New rule changes from the SCJC

Posted by Kevin Keller | Posted in 2015 Pittsburgh, Contests & Judging, Harmonizer, Run your chapter, Society Board, Uncategorized | Posted on April 15, 2015, 10:00 AM

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kevin-KellerBelow are the links to the actual rule changes discussed on page 6 of the March/April issue of The Harmonizer. All are in PDF format. In each of the links, we’ve highlighted all changes to the documents by highlighting in yellow language that wasn’t in the previous version of the Contest & Judging Manual, and striking out passages that are no longer in the present version of the C&J Manual. We’ve also provided a link to the fully updated manual below.

Questions or observations are welcome in the comments section!

- Kevin Keller,

Chairman, Society Contest & Judging Committee

 

SOCIETY CONTEST & JUDGING MANUAL

Reductions and Penalties

Quartet Qualification for Nashville

International Contest Staging

Eligibility Exceptions

Variances

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Storytellers: Coles County Christmas

Posted by Martin Banks | Posted in Chapters, Chorus, Music, Outreach, Together, Making The Music That's Making A Difference, Uncategorized, Youth in Harmony | Posted on March 28, 2015, 3:37 PM

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The Coles County Chorus of Charleston-Mattoon IL and their friends were making a list of holiday activities last December, and checking it twice for an impressive and entertaining season of outreach to their communities.

Saturday, December 6th  The Toast of Champaign Sweet Adeline Chorus put on a very nice afternoon show.  With 30 ladies and a very clever narrator, they performed “ A Fractured Christmas Tale.”  Unity High School (Tolono) boasts a tremendous vocal music program … great Show Choir and  a major emphasis in a cappella singing.  These 13 girls (the Surreal Sound) with their excellent vocal percussionist, performed on the show.

Coles-County-Christmas

Sunday, December 7th   The 29 singers of the Coles County Chorus performed two 39th Annual Christmas Benefit Concerts, raising more than $4,000 for area Food Pantry and Homeless Shelter programs.  It was a 9 to 10 hour time commitment for the singers, but worth every minute of it. Read the rest of this entry »

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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

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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.

digital

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

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Love to teach? HU Pittsburgh needs awesome instructors!

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

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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:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Q3YNM8S

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
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Pittsburgh Spotlight: Hi Neighbor!

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

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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.

Fred-at-castle-FredRogersCompany

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.

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“A Hard Day’s Night” easier than you’d think

Posted by Adam Scott | Posted in Song of The Week, Uncategorized | Posted on November 13, 2014, 1:48 PM

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1596song_of_the_week_trans3This week’s newest, hot chart is by the Fab Four! And who better to arrange a Beatles tune than Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS) member Dr. Liz Garnett? Liz also arranged the best-selling “Happy Together,” and a number of other charts in our catalog.

A Hard Day’s Night” has a driving rock tempo with sensible range and easy a cappella treatment. (Popapella, Barberpop, etc).

Looking for other Beatles tunes? Don’t forget When I’m Sixty-Four, Yesterday, and something to the effect…something.. oh, “Something!” When you plan your shows, gigs, and festivals, keep in mind audience connectivity matters. The Beatles had four albums that sold more than ten million copies!

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The Sing Off is BACK!

Posted by Becca Grimmer | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on September 10, 2014, 9:36 AM

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The search is on again for contestants of the hit a cappella reality show, The Sing Off!! Sweet Adeline International Quartet Queens, Maxx Factor, were on the first season and we think it has been far too long since barbershop was represented on this show! Who’s going to audition this year?

Los Angeles – Sept. 30
Nashville – Oct. 2
New York – Oct. 4

If you think that they won’t be accepting quartets, have a look at the FAQ.  They’re accepting 4-20 members this year! Sounds like a quartet or a chorus could be contenders this year!

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Chanticleer members sing barbershop off-stage

Posted by Lorin May | Posted in Just for Fun, Quartetting, Tag singing, Together, Making The Music That's Making A Difference, Uncategorized, Why I Barbershop | Posted on September 8, 2014, 3:44 PM

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Seen on Facebook: They’re one of the world’s most elite and most famous professional vocal groups, and they appreciate the power of a barbershop tag as much as we do. Check out four members of Chanticleer saying farewell with a tag … and a fifth voice at the end that, in this case, was no overtone.

