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Re: ambassador quartet possibilities

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  • secondedishtnr
    Message 1 of 29 , Apr 26, 2012
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      --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Boltenko <aboltenko@...> wrote:
      >
      > Gary,
      >
      > I do understand that but without financial support it is not even possible.
      > Other than that, a quartet with a name simliar to Dapper Dans with many
      > pre-selected and qualified singers singing under the same name that will be
      > presented as Barbershop Ambassadors. Come to think, this may be a good name
      > for that quartet
      >
      > On Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 10:59 AM, Gary Davis <gwdavis44@...> wrote:
      >
      > > **
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Alexander asks, "Would the current Collegiate or International champs be a
      > > logical choice? It will be part of the promotional reward - win-win for
      > > both
      > > the quartet and the Society.
      > >
      > > They'd be great ambassadors for our music but running around the country
      > > for
      > > a year takes some planning and the winners' personal commitments for the
      > > year ahead might prove challenging to such a plan.
      > >
      > > Gary Davis
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      > --
      > *
      > Alexander Boltenko
      > Russian Bass from St.Petersburg, FL
      > russkibass@...
      > singing with Compound Interest quartet
      > http://barbershopquartet.us
      > Cell 269-501-SING (7464)
      > "Barbershop quartet singing is four guys tasting the holy essence of four
      > individual mechanisms coming into complete agreement."
      > Meredith
      > Willson
      >
      > *
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • GSBMedalMusic@comcast.net
      Men in Black did a goodly number of these kinds of appearances in the year or two following their collegiate championship, including the youth workshop here in
      Message 2 of 29 , Apr 26, 2012
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        Men in Black did a goodly number of these kinds
        of appearances in the year or two
        following their collegiate championship, including the youth workshop
        here in northern Illinois.
        I seem to recall that Buzz Haeger wrote a big check to help underwrite
        the costs of bringing them in to indeed be great "youth" ambassadors.
        That's the kind of leadership that makes a HUGE difference.

        - Helen Giallombardo

        At 09:59 AM 4/26/2012, Gary Davis wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        >Alexander asks, "Would the current Collegiate or International champs be a
        >logical choice? It will be part of the promotional reward - win-win for both
        >the quartet and the Society.
        >
        >They'd be great ambassadors for our music but running around the country for
        >a year takes some planning and the winners' personal commitments for the
        >year ahead might prove challenging to such a plan.
        >
        >Gary Davis
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • John
        First, since we seem to have a hard time attracting members, I d look into the possibility of hiring a Public Relations/Marketing firm that could re-engineer
        Message 3 of 29 , Apr 26, 2012
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          First, since we seem to have a hard time attracting members, I'd look into the possibility of hiring a Public Relations/Marketing firm that could re-engineer and promote the Society to the public at large.

          Here we are now, located in the heart of music city, Nashville. And (as I understood) that was to help place us more in the light of the national music scene. I don't think just moving there makes that total transition. And our standard of "word of mouth" advertising doesn't seem to reach the masses.

          I would seek a firm that has a proven record in transforming company/organization images with the public. I would hire a firm that has no ties whatsoever to Barbershop. Meaning... I would not hire a firm that employs one of our own.

          The rebuilding of the "brand", if you will, needs to come from professionals that don't really connect to barbershop (like most of the public). I (or presumably a well put-together committee) would need to thoroughly explain our scenario and then let the professionals do what they do best.

          Then, we must listen. We *MUST* listen. Listen, and take heed. We absolutely must set aside this notion that we know what's best. Everyone must set aside egos and pull for the good of our society. That IS what we're wanting, right?

          "But John, that costs MONEY!!!"

          Yes. It does. But if you cannot overcome the public's perception, though you may win some battles, you will not win the war. Most usually, when barbershop is presented on TV (in front of the masses), it's in some comedic fashion. We are either a part of a joke or we're the butt of the joke.

          We are not a comedy society. It's about our sound and camaraderie, not how we can get people to laugh at us. We aren't taken seriously enough on the large scale. If you aren't taken seriously, people don't consider coming to your shows or joining your ranks.

          Secondly, to follow the public relations/marketing campaign, you will need to adjust the culture within the BHS society. I suggest churches that have this same struggle as to "traditional services with choir robes and the good-old hymns (that many hold dear) versus a "contemporary" service with more upbeat, modern worship music. The struggle is to attract larger attendance at services. They need to appeal to the younger generations while not losing the older generations that hold traditions of the past so strongly. (Sounds familiar.)

