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2023 Harmony University Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Please feel free to contact the Harmony University team at harmonyu@barbershop.org for any questions not answered below.

General Information

Where is Harmony University 2023?

Harmony University 2023 is on the campus of

Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola University
63363 St. George Ave
New Orleans LA 70118.

Driving? Access parking information here.

What is Loyola?

Loyola is a beautiful liberal arts college located in (famous neighborhood) along the historic St. Charles Street and situated directly across from the Audubon Park. The university is a small campus offering HU a compact community experience. While at Loyola, HU will utilize the entire campus.


What should I know about my HU name badge?

Your badge is your ticket to all events and activities. Week-long classes, electives, master classes, shows, the cafeteria, etc. will all be monitored to make sure those attending have badges. This helps both HU staff and Loyola security track who is a student. It also gives faculty and fellow students an easy way to use your preferred name. No badge = no class/no cafeteria entry.

Is Harmony University tuition tax-deductible?

Music educators receiving continuing education hours or credits at HU can claim HU on their taxes. Check with your school district and tax advisor; some districts must preapprove HU before you can claim these hours or credits.

Barbershop directors and coaches, check the tax code in your country.

HU Registration and Enrollment

How do I register for Harmony University?

You can register for HU 2023 at the HU 2023 Event Registration Page if you are attending HU in one of our eight track options. If you are attending with an ensemble, you will receive direct instructions on how to register from your ensemble’s contact person.

Note that there is BHS member and non-member pricing. If you are not a member but would like to become one to receive special pricing on events such as HU as well as other benefits, click here. At the time of registration, you may also decide to stay on campus or arrange for your own off-campus housing.

After enrolling for HU, you will be able to select your classes in March 2023.

How do I select (enroll for) my courses?

Enrolling for classes will happen in March 2023. It will be done through a website called Sched. A detailed explanation of how to select courses will be provided when enrollment opens.

What is the difference between registration and enrolling for courses?

Registration is the transaction you make to secure your spot at HU 2023. Enrollment for courses begins Spring of 2023 when you will be able to select from the hundreds of course options. This will be done with the scheduling system called Sched.

When do registration prices change?


Early bird registration for HU 2023 will be from December to March 23, 2023. Afterwards, registration will be regular price until closing around July 3, 2023. CLICK HERE FOR REGISTRATION INFORMATION.

Are refunds available?

  • Before March 25, 2022: full refund (minus a $50 processing fee).
  • Between March 25–June 22, 2023: full refund (minus a $75 fee).
  • Between June 23–July 21, 2023: full refund (minus a $200 fee).
  • After July 21, 2022: no refund available

Ensembles that withdraw from HU lose their preregistration fee, but ensemble members receive refunds according to the above schedule.

What is the minimum age to attend HU?

HU is intended for adults ages 18 or older. Harmony University is located on a university campus and structured like a traditional college with unsupervised campus housing and activities. Please contact us with any questions about this policy at harmonyu@barbershop.org.

Can I stay at Loyola if I do not plan to participate in HU?

HU does not have the ability to offer housing for non-participants. HU is built as an all-inclusive event that is run on an open campus in a highly populated and popular urban area. Tourists from around the world want to stay in New Orleans. The registration system is designed to help BHS and Loyola staff monitor participants and identify those who might come to campus without paying tuition. Further, Loyola has a finite number of rooms available. If you or a traveling companion are considering being in New Orleans during HU, but not participating, consider off-campus housing.

Travel to Harmony University

What information should I know about airport arrivals and departures?

What information should I know if I am driving to Loyola?

What should I pack or bring to Harmony University?

Suggested items

  • comfortable, casual clothes for 7 days in a very warm, humid place
  • comfortable walking/standing shoes (especially performing groups)
  • umbrella <-- a must!
  • sunglasses
  • toiletries (preferably in a water-proof tote)
  • bar soap
  • clothes hangers
  • towels
  • pen/pencils
  • printed or electronic versions of our General Session Music
  • printed or electronic versions of any handouts given by the faculty of your classes

Optional items

  • bug spray
  • extra blanket (a light blanket is provided)
  • sunblock
  • laptop or tablet
  • pitch pipe
  • music manuscript paper
  • light jacket/sweater/sweatshirt (it sometimes gets cold in the classrooms)

Housing at Harmony University

How is on-campus housing arranged?

New this year, we are giving you the power to choose your own room. You will be able to select a room in either Francis or Biever. If you are hoping to room with a friend, you will need to communicate with them ahead of time to make sure they get the other spot in your room. Rooming is handled in a first come first serve basis and no promises of preferred roommates are made.

What if I want a room for myself?

Limited Single Occupancy options are available. To add a single occupancy option, select your college registration quantity, scroll to the bottom of the registration form to add on top of your general tuition. Two options are available:

  • Single Occupancy Room – a single dorm-style room with a shared bathroom with another person(s). Limited to the first 50 people.