Someone get these guys into a district contest. They’ve obviously got the pipes, and they even already have the matching socks …

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Mid-Winter Quartet Bonus – HARMONY PLATOON

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on September 24, 2013, 4:53 PM

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harmony_platoon_logo

When Mid-Winter comes to the FWD next January, guys who love to quartet will have the opportunity to experience a new convention event: HARMONY PLATOON.

 Here’s how Platoon works. Two months prior to the convention, register at www.HarmonyPlatoon.org to get high- quality learning tracks and music to five songs we’ll be singing in Long Beach. Starting a day before the “official” convention opening, singers will participate in two “random draw” contests and a “Dance Card”, enabling them to sing with all others not on their same part. “Self-selected” quartets emerge from this activity and participate in another fun contest.

Here are the great songs you’ll be singing: “Hello, My Baby!” (David Harrington); “It’s Only A Paper Moon” (Clay Hine); “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” (Jim Kahlke); “Just In Time” (Dave Briner); “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans” (BHS).

 Check out the Harmony Platoon website and see what fun you’ll have: www.HarmonyPlatoon.org

Hurry, because the deadline to give you time to learn the songs is November 1.

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New “instant replay” rule in effect for Fall 2013 contests

Posted by Kevin Keller | Posted in Contests & Judging, In the news, Music, Uncategorized | Posted on August 14, 2013, 2:26 PM

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Judges-huddle

A “scoring variance” is defined as when at least one judge awards a song with a score that is significantly higher or lower than the other scores from the panel. Judges have long discussed these variances in the days and weeks following a contest; since early 2012, the Society’s Contest & Judging (C&J) Committee has been looking at methods to address significant scoring differences (variances) before they become official.

One C&J committee studied the data and decided that significant variances should be reviewed; a subsequent committee looked at how that could be done. The judging panels in each of the Spring 2013 contests simulated the process to gather data on how often variances occurred and whether judges would change their scores once a variance is noted. C&J reviewed all of the information in Toronto this July, approved the concept and forwarded the information to the Society Board of Directors (BoD) for approval.

The BoD has approved the program and rule changes. In anticipation, all judges and contest administrators formally trained on the process at Category School and are prepared to go “live” in the Fall 2013 season. If a statistical variance occurs with a set of scores given for a performance of a song, the judges within the category will have the opportunity to review their sheets and potentially change their scores, much like instant replay.

 

The following detailed explanation comes from Kevin Keller, chair of the Society Contest & Judging Committee:

Probably all of us have experienced or heard “war” stories about the effect that one or two “outlier” scores may have had on the outcome of a contest — I know I’ve questioned some scores that some of my groups have received!

As a former Category Specialist (CS) and now as C&J Chair, a top priority for me has been the improvement of scoring consistency. No matter what other feedback gems a judge may share, you’ll have a hard time hearing or accepting anything he says when a questionable scoring inconsistency has been left unresolved. More importantly, there are cases in which quartets and choruses have missed cut-offs from Division to District, and from Prelims to International based on one score Read the rest of this entry »

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What the Music judges discussed at Category School

Posted by Jim Kahlke | Posted in Contests & Judging, Music, Uncategorized | Posted on August 7, 2013, 1:02 PM

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NOTE: Every three years, all Society judges and candidate judges wishing to certify are required to attend Category School. Held during the three days prior to Harmony University, judges and judging candidates receive instruction and testing; they also officially acquire, maintain or lose their certification. Category School is also the point in which any formal tweaks to the scoring or interpretation of the rules are formalized and calibrated among all judges. All tweaks, shifts in focus, or other modifications are based on the prior three year’s feedback from competitors, judges, audiences, Society leaders and others.

Below is a summary of the adjustments discussed by the Music judges, presented by Music Category Specialist  Jim Kahlke. The Music category had fewer changes than others due to the higher number of changes implemented during the previous cycle.

