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If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS (SPEBSQSA))

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  • bandit7577@yahoo.com
    I love threads like this and it got me thinking, What would I do if I were going to start a chapter today? 1. I would need to have at least 5 or 6
    Message 1 of 28 , Jul 1, 2012
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      I love threads like this and it got me thinking, "What would I do if I were going to start a chapter today?"

      1. I would need to have at least 5 or 6 enthusiastic men who could sell. (wasn't OC Cash a salesman?)

      2. I would only have a formal chapter meeting once a month, maybe twice a month.

      3. I would require all members to be in a quartet of VLQ of no more than eight members.

      4. Each 'quartet' would meet at least once a month outside of a chapter meeting to go over music, have fun, learn their parts, etc.

      5. I would scour the community for some of the best music director's available, especially choral music people, and ask them if they would teach us how to sing and learn music. As an incentive I would try to make sure that these people attend Harmony University and Director's College at least once every other year.

      6. The fifth week of any month (which occurs about 4 times a year, look at any calendar) we would have a chapter family get together, a cookout, a song fest, a performance, a night on the town, etc., that would involve members, their spouses and significant others, children, chapter sponsors, local dignitaries, and anyone else that might enjoy having a good time and might spread the word about what a fun bunch of people we are, and how well we sing.

      a. all quartets would sing a song at these events
      b. all chapter members would perform en mass at these events
      c. having fun would be required at these events

      7. From the beginning I would emphasize that we would sing WELL because no one really wants to hear us sing badly and it really is a lot more fun to sing well.

      8. Each and every member would receive a complete book of free music and tags available from the Barbershop Harmony Society, which would be our repertoire to start, with the understanding that when we get better we will move to more challenging arrangements.

      9. We would compete at the very first opportunity, either with our quartets or as a chorus, hopefully both. Request to sing first, not expect to win, and with a mission of having as much fun as possible at our first convention.

      10. Find three great administrators and one good IT person to make sure that everyone can stay informed of what is going on.

      this is just a list of 10 things that I would do in no particular order, with no explanation given for why I would do things this way.

      Now I'll just sit back and watch the comments pour in from International about how great it is.

      Doug Johnson
      Robbinsdale, Minnesota
    • Charlie Davenport
      I m no longer with International but I will offer that it is a great idea… except for the Now I ll just sit back and watch the comments pour in from
      Message 2 of 28 , Jul 1, 2012
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        I'm no longer with "International" but I will offer that it is a great idea… except for the "Now I'll just sit back and watch the comments pour in from International about how great it is" part..

        What's the matter with starting a chapter exactly as planned? One thing worse that not following a plan is to have an excellent plan and not even try to execute it… what say ye?

        Charlie Davenport
        Past Membership Director but still Membership Caring..


        --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, bandit7577@... wrote:
        >
        > I love threads like this and it got me thinking, "What would I do if I were going to start a chapter today?"
        >
        > 1. I would need to have at least 5 or 6 enthusiastic men who could sell. (wasn't OC Cash a salesman?)
        >
        > 2. I would only have a formal chapter meeting once a month, maybe twice a month.
        >
        > 3. I would require all members to be in a quartet of VLQ of no more than eight members.
        >
        > 4. Each 'quartet' would meet at least once a month outside of a chapter meeting to go over music, have fun, learn their parts, etc.
        >
        > 5. I would scour the community for some of the best music director's available, especially choral music people, and ask them if they would teach us how to sing and learn music. As an incentive I would try to make sure that these people attend Harmony University and Director's College at least once every other year.
        >
        > 6. The fifth week of any month (which occurs about 4 times a year, look at any calendar) we would have a chapter family get together, a cookout, a song fest, a performance, a night on the town, etc., that would involve members, their spouses and significant others, children, chapter sponsors, local dignitaries, and anyone else that might enjoy having a good time and might spread the word about what a fun bunch of people we are, and how well we sing.
        >
        > a. all quartets would sing a song at these events
        > b. all chapter members would perform en mass at these events
        > c. having fun would be required at these events
        >
        > 7. From the beginning I would emphasize that we would sing WELL because no one really wants to hear us sing badly and it really is a lot more fun to sing well.
        >
        > 8. Each and every member would receive a complete book of free music and tags available from the Barbershop Harmony Society, which would be our repertoire to start, with the understanding that when we get better we will move to more challenging arrangements.
        >
        > 9. We would compete at the very first opportunity, either with our quartets or as a chorus, hopefully both. Request to sing first, not expect to win, and with a mission of having as much fun as possible at our first convention.
        >
        > 10. Find three great administrators and one good IT person to make sure that everyone can stay informed of what is going on.
        >
        > this is just a list of 10 things that I would do in no particular order, with no explanation given for why I would do things this way.
        >
        > Now I'll just sit back and watch the comments pour in from International about how great it is.
        >
        > Doug Johnson
        > Robbinsdale, Minnesota
        >
      • tom campbell
        *I noticed you didn t mention learning tapes. Good. While it s a real help to guys learning chorus songs and many people swear by them, this is after all a
        Message 3 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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          *I noticed you didn't mention learning tapes. Good. While it's a real help
          to guys learning chorus songs and many people swear by them, this is after
          all a hobby where you learn to sing by ear. At least we old coots learned
          that way. You'll find out this week **in Portland** if you're singing tags
          and songs all day and night. Our first champs, the Bartlesville Barflies
          put it best : "If we ever sang a song the same way twice, it was in our
          repertoire."
          *


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Keith Mc
          ... Background: Over the decades, I have helped start several chapters, dozens of other organizations, and have worked with others to revitalized additional
          Message 4 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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            On Jul 1, 2012, bandit7577@... wrote:
            > I love threads like this and it got me thinking,
            > "What would I do if I were going to start a chapter today?"

            Background: Over the decades, I have helped start several chapters,
            dozens of other organizations, and have worked with others to
            revitalized additional chapters. In fact, the very first chapter I was
            in was one that I helped start, with two other people helping to
            organize it. But I was VERY lucky... My first exposure to a barbershop
            chapter formation included in those three people a past dual
            international quartet champ, Glenn Van Tassel...

            Glenn taught me from day one that there is a BIG difference between
            a Chapter, and a Chorus. In his view, the Chorus was not "an end
            in and of itself", but a "training ground". It was there simply to give
            everyone a common base of knowledge, and to provide a launching
            point for quartets. He'd often say things like [paraphrased], "you learn
            Basic CRAFT and a Common Repertoire in a Chorus, then USE it to
            find three other guys who then go out and buy some matching socks..."


            IHO, one of the main things that people keep missing is CONSTANTLY
            addressing and monitoring "what happens at the nightly meeting",
            specifically to enhance VARIETY, and to prevent any ONE element
            (chorus rehearsal time being the "big offender" in most chapters) from
            taking over the ENTIRE meeting. Without it, the meetings will inevitably
            devolve into a "rut" of SOME kind, and retention problems soon occur.

            Glenn's vision was NOT having a several hour chorus rehearsal
            each week as the SOLE activity (like a church choir).

            Instead, it had several COMPONENTS, as follows:

            a) LIMIT the total chorus riser time to 1/2 of the total time, in any meeting.
            (EXCEPT for a FEW weeks prior to a chorus contest, or the annual show,
            where some of the remaining time would be use for Stage Presence
            or practicing the entire package in total - but even then, choral "vocal
            production" was still limited to about 50% of the effort, per meeting).

            In the remaining 1/2 of the time you ALWAYS include at least SOME of:

            b) a SHORT Barbershop Craft segment of SOME kind at EVERY meeting -
            whether performance technique, exercises, music reading, or SOMETHING
            to improve craft. We often used the actual BBS Craft manual, but
            we also learned things like the Candle Exercise (breath support)
            and other novelties to improve your knowledge or technique.
            I see a lot of that KIND of material is now online, to draw from:
            ...http://www.harmonize.com/probe/BulletinEditors/Articles-Craft/index.htm

            c) a short woodshedding AND tag "training" opportunity EVERY WEEK
            Teach everyone a new tag. Maybe someone stands up and tosses out
            a common Circle of Fifths song you've never heard before and everyone
            tries to woodshed to it. These kinds of activities trains everyone's
            "ear" and brain to THINK in harmony naturally, even if you're hearing
            a new song for the first time.

            d) a weekly Program of SOME kind, *coordinated* (NOT "organized")
            by the PVP, for adding variety and training to every meeting:
            - a pickup quartet contest,
            - see a "convention film" (back then the society issued 16mm-sound films :-)
            - a visiting trainer or quartet from intl or another chapter came
            to give us a new viewpoint (Dave Stevens once came and did his
            "What We Are Trying To Preserve" presentation! Wonderful!),
            - the Rotating Tapout Quartet routine (line up by part, front four
            start singing repertoire songs, with every so often a tapout occurs
            and a part swaps - this gives a fun quartet experience to everyone
            with something they know, helps get newbies over stage fright
            and reinforce their training, and it also creates quartets over time
            because you get to "audition" prospective members for voice match
            by having a formal time to sing in random foursomes)

            BTW... the PVP did NOT do all of the work - EVERYONE was expected
            to figure out a program for ONE meeting per year or two, and signed
            up for a date to "make their thing happen" - this prevents PVP burnout,
            AND adds more brains to the problem... Ex: Three guys from our
            chapter got together and arranged a Three Chapter Meet "Bus
            Trip & BBQ" with counterparts at a "central location", and snagged
            a normal meeting night for it... What a blast of an evening!

            e) some "side time", for member mingling, which could be used as:
            - a time for quartets to meet off to the side
            - woodshedding and tag singing time
            - searching for a quartet for yourself from amongst the membership, and/or
            - a quartet could show their latest stuff with the rest of
            us as a "test audience".

            d) "Interp Time and Rep Building" - we'd play around with a new song,
            try something new with an old one to make it "fresher", or simply
            sit quietly and dissect/discuss the "story" and "viewpoint character"
            of an old chestnut, create a Stage Backstory for a song, etc.
            This helps everyone generate a clear, unified vision in their
            head of the song's story, who is singing, what happened to him to
            get him to sing this song, how he feels about the song's subject
            at every point in the song, WHY he's singing it in the first place, etc.
            (IF you've never dissected a song like this, it really changes how
            you perform it... Try it!)

            Yes, not all of this happened at EVERY meeting, but our "other
            half" of the meeting was NEVER the same from week to week.
            In fact, simply having DIFFERENT people organize "part 2" each
            week constantly changed the entire structure and character
            of the meetings.

            (One aside - some chapters have a Farm Club system of some
            kind, like a Saturday Craft series, to help newbies get up to
            speed without frustrating the more experienced that have
            "heard it all before". But that is an entirely different topic...)

            So trust me, whether starting a new chapter, or if you feel
            your chapter is simply in a rut, IMO if you can make that
            commitment leap to limit total Chorus time, get away from
            the "stand for two hours and beat on two songs" mindset,
            and open the meetings for VARIETY, then you will HAVE
            something that WILL draw.