  • Single Occupancy Room w/ Single Bathroom – a single dorm-style room with your own bathroom. Limited to the first 20 people.

What are the rooms like?

You and your roommate will each have a bed, a dresser, and a closet. Linens will be provided and consist of bedsheets, a light blanket, a washcloth, and a small bath towel. Check out the What Should I Pack section of this FAQ list.

All rooms are air-conditioned and all rooms are ADA compliant with an elevator that goes to every floor in every residence hall.

To access your residence hall from the outside AND into each hallway, you will need the white access card which will be given to you when you check-in at your residence hall. To get into your individual room, you will use a traditional metal key, which is also provided when you check-in.

What are the bathrooms like?

In Francis, you will have a shared bathroom with those in your suite. In Biever, you will have a shared bathroom with multiple showers on each floor. The bathroom has a shower with a curtain, a toilet stall with a door, towel hooks, and a wide countertop with two sinks. In Frances, You have the ability to lock both your room and the other room’s bathroom door. Please remember to unlock your suitemate’s door when you have finished using the bathroom.

Shared access to the bathroom means that your suitemates will have access to your room. We have not had any issues with security, but please be aware ahead of your stay.



What if I have a concern about my roommate or suitemate?

If your roommate or suitemate makes you uncomfortable for any reason, talk to the HU staff right away. In a school of almost 700 people, not everyone will get along, and we can find a solution. We don’t want you to endure a bad fit.

What about the residence hall?

There will be a Loyola staff member on call at the front desk of your residence hall each afternoon. Please let the staff member know of any maintenance issues with the building or your individual room. If the Loyola Staff member is not available please contact the HU staff.

Loyola residence hall security is tight. They monitor every public space with cameras and 24-hour security staff.


What should I know about keys?

Loyola has a key card system to enter into the dorms. Once inside the dorms, you will have a physical key to enter your room. If your key card stops working for whatever reason, we can replace it at no cost. If you lose, break, or forget to return your key, there will be a $300 fee to replace the key card.


Campus-specific Information

What are the campus-specific guidelines for Loyola?

Alcohol Policy

See the Loyola alcohol policy.

Tobacco-free campus

Loyola University is a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus for all indoor locations. Smoking, the use of tobacco products, the use of e-cigarettes, and/or vaporizers is prohibited on any part of the university campus at any time. See the Loyola tobacco policy.

Weapons-free campus

Loyola University prohibits the possession of and/or use of firearms or other dangerous weapons on university property, in university facilities, in vehicles on university property, and at university events.

Fragrance sensitivity

We have students that have fragrance sensitivity. To be mindful of all our attendees, we request that all participants refrain from wearing perfume, cologne, and other fragrances, and use unscented personal care products in order to promote a fragrance-free environment at Harmony University.

What should I know about the Loyola food service?

Loyola’s cafeteria is geared towards the needs of our people and is set up to handle just about any special dietary requests. They offer a myriad of traditional choices for every meal:

  • Meatless options
  • Allergy-free options
  • Gluten-free options
  • Nut-free options

Please let us know about any dietary requests on your registration form. We will send your request to the cafeteria. If you have a request that may not be on our radar, please email harmonyu@barbershop.org to update your registration information.

Is Wi-Fi available?

Free Wi-Fi is available in your room and through the residence halls. Please see the Loyola staff at your residence hall front desk if you need help connecting.

I have a medical need that requires refrigeration. Are there refrigerators in the dorms?

Small, dorm-style fridges are available for attendees who need to keep medicine, insulin, or special dietary foods cool. These fridges will be in a central location near the check-in location in each residence hall. This unlocked fridge is shared with other attendees, so please clearly mark your items.

Are scooter rentals available?

In the past, HU negotiated a group discount through All-Star Medical to supply scooters for attendees. Unfortunately, HU is not able to order a scooter for you; you must order for yourself. We recommend ordering early (before July 1), as they always sell out before HU. Mention that you are attending HU at Loyola and you’ll have a scooter waiting.

For reference, the 2019 pricing structure was:

  • $130 for the week (up to 300 lb capacity scooter)
  • $170 for the week (up to 350 lb capacity scooter)

Participation at Harmony University

What should I prepare in advance?

  • Practice the General Session songs with the provided learning tracks
  • Look over the materials sent to you by your instructors
  • Print off any paper copied you would like to bring with you (no on-site printing is available)

What opportunities are there to sing?

There are many opportunities!

  • General Sessions: We start each day singing as a group, with warm-ups, a song, and a new
  • Informal Singing: This will be all over the school, at all hours of the day. Join a group or form your own.
  • Formal Tag Singing: Each evening there will be specified Tag Zones where a Tagmaster will lead the Zone in tag singing.
  • Woodshedding Electives: Woodshedding is where barbershop began, with 4 people harmonizing and finding new and exciting chords. It has an element of improvisation and chance.
  • HU choruses: TTBB, SSAA, and Next Gen choruses
  • Extreme Harmony Quartetting Brigade. This is an exciting, yet formal experience that requires an accepted application and hours of preparation.

