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House of Delegates Bulletin (HoD)-Fall 2016

You can make a better barbershop experience. You can build A Better World. Singing.

Even a passing glance at what’s happened in the Barbershop Harmony Society  over the past few months tells you that something transformative is taking place. A course we’ve been travelling the past few years with the guidance of the Society Board and the active participation of staff, District leadership, and thousands of committed Barbershoppers, is infusing an attitude of success and creativity that empowers everyone to do more, more effectively -- and even more joyfully.

It’s up to each of us as chapter leaders, as district leaders, as key influencers, to take advantage of the opportunities we create together. You can do all these things, to make your chapter program more relevant to your members, to make your chaper more relevant to your communities. It’s where we find our joy: in singing, in friendships, in joining together and making a difference in people’s lives.

Show more people more barbershop

What we’re doing: The old refrain “No one knows what barbershop is!” doesn’t hold much credibility anymore. The Barbershop Harmony Society YouTube channel now boasts more than 1500 videos (more than 300 from 2016 International!) and has already racked up more than 4.2 million views in the first eight months of 2016 -- more than double the traffic in the same time last year.

Can you use this? You bet!

Your social media presence, your chapter website, and your personal ambassadorship of barbershop to friends, family, and professional circles can now feature the finest examples possible. Like the old songs? Like barber-pop? Like seniors? Like youth choruses? Share them all! Enhanced visibility and credibility is a YouTube link away. If you are inspired by growth use these videos along with your own videos to inform your community about your growth intentions.  You have permission.  Get some must-see barbershop today -- or . And while you’re at it, also peek at the great Society membership video, or highlights of the 2016 AIC show. A YouTube clip is a also great program enhancer for a chapter meeting!

Expand the reach of your events: give away the best parts!

What we’re doing: The Society brought thousands of local guests to our convention in Nashville -- more than 1800 people who previously had never heard barbershop came to hear it, see it, and take part in it. How? A Better World Singing Day included classes, free concerts, a massive sing along, and free local admission to the Saturday Night Spectacular and Quartet Finals. It was a “No Strings Attached” approach to introducing barbershop and the joy of singing together to the community, and it leveraged the things we do best -- being a supportive community of participants, not passive listeners -- in a form that was easier for general audiences to absorb..

Welcome your community!

Offer FREE TICKETS to one of the events in your package. Make sure the FREE event is truly meaningful -- a chance for folks to have fun singing with their families, to see a show that is aimed at them. Integrate these ideas into your own chapter shows.  How often do you ask your audience to sing along with you?  You might be surprised by the results.  If you have spare inventory get a local sponsor to fund some of those empty seats and give away to a senior center, a youth program, the homeless shelter, the foster families association. Your local sponsor will love it!  Bring joy to folks who need it most and have least access to it.

Make the most of your education opportunities

What we’re doing: Harmony University 2016 in Nashville offered dozens of new activities, new outreach to the  community, and more access for music educators. As a leading adult education organization, a wealth of personal growth and development tools await you and your communities.

Can you do it? YOU BET!

  • Send your director, music team or engaged rookies to Harmony U with tuition paid by the chapter. (Some directors scholarships are also available from BHS; email for details. ) It’s a tremendous investment in energizing chapter growth, enthusiasm and connection to the broad resources of the Barbershop Harmony Society.  
  • Offer scholarships to music educators or music students to next year’s HU. ( for scholarship information.) The payoffs: potential music directors for BHS chapters, enthusiastic classroom advocates, and future teachers already aware of the value bbshop brings to the classroom
  • Invite high school and college age quartets to participate in Top Gun and other music schools. A few hours of coaching can make a huge difference in their enthusiasm for the Youth Barbershop Quartet Contest
  • Attend your district Leadership Academies to share best practices with other chapters and gain new perspectives on your innate leadership potential.  
  • Include a service component in your district school offerings.
  • Make the culminating event something that looks outside yourselves
  • Use Harmony University online resources for chapter secretaries, music directors, and chapter leaders to extend your learning beyond single events

Become leaders in addition to managers

What we’re doing: The Healthy Chapter Initiative extends resources to chapters and district in both operational best practices (management) and strategic planning and mentorship (leadership) to improve the weekly barbershop experience. Under the guidance of the Leadership Operations Project Team (LOPT), a cadre of ten new Leadership Facilitators were trained and certified this summer. These trained experts are equipped to deliver specific leadership training, serve as a support conduit between all of our chapters, and further progress and promote the Healthy Chapter Initiative.

Can you use this? You bet!

  • Certified Leadership Facilitators are available for District Leadership Academies to deliver our new curriculum to multiple chapters and provide consultation to enhance chapter health.  Districts who are interested, should reach out to Antonio Lombardi, BHS Manager of Chapter Leadership and Education at  
  • BHS Leadership Facilitators are also available for single-chapter consultations. For details, contact
  • The BHS Business Guide: The Business of Barbershop, serves as an "at-a-glance" overview of the major tasks and responsibilities of Chapter Presidents, Secretaries, and Treasurers. This document can be found by visiting our BHS Document Center.
  • Chapter Secretary Training Modules are now available on the BHS website for current and future Chapter Secretaries. Each training module is available for viewing to assist secretaries with their day-to-day work as well as to share simple best practices. These can be found by visiting our “Harmony University Online” site, along with other valuable tools.
  • Lead by doing: model the behaviors you hope to see emulated. Add a service activity to your next planning weekend, education event, or convention, such as the performance and gift of piano that transpired at this summer’s Leadership Forum.

Organize yourself for success

What we’re doing: Chapters now have the greater flexibility to design a board structure best suited to meet the chapter’s individual needs. A chapter board can now have up to two at-large board members who are not members of the Barbershop Harmony Society! The Flexible Board Option is now included in the Standard Chapter Bylaws.

How you can use this

Review the Flexible Board Option and reflect on ways you can most effectively engage community members in your chapter success. If you have questions or need further information, email

Use your knowledge of the past and present to mold the future

What we’re doing: Serious listening! Last spring, nearly 3,000 members took part in our Membership Satisfaction Survey, which identified key elements of the barbershop experience bringing you joy. A subsequent Future Directions Survey concluding in September, gives you a voice in choosing the paths we follow into our future. Serious reporting, too! Full results of these surveys will be published on the web site, and feedback and discussion on these will feed the next phases of the 18-month strategic planning cycle.

Can you use this? You bet!

  • Members of the Strategic Planning Committee are presenting the results of the two membership surveys. Many of the districts will also be offering a membership listening session as well to continue our data capture and pulse of our membership. Speak up and listen-- it matters!
  • The BHS Annual Report appears in the July/August Harmonizer and will be mailed to all chapters this fall. This great-looking piece tells external audiences the story of who we are, what we do, and the breadth of our influence -- great for placing your own achievements in context for funders, community partners and advocates. Do you want to make the annual report next year like Port City Sound and Paradise Coastmen chapter did?  Keep sending in your stories at

Make a better barbershop experience

Everything happening in our Society today makes it possible for you to get more from the barbershop lifestyle. If you did only ONE new thing this year -- one thing you hadn’t tackled before, one thing that stretched you beyond the tried and true, one thing that further aimed you chapter, quartet or district toward more joy - what impact could you make? How could you share more joy with more people? 

How can you make a better world, singing?