            In addition, retaining people is nowhere near the same problem,
            because the meetings are no longer the same from week to week.

            To those that fear their choruses will suffer, Glenn argued that
            "if you focus on training and enhancing the experience for the
            individuals", you'll all do well together, and the remaining
            chorus rehearsal times become more EFFICIENT."
            After all, given stronger skilled individuals, beating your head on
            the wall with ONLY chorus rehearsals all night long is no longer
            NECESSARY to create a strong chorus.

            BTW... I have since applied some of these principles to my other
            "club" activities, with excellent results.

            In summary - REGARDLESS of technology or interest - to survive,
            ALL club meetings need to address at least FOUR basic elements:

            (1) Some path for Newbies, to "get them up to speed"
            (otherwise they visit, soon decide they can't integrate, and give up)

            (2) Something for the Experts to do, to "keep them interested"
            (otherwise THEY leave)

            (3) Something for everyone to do OUTSIDE of the meetings, to
            explore and grow (I didn't address this one, but "quartetting"
            "singouts", "visits, BBQs & fun nights", making training tapes
            available for home study, and "contests" are some of OUR activities)

            (4) Have a constantly changing VARIETY of activities at every meeting
            to stretch EVERYONE, whether applying old skills, or building new ones.

            THESE elements are what lets them join and feel a part of the family,
            AND keeps them COMING BACK.

            I hope that helps...
            - Keith Mc.
            --
            "Remember: You should never say, 'I'm game', at a meeting of the NRA..."
          • Marti Lovejoy
            Great suggestions, Keith! A very wise coach once told a board/music staff meeting I attended: Make sure everyone feels like they will miss something really
            Message 5 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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              Great suggestions, Keith! A very wise coach once told a board/music
              staff meeting I attended: "Make sure everyone feels like they will miss
              something really good if they are absent." Your four points would
              certainly help create a chapter which would satisfy my coach's suggestion!

              Marti Lovejoy
              Proud Owner of SING & SCORES
              SING members have donated over $74,000 to YSF since 2002
              Life Member, Texas, USA - 40 years so far
              http: //groups.yahoo . com/group/SweetAdelinesScores
              lovejoymar @ sbcglobal.net<--remove spaces from link and edress


              On 7/2/2012 8:59 AM, Keith Mc wrote:
              > On Jul 1, 2012, bandit7577@... wrote:
              >> I love threads like this and it got me thinking,
              >> "What would I do if I were going to start a chapter today?"
              > Background: Over the decades, I have helped start several chapters,
              > dozens of other organizations, and have worked with others to
              > revitalized additional chapters. In fact, the very first chapter I was
              > in was one that I helped start, with two other people helping to
              > organize it. But I was VERY lucky... My first exposure to a barbershop
              > chapter formation included in those three people a past dual
              > international quartet champ, Glenn Van Tassel...
              >
              > Glenn taught me from day one that there is a BIG difference between
              > a Chapter, and a Chorus. In his view, the Chorus was not "an end
              > in and of itself", but a "training ground". It was there simply to give
              > everyone a common base of knowledge, and to provide a launching
              > point for quartets. He'd often say things like [paraphrased], "you learn
              > Basic CRAFT and a Common Repertoire in a Chorus, then USE it to
              > find three other guys who then go out and buy some matching socks..."
              >
              >
              > IHO, one of the main things that people keep missing is CONSTANTLY
              > addressing and monitoring "what happens at the nightly meeting",
              > specifically to enhance VARIETY, and to prevent any ONE element
              > (chorus rehearsal time being the "big offender" in most chapters) from
              > taking over the ENTIRE meeting. Without it, the meetings will inevitably
              > devolve into a "rut" of SOME kind, and retention problems soon occur.
              >
              > Glenn's vision was NOT having a several hour chorus rehearsal
              > each week as the SOLE activity (like a church choir).
              >
              > Instead, it had several COMPONENTS, as follows:
              >
              > a) LIMIT the total chorus riser time to 1/2 of the total time, in any meeting.
              > (EXCEPT for a FEW weeks prior to a chorus contest, or the annual show,
              > where some of the remaining time would be use for Stage Presence
              > or practicing the entire package in total - but even then, choral "vocal
              > production" was still limited to about 50% of the effort, per meeting).
              >
              > In the remaining 1/2 of the time you ALWAYS include at least SOME of:
              >
              > b) a SHORT Barbershop Craft segment of SOME kind at EVERY meeting -
              > whether performance technique, exercises, music reading, or SOMETHING
              > to improve craft. We often used the actual BBS Craft manual, but
              > we also learned things like the Candle Exercise (breath support)
              > and other novelties to improve your knowledge or technique.
              > I see a lot of that KIND of material is now online, to draw from:
              > ...http://www.harmonize.com/probe/BulletinEditors/Articles-Craft/index.htm
              >
              > c) a short woodshedding AND tag "training" opportunity EVERY WEEK
              > Teach everyone a new tag. Maybe someone stands up and tosses out
              > a common Circle of Fifths song you've never heard before and everyone
              > tries to woodshed to it. These kinds of activities trains everyone's
              > "ear" and brain to THINK in harmony naturally, even if you're hearing
              > a new song for the first time.
              >
              > d) a weekly Program of SOME kind, *coordinated* (NOT "organized")
              > by the PVP, for adding variety and training to every meeting:
              > - a pickup quartet contest,
              > - see a "convention film" (back then the society issued 16mm-sound films :-)
              > - a visiting trainer or quartet from intl or another chapter came
              > to give us a new viewpoint (Dave Stevens once came and did his
              > "What We Are Trying To Preserve" presentation! Wonderful!),
              > - the Rotating Tapout Quartet routine (line up by part, front four
              > start singing repertoire songs, with every so often a tapout occurs
              > and a part swaps - this gives a fun quartet experience to everyone
              > with something they know, helps get newbies over stage fright
              > and reinforce their training, and it also creates quartets over time
              > because you get to "audition" prospective members for voice match
              > by having a formal time to sing in random foursomes)
              >
              > BTW... the PVP did NOT do all of the work - EVERYONE was expected
              > to figure out a program for ONE meeting per year or two, and signed
              > up for a date to "make their thing happen" - this prevents PVP burnout,
              > AND adds more brains to the problem... Ex: Three guys from our
              > chapter got together and arranged a Three Chapter Meet "Bus
              > Trip & BBQ" with counterparts at a "central location", and snagged
              > a normal meeting night for it... What a blast of an evening!
              >
              > e) some "side time", for member mingling, which could be used as:
              > - a time for quartets to meet off to the side
              > - woodshedding and tag singing time
              > - searching for a quartet for yourself from amongst the membership, and/or
              > - a quartet could show their latest stuff with the rest of
              > us as a "test audience".
              >
              > d) "Interp Time and Rep Building" - we'd play around with a new song,
              > try something new with an old one to make it "fresher", or simply
              > sit quietly and dissect/discuss the "story" and "viewpoint character"
              > of an old chestnut, create a Stage Backstory for a song, etc.
              > This helps everyone generate a clear, unified vision in their
              > head of the song's story, who is singing, what happened to him to
              > get him to sing this song, how he feels about the song's subject
              > at every point in the song, WHY he's singing it in the first place, etc.
              > (IF you've never dissected a song like this, it really changes how
              > you perform it... Try it!)
              >
              > Yes, not all of this happened at EVERY meeting, but our "other
              > half" of the meeting was NEVER the same from week to week.
              > In fact, simply having DIFFERENT people organize "part 2" each
              > week constantly changed the entire structure and character
              > of the meetings.
              >
              > (One aside - some chapters have a Farm Club system of some
              > kind, like a Saturday Craft series, to help newbies get up to
              > speed without frustrating the more experienced that have
              > "heard it all before". But that is an entirely different topic...)
              >
              > So trust me, whether starting a new chapter, or if you feel
              > your chapter is simply in a rut, IMO if you can make that
              > commitment leap to limit total Chorus time, get away from
              > the "stand for two hours and beat on two songs" mindset,
              > and open the meetings for VARIETY, then you will HAVE
              > something that WILL draw.
              >
              > In addition, retaining people is nowhere near the same problem,
              > because the meetings are no longer the same from week to week.
              >
              > To those that fear their choruses will suffer, Glenn argued that
              > "if you focus on training and enhancing the experience for the
              > individuals", you'll all do well together, and the remaining
              > chorus rehearsal times become more EFFICIENT."
              > After all, given stronger skilled individuals, beating your head on
              > the wall with ONLY chorus rehearsals all night long is no longer
              > NECESSARY to create a strong chorus.
              >
              > BTW... I have since applied some of these principles to my other
              > "club" activities, with excellent results.
              >
              > In summary - REGARDLESS of technology or interest - to survive,
              > ALL club meetings need to address at least FOUR basic elements:
              >
              > (1) Some path for Newbies, to "get them up to speed"
              > (otherwise they visit, soon decide they can't integrate, and give up)
              >
              > (2) Something for the Experts to do, to "keep them interested"
              > (otherwise THEY leave)
              >
              > (3) Something for everyone to do OUTSIDE of the meetings, to
              > explore and grow (I didn't address this one, but "quartetting"
              > "singouts", "visits, BBQs & fun nights", making training tapes
              > available for home study, and "contests" are some of OUR activities)
              >
              > (4) Have a constantly changing VARIETY of activities at every meeting
              > to stretch EVERYONE, whether applying old skills, or building new ones.
              >
              > THESE elements are what lets them join and feel a part of the family,
              > AND keeps them COMING BACK.
              >
              > I hope that helps...
              > - Keith Mc.
              > --
              > "Remember: You should never say, 'I'm game', at a meeting of the NRA..."
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • secondedishtnr
              My $.02 worth on this thread... Not sure how much out of the box thinking is going on so far. Most everything i ve seen is a recycled version of the ideal
              Message 6 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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                My $.02 worth on this thread...

                Not sure how much "out of the box" thinking is going on so far. Most everything i've seen is a recycled version of the ideal chapter meeting as defined by BHS/SPEBSQSA for the last 30 years. Lots of fun, good singing, not too much emphasis on chorus rehearsal for fear of getting into a rut, etc. Basically a strong commitment to nothing in particular.

                If you want to see true out of the box thinking, you can see it anytime you want by visiting the Vocal Majority, Ambassadors of Harmony, Westiminster and a few others. (Westminster is a different flavor of out of the box, but out of the box nonetheless).

                The first reaction is always "well we don't have Jim Henry or Greg Lyne or Jim Clancy or "x" as our director so it's foolish to look at what they are doing and use it as any kind of a model. Of course I wholeheartedly disagree.

                I like to use the Ambassadors of Harmony as an example because I get to witness first hand what they do on a regular basis, so I'll share a few facts regarding them. And I do absolutely concede that they have Jim Henry, David Wright, Tim Waurick and a host of other talented leaders which is a rarity, but who came first? The Ambassadors as we now know them or the talented group of men that lead them?