The Music category has changed little in the way the competitors interact with us for scoring. The barbershop style, as defined, remains the same. We shifted our focus slightly in thinking more about the songs we compete with globally, as opposed to a laser focus on chord-by-chord analysis, though we reinforced that skill as well. We resolved some differences in the way various terms in the Music Category Description are being handled in evaluations. Read the rest of this entry »

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What the Singing judges discussed at Category School

Posted by David Mills | Posted in Contests & Judging, Music, Uncategorized | Posted on August 7, 2013, 12:59 PM

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Every three years, all Society judges and candidate judges wishing to certify are required to attend Category School. Held during the three days prior to Harmony University, judges and judging candidates receive instruction and testing; they also officially acquire, maintain or lose their certification. 

 Category School is also the point in which any formal tweaks to the scoring or interpretation of the rules are formalized and calibrated among all judges. All tweaks, shifts in focus, or other modifications are based on the prior three year’s feedback from competitors, judges, audiences, Society leaders and others.

“The most noticeable change for the Singing category following the 2013 category school is the renaming of the “Artistry” scoring element to “Vocal Expression.” For many competitors, there has always been some confusion with the terminology in the first sentence of our category description, “… achieves artistic singing in the barbershop style” when contrasted to the last sentence, which includes, “When artistry is present, these elements…”.  This has often led to the somewhat ambiguous explanation that while Artistry was indeed one of the five elements that we consider when determining a score, there is also the larger (more holistic) context of evaluating “the degree to which the performer achieves artistic singing in the barbershop style.”  This has even caused some judges to refer to the element as “little Artistry” and the other concept as “big Artistry” within the context of our Singing Category Description. Read the rest of this entry »

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What the Presentation judges discussed at Category School

Posted by David Leeder | Posted in Contests & Judging, Music, Uncategorized | Posted on August 7, 2013, 12:50 PM

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Every three years, all Society judges and candidate judges wishing to certify are required to attend Category School. Held during the three days prior to Harmony University, judges and judging candidates receive instruction and testing; they also officially acquire, maintain or lose their certification. 

 Category School is also the point in which any formal tweaks to the scoring or interpretation of the rules are formalized and calibrated among all judges. All tweaks, shifts in focus, or other modifications are based on the prior three year’s feedback from competitors, judges, audiences, Society leaders and others.

A new Category Description has been formulated. It has not changed as much as it has been condensed and focused on the barbershop performance as an art form.

Comedic performances and length of performances are being studied as to how they entertain our barbershop audiences.

Presentation Category will:

• Continue to reward performances that exhibit clear performance plan

• Reward performances which communicate passions and emotions

• Identify performance skills that build communication with the audience

• Acknowledge entertaining performances

• Nurture stage worthy performances, actions, and attire

 

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On Myths and Legends

Posted by Brian Lynch | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on August 7, 2013, 9:42 AM

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Deke Sharon’s excellent Total Vocal blog discusses the path from really good to excellent:

You cannot get better at performing by thinking about it. You cannot become a better singer by studying vocal pedagogy texts.

[…]

The problem is not a lack of goal, vision, or desire for excellence. The problem is an understanding of and persistence trudging through the marshes and the weeds. It’s a long, difficult march, and while you’re on the path, you not only know you’re not great, you can likely hear your peers’ low voices as they analyze your imperfections, just as you analyze others. And yourself.

[…]

Legends are made, not born. When you see Straight No Chaser or Pentatonix, you do not know the extreme effort behind their seemingly effortless rise into the public eye. Both have a work ethic that is second to none. They’re proud of their success, but realize the elements of luck and timing, and do not take it for granted. You should not either.

[…]

There is no guarantee of excellent, but there is a guarantee of mediocrity. You must pass through the trials of self-doubt and question your own abilities. Perhaps for years.

via On Myths and Legends | A Cappella Music – The Contemporary A Cappella Society.

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The option of one District contest per year

Posted by Kevin Keller | Posted in Chapters, Chorus, Contests & Judging, Harmonizer, Quartetting, Uncategorized | Posted on June 12, 2013, 7:20 AM

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Hzr May-June page 18

You saw the article in The Harmonizer. (For full version of the issue, including the full version of this article, log in at eBiz.barbershop.org.) Do you have any questions? Ask them here!

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