          It seems that the vast, VAST majority of chapters out there try to do this very thing of trying to please everyone. And we SHOULD try! However, churches can accomplish this by having multiple services on the same day; One traditional, one contemporary. We can't really do this in the course of one evening. And I would suggest that it would be difficult to have multiple meeting nights per chapter to accomplish this, either.

          I think it's time we offer "traditional" choruses and "contemporary" choruses and stop trying to mix them. This would not be a mandate from HQ, but rather a highly encouraged suggestion to help everyone get more of what they are looking for and clarify the direction of hundreds of chapters that quite literally don't have one. A clear, concise mission and vision statement should be had by every chapter; one that is repeatable by every member so that everyone in that chapter is on board with the direction that chapter has chosen.

          I think we're all attuned enough to know what traditional and contemporary would look like. I think our downfall has been that people can't let go of one or the other. I'm not saying you have to go hard-line one way or the other, but each chapter should declare which it is and operate, for the most part, in that manner. This would allow everyone to have more satisfaction following their choice of chapters. It would also take the pressure off each chapter to try to inject the other's "brand of barbershop", if you will causing consternation among the whole of the group.

          Third: (This kind of aligns with my first point.) I have brought this up in other forums. A friend and I have considered barbershopping akin to drum corps. One thing drum corps has done to "bring it to the public" is air "The Summer Music Games" each year (the DCI Championships) on PBS.

          I think we should also try to get our International contests aired and show the public the serious, and really good side, of barbershop. (Again, promoting a newer image.) We need to present more of the "A" side of barbershop instead of what most people see.... the "C" side.

          I don't mean to offend anyone. But, when people look to spend their precious time doing things, it needs to be with something of value to them. No one joins an Apathy Group.

          We should, in any way possible, get our international contest aired even if it's just the top 10 quartets and top 10 choruses. People would, if nothing else, stumble upon it at some point. And for the love of Pete, don't call it the BARBERSHOP Contest or whatever. Call it something related to July 4th or something. It's an American art form. Call it the America's Independence Games.... or I don't know, something about America, Music, July 4, etc.

          Why *not* call it barbershop? Because we haven't changed the public perception/stigma of this unique style of a capella singing yet. For as much as barbershop means to each and every one of us, it just doesn't mean that for everyone else. And we have to realize that before we can go about trying to change our image in their minds.

          Back to the PBS program: To take it in a different direction, if we can't sell a program of just the International contest, why not pair it with ANOTHER American musical art form (Bluegrass) and do some kind of documentary, or special on "Bluegrass and Barbershop: America's Musical art forms" or something along that line. (As you can probably tell, I do ideas, not specifics.) Present Bluegrass for an hour and then Barbershop for an hour. You'll gather even MORE people's interest if just for the Bluegrass part.

          We should consider Barbershop and Bluegrass.
          Both distinctly American.
          Barbershop, 1938. Bluegrass, 1948. (Both origins can be traced back earlier.)
          Barbershop (though not officially designated) has traditional and contemporary schools
          Bluegrass has traditional and progressive. See their history of first, second and third generations – Traditional, Progressive, Gospel, Neo-traditional, and "New" Grass. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluegrass_music)
          Bluegrass seems to be evolving by nature. Barbershop seems to evolve under duress.
          Is there a place for both schools (traditional and non-traditional)? Certainly.
          Does bluegrass have a hard time with public acceptance? I would suggest yes. (From the Wikipedia site listed above) "East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee is the only university in the world with a comprehensive program of bluegrass, in its Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music program." One school. In the world.

          Our headquarters is one block from where Bluegrass began. (I saw the placque!)

          I haven't studied Bluegrass but just for a few minutes to see there is something that can surely be learned and shared between these forms of music.

          And yet, I digress again.

          A last thought on the PBS program: Since we go to different cities each year, why not involve the cities' visitor's bureau in the production and "side-feature" each town each year. Perhaps they help SPONSOR the program?! Do some man-on-the-street segments grabbing people walking by and teaching them a quick tag. Show how easy it is.

