Email email@example.com to inquire about how you can get involved.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.