                Years ago, the St. Charles chapter's culture gradually started to change under new director (and Barbershop neophyte)David Wright. As the new director of this chorus he insisted that guys stand on the risers to rehearse, learn their notes and words on their own time, etc. This took a lot of guys out of their comfort zone and as a result the chapter got smaller before it got bigger. But it did get bigger because it got better. Over the course of the next 20-30 years, this culture gradually became the norm and it was the foundation for further growth, with the underlying theme always being musical excellence. This environment groomed the likes of Jim and Rob Henry, and while Jim Henry is as educated as you can get when it comes to music, he's a barbershopper at his core, having started out singing in the front row of a 30 man chorus directed by his dad when he was 10 years old. In many ways I think you can say that Jim Henry is a product of a Barbershop chapter that decided decades ago to raise the bar and strive for something truly better musically. Same can be said for Greg Clancy, Clay Hine and many many others.

                What happens now, and 52 weeks out of the year at the St. Charles chapter meeting is truly remarkable in the eyes of the rest of us-but just normal for them. They consistently have 135-150 guys on the risers every week, their repertoire is incredibly deep and diverse, and every reportoire song sounds just as good as their contest package to anyone not trained as a Singing judge.

                But if you look even closer, you will find a collection of normal people, ordinary singers no more talented man for man than any other chorus out there. AOH is a collection of normal guys who love to sing that have simply bought into a culture that defines "normal" and "fun" differently than we all do/have.

                Point being, it's a commitment to a change in culture that was bought into many many years ago and refined and built on over time. I don't believe every chapter could pull this off to the degree of their success-not even for a second but to suggest that there isn't something to be learned from the most succesful chapters in our Society and to write them off as anomalies is one of our first and most frequently repeated mistakes.

                There are many other great examples...Fremont Nebraska comes to mind. They used to knock heads in the CSD cellar with St. Charles back in the 70's and 80's never getting a whiff at International. Now...with much of the same leadership and the same director they've had in place for at least 20 years, they decided that a culture change was in order. They are now a perennial International competitor that may be in the top 10 in Portland, but more importantly they are having more fun and getting more out of their Barbershop experience than they ever have before and I believe they've never been bigger in membership than they are now. Ask them if you don't believe me...and ask guys like Dave Pinkall who have been there for decades and experienced both sides of the coin which scenario is more rewarding and ejoyable on a personal and social level.

                Another myth that needs to be debunked...these chapters are solely focused on competition. I contend that their success in competition is simply a by-product of their culture and their commitment to musical excellence. Focusing solely on winning a Barbershop contest is not a long term recipe for success I can assure you. Another by-product of their musical excellence is the fun and fellowship they share. The sense of pride you see in every member of AOH is simply awesome. It's theirs, they own it and they live it. They all have a hand in something special and every man knows it. They are very protective of it, and the peer pressure to come each week prepared is stronger than any admonition from a director or section leader could ever be. Each week the guys step off the risers both drained and enriched all at the same time. They don't need to be coaxed to come back. Their culture now rules the day, and the organization is up on plane so to speak.

                Another great thing that happens as knowledge, teaching techniques and a shared vision gets passed down from these choruses...several members of AOH direct other local choruses, several arrange great music and there are a host of great coaches within the chapter. They have been armed to pass on their knowledge even though that wasn't the original intent. But many barbershoppers in the St. Louis area have benefited either directly or indirectly fom the AOH culture, make no mistake.

                Everything we do in public has consequences good or bad. If we decide to sing in a mall or send quartets out to deliver singing Valentines and musical excellence isn't guiding what we're doing at every turn, we will not attract good singers and in fact may disuade good singers from ever giving Barbershop serious consideration. I think we are often times our own worst enemy.

                To conclude...it is my opinion that one thing the BHS needs to put more focus on is gleaning everything they can from the truly successful chapters in our society including understanding what truly motivates the leaders and visionaries among us, and package as much of it as they can for redistribution. There are literally dozens of case studies out there. In several pockets, a commitment to musical excellence and a conscious decision to improve the quality of our product HAS proven successful in every conceivable way. Why aren't we busting our humps trying to understand and replicate it?

                Sincerely,
                Fred Farell



                --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, bandit7577@... wrote:
                >
                > I love threads like this and it got me thinking, "What would I do if I were going to start a chapter today?"
                >
                > 1. I would need to have at least 5 or 6 enthusiastic men who could sell. (wasn't OC Cash a salesman?)
                >
                > 2. I would only have a formal chapter meeting once a month, maybe twice a month.
                >
                > 3. I would require all members to be in a quartet of VLQ of no more than eight members.
                >
                > 4. Each 'quartet' would meet at least once a month outside of a chapter meeting to go over music, have fun, learn their parts, etc.
                >
                > 5. I would scour the community for some of the best music director's available, especially choral music people, and ask them if they would teach us how to sing and learn music. As an incentive I would try to make sure that these people attend Harmony University and Director's College at least once every other year.
                >
                > 6. The fifth week of any month (which occurs about 4 times a year, look at any calendar) we would have a chapter family get together, a cookout, a song fest, a performance, a night on the town, etc., that would involve members, their spouses and significant others, children, chapter sponsors, local dignitaries, and anyone else that might enjoy having a good time and might spread the word about what a fun bunch of people we are, and how well we sing.
                >
                > a. all quartets would sing a song at these events
                > b. all chapter members would perform en mass at these events
                > c. having fun would be required at these events
                >
                > 7. From the beginning I would emphasize that we would sing WELL because no one really wants to hear us sing badly and it really is a lot more fun to sing well.
                >
                > 8. Each and every member would receive a complete book of free music and tags available from the Barbershop Harmony Society, which would be our repertoire to start, with the understanding that when we get better we will move to more challenging arrangements.
                >
                > 9. We would compete at the very first opportunity, either with our quartets or as a chorus, hopefully both. Request to sing first, not expect to win, and with a mission of having as much fun as possible at our first convention.
                >
                > 10. Find three great administrators and one good IT person to make sure that everyone can stay informed of what is going on.
                >
                > this is just a list of 10 things that I would do in no particular order, with no explanation given for why I would do things this way.
                >
                > Now I'll just sit back and watch the comments pour in from International about how great it is.
                >
                > Doug Johnson
                > Robbinsdale, Minnesota
                >
              • Stephen Rafe
                Hi Fred -- I m writing to learn from you how to go about causing this kind of good news to happen. Please see my interleaved questions. Stephen ... Years ago,
                Message 7 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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                  Hi Fred --


                  I'm writing to learn from you how to go about causing this kind of good news to happen. Please see my interleaved questions.

                  Stephen

                  ----- Original Message -----

                  Years ago, the St. Charles chapter's culture gradually started to change under new director (and Barbershop neophyte)David Wright. As the new director of this chorus he insisted that guys stand on the risers to rehearse, learn their notes and words on their own time, etc. This took a lot of guys out of their comfort zone and as a result the chapter got smaller before it got bigger. But it did get bigger because it got better. Over the course of the next 20-30 years, this culture gradually became the norm and it was the foundation for further growth, with the underlying theme always being musical excellence.

                  * Do you believe that proudly bearing the pain and discomfort of standing on the risers is what makes a chorus good? Does standing on risers improve how well people learn?

                  There are many other great examples...Fremont Nebraska comes to mind. They used to knock heads in the CSD cellar with St. Charles back in the 70's and 80's never getting a whiff at International. Now...with much of the same leadership and the same director they've had in place for at least 20 years, they decided that a culture change was in order.

                  * What culture change made the difference? And what differences can be seen?

                  I contend that their success in competition is simply a by-product of their culture and their commitment to musical excellence.

                  * What is their culture?

                  Their culture now rules the day, and the organization is up on plane so to speak.

                  * Same question, and "How do we clone it?"

                  Everything we do in public has consequences good or bad. If we decide to sing in a mall or send quartets out to deliver singing Valentines and musical excellence isn't guiding what we're doing at every turn, we will not attract good singers and in fact may disuade good singers from ever giving Barbershop serious consideration. I think we are often times our own worst enemy.

                  * Should chapter choruses and quartets not be allowed to sing in public unless they meet specific standards?

                  In several pockets, a commitment to musical excellence and a conscious decision to improve the quality of our product HAS proven successful in every conceivable way. Why aren't we busting our humps trying to understand and replicate it?

                  * What do you think might be the cause(s) of not busting our humps, and what can we do to change that?

                  Thanks --

                  Stephen
                  STEPHEN RAFE



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Stucker, David L.
                  Hooray and hallelujah! Musical excellence is THE secret to this chicken and egg problem. I couldn t have said it better. Thanks Fred! Dave Stucker JAD quartet
                  Message 8 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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                    Hooray and hallelujah! Musical excellence is THE secret to this chicken and egg problem. I couldn't have said it better. Thanks Fred!

                    Dave Stucker
                    JAD quartet champion
                    Former Sound judge
                    Sent from my BlackBerry wireless

                    From: secondedishtnr [mailto:secondedishtnr@...]
                    Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 04:37 PM
                    To: bbshop@yahoogroups.com <bbshop@yahoogroups.com>
                    Subject: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS (SPEBSQSA))



                    My $.02 worth on this thread...

                    Not sure how much "out of the box" thinking is going on so far. Most everything i've seen is a recycled version of the ideal chapter meeting as defined by BHS/SPEBSQSA for the last 30 years. Lots of fun, good singing, not too much emphasis on chorus rehearsal for fear of getting into a rut, etc. Basically a strong commitment to nothing in particular.

                    If you want to see true out of the box thinking, you can see it anytime you want by visiting the Vocal Majority, Ambassadors of Harmony, Westiminster and a few others. (Westminster is a different flavor of out of the box, but out of the box nonetheless).

                    The first reaction is always "well we don't have Jim Henry or Greg Lyne or Jim Clancy or "x" as our director so it's foolish to look at what they are doing and use it as any kind of a model. Of course I wholeheartedly disagree.

                    I like to use the Ambassadors of Harmony as an example because I get to witness first hand what they do on a regular basis, so I'll share a few facts regarding them. And I do absolutely concede that they have Jim Henry, David Wright, Tim Waurick and a host of other talented leaders which is a rarity, but who came first? The Ambassadors as we now know them or the talented group of men that lead them?

                    Years ago, the St. Charles chapter's culture gradually started to change under new director (and Barbershop neophyte)David Wright. As the new director of this chorus he insisted that guys stand on the risers to rehearse, learn their notes and words on their own time, etc. This took a lot of guys out of their comfort zone and as a result the chapter got smaller before it got bigger. But it did get bigger because it got better. Over the course of the next 20-30 years, this culture gradually became the norm and it was the foundation for further growth, with the underlying theme always being musical excellence. This environment groomed the likes of Jim and Rob Henry, and while Jim Henry is as educated as you can get when it comes to music, he's a barbershopper at his core, having started out singing in the front row of a 30 man chorus directed by his dad when he was 10 years old. In many ways I think you can say that Jim Henry is a product of a Barbershop chapter that decided decades ago to raise the bar and strive for something truly better musically. Same can be said for Greg Clancy, Clay Hine and many many others.