          I apologize for my ramblings. I like to present clearer, well-planned written communications. But, I think you get the gist of what I'd like to see if I were CEO for a day.


          John Rentz


          --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, "Montana Jack Fitzpatrick" <mtjack@...> wrote:
          >
          > As we all know, the society board of directors has been engaged in searching for a new CEO. This is a most critical time for our society and they are exercising great care in making this selection. Whatever actions this new CEO might take could affect our society’s entire existence---for good or bad.
          >
          > Let’s just imagine for a moment----your phone rings and it is society President Alan Lamson notifying you that you have been chosen to be the new CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society. You pack up and head for Nashville.
          >
          > Next Monday, you report to society HQ’s to assume your new job. After finding your office, getting a cup of coffee and sitting down in your new chair---what are the first five (5) things you would do that you feel would get the society back on the right track to stop our membership decline, start the society growing again AND----your choice---what do you think are the most important things that you want to get done as the new CEO? Remember, it is not about you anymore. You are now responsible for 23,000 other barbershoppers.
          >
          > Keep in mind, as you think this over and compose your answer, the limitations that the CEO has placed on him. He cannot, for instance, unilaterally require more 7th chords in all the music or change the name of the society (or the logo). However, he can hire and fire and reorganize his staff, etc. Also, he can make recommendations to the board for policy changes.
          >
          > What are your top five?
          >
          > Blessings,
          >
          > Montana Jack, keeping the faith and keeping it barbershop
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • Paul Girard
          And yet, in conversations, people overwhelmingly say, Barbershop! I love that stuff. or words to that effect. Maybe they think they re the only ones who feel
          Message 4 of 29 , Apr 27, 2012
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            And yet, in conversations, people overwhelmingly say, "Barbershop! I love that stuff." or words to that effect.
            Maybe they think they're the only ones who feel that way because the comedians (Cheers, Conan) treat it derisively - that's their job.
            Changing perception is the name of the game.
            Thing is, the perception of "wonderful music" already exists. Just need to let everyone know it's OK to feel that way.

            Paul

            On Apr 27, 2012, at 12:28 AM, bbshop@yahoogroups.com wrote:

            > Re: CEO for a day
            > Posted by: "John" jg62bbshop@... jg62bbshop
            > Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:10 am (PDT)
            >
            > <snip>
            > Why *not* call it barbershop? Because we haven't changed the public perception/stigma of this unique style of a capella singing yet. For as much as barbershop means to each and every one of us, it just doesn't mean that for everyone else. And we have to realize that before we can go about trying to change our image in their minds.
            >
            > <snip>
            > John Rentz
            >



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Keith Eckhardt
            Paul is on the right track. I would guess that most of the people that know about barbershop have a neutral to positive perception. But there are so many
            Message 5 of 29 , Apr 28, 2012
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              Paul is on the right track. I would guess that most of the people that know about barbershop have a neutral to positive perception.

              But there are so many people who HAVE NO CLUE that barbershop exists and they are the ones we need to connect with.

              We really don’t need a new CEO for this. If we choose to change this, WE CAN DO IT. And what we can do is work to get our name and logo and sound in front of every person in North America.

              There is a pretty easy grass roots way to get started. Put a small team together in your district and then after every contest the team submits a short but upbeat PR piece to the media, especially newspapers, to the towns where the performers live. Start with only the district winners to get the process working. For the second year include 2nd and 3rd place. Next, for districts with division, include them too.

              I surprised a chorus several years ago. I wrote a nice PR piece about them winning their division. It eventually turned into a major feature article with color photos on the front page of the second section of the local newspaper.

              Put a second team in place to fill up the Saturday night contest auditorium in the towns where you have conventions. Put a coupon in the local news paper that lets anyone with a local address get in for $10. To meet ASCAP rules they have to register. Give their names and addresses to the local chapter(s) to add to their chapter show mailing lists. Teach the whole audience to sing a tag.

              Even better, notify all the local high schools and colleges that anyone with a current student body card can register at the door for the whole convention for FREE. By then you’ll know the approximate back row for regular attendees and you seat them behind that. Then have a dozen decent quartets ready to engage these young newbies in tags at every free moment. Make sure their badge is unique. Plan a youth festival in the near future. You already have a beginning mailing list of youth who have heard our exciting music.

              So with hundreds of PR pieces going out and thousands of new people hearing live barbershop, what do you think will happen?

