LABBS joins BHS Global Alliance
The Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS) becomes the first all-women international organization to enter an alliance agreement with the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Building on histories stretching back to 1938 for BHS, and to 1976 for LABBS, the historic alignment will provide greater access to education resources for all, judge training, and access to the Society’s International Contest stage for LABBS quartets and choruses.
“The resources BHS offers makes sense for our singers,” said Nancy Philbin, chair of LABBS. “The pandemic has given us the breathing space to really work on our strategic plan, and taking this step helps us become greater contributors to all aspects of the barbershop world.”
Marty Monson, CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society, placed the agreement in the context of the Society’s strategic vision. “We have so many shared goals as barbershop organizations,” he said, “including preserving single-gender experiences for men and for women. Aligning with LABBS reflects our commitment to helping all people find the singing setting that’s best for them. Partnering with LABBS will help both organizations learn from one another and raise the total volume of singers everywhere.”
Natalie Feddon, incoming chair of LABBS, notes that the services provided build on and formalize some long-standing practices. “For many years, LABBS has trained judges to the standards of the BHS system. Now, under the Memorandum of Understanding, we will gain more support for all our contest activities.”
The new Alliance Agreement took effect March 1, 2021, with annual review of services and successes.
Founded in 1976, LABBS represents more than 2,200 female barbershop singers in around 60 choruses, including a youth chorus and a national chorus, and more than 60 quartets stretching the length of the United Kingdom. Visit LABBS online at www.labbs.org.uk or on Facebook.
Founded in 1938, the 16,000-member Barbershop Harmony Society includes more than 1,600 singing communities, including nearly 700 choruses and 900 quartets, and encompasses men’s, women’s, and mixed harmony ensembles. Visit BHS online at www.barbershop.org or on Facebook.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can BHS members meet their new friends in LABBS?
There are over 2200 LABBS singers all over the UK. If you find yourself visiting our beautiful country - when we can travel - just visit the map on our website to find a LABBS club, where and when they rehearse and a contact point to let them know you are visiting - you would be made very welcome!
In the meantime, for a 5-minute introduction to all our clubs and quartets, you can visit the material created for our 2020 LABBS BIG WEEKEND where every club and quartet was given the chance to introduce themselves - you may want to bring snacks - we have over 60 choruses and over 60 registered quartets and most of them are represented!
How can BHS quartets and choruses collaborate with their LABBS counterparts?
This virtual world in which we find ourselves, where we can only meet in a virtual sense, has the advantage that borders are removed and - time zones allowing - it's possible for quartets and choruses alike to "drop in" to a rehearsal on the other side of the world. There is nothing formal in place but we are a friendly bunch - maybe there is a twinning opportunity between similar sized clubs in similar locations -- the virtual world with its possibilities will still be there when Lockdown is over!
How can we watch LABBS events and shows?
LABBS has a well-supported YouTube channel where you will find many recordings of all of our choruses in conventions over the last few years. We can particularly recommend a visit to our LABBS BIG WEEKEND, our lockdown Convention for 2020 – 3 full days of performing, educating and two great shows with global appeal to sample as you desire – but have snacks available as people who visited tended to stay!