                    What happens now, and 52 weeks out of the year at the St. Charles chapter meeting is truly remarkable in the eyes of the rest of us-but just normal for them. They consistently have 135-150 guys on the risers every week, their repertoire is incredibly deep and diverse, and every reportoire song sounds just as good as their contest package to anyone not trained as a Singing judge.

                    But if you look even closer, you will find a collection of normal people, ordinary singers no more talented man for man than any other chorus out there. AOH is a collection of normal guys who love to sing that have simply bought into a culture that defines "normal" and "fun" differently than we all do/have.

                    Point being, it's a commitment to a change in culture that was bought into many many years ago and refined and built on over time. I don't believe every chapter could pull this off to the degree of their success-not even for a second but to suggest that there isn't something to be learned from the most succesful chapters in our Society and to write them off as anomalies is one of our first and most frequently repeated mistakes.

                    There are many other great examples...Fremont Nebraska comes to mind. They used to knock heads in the CSD cellar with St. Charles back in the 70's and 80's never getting a whiff at International. Now...with much of the same leadership and the same director they've had in place for at least 20 years, they decided that a culture change was in order. They are now a perennial International competitor that may be in the top 10 in Portland, but more importantly they are having more fun and getting more out of their Barbershop experience than they ever have before and I believe they've never been bigger in membership than they are now. Ask them if you don't believe me...and ask guys like Dave Pinkall who have been there for decades and experienced both sides of the coin which scenario is more rewarding and ejoyable on a personal and social level.

                    Another myth that needs to be debunked...these chapters are solely focused on competition. I contend that their success in competition is simply a by-product of their culture and their commitment to musical excellence. Focusing solely on winning a Barbershop contest is not a long term recipe for success I can assure you. Another by-product of their musical excellence is the fun and fellowship they share. The sense of pride you see in every member of AOH is simply awesome. It's theirs, they own it and they live it. They all have a hand in something special and every man knows it. They are very protective of it, and the peer pressure to come each week prepared is stronger than any admonition from a director or section leader could ever be. Each week the guys step off the risers both drained and enriched all at the same time. They don't need to be coaxed to come back. Their culture now rules the day, and the organization is up on plane so to speak.

                    Another great thing that happens as knowledge, teaching techniques and a shared vision gets passed down from these choruses...several members of AOH direct other local choruses, several arrange great music and there are a host of great coaches within the chapter. They have been armed to pass on their knowledge even though that wasn't the original intent. But many barbershoppers in the St. Louis area have benefited either directly or indirectly fom the AOH culture, make no mistake.

                    Everything we do in public has consequences good or bad. If we decide to sing in a mall or send quartets out to deliver singing Valentines and musical excellence isn't guiding what we're doing at every turn, we will not attract good singers and in fact may disuade good singers from ever giving Barbershop serious consideration. I think we are often times our own worst enemy.

                    To conclude...it is my opinion that one thing the BHS needs to put more focus on is gleaning everything they can from the truly successful chapters in our society including understanding what truly motivates the leaders and visionaries among us, and package as much of it as they can for redistribution. There are literally dozens of case studies out there. In several pockets, a commitment to musical excellence and a conscious decision to improve the quality of our product HAS proven successful in every conceivable way. Why aren't we busting our humps trying to understand and replicate it?

                    Sincerely,
                    Fred Farell

                    --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com<mailto:bbshop%40yahoogroups.com>, bandit7577@... wrote:
                    >
                    > I love threads like this and it got me thinking, "What would I do if I were going to start a chapter today?"
                    >
                    > 1. I would need to have at least 5 or 6 enthusiastic men who could sell. (wasn't OC Cash a salesman?)
                    >
                    > 2. I would only have a formal chapter meeting once a month, maybe twice a month.
                    >
                    > 3. I would require all members to be in a quartet of VLQ of no more than eight members.
                    >
                    > 4. Each 'quartet' would meet at least once a month outside of a chapter meeting to go over music, have fun, learn their parts, etc.
                    >
                    > 5. I would scour the community for some of the best music director's available, especially choral music people, and ask them if they would teach us how to sing and learn music. As an incentive I would try to make sure that these people attend Harmony University and Director's College at least once every other year.
                    >
                    > 6. The fifth week of any month (which occurs about 4 times a year, look at any calendar) we would have a chapter family get together, a cookout, a song fest, a performance, a night on the town, etc., that would involve members, their spouses and significant others, children, chapter sponsors, local dignitaries, and anyone else that might enjoy having a good time and might spread the word about what a fun bunch of people we are, and how well we sing.
                    >
                    > a. all quartets would sing a song at these events
                    > b. all chapter members would perform en mass at these events
                    > c. having fun would be required at these events
                    >
                    > 7. From the beginning I would emphasize that we would sing WELL because no one really wants to hear us sing badly and it really is a lot more fun to sing well.
                    >
                    > 8. Each and every member would receive a complete book of free music and tags available from the Barbershop Harmony Society, which would be our repertoire to start, with the understanding that when we get better we will move to more challenging arrangements.
                    >
                    > 9. We would compete at the very first opportunity, either with our quartets or as a chorus, hopefully both. Request to sing first, not expect to win, and with a mission of having as much fun as possible at our first convention.
                    >
                    > 10. Find three great administrators and one good IT person to make sure that everyone can stay informed of what is going on.
                    >
                    > this is just a list of 10 things that I would do in no particular order, with no explanation given for why I would do things this way.
                    >
                    > Now I'll just sit back and watch the comments pour in from International about how great it is.
                    >
                    > Doug Johnson
                    > Robbinsdale, Minnesota
                    >





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Stephen Rafe
                    Hi Dave -- What would you have us tell the hundreds of chapters whose members are unable to achieve musical excellence? The ones who can t attract or retain
                    Message 9 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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                      Hi Dave --

                      What would you have us tell the hundreds of chapters whose members are unable to achieve musical excellence? The ones who can't attract or retain better singers, have only one man singing one (or more) of the parts, are unable to hire a chorus director who can help the raise their standards, don't know how to change, and don't have the people they need on board to bring about that change? Yet, they want to keep on singing barbershop with one another?

                      I'm all ears.

                      Stephen
                      STEPHEN RAFE.


                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: Stucker, David L.
                      To: 'secondedishtnr@...' ; 'bbshop@yahoogroups.com'
                      Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 7:07 PM
                      Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS (SPEBSQSA))



                      Hooray and hallelujah! Musical excellence is THE secret to this chicken and egg problem. I couldn't have said it better. Thanks Fred!


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • tom campbell
                      Should chapter choruses and quartets not be allowed to sing in public unless they meet specific standards? * I can answer this one. I directed the Portland
                      Message 10 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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                        Should chapter choruses and quartets not be allowed to sing in public
                        unless they meet specific standards?
                        *
                        I can answer this one. I directed the Portland Rose City Chapter for five
                        years. We always finished last in competition, albeit with innovative
                        packages, but we had a ton of singouts and everyone loved us. A chapter
                        quartet, The Last Minutemen ( meaning whoever Bill Frost could get at the
                        last minute ) sang a couple of dozens times a year ( Frost could find gigs
                        ) sang polecats, and the audience, having seldom or never heard barbershop
                        thought we were the greatest thing since sliced bread. ( What was the
                        greatest thing before sliced bread? ). We sang in tune, put some oompah
                        into the performance, and even recruited a few members. Understand, most
                        people don't know what a medalist quartet sounds like and might even prefer
                        our old songs to those pyrotechnics. They were amazed enough that four
                        people could sing four part harmony so well.

                        I guess the key would be - put it out there - get involved in your
                        community. Sing wherever and whenever you can. We did nursing homes,
                        parades, Christmas parties, bar hop on St. Patrick's Day, Park events. It's
                        all there for you!*


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Stucker, David L.
                        Stephen, Education is the solution and quality is the best path to improvements in any endeavor. Education so that you know what is better than the current
                        Message 11 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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                          Stephen,

                          Education is the solution and quality is the best path to improvements in any endeavor. Education so that you know what is better than the current state and including case studies as Fred suggests to replicate what approaches are most effective in achieving the objective of QUALITY musicality that starts the positive feedback of drawing new, talented musicians that it turn raise the musical level to draw more talent. The flip side of quality is equally true and deadly. One poor public performance will chase away ten musicians and effectively blacklist the chapter. It is much better not to sing in public at all (no damage) than to perform poorly and damage the quality reputation of the chapter in the community.

                          As for the source of education, it is clearly in the interest of the society and the district to raise the music levels. I have witnessed this as success and failure in my 40+ years as a member. The usual issue is that the chapter administration does not subjugate itself to the music mission and the result is a singing organization becomes a social organization. Nobody wants to break eggs and tell their friend that they can't sing on the .... But that is exactly what it takes to make this omelet. The districts need to provide education and resources to lift the weakest chapters up and pull charters from those thst refuse to improve. As Fred correctly says, it may be necessary and healthy in the long term to shrink membership in the short term.
                          Sent from my BlackBerry wireless

                          From: Stephen Rafe [mailto:Rapport1@...]
                          Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 08:48 PM
                          To: Stucker, David L.; secondedishtnr@... <secondedishtnr@...>; bbshop@yahoogroups.com <bbshop@yahoogroups.com>
                          Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS (SPEBSQSA))

                          Hi Dave --

                          What would you have us tell the hundreds of chapters whose members are unable to achieve musical excellence? The ones who can't attract or retain better singers, have only one man singing one (or more) of the parts, are unable to hire a chorus director who can help the raise their standards, don't know how to change, and don't have the people they need on board to bring about that change? Yet, they want to keep on singing barbershop with one another?

                          I'm all ears.

                          Stephen
                          STEPHEN RAFE.


                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: Stucker, David L.<mailto:stuck1dl@...>
                          To: 'secondedishtnr@...'<mailto:'secondedishtnr@...'> ; 'bbshop@yahoogroups.com'<mailto:'bbshop@yahoogroups.com'>
                          Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 7:07 PM
                          Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS (SPEBSQSA))


                          Hooray and hallelujah! Musical excellence is THE secret to this chicken and egg problem. I couldn't have said it better. Thanks Fred!


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Robert Dunn
                          Question,   What did O.C. Cash do?  He started from scratch without a Director and without qualified Barbershop Singers, and yet he took us from Zero to
                          Message 12 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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                            Question,
                             
                            What did O.C. Cash do?  He started from scratch without a Director and without qualified Barbershop Singers, and yet he took us from Zero to 38,000 members.
                             
                            How did he do that?  No contests and no shows.  Why do we need Contests today to "prove" our worthiness?  As a member of the Bluegrass Community (5-string banjo), the obsession with Contests among Barbershoppers baffles me.  Bluegrass has a place for everyone from beginning children to accomplished old people and everything in-between.  Festivals, not Contests.
                             
                            Perhaps that is why Bluegrass is growing and Barbershop is shrinking?
                             
                            Your thoughts?
                             
                            Bob Dunn
                            Walnut Creek, CA
                            35-years as Baritone and acoustic string music (folk, bluegrass, etc.)

