Get the contest eval that's best for you
Different ensembles have different needs following a contest. C&J offers multiple options tuned to your needs.
Evaluations are a great way for quartets and choruses to get immediate feedback on their performances over a contest weekend from panel members in the Music, Performance, and Singing categories. The judges will work with you to identify your strengths and opportunities for growth and provide tools for you to take home and utilize to reinforce the feedback you receive.
There are three types of evaluations that competitors can receive after a contest session:
- the 1xLong
- the 3x20
- the 3x10
Every performer may have specific needs when it comes to receiving feedback from the judges, which is why 3 options are offered. In addition, the Contest & Judging community wishes to help create a fulfilling convention experience, and all the activities that go with it, which may involve singing tags or at a chorditorium, and most importantly catching up with friends!
The Evaluation Types
The 1 by Long evaluation session has generated great response from many of our performers. What happens is that the performer receives ONE LONGER session with one judge, generally 40 minutes long but could be slightly more or less, and that judge could be from any of the three categories. The judge will provide feedback from their category of expertise, but also may have time to address other opportunities they experience as many of our judges are coaches or even directors.
The great thing about a 1 by LONG session is that there is plenty of time to sing, getting coached on new concepts where you can try them, experience the effect, and even modify those and try again. This time with one judge is valuable because the performer can dive deeper into strategies and techniques. It’s a very efficient session that maximizes coaching time.
In the 3 by 20 evaluation session, the performer gets to meet with 3 judges, one from each category, for 20 minutes each. So, the overall time is 60 minutes with the judges. This style is what most closely reflects what had been offered for many years prior to 2019. This may be desirable if the ensemble is wanting to get feedback on strengths and opportunities from each of the categories, especially if the quartet or chorus music team has worked on specifics related to Music, Performance, and Singing, and it might be preferable if the quartet or chorus has a good chance to qualify for international. The 20 minute sessions do allow time for some singing, where each judge can coach on the concepts that can address the biggest needs for the ensemble.
There is the 3 by 10 evaluation session, where the performer gets to see 3 judges, one from each category, but this time for 10 minutes each. Therefore, the overall time with the judges is 30 minutes. This style of evaluation is recommended if the quartet or chorus will not have enough members present to sing, or if they wish to receive concise feedback about the performances without coaching, if for example a quartet works very closely with a specific coach. Given the short time, there generally isn’t enough time to sing, so it is encouraged to capture the feedback given by taking notes during the session or recording it.
Requesting your Preferences
Once a quartet or chorus has registered for a convention, the contact person for the ensemble will receive an email indicating that they can select their preferences for evaluations. That will happen a couple weeks before the convention weekend. Within that email will be a link, where preferences for one of the three evaluation sessions can be selected. No Evaluation can also be selected, if the quartet or chorus will be unable to attend an evaluation session. The entire judging panel for the convention weekend will also be listed, and preference can be indicated for a specific judge. A quartet or chorus can even indicate if they wish for the panel to select the category best suited to provide your group a 1 by LONG evaluation. There are lots of choices there, and it’s important that the quartet or chorus contact person watch for that email and discuss the choices with the other singers, and respond right away.
How Evaluations are Assigned
For quartets, those that do not advance to the finals round will receive a 1 by LONG session on Friday night after the contest. The extended evaluation time with one judge is excellent for technique building and learning for those quartets who are still developing their skills. The exception to this rule is if a quartet had put in preference for a 3 by 10 minute session…then that will be granted over the 1 by LONG session for Friday night. There are no 3 by 20 minute sessions conducted on a Friday night. If these quartets request preference for specific judges, then those preferences will be awarded based on finish order of the non-advancing quartets.
For quartets who sing in the Finals on Saturday, and choruses who compete on Saturday, all three versions of the evaluations will be offered, but there will be a limited amount of 3 by 20 sessions available. Similar to the quartets who were evaluated on Friday night, the preferences for the Saturday quartets and choruses will be determined by the finish order of the contests. The highest scoring competitor will get assigned first based on their preferences, followed by the second place competitor and so on. What that means is that some competitors may not receive their first choice in evaluation style or requested judge, if for example, every competitor put in a preference for a 3 by 20 session. Even if a quartet or chorus doesn’t get their first choice, sessions like the 1 by LONG are very valuable and they will go away with tools and strategies to work on later.
If you have more questions about these or other convention related topics, the best resource is the District Representative for Contest and Judging. They will be able to help through this process, and should be a first point of contact. Also, refer back to the July/August 2022 issue of The Harmonizer, for an article called “Get Better Evals Every Time” by Patrick Brown. It contains strategies on how to make the MOST of your time with the judges.
Have a great convention experience!
About the author
Mark Kettner is a contest judge in the Performance Category.