              Keith Eckhardt
              President
              D009 Placerville

              From: Paul Girard
              Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 8:50 AM
              To: BBShop
              Subject: [bbshop] Re: CEO for a day

              And yet, in conversations, people overwhelmingly say, "Barbershop! I love that stuff." or words to that effect.
              Maybe they think they're the only ones who feel that way because the comedians (Cheers, Conan) treat it derisively - that's their job.
              Changing perception is the name of the game.

              Thing is, the perception of "wonderful music" already exists. Just need to let everyone know it's OK to feel that way.

              Paul


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • bandit7577@yahoo.com
              Paul, you are right on track. WE are the CEOs of the Society. A new CEO in Nashville is NOT going to do anything to enhance our hobby. A GREAT CEO might be
              Message 6 of 29 , Apr 29, 2012
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                Paul, you are right on track.
                WE are the CEOs of the Society. A new CEO in Nashville is NOT going to do anything to enhance our hobby. A GREAT CEO might be able to increase the membership of the Nashville chapter by about 50 or 60 members, and how many of those will last out the year?

                I am the CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society, my friends and neighbors know me as a singer and a barbershopper.

                It is my job, each and every day to be a CEO; a Communicator, Entertainer, and Organizer to make sure that these people that I see each and every week of my life know that there are active and vital barbershop chapters in OUR community.
                It is my job in the chapter to Communicate, Encourage, and Organize us in activities that are Clean Entertaining and Optimistic to make sure that we want to come back next week to see old friends, bring new friends and Clearly Enjoy Ourselves.

                Our declining membership is a symptom of something deeper that is wrong, it shows that we don't want to grow, we have grown apathetic and satisfied with the status quo.
                Many of you will say differently, but all you have to do is look around, the successful chapters grow more successful. The average Joe Barbershopper has NO CHANCE of EVER singing on the International Stage in front of a huge audience, the metrics just don't support it, less than ten percent of the chapters ever compete in International each year, and many of those repeat year after year.

                We need to Clearly Evaluate Our priorities as members and chapter members. Our international CEO should be focused on things like, are our resources concentrated in the right areas? Should we spend so much time and effort in a Huge International competition that draws less than 25 percent of the membership? Could those resources be better spent in smaller ways by making sure that all of our chapters have a unified internet presence? All of our chapters are actively involved in our communities music programs? Do all of our chapters have a community service project that enhances exposure in the community?

                There are roughly 28,000 members in the Barbershop Harmony Society organized into roughly 800 chapters throughout the US and Canada. That means there are at least 800 opportunities that we can bring music to our friends and neighbors.
                That means that if just the 10 percent that work (an old cliche) we would increase membership by almost 3000 by this time next year.
                We set lofty goals and unreasonable expectations as a group sometimes, but is it unreasonable to think that in a year we could increase our numbers by a mere 10 percent? At that rate we would double our membership in 7 to 10 years.

                This post is too long already, but we all need to be CEOs.

                Cheerfully Encouraging Others,

                Doug Johnson
                Robbinsdale Minnesota
                --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, Paul Girard <paul.e.girard@...> wrote:
                >
                > And yet, in conversations, people overwhelmingly say, "Barbershop! I love that stuff." or words to that effect.
                > Maybe they think they're the only ones who feel that way because the comedians (Cheers, Conan) treat it derisively - that's their job.
                > Changing perception is the name of the game.
                > Thing is, the perception of "wonderful music" already exists. Just need to let everyone know it's OK to feel that way.
                >
                > Paul
                >
                > On Apr 27, 2012, at 12:28 AM, bbshop@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                >
                > > Re: CEO for a day
                > > Posted by: "John" jg62bbshop@... jg62bbshop
                > > Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:10 am (PDT)
                > >
                > > <snip>
                > > Why *not* call it barbershop? Because we haven't changed the public perception/stigma of this unique style of a capella singing yet. For as much as barbershop means to each and every one of us, it just doesn't mean that for everyone else. And we have to realize that before we can go about trying to change our image in their minds.
                > >
                > > <snip>
                > > John Rentz
                > >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • Montana Jack Fitzpatrick
                Doug, Thanks for your thoughts. I have been enjoying your posts. Just to keep you up to date. We are rapidly approaching 22,500 members (probably by mid
                Message 7 of 29 , Apr 30, 2012
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                  Doug,

                  Thanks for your thoughts. I have been enjoying your posts.