                            --- On Mon, 7/2/12, Stephen Rafe <rapport1@...> wrote:


                            From: Stephen Rafe <rapport1@...>
                            Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS (SPEBSQSA))
                            To: "Stucker, David L." <stuck1dl@...>, secondedishtnr@..., bbshop@yahoogroups.com
                            Date: Monday, July 2, 2012, 5:48 PM



                             



                            Hi Dave --

                            What would you have us tell the hundreds of chapters whose members are unable to achieve musical excellence? The ones who can't attract or retain better singers, have only one man singing one (or more) of the parts, are unable to hire a chorus director who can help the raise their standards, don't know how to change, and don't have the people they need on board to bring about that change? Yet, they want to keep on singing barbershop with one another?

                            I'm all ears.

                            Stephen
                            STEPHEN RAFE.

                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: Stucker, David L.
                            To: 'secondedishtnr@...' ; 'bbshop@yahoogroups.com'
                            Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 7:07 PM
                            Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS (SPEBSQSA))

                            Hooray and hallelujah! Musical excellence is THE secret to this chicken and egg problem. I couldn't have said it better. Thanks Fred!

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]








                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Phil Richards
                            What makes all this discussion possible is the thousands and thousands of guys that now *pay dues*, but in some folks view, would be thrown out to achieve
                            Message 13 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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                              What makes all this discussion possible is the thousands and thousands
                              of guys that now *pay dues*, but in some folks view, would be thrown out
                              to achieve "Quality". Listen to those that say the audiences we sing
                              to, can't tell a championship quartet from a thrown together quartet
                              unless they are presented side by side. Yes, I like to sing better and
                              I like chapters that sing better, but if that becomes the be all and end
                              all of the Society, then plan on only three to five thousand members.
                              See how many staffers can be supported with those dues.

                              I notice that all the great pronouncements about quality singing seems
                              to come from those involved with the quality singing groups. You might
                              try to get in the trenches with the hundred of chapters that don't
                              compete because quality is not their primary objective, BUT they still
                              *pay dues* to make the contests and conventions possible.

                              The next time you say that musical quality should be the primary
                              objective, ask yourself who will pay for it. Certainly, not the former
                              members that didn't make the grade -- probably 70% of the present
                              membership. And don't kid yourself, the youth movement won't come close
                              to filling the gaps, and they can't pay for it either.

                              Phil Richards
                            • John Elving
                              First, let me say that O.C. Cash didn t build it up to 38,000 members. He did come up with the idea for the Society. However, comparing him to to what it will
                              Message 14 of 28 , Jul 2, 2012
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                                First, let me say that O.C. Cash didn't build it up to 38,000 members.
                                He did come up with the idea for the Society. However, comparing him to
                                to what it will take to keep things going, thriving and growing in
                                today's climate is like comparing today's automobile industry to Henry
                                Ford's ideas. Henry started the revolution of mass produced cars, and
                                you could have any color of car you wanted as long as it was black.
                                Today you can get get many different makes and models of cars in any
                                color you want, and in corresponding price ranges.

                                ay's a cappella music, including Barbershop, is, and should be,
                                different than what O.C. had in mind. We as people are different. And
                                don't think that this 30+ year member who is 70 years old is stuck in
                                his old ways. I have led church choirs, handbell choirs and contemporary
                                praise groups for many years and fully enjoy all the styles that entails.

                                I have just returned from a large handbell festival. While it is true
                                that it isn't a contest, you were required to audition, or have a letter
                                of recommendation from a director, and for the top group several letters
                                plus a video of your playing, to get into any of the levels of groups
                                they have.

                                Here in the Rocky Mountain District we have three different festivals
                                that barbershoppers and others can attend for a weekend of singing fun.
                                All three are experiencing smaller numbers of participants each year.
                                Why? Part of it is that many of our district members want (notice I
                                didn't say must) to compete. It means another weekend away from jobs,
                                church, and sometimes family, although many bring family with them.

                                Many of our cities have more than one barbershop chorus available to
                                men. Each chapter is different. Some compete, some are social
                                gatherings, some are "performing" choruses. I can also tell you that
                                having been a member of many different types of chapters, I have seen
                                where quality breed quality. Time is a precious commodity these days and
                                men want to know that what they spend their time (and money) on will be
                                worth their while. If chorus A isn't meeting their needs, then perhaps
                                chapter B will. I also realize that not all communities feel they can
                                support more than one chorus. If that is true, why are there so many
                                other choral groups in those same communities?

                                My own community is a prime example. With almost 68,000 people in the
                                city, and many other surrounding communities within 25-30 miles, we
                                struggle to have 30 men on any given performance. Yet in the community
                                there is a very good SAI chorus, a community chorus, several smaller
                                ensembles, three high schools to draw from (within the city) a community
                                college and two universities. Yet there is the feeling there is no room
                                for another a cappella chorus singing primarily barbershop music.

                                Having directed a larger, more competent chorus, I know that the largest
                                that chorus ever was happened because they were good enough to place
                                high in the district. I also know that every so-called "competing
                                chorus" I have ever known has more outside performances than the ones
                                who are just performance, or socially oriented. Again, I believe that
                                quality breeds quality and choruses will grow when quality and
                                commitment are expectations.

                                Sing-cerely & Humm-bly,

                                John Elving
                                PROBE President
                                RMD VP – M&PR
                                Shrine of Democracy Chorus
                                VP – Music & Perf.
                                605-381-9680
                                Skype: john.elving


                                On 7/2/2012 7:26 PM, Robert Dunn wrote:
                                >
                                > Question,
                                >
                                > What did O.C. Cash do? He started from scratch without a Director and
                                > without qualified Barbershop Singers, and yet he took us from Zero to
                                > 38,000 members.
                                >
                                > How did he do that? No contests and no shows. Why do we need
                                > Contests today to "prove" our worthiness? As a member of the
                                > Bluegrass Community (5-string banjo), the obsession with Contests
                                > among Barbershoppers baffles me. Bluegrass has a place for everyone
                                > from beginning children to accomplished old people and everything
                                > in-between. Festivals, not Contests.
                                >
                                > Perhaps that is why Bluegrass is growing and Barbershop is shrinking?
                                >
                                > Your thoughts?
                                >
                                > Bob Dunn
                                > Walnut Creek, CA
                                > 35-years as Baritone and acoustic string music (folk, bluegrass, etc.)
                                >
                                > --- On Mon, 7/2/12, Stephen Rafe <rapport1@...
                                > <mailto:rapport1%40verizon.net>> wrote:
                                >
                                > From: Stephen Rafe <rapport1@... <mailto:rapport1%40verizon.net>>
                                > Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS
                                > (SPEBSQSA))
                                > To: "Stucker, David L." <stuck1dl@...
                                > <mailto:stuck1dl%40westinghouse.com>>, secondedishtnr@...
                                > <mailto:secondedishtnr%40yahoo.com>, bbshop@yahoogroups.com
                                > <mailto:bbshop%40yahoogroups.com>
                                > Date: Monday, July 2, 2012, 5:48 PM
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Hi Dave --
                                >
                                > What would you have us tell the hundreds of chapters whose members are
                                > unable to achieve musical excellence? The ones who can't attract or
                                > retain better singers, have only one man singing one (or more) of the
                                > parts, are unable to hire a chorus director who can help the raise
                                > their standards, don't know how to change, and don't have the people
                                > they need on board to bring about that change? Yet, they want to keep
                                > on singing barbershop with one another?
                                >
                                > I'm all ears.
                                >
                                > Stephen
                                > STEPHEN RAFE.
                                >
                                > ----- Original Message -----
                                > From: Stucker, David L.
                                > To: 'secondedishtnr@... <mailto:%27secondedishtnr%40yahoo.com>'
                                > ; 'bbshop@yahoogroups.com <mailto:%27bbshop%40yahoogroups.com>'
                                > Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 7:07 PM
                                > Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS
                                > (SPEBSQSA))
                                >
                                > Hooray and hallelujah! Musical excellence is THE secret to this
                                > chicken and egg problem. I couldn't have said it better. Thanks Fred!
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                                >
                              • Stephen Rafe
                                David -- So, in summary, you would advocate removing all those chapters whose choruses don t meet District standards? Do we have an estimate of how many
                                Message 15 of 28 , Jul 3, 2012
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  David --

                                  So, in summary, you would advocate removing all those chapters whose
                                  choruses don't meet District standards? Do we have an estimate of how many
                                  memberships the Society would lose from our hobby and whether the Society
                                  could survive that financial loss? Also, what would happen when the Society
                                  would then have no authority over the same chapters/choruses, leaving them
                                  free to sing whatever they want, wherever they want?

                                  Stephen
                                  STEPHEN RAFE

                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  From: Stucker, David L.
                                  To: 'Rapport1@...' ; 'secondedishtnr@...' ;
                                  'bbshop@yahoogroups.com'
                                  Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 9:10 PM
                                  Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS
                                  (SPEBSQSA))



                                  Stephen,

                                  One poor public performance will chase away ten musicians and effectively
                                  blacklist the chapter. It is much better not to sing in public at all (no
                                  damage) than to perform poorly and damage the quality reputation of the
                                  chapter in the community.

                                  The districts need to provide education and resources to lift the weakest
                                  chapters up and pull charters from those thst refuse to improve.

                                  Sent from my BlackBerry wireless
                                  ------------
                                  From: Stephen Rafe [mailto:Rapport1@...]
                                  Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 08:48 PM
                                  Hi Dave --

                                  What would you have us tell the hundreds of chapters whose members are
                                  unable to achieve musical excellence? The ones who can't attract or retain
                                  better singers, have only one man singing one (or more) of the parts, are
                                  unable to hire a chorus director who can help the raise their standards,
                                  don't know how to change, and don't have the people they need on board to
                                  bring about that change? Yet, they want to keep on singing barbershop with
                                  one another?

                                  I'm all ears.

                                  Stephen
                                  STEPHEN RAFE.
                                • David Miller
                                  This is a great discussion. Ok the music committee decides To learn 5 new songs. It s goal is to have all the men be 100 percent on words and notes ONLY. The
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Jul 3, 2012
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    This is a great discussion.
                                    Ok the music committee decides To learn 5 new songs. It's goal is to have all the men be 100 percent on words and notes ONLY. The member will be given the sheet music and learning tracks. Starting in January they will have 30 days (one month) to learn A song. Say the song for January is "In My Room" 2pages 64 measures. Then a different song for each month through May. The song for that month is worked on in sectionals but never during full rehearsal. Then the first rehearsal in Feb. we sing it no music as a chorus and give out the sheet music and tracks for song 2 and start the process over again. I don't think the bar is set real high and should be doable for all members. But they MUST work at home for those songs.

                                    QUESTION : How would you enforce it .. (you could have everyone record them selves)

                                    What other ways could you encourage memorization?

