Proof of a perception being a tall order for anyone, but I think it's
safe to say the Society is much more likely to help a chapter progress
musically than in any other capacity. The "Music Education and
Services" department has the largest staff, and arguably the highest
visibility. We can debate if this configuration best meets the needs
of the Society, its chapters and members, but there's no doubt where
HQ is putting its weight today.
One sign of higher "focus on competition"among our chapters is the
shortage of directors for chapter choruses across the Society. If
success in contest were merely incidental to the job, instead of the
central theme, I think we'd see more volunteers stepping in to lead.
Twenty years ago, non-member (translation female) directors might have
been discussed, but it would take another decade of "director drought"
before resistance was overcome.
Another sign is a trend over the past twenty-five years to create
chapters (and choruses) around "musical excellence," the measure of
which can only be taken on the contest stage. There are strivers in
every hobby, and ours is one of the few where the strivers can all get
together and form their own team, if they want to. Many of us admire
the VM, the Masters, the New Tradition, and others for their effort
and success in elevating the art of barbershop singing. That said, we
can and should debate whether the Society should be structured around
these groups, or on those less driven.
One last thought, then back to my lurking hole: the quest for musical
excellence, by itself, will not cost us members; it may not gain as
many as some claim, but getting better never drives away an interested
person. No, what drive many away is not the quest, but disparagement
of the less-able, less-talented, or less-committed. That, to me, is
the heart of our membership issue. I have been in chapters that
struggle to make District, and I have been in International medalist
chapters; in all cases, someone wanted to cut another out for not
"getting it." Too many times, these men were eager and willing
members, who found themselves deficient in some small way that made
them "dead wood" in the eyes of someone important. Cut off from the
chorus they love, most reject their "demotion" and leave the Society,
often for good. To me, this is the wound that keeps bleeding, sapping
our strength. Until we figure out how to deal with this, a successful
marketing plan is just going to result in a lot of disappointed guests
and rookie members.
Former VP-MS - ILL
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "plcmat" <snester13456@c...> wrote:
> Can someone prove that there is more emphasis on contest now than
> say, 25 years ago, when membership was peaking? I just don't see
> this from my own personal experience. I also remember people
> decrying emphasis on competition back then too when we were
> Maybe each chapter needs to have a more well-defined mission
> statement instead of trying to please everyone. I think some ideas
> I've seen from COTS (ie, "every chapter meeting should contain
> 10 elements") can be counterproductive. In trying to please
> everyone, you end up pleasing no one. If a chapter wants to be
> competitive and have the entire meeting be a chorus rehearsal,
> let them. If a chapter wants to just woodshed or sing through the
> Heritage of Harmony Songbook or watch quartet videos, let them. If
> that means we have more, smaller chapters, well, maybe that's ok.
> think chapters with a clearer focus are much more likely to attract
> like minds and retain them than a chapter who tries to be jack of
> trades and master of none.
> In any case, just about all volunteer organizations are losing
> members, not just ours. There are a lot of factors that have
> to do with us and how we do business. It has much to do with
> increased economic pressures requiring more two-income families,
> longer commutes and more work hours, increased entertainment
> opportunities (cable/Internet) at home, the continued cocooning of
> the American family in front of the home theater, overscheduled
> and the resultant parental commitment to support that, and so on.
> The new Marketing plan seems to acknowledge this to some extent
> on the groups of people they're targeting for membership, and
> great. And of course we can all still make a difference by taking
> membership seriously. I wish I knew how to do better. I have 2
> of Note in 28 years of barbershopping.
> Sorry for the rambling nature of this post, I have to get ready and
> leave for bowling!
> Steve Nester
> Sounds of Concord
> Concord eXpress quartet
> --- In email@example.com, "The Larivee Company Tours, Inc."
> <occash@t...> wrote:
> > Leo Larivee writes:
> > Dick Naas, former NED DME, Quartet Champ, and a long-time chorus
> > sent this post to NEDAC (NED Association of Champions) and, since
> it is so
> > relevant to recent Harmonet discussions, it¹s now posted for
> > A man named Cash once decreed
> > That barbershop singing succeed
> > Their parts they would carry
> > And Cash would sing bari
> > But now it¹s all contest and greed.
> > Leo
> > Dick Naas Writes:
> > >>>>>
> > Membership and participation are down because many have realized
> that it's
> > not all about contest and "Singing A's"!!!!!
> > What's missing is the HOBBY part of our Society. Singing better
> fine but
> > not just to score better in contest. It's a hobby guys-not a
> business and
> > unless you are trying to win a contest, you do not need to sing A
> > maintain and perpetuate our organization and get people to
> need fun
> > activities.
> > At risk of annoying a lot of people, I will say that when we get
> > unless we utilize the time to plan how we take over the District
> and make it
> > a Hobby again, all we will accomplish is having a private Qt love
> > fest--which in and of itself is OK, but there are more important
> issues we
> > need to tackle!! Talk on the net is cheap guys, and we are
> > that, wouldn't you agree?
> > I wouldn't mind sharing some ideas, but it seems we keep going
> to "us"
> > and our contest goals of getting to the "Big Show". Well someone
> > take another look at that, because it's not a hobby any more and
> we don't
> > start paying attention soon, it will be taken from us. And
> > paranoia-that's reality. Reality is that we are down 9,000 net
> members in
> > the last 12 years-- The focus during that time has been way too
> > contest. If this new direction was so good the how come the loss
> > They didn't all die!! We have lost our 'balance". While our
> > thinks that one of our goals should be "ethnic diversity"-to be a
> > welcoming society-my belief is that one of our goals should be
> diversity in
> > our rehearsals both QT and chorus to include other activities
> > working for contest. Bob Johnson, former Society Director of
> > Services, warned the DME's in 1975 "DO NOT LET CONTEST STRATIFY
> > SOCIETY" That 30 year old warning is now our reality and the
> > between the elite and the average man because of this.
> > I love my HOBBY and I want our distinctive American art form to
> remain what
> > it was intended to be; for the average man to enjoy with his
> friends. It
> > was not intended to be professional---to be packaged, marketed
> sold to
> > the public as if it were another form of pro-entertainment like
> > Rap, Classical or Jazz. Just take a look at the new logo and
> > ad???? going out to the public-not very musical. We should be
> > these unilateral decisions made by Harris, Hopkins, and Wilson. I
> want our
> > HOBBY to always have as it's roots, healthy activity for men with
> regard to
> > it's history, longevity, with respect for the values and
> > barbershop. And I am not ashamed to say that I still believe we
> should keep
> > the basics of the sound in tact and insist that we sing
> > contest. Regardless of the rules in contest, cream will always
> rise to the
> > top guys and contest and singing better are important, but if we
> not have
> > the average guy at the chapter level then who do we sing with?
> > consistently support our conventions-our inter-chapters? Where
> will we go
> > when we can't compete anymore guys and that day is coming faster
> than you
> > think!!!!
> > Keep the faith and pray for the Red Sox!!
> > Dick Naas
> > " Ring"
> > "Anything Goes"
> > >>>>>>>>>>>
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]