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Quartetting: Why It Matters To Make It Official

Guest post by Society Music Specialist Mike O'Neill, (also bass of Lunch Break, 2008 international semi-finalist):

Currently, we have 1,444 registered quartets in the Barbershop Harmony Society. That means, approximately 5,776 (it is probably less since several men are registered in more than one quartet) members of our Society sing in a registered quartet. Can you believe that fewer than 22% of our current membership is enjoying this incredibly important component of membership? I can't either! As a matter of fact, I know it is more than that. We have hundreds of quartets in our organization who are not registered with the Society.

Many ask the question, "other than to compete, what do I get for being in a registered quartet?" Let's help answer that.

In the midst of worldwide financial issues, job instability, and an unstable outlook on the future, as a barbershopper, what better way to put all the troubles behind you and sing in a barbershop quartet! Although most of us barbershoppers enjoy our hobby while singing in a chapter, the Barbershop Harmony Society is a quartet Society first and foremost. There is nothing like the experience of quartet singing and ringing those good ole fashioned barbershop chords .... NOTHING! The enjoyment from singing your part on your own with three other guys singing their part on their own, the friendships formed while doing so, and the fellowship shared, are only a few of the reasons to sing in a quartet.

Below, you can see a list of reasons / benefits to registering your quartet:


  • Ability to compete
  • Receive "On the QT" Newsletter geared specifically for quartets
  • Name appears in HQ database for potential gigs
  • Your quartet name is protected
  • Receive Quartet Registration card
  • Receive "An Information Manual for Barbershop Quartets" (Stock #4093) which contains lots of useful / helpful hints for quartet singing and enjoyment
  • Eligible for scholarship opportunities at Quartet College
  • Can legally use the BHS logo on business cards


  • It's mentally and emotionally the difference between "casual dating" and "marriage" - a committed quartet gets more out of the experience because they give more.
  • Your quartet registration plays a vital role in helping the Society perpetuate Barbershop Harmony
  • Fellowship and fraternity
  • A quartet bond, for many, is like an extension of your family
  • Ability to deliver performances for charities, other non-profits
  • Increased opportunity for performing on chapter shows

What members are said in a recent survey regarding benefits of registering their quartet

  • Pride of identity
  • Permission to compete
  • Good marketing to say we are a part of the Barbershop Harmony Society
  • It helps our chorus / chapter
  • A feeling of greater responsibility
  • "Locking in" the quartet name
  • A unique extended family
  • Prospective members can find us on a website (marketing)
  • Ability to be adjudicated at competitions
  • Able to claim membership with the Barbershop Harmony Society
  • Support the BHS
  • Accountability
  • Accreditation
  • Recognition

So if you are singing in a quartet right now and are not registered with the Barbershop Harmony Society, we humbly ask you consider registering. As you can see above, there are many benefits. However, the largest benefit is probably the opportunity to help perpetuate the Society.

As for those of you not yet in a quartet, get out there and start enjoying YOUR hobby to its fullest!