                                    Thanks



                                    Sent from my iPad

                                    On Jul 3, 2012, at 7:07 AM, "Stephen Rafe" <rapport1@...> wrote:

                                    > David --
                                    >
                                    > So, in summary, you would advocate removing all those chapters whose
                                    > choruses don't meet District standards? Do we have an estimate of how many
                                    > memberships the Society would lose from our hobby and whether the Society
                                    > could survive that financial loss? Also, what would happen when the Society
                                    > would then have no authority over the same chapters/choruses, leaving them
                                    > free to sing whatever they want, wherever they want?
                                    >
                                    > Stephen
                                    > STEPHEN RAFE
                                    >
                                    > ----- Original Message -----
                                    > From: Stucker, David L.
                                    > To: 'Rapport1@...' ; 'secondedishtnr@...' ;
                                    > 'bbshop@yahoogroups.com'
                                    > Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 9:10 PM
                                    > Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS
                                    > (SPEBSQSA))
                                    >
                                    > Stephen,
                                    >
                                    > One poor public performance will chase away ten musicians and effectively
                                    > blacklist the chapter. It is much better not to sing in public at all (no
                                    > damage) than to perform poorly and damage the quality reputation of the
                                    > chapter in the community.
                                    >
                                    > The districts need to provide education and resources to lift the weakest
                                    > chapters up and pull charters from those thst refuse to improve.
                                    >
                                    > Sent from my BlackBerry wireless
                                    > ------------
                                    > From: Stephen Rafe [mailto:Rapport1@...]
                                    > Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 08:48 PM
                                    > Hi Dave --
                                    >
                                    > What would you have us tell the hundreds of chapters whose members are
                                    > unable to achieve musical excellence? The ones who can't attract or retain
                                    > better singers, have only one man singing one (or more) of the parts, are
                                    > unable to hire a chorus director who can help the raise their standards,
                                    > don't know how to change, and don't have the people they need on board to
                                    > bring about that change? Yet, they want to keep on singing barbershop with
                                    > one another?
                                    >
                                    > I'm all ears.
                                    >
                                    > Stephen
                                    > STEPHEN RAFE.
                                    >
                                    >


                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Dick Johnson
                                    Phil Richards said (among several OTHER great things): Yes, I like to sing better and I like chapters that sing better, but if that becomes the be all and end
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Jul 3, 2012
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Phil Richards said (among several OTHER great things):


                                      Yes, I like to sing better and I like chapters that sing better, but if that becomes the be all and end
                                      all of the Society, then plan on only three to five thousand members. See how many staffers can be
                                      supported with those dues.

                                      - - O - - |
                                      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                                      My biggest fear in my 66+ year membership is that what Phil says may
                                      come to pass. Today's Society has a good number of groups that have
                                      qualified Judges, Composers, Arrangers, Directors, people with excellent
                                      Leadership skills in all facets of Management and teaching right now!


                                      If and/or when Phil's fear come to pass - those big Chapters may find
                                      paying dues to a nat'l. organization that offers aid in things that can
                                      be handled locally would profit by keeping that money at home - and
                                      and at a dramatically lower figure.


                                      As for the availability of music and arrangements, that has already been
                                      taken from our hands to a great extent. A staff of three or four people
                                      could manage the Office, fill requests for charts already in stock and all
                                      future songs, and make necessary Contest Judging assignments, etc.


                                      (*) See below




                                      Dick Johnson
                                      Great Falls, MT



                                      (*) In case you haven't figured it out by now - this has been a
                                      tongue-in-cheek comment designed to generate discussion.
                                      Let the flames begin! < G >









                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • Mark Schuldenfrei
                                      I m going to be sorry I posted this. :-) My chorus, while 42 years old, attempted to remake itself in terms of excellence in singing a few years ago. This
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Jul 3, 2012
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        I'm going to be sorry I posted this. :-)

                                        My chorus, while 42 years old, attempted to remake itself in
                                        terms of excellence in singing a few years ago. This week,
                                        we'll step on the International stage for the first time in
                                        21 years... which is good progress given how recently we
                                        started.

                                        There are some positive lessons in what we have tried,
                                        and while I DO NOT SPEAK for my Board or Music Team
                                        (not being on either), I'll share a few of my own
                                        personal observations.

                                        On 7/2/2012 5:38 PM, Stephen Rafe wrote:
                                        > I'm writing to learn from you how to go about causing this kind of
                                        > good news to happen. Please see my interleaved questions.

                                        I think that the outline that was offered absolutely provides
                                        a means that works. Not that it will work everywhere, and
                                        it may require as much good luck as it does effort.

                                        > * Do you believe that proudly bearing the pain and discomfort of
                                        > standing on the risers is what makes a chorus good? Does standing on
                                        > risers improve how well people learn?

                                        I recognize the ironic tone, and I am willing to respond to it.

                                        Not literally, Stephen. You can stand on risers all day and
                                        not be a better chorus. It's what you do on them that
                                        counts, and it is also the level of EFFORT that you bring
                                        to the group endeavor that counts.

                                        Convincing a group of people to try something new, and perhaps
                                        more difficult - in order to get a better result - is a
                                        very great challenge. But one part of that is building a
                                        cohesive group, that works for each other, and tries harder
                                        for each other.

                                        It is not the "risers", but it is certainly the "together"
                                        part that is the charm.



                                        > * What culture change made the difference? And what differences can
                                        > be seen?

                                        I can't speak to theirs - but we simply began to ask the men
                                        to be more excellent. Without going into unnecessary details,
                                        what we did was ask that each man be responsible to his
                                        brothers, so that HE was not the reason we had to work at
                                        a lower level. We also asked that brothers help their
                                        brothers achieve excellence.

                                        When we built that sense of brotherhood and mutual responsibility,
                                        a LOT changed.

                                        The great thing is: it all became easier to sing, and a whole
                                        lot more fun.

                                        > * Should chapter choruses and quartets not be allowed to sing in
                                        > public unless they meet specific standards?

                                        I did not see that in the statement you were responding to.

                                        There is a difference between using musical excellence as an
                                        abiding and informing goal, and setting arbitrary standards.

                                        Mark Schuldenfrei
                                      • Robert Dunn
                                        As Albert Einstein said, One sign of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results , once again, I will play Devil s
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Jul 3, 2012
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          As Albert Einstein said, "One sign of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results", once again, I will play "Devil's Advocate" here.  If we desire to increase membership on our Society, and we are doing so by "raising the bar" by Contests and Rules and demands on our Members, but we are continuing to lose membership, what's wrong with this picture?
                                           
                                          Also, I turn on "Austin City Limits" or I go to Music Festivals (Strawberry Music Festival near Yosemite, for example) or I turn on Satellite Radio, and I fail to hear ANY Barbershop Quartets, even with all our Gold Medalists running around, why should I be surprised when people have NO idea what a Barbershop Quartet is when I tell them I am a Barbershopper at gatherings, parties, etc.??
                                           
                                          And we are losing Membership?   WTF?
                                           
                                          Bob Dunn
                                          Walnut Creek, CA
                                          35-years, Baritone


                                          --- On Tue, 7/3/12, David Miller <dmiller4947@...> wrote:


                                          From: David Miller <dmiller4947@...>
                                          Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS (SPEBSQSA))
                                          To: "Stephen Rafe" <rapport1@...>
                                          Cc: "<bbshop@yahoogroups.com>" <bbshop@yahoogroups.com>
                                          Date: Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 6:56 AM



                                           




                                          This is a great discussion.
                                          Ok the music committee decides To learn 5 new songs. It's goal is to have all the men be 100 percent on words and notes ONLY. The member will be given the sheet music and learning tracks. Starting in January they will have 30 days (one month) to learn A song. Say the song for January is "In My Room" 2pages 64 measures. Then a different song for each month through May. The song for that month is worked on in sectionals but never during full rehearsal. Then the first rehearsal in Feb. we sing it no music as a chorus and give out the sheet music and tracks for song 2 and start the process over again. I don't think the bar is set real high and should be doable for all members. But they MUST work at home for those songs.

                                          QUESTION : How would you enforce it .. (you could have everyone record them selves)

                                          What other ways could you encourage memorization?

                                          Thanks

                                          Sent from my iPad

                                          On Jul 3, 2012, at 7:07 AM, "Stephen Rafe" <rapport1@...> wrote:

                                          > David --
                                          >
                                          > So, in summary, you would advocate removing all those chapters whose
                                          > choruses don't meet District standards? Do we have an estimate of how many
                                          > memberships the Society would lose from our hobby and whether the Society
                                          > could survive that financial loss? Also, what would happen when the Society
                                          > would then have no authority over the same chapters/choruses, leaving them
                                          > free to sing whatever they want, wherever they want?
                                          >
                                          > Stephen
                                          > STEPHEN RAFE
                                          >
                                          > ----- Original Message -----
                                          > From: Stucker, David L.
                                          > To: 'Rapport1@...' ; 'secondedishtnr@...' ;
                                          > 'bbshop@yahoogroups.com'
                                          > Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 9:10 PM
                                          > Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS
                                          > (SPEBSQSA))
                                          >
                                          > Stephen,
                                          >
                                          > One poor public performance will chase away ten musicians and effectively
                                          > blacklist the chapter. It is much better not to sing in public at all (no
                                          > damage) than to perform poorly and damage the quality reputation of the
                                          > chapter in the community.
                                          >
                                          > The districts need to provide education and resources to lift the weakest
                                          > chapters up and pull charters from those thst refuse to improve.
                                          >
                                          > Sent from my BlackBerry wireless
                                          > ------------
                                          > From: Stephen Rafe [mailto:Rapport1@...]
                                          > Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 08:48 PM
                                          > Hi Dave --
                                          >
                                          > What would you have us tell the hundreds of chapters whose members are
                                          > unable to achieve musical excellence? The ones who can't attract or retain
                                          > better singers, have only one man singing one (or more) of the parts, are
                                          > unable to hire a chorus director who can help the raise their standards,
                                          > don't know how to change, and don't have the people they need on board to
                                          > bring about that change? Yet, they want to keep on singing barbershop with
                                          > one another?
                                          >
                                          > I'm all ears.
                                          >
                                          > Stephen
                                          > STEPHEN RAFE.
                                          >
                                          >

                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]








                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • aclassapartbari
                                          It IS a great discussion! This part perhaps belongs to a different topic than about starting a chapter. Accepting the idea that the chapter has agreed on this
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Jul 3, 2012
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            It IS a great discussion! This part perhaps belongs to a different topic than about starting a chapter. Accepting the idea that the chapter has agreed on this method of learning (one that I happen to agree with, by the way), I'd say that on the night they are to be off the music, I'd ask the members who know the music to remain on the risers and those not quite ready to sing without the music to return to their seat and participate silently. Note that I'm not asking them to don dunce hats or stand in the corner, but a little peer pressure is a good thing. If there is no penalty of any kind for not doing what the chapter has agreed to do, then there is no incentive to do any different in the future.
                                            Of course, some of those remaining on the risers may be lying, not deliberately, but to themselves. They may actually believe they have learned it when, in reality, they are merely repeating what they hear a fraction of a second later. A great (and funny) example of this is Don Knots claiming he has memorized the Preamble to the Constitution.
                                            When forced to recite by himself, he is unable to do so without being prompted for each and every word. Yet, when finished, he is unable to recognize that he did not do it himself.
                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBuPQgV8yBM
                                            In a chorus, that's a problem for the section leaders to deal with.
                                            I'm a big believer in learning tracks. Of course, it's easier if you drive to and from work alone every day. An hour a day of listening to your predominate part and it's hard not to know your part after a week, much less four weeks.
                                            Most people don't realize how badly allowing wrong notes and words damages their chorus sound. There are a lot of choruses that could probably move from a "C" level to a "B" by doing nothing more than eliminating these easy to fix errors of carelessness.
                                            When you don't care enough to learn the right notes and words, you demonstrate that you also don't care about diminishing the enjoyment of your buddies who did take the time and trouble to learn their music.
                                            Rick Word
                                            Atlanta

