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Varsity Quartets

Step up to your biggest stage ever

Thousands of fans will greet the finalists at the International Convention, in a showcase of the best singers under age 25. Spend a week singing with hundreds of passionate Barbershoppers, and take your place in an honors chorus -- a peak experience that is a convention highlight for our singers.

Upcoming Events & Deadlines

International Finals Salt Lake City, Utah July 2019 -- Video qualification deadline is December 1, 2018.

Apply Now

Learn about changes to the program in the Frequently Asked Questions.

Quartet Youth Men

Launch a lifetime of singing

Since 1992, the Barbershop Harmony Society has launched hundreds of quartets through its national quartet contests for young men. Five world champion quartets started here, plus dozens of medalists, directors, and musical leaders.

The Basics

Easy video qualification

Sing two contestable songs in front of any audience, upload to YouTube, and your entry is complete.

Scholarships for performers advancing to finals -- including Honors Chorus guests!

Getting there is all the fun... and expensive. The Barbershop Harmony Society offers scholarship assistance to singers who participate in the Honors Chorus and quartets competing in the Finals. (See complete rules below for eligibility.)

Eligibility

  • The Varsity contest is open to male singers ages 18 – 25 at the time of the International Event.
  • A Quartet may have up to 3 members under the age of 19, as long as a parent or guardian accompanies the quartet at the convention and accepts responsibility for the minors on the Youth Participation Form.
  • There are no restrictions regarding membership in the Barbershop Harmony Society or any affiliate organization.

Learn how to qualify for the Varsity Quartet Contest

2018 Next Generation Varsity Quartet Champion

Frontier - Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Entry & Qualification

  • Record your group singing. It doesn’t have to be a professional recording, so have fun with it.
  • Perform two contestable barbershop songs to qualify. (Not sure what to sing? View our suggested song list!)
  • Post your video on YouTube.
  • Register your quartet.
  • Quartets must have their quartet names approved, so as not to conflict with names already selected and reserved by other competitors and registered barbershop Society member quartets.
  • Certified Society judges will adjudicate all contests, both video preliminary and the live international competition, using standard contest rules (see page 3 "Contest Rules" in the Contest Judging Handbook).
  • All videos must be submitted by YouTube link within the registration form no later than December 1, 2018.
  • Video must be recorded and uploaded by December 1, 2018.
  • All quartets are required to participate in a pre-event and post-event survey.
  • All video/photo/audio submitted will be owned and used without restriction by BHS.
  • All quartets are required to participate in a pre-event and post-event survey to officially register their quartet and qualify for a scholarship.

Rules

  • An individual can sing in only one varsity quartet at a time.
  • All arrangements performed by quartets must be obtained in accordance with international and USA copyright law. Further information may be found here: Copyright Basics For Barbershoppers
  • Two (2) songs in the barbershop style must be sung. A quartet may use the same songs in the preliminary video contest and the live contest at the international convention.
  • The qualification video must be recorded in HD in front of a live audience without any edits or production enhancements. The live audience may be at public or private event or performance.
  • Videos recorded at events with a live BHS certified panel of judges can submit their scores with their video and the scores will count for the video qualification.
  • Any singer competing in the varsity or open quartet contest is required to purchase a registration
  • All varsity participants will be required to stay within the BHS convention hotel block at their own expense. Participants staying outside of the hotel block will forfeit any/all scholarship/financial assistance and be disqualified from all varsity participation.
  • Each varsity quartet will be required to learn two (2) mass songs to be sung during the convention on Friday or Saturday

The Barbershop Style

  • Basic characteristics of barbershop harmony:
    • Four unaccompanied male voices.
    • Melody in the second voice down (lead, or second tenor). The melody lies within the good quality range for the average lead singer and is free of awkward skips that make it difficult to sing accurately.
    • Consonant four-part chords on all notes of the melody, almost completely in root position and second inversion.
    • Easily understandable lyrics that are in good taste.
  • A chief characteristic of the barbershop style is its wholesome, “G-rated” entertainment values. Forfeiture, though, may result from one or all judges for:
    • Anyone other than quartet members or the director appearing on stage during the performance.
    • Actions by any contestant that are deemed suggestive, vulgar, or otherwise not in good taste, as determined by acceptable, contemporary community standards. The two songs in the barbershop style must not be either primarily patriotic or primarily religious in intent.
    • Any spoken words deemed excessive or detrimental to the performance. Participating quartet should not introduce their selections.
    • Use of contestant’s own electronic sound equipment.
    • Instrumental accompaniment, including instrumental introductions, interludes, or conclusions.

Judging Criteria

  • Videos will be judged by C&J Score (100 points per song - see the Contest Judging Handbook)
    • Each video will receive scores from at least one certified judge in any scoring category
    • At least one judge will be required to write a brief, one-paragraph evaluation encouraging the competitor’s participation and improvement
  • Top 20 will be invited to compete at International based on overall combined scores
  • Non-qualifying quartets will be invited to participate in the Varsity Honors Chorus.
  • Medals will be awarded to the top 5 quartets

Scholarships

  • All Varsity quartet competitors are required to purchase a registration (even if participating in a varsity chorus)
  • All Varsity quartet competitors will be eligible for scholarship assistance based on distance from convention city, # of BHS members, # of times to competition, current student, etc. (assuming they are not also competing in the open quartet contest)
    • Quartets with 3 or more singers attending the same college/university to qualify for the international varsity quartet competition for the first- time will receive priority/additional financial support.
  • All Varsity participants will be given one complimentary ticket to the AIC Show
  • Any singer competing in the open quartet contest is ineligible for any level of varsity scholarship assistance
  • All non-qualifying quartets participating in the Varsity Honors Chorus will receive a free, full registration and an additional stipend to assist with additional expenses. (assuming they are not also competing in the open quartet contest)