                  Just to keep you up to date. We are rapidly approaching 22,500 members (probably by mid year) not 28,000. Also, the number of chapters has dropped to 770. Last time I checked (about a year ago) we had 64 chapters with less than 8 members (8 are needed to maintain a charter). Finally, the percentage of chapters that actually get to the International stage, in any given year, is approximately 4%. In all this, only about 57% members show up at any chapter event. 43% just don’t come any more.

                  Not trying to be nit picky----just thought you would like to know.

                  You are right about the sea of apathy in which we are drowning. My best guess as to cause is the aging of our society. Over one half of all members are over 65 years of age. On the other hand, our youth membership, up to and including age 26 has remained static at 1250 for the past 9 months (at least it has not dropped).

                  Most of the older members have never had to promote their chapter or recruit. They had a pretty stable audience for their annual shows and the new members just kept showing up. Now that things have dried up, they just seem to motor on----meeting every Tuesday as the members slowly drop away. Of all new members, we lose over 50% in three years.

                  Retention is a critical problem. If we simply retained more newly recruited members we would be growing---not declining. We have prepared a simple to use, step by step program on how to treat guests in order to ensure that they become committed, functional members of a chapter. We just can’t get anyone interested in reading it.

                  Many I have talked to say that it just isn’t fun any more. There is a great conflict between those just wanting to have fun and those wanting to work hard all night to sing better and compete. There are those that suggest that, if you don’t want to compete, you should go find another chapter that just wants to have fun. The problem is that most of our chapters are in small towns and there isn’t another choice.

                  Four things really seem to help: First, singing better always attracts more interested guests. Second, coupled with singing well, community exposure is vital. Chapters just have to be active and willing performers in their communities. Thirdly, encouraging quartetting seems to be a hallmark of successful chapters. Finally, getting the entire chapter involved and working towards recruiting and retaining new members is critical. Just one or two guys can do a lot but it really has to be a chapter effort.

                  Operation Harold Hill, now in progress, has, as it’s basic foundation, the involvement of the entire chapter in recruiting new members.

                  Of course, the magic ingredient in all of this is to do things to have fun. There are so many things that can be done in chapter meetings and particularly outside of chapter meetings to have fun. Just ask for ideas and watch your mailbox get filled up with them. These are the things that weave together the fabric of the barbershop chapter.

                  Just as a personal coda, I think that youth are going to be the salvation of our society. If the kids come, the fathers will follow. This is a brand new world for most of us. Fathers get involved with their kids activities now. We have to create a vital link with the MENC and work together with them for the benefit of both groups. First we need to show them the benefits of such an arrangement---then prove it. The chapters have to be trained and encouraged to warmly and avidly accept younger members and to mentor them towards becoming good singers and better men. Watch the chorus competition at any level and see the small number of youth that are on the stage. We need to create such a warm welcoming environment for youth that we will have every front row composed of our youth.

                  There is a lot more than this that will be facing our new CEO but these are some of the most critical needs out here in the world of barbershop.

                  Just some thoughts from an old soldier.

                  Blessings to all,

                  Montana Jack, keeping the faith and keeping it barbershop
                  Chairman, All Ages Task Force
                  2012 Keynote Speaker, International Board of Directors


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Joe De Felice
                  Jack old Pal, As difficult as it is to read these drastic (numbers) changes in SPEBSQSA/BHS, I must say that this is the best post I have read in this thread.
                  Message 8 of 29 , Apr 30, 2012
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                    Jack old Pal,

                    As difficult as it is to read these drastic
                    (numbers) changes in SPEBSQSA/BHS, I must say
                    that this is the best post I have read in this
                    thread. And, certainly, a "call to arms" for
                    the remaining troops without a doubt.

                    At a continued rate of decline, such as the
                    numbers indicate, we are in BIG trouble and that
                    should wake up a whole bunch of concerned
                    Barbershop people. I read the post you were
                    answering, and I think the writer was confused on
                    the issue of "using our resources" for "BIG
                    International competitions". I dont know what
                    resources he referred to, but the Society, I
                    would imagine, needs the competitions to bring in
                    bucks and keep the spirit of improvement alive
                    and well, lest the artform would decline.