                                            --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, David Miller <dmiller4947@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > This is a great discussion.
                                            > Ok the music committee decides To learn 5 new songs. It's goal is to have all the men be 100 percent on words and notes ONLY. The member will be given the sheet music and learning tracks. Starting in January they will have 30 days (one month) to learn A song. Say the song for January is "In My Room" 2pages 64 measures. Then a different song for each month through May. The song for that month is worked on in sectionals but never during full rehearsal. Then the first rehearsal in Feb. we sing it no music as a chorus and give out the sheet music and tracks for song 2 and start the process over again. I don't think the bar is set real high and should be doable for all members. But they MUST work at home for those songs.
                                            >
                                            > QUESTION : How would you enforce it .. (you could have everyone record them selves)
                                            >
                                            > What other ways could you encourage memorization?
                                            >
                                            > Thanks
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > Sent from my iPad
                                            >
                                            > On Jul 3, 2012, at 7:07 AM, "Stephen Rafe" <rapport1@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > > David --
                                            > >
                                            > > So, in summary, you would advocate removing all those chapters whose
                                            > > choruses don't meet District standards? Do we have an estimate of how many
                                            > > memberships the Society would lose from our hobby and whether the Society
                                            > > could survive that financial loss? Also, what would happen when the Society
                                            > > would then have no authority over the same chapters/choruses, leaving them
                                            > > free to sing whatever they want, wherever they want?
                                            > >
                                            > > Stephen
                                            > > STEPHEN RAFE
                                            > >
                                            > > ----- Original Message -----
                                            > > From: Stucker, David L.
                                            > > To: 'Rapport1@...' ; 'secondedishtnr@...' ;
                                            > > 'bbshop@yahoogroups.com'
                                            > > Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 9:10 PM
                                            > > Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS
                                            > > (SPEBSQSA))
                                            > >
                                            > > Stephen,
                                            > >
                                            > > One poor public performance will chase away ten musicians and effectively
                                            > > blacklist the chapter. It is much better not to sing in public at all (no
                                            > > damage) than to perform poorly and damage the quality reputation of the
                                            > > chapter in the community.
                                            > >
                                            > > The districts need to provide education and resources to lift the weakest
                                            > > chapters up and pull charters from those thst refuse to improve.
                                            > >
                                            > > Sent from my BlackBerry wireless
                                            > > ------------
                                            > > From: Stephen Rafe [mailto:Rapport1@...]
                                            > > Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 08:48 PM
                                            > > Hi Dave --
                                            > >
                                            > > What would you have us tell the hundreds of chapters whose members are
                                            > > unable to achieve musical excellence? The ones who can't attract or retain
                                            > > better singers, have only one man singing one (or more) of the parts, are
                                            > > unable to hire a chorus director who can help the raise their standards,
                                            > > don't know how to change, and don't have the people they need on board to
                                            > > bring about that change? Yet, they want to keep on singing barbershop with
                                            > > one another?
                                            > >
                                            > > I'm all ears.
                                            > >
                                            > > Stephen
                                            > > STEPHEN RAFE.
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            >
                                          • aclassapartbari
                                            It IS a great discussion! This part perhaps belongs to a different topic than about starting a chapter. Accepting the idea that the chapter has agreed on this
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Jul 3, 2012
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              It IS a great discussion! This part perhaps belongs to a different topic than about starting a chapter. Accepting the idea that the chapter has agreed on this method of learning (one that I happen to agree with, by the way), I'd say that on the night they are to be off the music, I'd ask the members who know the music to remain on the risers and those not quite ready to sing without the music to return to their seat and participate silently. Note that I'm not asking them to don dunce hats or stand in the corner, but a little peer pressure is a good thing. If there is no penalty of any kind for not doing what the chapter has agreed to do, then there is no incentive to do any different in the future.
                                              Of course, some of those remaining on the risers may be lying, not deliberately, but to themselves. They may actually believe they have learned it when, in reality, they are merely repeating what they hear a fraction of a second later. A great (and funny) example of this is Don Knots claiming he has memorized the Preamble to the Constitution.
                                              When forced to recite by himself, he is unable to do so without being prompted for each and every word. Yet, when finished, he is unable to recognize that he did not do it himself.
                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBuPQgV8yBM
                                              In a chorus, that's a problem for the section leaders to deal with.
                                              I'm a big believer in learning tracks. Of course, it's easier if you drive to and from work alone every day. An hour a day of listening to your predominate part and it's hard not to know your part after a week, much less four weeks.
                                              Most people don't realize how badly allowing wrong notes and words damages their chorus sound. There are a lot of choruses that could probably move from a "C" level to a "B" by doing nothing more than eliminating these easy to fix errors of carelessness.
                                              When you don't care enough to learn the right notes and words, you demonstrate that you also don't care about diminishing the enjoyment of your buddies who did take the time and trouble to learn their music.
                                              Rick Word
                                              Atlanta

                                              --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, David Miller <dmiller4947@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > This is a great discussion.
                                              > Ok the music committee decides To learn 5 new songs. It's goal is to have all the men be 100 percent on words and notes ONLY. The member will be given the sheet music and learning tracks. Starting in January they will have 30 days (one month) to learn A song. Say the song for January is "In My Room" 2pages 64 measures. Then a different song for each month through May. The song for that month is worked on in sectionals but never during full rehearsal. Then the first rehearsal in Feb. we sing it no music as a chorus and give out the sheet music and tracks for song 2 and start the process over again. I don't think the bar is set real high and should be doable for all members. But they MUST work at home for those songs.
                                              >
                                              > QUESTION : How would you enforce it .. (you could have everyone record them selves)
                                              >
                                              > What other ways could you encourage memorization?
                                              >
                                              > Thanks
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > Sent from my iPad
                                              >
                                              > On Jul 3, 2012, at 7:07 AM, "Stephen Rafe" <rapport1@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > > David --
                                              > >
                                              > > So, in summary, you would advocate removing all those chapters whose
                                              > > choruses don't meet District standards? Do we have an estimate of how many
                                              > > memberships the Society would lose from our hobby and whether the Society
                                              > > could survive that financial loss? Also, what would happen when the Society
                                              > > would then have no authority over the same chapters/choruses, leaving them
                                              > > free to sing whatever they want, wherever they want?
                                              > >
                                              > > Stephen
                                              > > STEPHEN RAFE
                                              > >
                                              > > ----- Original Message -----
                                              > > From: Stucker, David L.
                                              > > To: 'Rapport1@...' ; 'secondedishtnr@...' ;
                                              > > 'bbshop@yahoogroups.com'
                                              > > Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 9:10 PM
                                              > > Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS
                                              > > (SPEBSQSA))
                                              > >
                                              > > Stephen,
                                              > >
                                              > > One poor public performance will chase away ten musicians and effectively
                                              > > blacklist the chapter. It is much better not to sing in public at all (no
                                              > > damage) than to perform poorly and damage the quality reputation of the
                                              > > chapter in the community.
                                              > >
                                              > > The districts need to provide education and resources to lift the weakest
                                              > > chapters up and pull charters from those thst refuse to improve.
                                              > >
                                              > > Sent from my BlackBerry wireless
                                              > > ------------
                                              > > From: Stephen Rafe [mailto:Rapport1@...]
                                              > > Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 08:48 PM
                                              > > Hi Dave --
                                              > >
                                              > > What would you have us tell the hundreds of chapters whose members are
                                              > > unable to achieve musical excellence? The ones who can't attract or retain
                                              > > better singers, have only one man singing one (or more) of the parts, are
                                              > > unable to hire a chorus director who can help the raise their standards,
                                              > > don't know how to change, and don't have the people they need on board to
                                              > > bring about that change? Yet, they want to keep on singing barbershop with
                                              > > one another?
                                              > >
                                              > > I'm all ears.
                                              > >
                                              > > Stephen
                                              > > STEPHEN RAFE.
                                              > >
                                              > >
                                              >
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                                            • Stephen Rafe
                                              What if, just what if, members don t have the time, the dedication, the music-reading skills, the left/right balance equipment in their home, and are unwilling
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Jul 3, 2012
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                                                What if, just what if, members don't have the time, the dedication, the music-reading skills, the left/right balance equipment in their home, and are unwilling to sit in their vehicles to play learning tracks as they look at charts? Do you count on learning each song in the sectionals? Since that may happen, why not focus there? The Teaching (Choral) Music Painlessly" manual (free upon request) addresses those realities and makes error-free learning possible in three to four sessions of 20-minutes each. Among other things, it shows how learning words first (including diphthongs and pronunciations) then discussing the song's various emotions helps them memorize more quickly. Since speaking is more familiar to us than singing, that makes sense -- especially when the words are learned at 60 beats per minute regardless of the song's tempo or meter. That rate has been proven to help people learn anything faster and better and remember it better. After they already know the words and the story they tell, they can focus on the notes undistracted.

                                                The manual explains each step of the process from start to finish.

                                                Stephen
                                                STEPHEN RAFE

                                                ----- Original Message -----
                                                From: David Miller
                                                To: Stephen Rafe
                                                Cc: <bbshop@yahoogroups.com>
                                                Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 9:56 AM
                                                Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS (SPEBSQSA))



                                                This is a great discussion.
                                                Ok the music committee decides To learn 5 new songs. It's goal is to have all the men be 100 percent on words and notes ONLY. The member will be given the sheet music and learning tracks. Starting in January they will have 30 days (one month) to learn A song. Say the song for January is "In My Room" 2pages 64 measures. Then a different song for each month through May. The song for that month is worked on in sectionals but never during full rehearsal. Then the first rehearsal in Feb. we sing it no music as a chorus and give out the sheet music and tracks for song 2 and start the process over again. I don't think the bar is set real high and should be doable for all members. But they MUST work at home for those songs.


                                                QUESTION : How would you enforce it .. (you could have everyone record them selves)


                                                What other ways could you encourage memorization?


                                                Thanks

                                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              • GSBMedalMusic@comcast.net
                                                You don t have to be in your car to enjoy and learn from learning tracks?! Surely a singer can eke out SOME sort of time in their day to sing along with
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Jul 3, 2012
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                                                  You don't have to be in your car to enjoy and learn from learning tracks?!
                                                  Surely a singer can eke out SOME sort of time in their day to sing
                                                  along with tracks?