What should I know about elective courses?

Electives are 45-minute mini classes with a myriad of great content. Three great opportunities to attend these one-off sessions at HU:

  • Daily lunchtime Electives: 1:00–1:45pm
  • Monday–Tuesday evening Electives: 7:30–8:15pm
  • Saturday Electives: 8:00am–1:45 starting on the hour

Are private lessons available?

One-on-one lessons are available for those who would like to grow in arranging, conducting, music theory, performance, score study and analysis, and voice. Click here to register for lessons. You’ll receive information about how to schedule your lessons when enrollment opens in Spring 2023.

Are Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) available?

Students can receive graduate credit or continuing education units/clock hours by attending HU. Generally, for every 15–20 hours of content, you can earn 1 credit. As it is possible to attend over 8 hours of content each day, you can get the credits you need (up to 3 graduate credits or 4 CEUs).

In the past, graduate credit was $55/unit and CEUs were $45/unit. Price subject to change for 2023. Stay tuned to this page for more information about enrolling in this professional development opportunity.

What to Expect: Barbershop Culture

I am a music educator, but have not utilized barbershop in my classroom. What is important to know about barbershop harmony?

Range

Vocal range and octave choice matter in barbershop. Traditionally SSAA singers can sing TTBB tenor or lead parts, but it may lie low. Bass and baritone parts of TTBB charts might be too low for some. Sing the part you want, but do not sing anything up or down the octave.

Sheet music

Barbershop publishers use the familiar voicings of TTBB, SATB or SSAA on the cover. However, once you open to the sheet music, all three voicings are converted to TLBB: barbershop Tenor, Lead, Baritone and Bass. Some considerations:

  • In TTBB Barbershop, the vocal tenor clef is used to indicate that the parts in the treble clef are sung an octave lower. Note the subscript 8 at its bottom.
  • In SSAA Barbershop, the octave bass clef is used to indicate that the parts in the bass clef are sung an octave higher. Note the superscript 8 at its top.
  • SATB (mixed) barbershop is notated with a traditional treble and bass clef and does not use the vocal tenor or octave bass clef found in other barbershop arrangement voicings.
  • Barbershop notation is only in two staves and all note stems for a given part go the same direction. Tenor and baritone have note stems that always go up; lead and bass have note stems that always go down.

Learning tracks

HU provides learning tracks to the General Session music. This is a common note-learning strategy for many barbershoppers, especially those who have trouble with music notation.

Singing Outside of Classes and Rehearsals

We like to sing a lot! You’ll see barbershoppers singing in hallways, in bathrooms, in dorm rooms, in the closet, out of the closet, waiting in lines, etc. You might hear singing until the wee hours of the morning!

Barbershop Performers May Freely Interpret Rhythm

Songs with moderate or fast tempi are typically performed as written. However, many slow barbershop songs and introductions are sung freely in a rubato or speech-like style. Additionally, barbershop singers will often slow down at cadence points to emphasize special harmonies.

Barbershop-specific Vocabulary

  • Tenor: Tenor is the highest part, harmonizing above the lead. Notated in the top stave, tenor stems always point up. Tenor singers should have a light, lyric vocal quality, often in a head voice or falsetto.
  • Lead: Lead is the second highest part, singing the melody. Notated in the top stave, lead stems always point down. Lead singers should be prominent and have a dramatic and compelling vocal quality.
  • Baritone: Baritone sings above and below the lead. Notated in the bottom stave, baritone stems always point up. Baritone singers should have a lyric vocal quality. Because the baritone is constantly filling in different parts of a chord, the unusual voice leading can be very challenging, especially to the novice barbershop baritone.
  • Bass: Bass is the lowest part, singing foundational notes. Notated in the bottom stave, bass stems always point down. The bass part should be as prominent as the lead, with a big, robust vocal quality.
  • Tag: A tag is music that is added to the end of the song, often introducing new harmonic progressions, similar to an amen. Tags are very popular in barbershop culture as standalone musical excerpts. Because they are often taught without using sheet music, tags are a wonderful way to introduce new singers to barbershop chords in just a few minutes by ear, rather than learning an entire song.
  • Hanger/Post: One of the voice parts holds one long note on a single vowel of a word, while the other voice parts change chords and words around the singer, and can be as long as 30 seconds. Ask to learn the tag “Behind” from someone at HU.
  • Swipe: A glissando (slide) from one note to another. A very common embellishment in barbershop arrangements.
  • Fifth Wheeling: A frowned-upon activity where a person joins a group of four uninvited by singing along. To avoid this faux pas, wait until they are done and ask if you can sing along on the part you know. They will smile and say YES!

