News from Abroad: A barbershopper’s visit in Wales

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in Contests & Judging, Singing Skills, Together, Making The Music That's Making A Difference, Why I Barbershop | Posted on March 2, 2015, 11:42 AM


Music Category Specialist Paul Wigley thought he was just attending a judging seminar for our barbershop brothers and sisters in the UK. That simple trip expanded dramatically once he decided to add Wales to his schedule!

Paul, Caenarfon BS workshopPaul writes: “I have a lot of relatives in Wales, and when I added that to my itinerary, the next thing I knew I was doing a workshop in Caernarfon, Wales, at the Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (music school) and in Cardiff, at the Acapella Studios.  Each workshop had about 50 attendees, some from BABS and LABBS, but most from the respective communities of the workshops.


Paul with Golwg article
The picture of me and a magazine is from the Welsh language magazine “Golwg”  (typical Welsh…not many consonants!), but it had a very nice article about the workshops, and the magazine is read throughout Wales.
Just thought you all might be interested about our BHS music getting a little love in Wales!”

ATTENTION: High School a cappella groups!

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in Just for Fun, Music, Performance, Social Media | Posted on February 26, 2015, 3:54 PM


Deke Sharon, leading force behind a little show called The Sing-Off and practically the inventor of modern a cappella, has a new Big Idea. He has teamed up with the Lifetime network to create a show about High School a cappella groups and is looking for 2 awesome ensembles to star.

Says Deke: I’ll be on the show working with the groups on camera (!). It’s our chance to show the world how a cappella works behind the scenes: how to craft an arrangement, run a rehearsal, bring the best out of each singer and song…

If your group has something incredible to share, get to auditioning! Click here for more information.



Why You Should Care About Lady Gaga’s Performance at the Oscars

Posted by Becca Grimmer | Posted in #youredoingitright, Just for Fun, Media | Posted on February 26, 2015, 3:18 PM



Love her or hate her, it’s hard to disagree that Lady Gaga’s performance at the 87th Academy Awards was a memorable one. Why? Because she wasn’t in a meat dress or swinging from the ceiling.  No, her new act of rebellion was singing a classic musical medley of selections from The Sound of Music— shocking, but in an entirely new way!

Now, how in the world does this apply to you as a barbershop singer? In breaking out of her mold, she banished the stereotype (of her own creation) in an instant and oops, it was amazing!

The lesson? If she can be square, we can be cool.

Now, hang on to your pitch pipe and don’t get your mustache in a twist. We aren’t suggesting that we abandon all of the things that make barbershop great. But what if we took a cue from Lady Gaga and looked for new ways to break out out of our own self-imposed stereotypical image. Maybe it’s adding a pop song to your show set… or trading the tux and satin vest for something more approachable… or even (gasp)… VOCAL PERCUSSION!

If Gaga can leave her comfort zone and sing songs from The Sound of Music, then barbershoppers should feel comfortable singing all types of close harmony. Embrace something different!

#equalopportunity #loveallsingers

Want to see more posts featuring Lady Gaga:
Nobody loves you better than your G-R-A-double M-Y
Pop Superstar Lady Gaga teams with Tony Bennett for album of standards


ghost writer edit credit: Amy Rose


High School Musical… barbershop style!

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in #youredoingitright, Music, Outreach, Press Clippings, Youth in Harmony | Posted on February 25, 2015, 9:22 AM


Trouble with a Capital T is coming to Rye Neck High School in Mamaroneck, New York. As the cast prepares to bring Meredith Willson’s The Music Man to the stage, the School Board has been getting some expert advice from Tony Weiner, member of The Westchester Chordsmen.


“A few songs take extra help to get just right. They are sung by the members of the River City board of education whom Hill instantly transforms into a barbershop quartet. An instant on-stage transformation requires weeks of rehearsal, and an assist from a barbershopping father.”




Get a backstage look at their production here!


Barbershop is at ACDA 2015…

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on February 24, 2015, 1:03 PM



ACDA logo 2015

… and we’re here to help! We’re ready to be a partner in attracting singers to choral programs, offering unique ensemble experiences and literature, and life-changing destination events. Discover the many ways barbershop builds strong programs and singers. Staff will be available all week to connect with Music Educators. Come find us!