                                                  (And there are work-arounds for creating any serviceable audio media from
                                                  whatever source material they are initially recorded.)

                                                  For ex, I carry my .mp3 player and ear buds with me when I'm working
                                                  in the garden.
                                                  Of course my neighbors get the benefit (ha!) of listening to me sing
                                                  either tenor (quartet) or baritone (chorus) all by myself since they don't hear
                                                  the playback to go along with what I'm hearing?! ;-)
                                                  Same for housecleaning, etc. - which sure as heck makes THAT job
                                                  a lot more fun!
                                                  And yeah, I would admit to singing along with my tracks while in the
                                                  shower too?!

                                                  [In fact, after a few reps on any song, I pretty much go to bed at night
                                                  with those songs on continual loop (earworm) in my head and wake up
                                                  the next morning
                                                  with that same "loop"?! I know - sounds "scary" but it's true.]

                                                  Are you saying that the ONLY time that people make time to learn music
                                                  is at rehearsal? If so, I find that - well - just plain lazy.
                                                  About all it really takes for 3 - 4 reps of a 2 - 3 min song is 10 -
                                                  15 minutes?!

                                                  Also the "excuse" that "my car only has a cassette player" is a lazy excuse too
                                                  when you can get the cassette tape converter thingie that slots right
                                                  into the car's cassette player
                                                  and it has a plug connection that goes into the earphone (audio output?!)
                                                  jack of ANY cassette player or .mp3 player?!
                                                  Those converter mechanisms are only about $2 - $7 online or at places
                                                  like Best Buy?!
                                                  http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/Philips-3.5mm-Cassette-Adapter/6562385/product.html?cid=202290&kid=9553000357392&track=pspla&adtype=pla&kw={keyword}

                                                  My quartet bass singer learns aurally. Since she admittedly doesn't read music
                                                  as well as, say, I do (sight-reading is one of those skill sets I have built up
                                                  over time - a perfect sight-reading audition is what got me into the
                                                  Marching Illini
                                                  in 1978 - the band director didn't even bother putting me through the
                                                  scales, etc.
                                                  once I played Illinois Loyalty ;-), she learns pitch-perfect with
                                                  having a great NOTES ONLY track
                                                  (either piano - I play the line for her - OR computer-generated from
                                                  the FINALE based
                                                  arr.). She is ALWAYS "off the paper" by the time we next get together.

                                                  My lead singer (1983 international quartet champion) also prefers
                                                  learning the notes FIRST
                                                  before "the words mess me up" (her words, not mine ;-). Once she
                                                  gets the note sequencing
                                                  in her head, she then works through the word sounds (NOT "words") to develop
                                                  muscle memory. And she is EXTREMELY consistent with great
                                                  "performance delivery" habits -
                                                  a true hallmark of a champion lead.

                                                  My quartet bari (also with the 1983 international quartet champion)
                                                  loves to learn
                                                  by singing along with perfect learning tracks integrating both notes
                                                  and word sounds
                                                  while doing her daily walk exercise (also on .mp3 player with
                                                  earbuds). As a kinesthetic
                                                  learner, she really needs to experience the "feel" of where her
                                                  baritone part fits in with the
                                                  other parts of the chord. I'll bet the people on the north side of
                                                  Chicago just love to hear THAT! ;-)

                                                  Interestingly ALL of us have very analytical minds - but with
                                                  different learning styles.

                                                  Latest effort on learning songs - we introduced 2 contest-level songs
                                                  about 4 weeks
                                                  before Melodeers' recent show staged a week and a half ago.
                                                  2 weeks prior to the show, we coached each song, phrase by phrase, with Jay
                                                  (the "Chord Lord" as Joe Connelly calls my husband)
                                                  who helped fix some word sounds issues right away before we really
                                                  "grooved" any
                                                  mediocre, unprecise muscle memory habits on the word sounds/syllable connection
                                                  (in the Mac Huff style - who coached Grandma's Boys on this same art form).

                                                  I am much the same way except I am such a strong visual learner that
                                                  I like having
                                                  the music in front of me to "see the picture" of the music. I am
                                                  pretty much able
                                                  to get the muscle memory of the word sounds/syllable connection going on the
                                                  first read-through, but several reps with pitch-perfect opportunities
                                                  (and no distractions
                                                  of - quite frankly - mediocre singing going on next to me by others
                                                  with less pitch accuracy)
                                                  help me to groove the whole thing, including KEY CENTER which seems
                                                  to really stick with me.
                                                  Of course, I'm the one who sang an F# at Jay (my future husband) the
                                                  first time I met him
                                                  at a party when he was standing around with a bunch of other
                                                  baritones woodshedding and
                                                  (get this...) not ONE of them had a pitch pipe in hand when Jay said,
                                                  "We really should
                                                  try this one in F#." So I hummed it at him from across the table. <grin>

                                                  To wit, I learned a whole 30 min. show & a glow for a top
                                                  international level quartet
                                                  in about 10 days (that was about 10 or 11 songs, as I recall?),
                                                  singing along with a cassette recording of a live show performance
                                                  (no tenor-specific track?!)
                                                  with a Sony Cassette Walkman AND the hard-copy music in hand,
                                                  when I was hired as the quartet's replacement tenor back in 1986.

                                                  I had ZERO "left-right" balance much less tenor-only for that effort?

                                                  I pretty much had the show/glow music under control within 7 days
                                                  when they threw the choreography at me. Whew!
                                                  (Just to clarify, 10 days was all I had from the time I auditioned in
                                                  the lead's kitchen
                                                  and was then promptly hired on the spot, until I was riding in the van
                                                  to the chapter show we were hired to do in Ashtabula, OH!)

                                                  If a singer really wants to learn and NOT be the one "left behind" or always
                                                  behind the next week after the first week's introduction of a song,
                                                  then he or she will
                                                  be motivated to ask for equipment help, etc.

                                                  I don't buy the profuse excuse-making - period - even as a chorus director.
                                                  We have too many ways to help teach people of varying learning styles,
                                                  by giving them great learning tools with a variety of teaching methods,
                                                  to have to accept that they can ONLY learn on chorus time which is only 3 hours
                                                  a week out of 168 hours in a week.

                                                  - Helen Giallombardo






                                                  At 04:08 PM 7/3/2012, Stephen Rafe wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >What if, just what if, members don't have the time, the dedication,
                                                  >the music-reading skills, the left/right balance equipment in their
                                                  >home, and are unwilling to sit in their vehicles to play learning
                                                  >tracks as they look at charts?
                                                • Mark Schuldenfrei
                                                  ... These are not silly questions, although some may try to argue the finer points and not look at the larger picture. No chorus, I suspect, can match the
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Jul 3, 2012
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                                                    On 7/3/2012 2:08 PM, Stephen Rafe wrote:
                                                    > What if, just what if, members don't have the time, the dedication,
                                                    > the music-reading skills, the left/right balance equipment in their
                                                    > home, and are unwilling to sit in their vehicles to play learning
                                                    > tracks as they look at charts?

                                                    These are not silly questions, although some may try to argue
                                                    the finer points and not look at the larger picture.

                                                    No chorus, I suspect, can match the needs of all men: what
                                                    happens, honestly, is that if the requirements of a chorus
                                                    does not match some individual member, that member will
                                                    choose to meet the new requirements, or find something
                                                    else to do with their time - perhaps within the chapter,
                                                    perhaps in another chapter, perhaps in another hobby.

                                                    That's the way of it. We can't debate from the false premise
                                                    that every chapter is good for every person, can we? Every
                                                    chapter is a compromise within the art of the possible,
                                                    and to hopefully meet the needs of some demographic.

                                                    Right?

                                                    Mark Schuldenfrei
                                                  • Stucker, David L.
                                                    Stephen, I would not recommend wholesale decertification. But I still believe that we, as a singing society, should concentrate on that reason for being and
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Jul 4, 2012
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                                                      Stephen,

                                                      I would not recommend wholesale decertification. But I still believe that we, as a singing society, should concentrate on that reason for being and hold minimum standards associated with using the BHS name for both quartet and chorus in public performance. This is that same concept as obtaining any other professional license or certification. I can't tell you how many music professionals have been impressed when I play a library of our champions. I recognize that we can't all wear a gold medal but we should all strive to do the best with what God gave us and not to force ourselves on unsympathetic ears. Did I just hear a canon?

                                                      Bottom line is we start with the bottom quartile of chapters and bring resources to bear to improve their musicality. Hopefully, like the case of AOH, it works and the rising tide will float all of our boats higher in the water. Alternatively, I know that there are chapters that do more harm to the art form than help (I live close to one). We have to be willing to cut losses after we have tried to help.

                                                      I hope this clarifies my approach for musical improvement and longevity.

                                                      Dave
                                                      Sent from my BlackBerry wireless

                                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                                      From: Stephen Rafe [mailto:Rapport1@...]
                                                      Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 07:07 AM
                                                      To: Stucker, David L.; secondedishtnr@... <secondedishtnr@...>; bbshop@yahoogroups.com <bbshop@yahoogroups.com>
                                                      Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS (SPEBSQSA))

                                                      David --

                                                      So, in summary, you would advocate removing all those chapters whose
                                                      choruses don't meet District standards? Do we have an estimate of how many
                                                      memberships the Society would lose from our hobby and whether the Society
                                                      could survive that financial loss? Also, what would happen when the Society
                                                      would then have no authority over the same chapters/choruses, leaving them
                                                      free to sing whatever they want, wherever they want?

                                                      Stephen
                                                      STEPHEN RAFE

                                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                                      From: Stucker, David L.
                                                      To: 'Rapport1@...' ; 'secondedishtnr@...' ;
                                                      'bbshop@yahoogroups.com'
                                                      Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 9:10 PM
                                                      Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: If I started a chapter today (formerly BHS
                                                      (SPEBSQSA))



                                                      Stephen,

                                                      One poor public performance will chase away ten musicians and effectively
                                                      blacklist the chapter. It is much better not to sing in public at all (no
                                                      damage) than to perform poorly and damage the quality reputation of the
                                                      chapter in the community.

                                                      The districts need to provide education and resources to lift the weakest
                                                      chapters up and pull charters from those thst refuse to improve.

                                                      Sent from my BlackBerry wireless
                                                      ------------
                                                      From: Stephen Rafe [mailto:Rapport1@...]
                                                      Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 08:48 PM
                                                      Hi Dave --

                                                      What would you have us tell the hundreds of chapters whose members are
                                                      unable to achieve musical excellence? The ones who can't attract or retain
                                                      better singers, have only one man singing one (or more) of the parts, are
                                                      unable to hire a chorus director who can help the raise their standards,
                                                      don't know how to change, and don't have the people they need on board to
                                                      bring about that change? Yet, they want to keep on singing barbershop with
                                                      one another?

                                                      I'm all ears.

                                                      Stephen
                                                      STEPHEN RAFE.
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