What should I know if I am new to barbershop?

Range

Vocal range and octave choice matter in barbershop. Traditionally SSAA singers can sing TTBB tenor or lead parts, but it may lie low. Bass and baritone parts of TTBB charts might be too low for some. Sing the part you want, but do not sing anything up or down the octave.

Sheet music

Barbershop publishers use the familiar voicings of TTBB, SATB or SSAA on the cover. However, once you open to the sheet music, all three voicings are converted to TLBB: barbershop Tenor, Lead, Baritone and Bass. Some considerations:

  • In TTBB Barbershop, the vocal tenor clef is used to indicate that the parts in the treble clef are sung an octave lower. Note the subscript 8 at its bottom.

  • In SSAA Barbershop, the octave bass clef is used to indicate that the parts in the bass clef are sung an octave higher. Note the superscript 8 at its top.

  • SATB (mixed) barbershop is notated with a traditional treble and bass clef and does not use the vocal tenor or octave bass clef found in other barbershop arrangement voicings.

  • Barbershop notation is only in two staves and all note stems for a given part go the same direction. Tenor and baritone have note stems that always go up; lead and bass have note stems that always go down.

Learning tracks

HU provides learning tracks to the General Session music. This is a common note-learning strategy for many barbershoppers, especially those who have trouble with music notation.

Singing Outside of Classes and Rehearsals

We like to sing a lot! You’ll see barbershoppers singing in hallways, in bathrooms, in dorm rooms, in the closet, out of the closet, waiting in lines, etc. You might hear singing until the wee hours of the morning!

Barbershop Performers May Freely Interpret Rhythm

Songs with moderate or fast tempi are typically performed as written. However, many slow barbershop songs and introductions are sung freely in a rubato or speech-like style. Additionally, barbershop singers will often slow down at cadence points to emphasize special harmonies.

Barbershop-specific Vocabulary

  • Tenor: tenor is the highest part, harmonizing above the lead. Notated in the top stave, tenor stems always point up. Tenor singers should have a light, lyric vocal quality, often in a head voice or falsetto.

  • Lead: lead is the second highest part, singing the melody. Notated in the top stave, lead stems always point down. Lead singers should be prominent and have a dramatic and compelling vocal quality.

  • Baritone: baritone sings above and below the lead. Notated in the bottom stave, baritone stems always point up. Baritone singers should have a lyric vocal quality. Because the baritone is constantly filling in different parts of a chord, the unusual voice leading can be very challenging, especially to the novice barbershop baritone.

  • Bass: bass is the lowest part, singing foundational notes. Notated in the bottom stave, bass stems always point down. The bass part should be as prominent as the lead, with a big, robust vocal quality.

  • Tag: a tag is music that is added to the end of the song, often introducing new harmonic progressions, similar to an amen. Tags are very popular in barbershop culture as standalone musical excerpts. Because they are often taught without using sheet music, tags are a wonderful way to introduce new singers to barbershop chords in just a few minutes by ear, rather than learning an entire song.

  • Hanger/Post: One of the voice parts holds one long note on a single vowel of a word, while the other voice parts change chords and words around the singer, and can be as long as 30 seconds. Ask to learn the tag “Behind” from someone at HU.

  • Swipe: A glissando (slide) from one note to another. A very common embellishment in barbershop arrangements.

  • Fifth Wheeling: a frowned-upon activity where a person joins a group of four uninvited by singing along. To avoid this faux pas, wait until they are done and ask if you can sing along on the part you know. They will smile and say YES!

What can I expect as the general culture of HU or barbershop in general?

HU is proudly and unashamedly G-rated. Members of the Barbershop Harmony Society even have a code of ethics that set expectations on the back of membership cards. Here are a few:

  • We shall accept for membership only congenial persons of good character.
  • We shall exhibit a spirit of good fellowship toward all members.
  • We shall not permit the introduction of political, religious, or other similar controversial issues.
  • We endeavor to spread the spirit of harmony throughout the world.

We ask the same of all HU attendees: be nice, encouraging, and not introduce bad energy or language to our classrooms, our meals, our dorms, and our campus. We are a caring group and we are glad you are coming to learn with us and we want all participants to feel safe.

Why is some of the music repertoire I encounter at HU religious, gendered, or patriotic?

A challenge for all involved with ensemble singing is selecting music repertoire. Barbershop singers are no exception. HU planners work very hard to ensure the general session, and TTBB, SSAA, and Next Generation songs are not religious or patriotic. Some songs, especially older barbershop arrangements, might be specifically gendered. This is not meant to be exclusive, but reflects the practice of earlier times. You are welcome to use the pronoun of your choice or neutral word in its place. If you have a concern about the repertoire choices, please reach out to us: harmonyu@barbershop.org.