Salt Palace room 251 A-D
Grammy Award-winning gospel quartet THE FAIRFIELD FOUR joins barbershop champs CROSSROADS in a groundbreaking demonstration of the roots of close harmony

THURSDAY, 11:00 am
Salt Palace room 150 G
A mini-show by our featured artists will banish any doubts you’ve ever had about barbershop technique, style or literature! Engage in Q&A on tuning, overtones and vocal approaches.

FRIDAY, 1:00 pm
Salt Palace room 150 D-E-F
Read through, hear, and learn teaching techniques for men’s barbershop repertoire that is accessible for different age groups and ability levels. Bring home FREE arrangements of hot new titles your singers will love.

Learn how to win funds for your program through the YouSing contest. Get FREE music, learning CDs and teachi guides. Enter drawings for scholarships to Harmony University. Locate workshop events across the continent. SING WITH US!

Back in print: “Armed Forces Medley”

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week | Posted on February 19, 2015, 3:46 PM


Few pieces in the barbershop repertoire earn such accolades as the “Armed Forces Medley.” Respect for service men and women, rousing classic musical themes, and a tight arrangement (Fred King, John R. Grant, Steve Delehanty, and Tom Ewald) make this a winner in all concert settings, and a great part of your offering for patriotic holidays.

Love this song, and the world is thine 

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week | Posted on February 17, 2015, 4:31 PM


“I wander on as in a dream…” C’mon, you know the piece. Its simple elegance and lyric make it timeless. Arrangements of “Love Me, And The World Is Mine” have existed for decades but we’re especially fond of the David Wright setting. It has been performed and recorded by numerous ensembles includingJoker’s Wild and Ringmasters.

B-R-R-R! Harmony Hall closed due to icy roads

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in HQ operations | Posted on February 17, 2015, 10:34 AM


Barbershop Harmony Society and Harmony Foundation International offices in Nashville will be closed on Tuesday, February 17, as frigid weather has shut down state government, schools, and interstate highways in middle Tennessee.

Northerners may snicker, but folks down south just don’t have the infrastructure to handle this kind of weather. What Boston would call a welcome relief is for Nashville a state of emergency.

Harmony Hall staff will be on limited duty from home until further notice. Processing and fulfillment of membership, merchandise and music orders will be impacted. Email to will continue to be handled as capacity permits.

Forecast calls for continued winter all week, according to The Tennessean. We’ll keep you posted via the blog and social media if further closings are anticipated.

Nobody loves you any better than your G-R-A-double M-Y

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week | Posted on February 12, 2015, 3:48 PM


Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga are bringing the great American songbook to a new generation of fans, and this week were recognized with a Grammy Award for their collaboration. A second album is rumored.

Great news: we’ve already been singing these songs for decades! Try these faves:

Create the next FANTASY QUARTET… and more!

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in 2015 Pittsburgh, Just for Fun, Music, Social Media | Posted on February 6, 2015, 11:18 AM


Pick the songs, arrangers and fantasy quartet for a new songbook!


Stephen Foster

The Barbershop Harmony Society is celebrating America’s first great commercial songwriter with a special new collection of his greatest works. “The Stephen Foster Songbook” will contain ten newly-commissioned arrangements by arrangers YOU select, plus the classic arrangements of “Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair” by Ed Waesche and “Beautiful Dreamer” by David Wright.

Two of these new arrangements will be debuted at the Saturday Night Spectacular in Pittsburgh, by a fantasy quartet you assemble. Yep– pick each voice for the ultimate fantasy quartet, and we’ll make it happen.

And finally: everyone attending the convention will receive music and learning tracks in advance so they can participate in the debut performance led by a director you select.

Here’s how to play!

In the comments, rank songs 1 through 10, with #1 as your favorite:

__Camptown Races
__Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming
__Gentle Annie
__Hard Times Come Again No More
__In The Eye Abides The Heart
__My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night!
__No One to Love
__Oh! Susanna
__Old Folks At Home (Way Down Upon the Swanee River)
__Slumber My Darling

(click link for playlist of all songs:

In the comments, name your top picks in each category!

Favorite Arranger: ___________________________
Favorite Tenor: _____________________________
Favorite Lead: _____________________________
Favorite Baritone: ______________________________
Favorite Bass: _______________________________
Favorite Director: _______________________________

VIDEO: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on February 4, 2015, 4:33 PM


Is our response to music hard-wired or culturally determined? Is the reaction to rhythm and melody universal or influenced by environment?