                    Without measurement, without working at
                    improvement and possibly reaching closer to the
                    top, we would only sit by and watch those who
                    excel, as we wither and sputter along; and, I
                    believe that is just what is happening among the
                    great masses who ignore that part of the
                    "hobby". If you ignore competition and that
                    which it takes to "get it right", you ignore the
                    sharing and the part of the hobby that seems to
                    have been the "draw" and the
                    "hold-em"... i.e. Harmony, Chords, Balance and
                    Blend and consistent overtones to raise the
                    goose-bumps. We MUST aim for bringing that back
                    to ALL chapters. These are not just words from
                    past Judging systems, but rather what we are
                    trying to preserve. We can continue as we have
                    been with smaller chapters, older men (getting
                    older) enjoying their "version" of what is real
                    Barbershop, until they (we) die off. Sad, but
                    there must be room for all of us to exist
                    together and bring in new generations to carry
                    on, lest the efforts of nearly 75 years be lost forever.

                    You have obviously had successes with some of you
                    surveys and studies of where we are, where we've
                    been and who "we" are and what "we"
                    want... what we need now is a great leader(s)
                    to take us where we hope to go and reverse the
                    downward trends reflected by your disturbing
                    numbers. It is certain from these trends, that
                    we have yet to correct the downward path.

                    ShowGlowJoe


                    At 4/30/2012 03:07 PM, Montana Jack Fitzpatrick wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >Doug,
                    >
                    >Thanks for your thoughts. I have been enjoying your posts.
                    >
                    >Just to keep you up to date. We are rapidly
                    >approaching 22,500 members (probably by mid
                    >year) not 28,000. Also, the number of chapters
                    >has dropped to 770. Last time I checked (about a
                    >year ago) we had 64 chapters with less than 8
                    >members (8 are needed to maintain a charter).
                    >Finally, the percentage of chapters that
                    >actually get to the International stage, in any
                    >given year, is approximately 4%. In all this,
                    >only about 57% members show up at any chapter
                    >event. 43% just don’t come any more.
                    >
                    >Not trying to be nit picky----just thought you would like to know.
                    >
                    >You are right about the sea of apathy in which
                    >we are drowning. My best guess as to cause is
                    >the aging of our society. Over one half of all
                    >members are over 65 years of age. On the other
                    >hand, our youth membership, up to and including
                    >age 26 has remained static at 1250 for the past
                    >9 months (at least it has not dropped).
                    >
                    >Most of the older members have never had to
                    >promote their chapter or recruit. They had a
                    >pretty stable audience for their annual shows
                    >and the new members just kept showing up. Now
                    >that things have dried up, they just seem to
                    >motor on----meeting every Tuesday as the members
                    >slowly drop away. Of all new members, we lose over 50% in three years.
                    >
                    >Retention is a critical problem. If we simply
                    >retained more newly recruited members we would
                    >be growing---not declining. We have prepared a
                    >simple to use, step by step program on how to
                    >treat guests in order to ensure that they become
                    >committed, functional members of a chapter. We
                    >just can’t get anyone interested in reading it.
                    >
                    >Many I have talked to say that it just isn’t
                    >fun any more. There is a great conflict between
                    >those just wanting to have fun and those wanting
                    >to work hard all night to sing better and
                    >compete. There are those that suggest that, if
                    >you don’t want to compete, you should go find
                    >another chapter that just wants to have fun. The
                    >problem is that most of our chapters are in
                    >small towns and there isn’t another choice.
                    >
                    >Four things really seem to help: First, singing
                    >better always attracts more interested guests.
                    >Second, coupled with singing well, community
                    >exposure is vital. Chapters just have to be
                    >active and willing performers in their
                    >communities. Thirdly, encouraging quartetting
                    >seems to be a hallmark of successful chapters.
                    >Finally, getting the entire chapter involved and
                    >working towards recruiting and retaining new
                    >members is critical. Just one or two guys can do
                    >a lot but it really has to be a chapter effort.
                    >
                    >Operation Harold Hill, now in progress, has, as
                    >it’s basic foundation, the involvement of the
                    >entire chapter in recruiting new members.
                    >
                    >Of course, the magic ingredient in all of this
                    >is to do things to have fun. There are so many
                    >things that can be done in chapter meetings and
                    >particularly outside of chapter meetings to have
                    >fun. Just ask for ideas and watch your mailbox
                    >get filled up with them. These are the things
                    >that weave together the fabric of the barbershop chapter.
                    >
                    >Just as a personal coda, I think that youth are
                    >going to be the salvation of our society. If the
                    >kids come, the fathers will follow. This is a
                    >brand new world for most of us. Fathers get
                    >involved with their kids activities now. We have
                    >to create a vital link with the MENC and work
                    >together with them for the benefit of both
                    >groups. First we need to show them the benefits
                    >of such an arrangement---then prove it. The
                    >chapters have to be trained and encouraged to
                    >warmly and avidly accept younger members and to
                    >mentor them towards becoming good singers and
                    >better men. Watch the chorus competition at any
                    >level and see the small number of youth that are
                    >on the stage. We need to create such a warm
                    >welcoming environment for youth that we will
                    >have every front row composed of our youth.
                    >
                    >There is a lot more than this that will be
                    >facing our new CEO but these are some of the
                    >most critical needs out here in the world of barbershop.
                    >
                    >Just some thoughts from an old soldier.
                    >
                    >Blessings to all,
                    >
                    >Montana Jack, keeping the faith and keeping it barbershop
                    >Chairman, All Ages Task Force
                    >2012 Keynote Speaker, International Board of Directors
                    >
                    >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                    >


