To our members, friends and family in the Barbershop Harmony Society,
For the last three years, we have stayed silent about the growing rift between leadership at the Barbershop Harmony Society and Harmony Foundation. This rift was not caused by ego or stubbornness—rather, this was caused by a lack of shared vision that starts at the top of both organizations and lives out in the daily lives of barbershop singers.
We believed we could work this out.
For the last 18 months, leadership on both sides of the table have worked to resolve a lack of cohesion between the organizations. When it became clear that we could not articulate a shared vision together, we ought to have reached out to our community with reassurance. You are the reason we could not walk away without resolution.
We thought we could resolve this conflict on our own. In the process of working to preserve the BHS programs that you’ve loved, supported and expected from us, we chose a new development path that we believe will best serve our singing communities. These choices have unintentionally caused some of you confusion and bewilderment in a time that is already fraught with anxiety about the future.
For some, our intent did not match the impact, and it made our distanced global community feel even more separated.
So, what do we do now?
We make systemic change. This starts with listening—and we do this by strengthening the connection between membership and the board of directors so that your voice is part of the collective narrative.
This collaborative commitment to inclusion begins with all of us. The full realization of the BHS vision of Everyone in Harmony happens when we work toward our shared goal of inclusive barbershop—beyond our lifetime.
A unified community of human beings sharing in the power of ringing chords is the strongest possible future for barbershop singing. This is the paradigm shift that leads us to the BHS vision of Everyone in Harmony. When we band together against what divides us, we will come out stronger on the other side of history. When we can all stand side by side on the risers again, it will be with a renewed commitment to harmony and one another.
Please—continue to call on us for clarity and transparency. Ask questions; we’re committed to listening. Shortly after the board elections, we will roll out our plan to expand our availability and continue the dialogue between members and the board. Inclusion will always motivate us to do our best to represent you and your needs. In the meantime, please feel free to engage us via our email address (SocietyBoard@barbershop.org) or in the BHS blog comments below.
Everyone in Harmony means everyone. Let’s go there together.
We love you. We miss you. We can’t wait to see you—sing with you—again.
With deep respect, love and care,
Your Society Board of Directors