A 2009 World Science Festival session titled “Notes & Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus” explores these topics with the help of some experts: This Is Your Brain On Music author and McGill scientist Daniel Levitin, legendary musician Bobby McFerrin, and neuroscientists Jamshed Bharucha and Lawrence Parsons.

In this clip, watch Bobby McFerrin demonstrate the common language of the pentatonic scale.

You can view the entire discussion here:


Paul’s Big Adventure: A Year of Songs

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in #youredoingitright, Music, Social Media, Song of The Week | Posted on February 3, 2015, 11:04 AM


You may know Paul Olguin as an arranger, director, or quartet singer… but his most well known credit these days is likely his incredible class on Woodshedding at HU 2014.

Following up on his wildly successful 100 Tags in 100 Days project last year, he has taken on a new mission: A Year Of Songs.

So, here’s the plan. I will write an original song intended to be sung by barbershop harmony singers, one per week for the entire year of 2015! So far, most of my friends and colleagues think I’m a little bit crazy, but they also think that I just might be able to pull it off. My inner voices are only slightly more confident.

I’m excited and nervous to see what this process may have to teach me as a creator, teacher and human being. I hope to contribute in a significant way to the barbershop repertoire. I hope to inspire others to take on their own creative challenges. I look forward to collaborating with other tune weavers, storytellers and barbershop arrangers. By granting a very broad license for the songs, I hope to inspire people to think of music and song in a different way, not so much as property to be bought and sold, but as gifts to be shared and expressions of thanks (yes, sometimes in the form of dollars) to be made.

Follow along on Paul’s journey!

Blog –

Facebook Event –



2014 contest tracks released on iTunes and Amazon Digital Music

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on February 2, 2015, 10:21 AM


Shopping for barbershop music is quick and easy on two of the world’s largest distributors: Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s Digital Music store.


You are just a few clicks away from our most recent championship performances:

Love to teach? HU Pittsburgh needs awesome instructors!

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on January 29, 2015, 5:08 PM


Our International Convention in Pittsburgh is rapidly approaching and will feature more Harmony University classes than ever before! This means we are looking for some talented and passionate teachers who have something to share. Do you have a class that would be perfect for our Convention attendees? If so, read on!
Here is what has happened in the past (and was great):
 -Fabulous, well-known barbershoppers and educators who share great content
 -Classes held before or after contest sessions
 -Classes offered one at a time
In Pittsburgh, we are shaking things up! Our goals are:
 -Fabulous, well-known barbershoppers and educators who share great content
 -Fabulous, lesser-known barbershoppers and educators who share great content
 -HU classes during all contests, as well as later in the evening
 -HU classes offered at the same time (you can choose 1 of 4 offerings)
 -HU classes offered all week
 -HU classes offered more than once
 -HU performing ensembles (yes… learn music and sing!)
 -HU classes that are interactive and fun (not just lecture style)
 -HU classes that are not just about barbershop, but also about music education:
          Some ideas:
         +How to swing like the Basie Band!
         +Vocal Percussion for the novice
         +Arrangers lab with Voices of Gotham
         +(insert your class title here)

If you would like to teach for us, complete the survey HERE!  We want to learn more about you and your teaching style, and the classes you would like to offer.   The survey isn’t too long…maybe plan on 15 minutes. We can’t wait to hear about you and your great ideas!

Alternately, you can cut and paste the link here:

The application deadline is April 1, 2015. We will begin to award classes starting in March, with a finalized schedule set in June. As always, HU faculty are not paid. For the Convention classes at Midwinter and International, we do not cover your travel or rooming expenses. We simply give you a forum to share your knowledge… and our heartfelt thanks!

HU Logo

Pittsburgh Spotlight: Hi Neighbor!

Posted by Amy Rose | Posted in 2015 Pittsburgh, Uncategorized | Posted on January 29, 2015, 2:40 PM


Add this to the family activity list for Pittsburgh – A visit to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood! We don’t think that Fred Rogers was a barbershopper, but it’s probably just because nobody asked him.


Visit the Heinz History Center Special Collections Gallery to see the largest collection of original items from the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” television set on public view. Featuring select artifacts from the popular children’s show, the new display marks the first time these items are on long-term view. Highlights from the installation include:

The entryway and living room set that Mister Rogers walked through to begin each show

King Friday XIII’s Castle

Great Oak Tree, the residence of Henrietta Pussycat and X The Owl

and more…

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood | Heinz History Center.