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Stephen Rafe
                    Please see my interleaved thoughts, suggestions, and other responses. Stephen STEPHEN RAFE ... 1 -- You are right about the sea of apathy in which we are
                    Message 9 of 29 , Apr 30, 2012
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                      Please see my interleaved thoughts, suggestions, and other responses.

                      Stephen
                      STEPHEN RAFE
                      ----- Original Message -----

                      1 -- You are right about the sea of apathy in which we are drowning. My best guess as to cause is the aging of our society. Over one half of all members are over 65 years of age.

                      ** What steps are being taken to follow up the excellent report of the All Ages Task Force you headed? It deserves follow-up.

                      2 -- Retention is a critical problem. If we simply retained more newly recruited members we would be growing---not declining. We have prepared a simple to use, step by step program on how to treat guests in order to ensure that they become committed, functional members of a chapter. We just can’t get anyone interested in reading it.

                      ** Guidance on how to interact with guests is an important starting point. Learning how to retain newer/younger members is even-more critical. The All Ages study contains at least a partial solution: In effect, we need to understand them, meet them where they are, and help them get to where they want to go. That requires a type and level of training that the Society has not offered yet.

                      3 -- Many I have talked to say that it just isn’t fun any more. There is a great conflict between those just wanting to have fun and those wanting to work hard all night to sing better and compete. There are those that suggest that, if you don’t want to compete, you should go find another chapter that just wants to have fun. The problem is that most of our chapters are in small towns and there isn’t another choice.

                      ** Conflict of interests, intentions, and purpose is evident in many organizations. Studies show that most "seniors" tend to prefer socializing while younger members are more inclined toward achieving. When the conflict level is high, they younger ones move to other choruses, form quartets (and stop attending "rehearsals," or quit altogether. Seniors complain about spending too much time on the risers learning music; younger members complain about spending to much time learning music in rehearsal, period.

                      4 -- Four things really seem to help:

                      First, singing better always attracts more interested guests.

                      ** On the surface that seems logical enough. So the question becomes: What keeps it from happening?

                      Second, coupled with singing well, community exposure is vital.

                      ** Choruses are being told to NOT sing in public if their quality will give the chapter or the hobby a bad name.

                      Thirdly, encouraging quartetting seems to be a hallmark of successful chapters.

                      ** The challenge is to keep them coming to "CHORUS rehearsals." And to give them a role in teaching music painlessly.

                      Finally, getting the entire chapter involved and working towards recruiting and retaining new members is critical.

                      ** This sounds logical, too. What is needed is an actionable plan -- one the members will be willing and able to carry out.

                      5 -- Operation Harold Hill, now in progress, has, as it’s basic foundation, the involvement of the entire chapter in recruiting new members.

                      ** Recruitment is not the core issue.

                      6 -- Of course, the magic ingredient in all of this is to do things to have fun.

