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Seniors Chorus Championship launches January 2024

Seniors Chorus Championship launches January 2024

A three-year pilot of the new contest will be adjudicated under standard BHS contest rules, and begin with qualifying events in Fall 2023.

Men's Seniors Chorus

Following several years of experimentation with festival formats, the Barbershop Harmony Society has announced a new International-level contest aimed at mature singers.

To be eligible for the Seniors Chorus Championship, a chorus must represent a registered BHS Chapter and District, and consist of singers aged 55 and older.

Ensembles must achieve a minimum score of 65 in any qualifying preliminary contest during the prior calendar year. In its inaugural year, the 2024 Midwinter event will be limited to the ten highest-scoring choruses that accept the invitation. As a result, representation from every BHS District is not guaranteed in the final round.

Full contest rules and revisions to the BHS Contest & Judging Rules and Handbook will be forthcoming. Ensembles seeking a qualifying event should confer with their District Contest & Judging chair for entry information or possible additional sites if their district is not offering a Fall 2023 convention.

Evolution through several years of experiments

The new Seniors Chorus Championship is the next stage in adjudicated programs for larger ensembles of mature singers which began with the Seniors Chorus Festival in 2017. Earlier iterations of the Festival were driven by a desire to get more people singing together within their own Districts, and to give every district the opportunity to sing, learn, and share in our Midwinter convention. Scoring by rating system (Good, Excellent, Outstanding, Superior) was intended to foster a mindset of achievement versus competition.

Successive changes to the program, endorsed by the District Presidents Council, included entry by random draw, and by qualifying score. Some entries in the Festival through the years were District-wide affairs, while others were based in specific chapters.

Participant and District leadership feedback throughout the initial pilot led to this new program, which will apply a full BHS contest rule set and encourage chapter-based membership. The expanded flexibility of chapters to host more than one kind of ensemble should encourage formation of new choruses for this activity. (Some choruses may already be age eligible!)

Abbreviated Rules and Qualification Process

Full eligibility and qualification details will be available before the Fall contest season. You can expect many elements from the Society Contest and Judging Committee’s Contest Rules document to apply to this contest. Below are some highlights and updates from the former Festival format.

  • The Seniors Chorus Championship is open to all singers including male, female, and all-voice ensembles.

  • All singers must be aged 55 or older on the date of the international contest.
    • The age requirement does not apply to directors. However, if under the age of 55, directors are not permitted to sing.

  • All members of competing choruses, including the director, must be members of the Society and of each chapter they choose to represent in competition. If not permitted to be a chapter member by that chapter’s bylaws (single gender), a director must be a Society member and a member of the District in which the chorus is registered.

  • Chapters represented in Society chorus contests must be in good standing with the Society and their districts.

  • In addition to the qualifying Society choruses, seniors choruses from alliance organizations may be invited by the Society executive director on behalf of the Society Board of Directors in future years.

  • Each participant must hold a full convention registration in their own name.

  • Ensembles must have achieved a minimum score of 65 in a qualifying preliminary contest.
    • A minimum double panel is required for a valid qualifying score.

    • A chorus may attempt to qualify at multiple events. However, only the most recent score attained will be considered for qualification purposes.

    • For the 2024 final round, qualifying scores from within the last calendar year will be considered valid.

    • Invitations for 2024 will be sent on the Tuesday following the last Fall 2023 qualifying contest.

    • For the 2025 final round, choruses must qualify during either the Fall 2023 or Spring 2024 contest cycles.

    • Invitations for 2025 will be sent on the Tuesday following the last Spring 2024 qualifying contest.

  • The 2024 Midwinter event will be limited to the ten highest-scoring choruses that accept the invitation to Midwinter.
    • As a result, representation from every BHS District is not guaranteed in the final round.

    • The minimum number of choruses invited to Midwinter will be reevaluated each year during the pilot.

  • Individuals may only compete with one ensemble in the final round.

  • Only the top three choruses will be recognized with awards at Midwinter.