                      ** If "having fun" meant the same thing to everyone, and IF there were a solution to "having fun," there would be no problem. Chapters need to identify and clarify what "having fun" means to them, specifically. Then they need to "sell" that concept -- and only that concept. Again, we need to go back to the All Ages study: Find out what they want and make sure they get it. And in the discovery process, figure out what keeps the chapter from allowing that to happen. One requires a critical analysis; the other, a meaningful session on visioning. Then, and only then, should the communications plan be designed and implemented.

                      7 -- Just as a personal coda, I think that youth are going to be the salvation of our society. If the kids come, the fathers will follow. This is a brand new world for most of us. Fathers get involved with their kids activities now.

                      ** A lot of kids these days are figuratively "fatherless" either due to divorce or overload. The present "fathers" in barbershopping are largely grandfathers and even great-grandfathers.

                      8 -- We have to create a vital link with the MENC and work together with them for the benefit of both groups. First we need to show them the benefits of such an arrangement---then prove it.

                      ** -- Good idea. Is anything being done to bring that about?

                      9 -- The chapters have to be trained and encouraged to warmly and avidly accept younger members and to mentor them towards becoming good singers and better men.

                      ** Absolutely!! And mentoring and succession planning are among the core issues. However, as the All Ages study conveys, two things need to happen: We need to accommodate their shorter attention span and faster learning curve to keep them from becoming bored, and we need to start placing a much higher value on the administrative/leadership side of this hobby.

                      10 -- Watch the chorus competition at any level and see the small number of youth that are on the stage. We need to create such a warm welcoming environment for youth that we will have every front row composed of our youth.

                      ** On the other hand, check out the average age of the top twenty quartets' members: It's far below the age of the Society's average member. Also see how many of them sing together in the chorus of a local chapter. Or how many sing in their chapter's chorus at all. Some of them don't even live in the same state.
                      (Younger = higher achievement drive// Older = higher affiliation drive).

                      This Society CAN be saved, but enough people have to care so deeply that they are willing to recognize that "the old ways" simply haven't worked, are not working, and are not likely to work in the future. And then those same people need to establish and implement a succession plan at the International and District levels and make room for new ideas. Anyone who has read the work of Chris Arguers (former James Bryant Conant Professor of Education and Organizational Behavior at the Harvard Graduate School of Business) will recognize in barbershopping the style of those who encourage the gathering of information (such as very good studies), but don't act on them in ways that might change the course of action. As Arguers says, they come up short in the actions department. http://www.winstonbrill.com/bril001/html/article_index/articles/51-100/article60_body.html

                      We need action.



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • themcalexanders
                      Joe, the last I remember, you weren t a member of the BHS any more. Have you considered re-upping to do your part to reverse the downward trend? Ditto for the
                      Message 10 of 29 , Apr 30, 2012
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                        Joe, the last I remember, you weren't a member of the BHS any more. Have you considered re-upping to do your part to reverse the downward trend?

                        Ditto for the others who love barbershop but don't maintain their membership in BHS, SAI, HI, or any of the affiliate organizations.

                        Your membership, whether you're active or not, DOES help. And so does your support of the conventions which, like Joe said, help produce the non-dues revenue stream that keeps our dues reasonable.

                        But the best possible way for the new CEO to not have as much to worry about would be if all of us were at our chapter meetings/rehearsals (whatever you call them) on a regular basis, as much as we could be, singing and participating.

                        If you're not there, don't you miss it terribly? I know I do.

                        Ann McAlexander
                        Capital City Chorus, Region 4, SAI
                        Melodeers, Region 3, SAI
                        BHS wife, mom, and Associate

                        --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, Joe De Felice <amicijoe@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Jack old Pal,
                        >
                        > As difficult as it is to read these drastic
                        > (numbers) changes in SPEBSQSA/BHS, I must say
                        > that this is the best post I have read in this
                        > thread. And, certainly, a "call to arms" for
                        > the remaining troops without a doubt.
                        >...
                        > You have obviously had successes with some of you
                        > surveys and studies of where we are, where we've
                        > been and who "we" are and what "we"
                        > want... what we need now is a great leader(s)
                        > to take us where we hope to go and reverse the
                        > downward trends reflected by your disturbing
                        > numbers. It is certain from these trends, that
                        > we have yet to correct the downward path.
                        >
                        > ShowGlowJoe
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