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Different Spin on "Woodshed Contests"

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  • Toban Dvoretzky
    ... And Toban writes: Who needs another contest, with (aargh) winners/losers and (urgh) spectators? I ll preface the following idea with a real piece of
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 8, 2004
      The excellent Grant Carson had written, in part:

      >>How about a woodshed quartet contest?
      >>Grant Carson


      And the incomparable Jack Baird wrote, in part:

      >>Good idea. For those of us who would love to be included, I'd suggest we have it [...]. I'd rather sing than listen anytime. [...] Let the listeners listen and the singers SING.<<


      And the mighty fine Jack Martin wrote, in part:

      >I like this idea also. Maybe Toban could think on this, and with some Kenosha help, hold a fun woodshed competition in Louisville.<

      ---
      And Toban writes:

      Who needs another contest, with (aargh) winners/losers and (urgh) spectators?

      I'll preface the following idea with a real piece of Barbershop history: In their championship year, the Chordbusters had just been awarded their gold medals when word spread through the auditorium that the quartet had sung written arrangements. There was nearly a riot. The judges hauled the quartet backstage and obliged it to WOODSHED several melodies to their satisfaction. The quartet passed, because otherwise it would have had to swap its gold medals for those initially awarded to the silver medalists. (This information came from Mo Rector, who heard it directly from Doc Enmeier.)

      A few years ago, I proposed that the Society add a component to International quartet contests: An extra round during which each competing quartet is obliged to demonstrate not just its "arrangement-singing" skills (as now), but also its EAR-SINGING abilities.

      I'd have to research the details of what I proposed, but the essence, if memory serves, is this:

      1. Each quartet is handed a melody that no one in the quartet has sung before, with minimal-yet-adequate time to practice.

      2. In a PRIVATE session (woodshedding is not a spectator sport) in front of judges with excellent ears, the quartet demonstrates its ability to create acceptable, appropriate, complete, ringing harmonies around that melody. The members would even be allowed to stay on their registered voice-part.

      3. If it is determined that anyone in the quartet HAS sung, seen, or arranged the melody on paper (either prior to the convention or "on the fly" during the minimal practicing on-site), either the quartet would be handed another melody (my preference) or a disqualification score of Zero would be assigned for the ear-singing portion of the quartet contest, depending on the timing of the discovery of the disingenuousness.

      4. An assigned score from the ear-singing is combined with the regular scores from the performance-singing, and the medalist and other rankings are determined from the ultimate totals.


      I ask, and I believe very reasonably: Should not our champion quartets demonstrate their championship abilities on BOTH the "performance" AND the "extemporaneous" sides of the Barbershop spectrum? Many gold medalists already have done so, as evidenced by pre- or post-championship induction into AHSOW as individuals, yet adding a formal ear-singing component would leave no doubt as to the breadth of their abilities as Barbershoppers.

      For our possible discussion!

      Toban Dvoretzky - Pres., AHSOW
      www.ahsow.org
    • Michael Baribeau
      I ve been doing some barbershop history research and I keep coming up on the Chord Busters story about having to woodshed for judges. This was the only post I
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 30, 2011
        I've been doing some barbershop history research and I keep coming up on the Chord Busters story about having to woodshed for judges. This was the only post I found that mentioned the quartet by name. I did find an interesting barbershopwiki entry I've quoted below. It doesn't mention the woodshedding thing but it does say in I think 1940 they were disqualified in a state competition for singing a non-barbershop song. Then 1941, "It was customary for the 15 quartets left for the finals to sing the same songs from their previous round. The Chord Busters repeated Irish Eyes but shocked the audience by singing a new song, when The Bees Are In The Hive/Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland medley. There was talk that the judges (who were each scoring in all the categories) might disqualify them." But barbershopwiki doesn't mention the woodshedding premise. I'm wonder if anyone has any additional clarification?


        barbershopwiki;

        The Chord Busters worked up some songs and entered the state competition. In the contest they had to follow a group of policemen from Oklahoma City called the Flat Foot Four. That group would not only win this contest, but go on to win the 1940 national contest in New York.

        The "Busters" selected a number by Geoffrey O'Hara entitled A Little Close Harmony for one of their numbers (the intro of which is now the society's opener, The Old Songs). The arrangement and full song is non-barbershop and they were abruptly disqualified from the contest. This would be the only contest in which they would not place first.

        One of the keys to their early success was the input of Wade Hamilton. Wade was the staff musician of radio station KTUL and organist for the Ritz Theater. His talent included being able to arrange for male voices taking advantage of individual qualities and ranges. His arrangement of I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen was their most requested song.

        At the time, most quartets didn't use ANY arrangements. They just sang it, feeling for each chord, not necessarily singing it the same way twice. These custom arrangements set the Chord Busters apart early.

        Going to St Louis by train was an event. Everyone from Tulsa went and to say there was a party atmosphere would be an understatement. The press was also on hand. But the Chord Busters knew they had a job to do and were ready. Unlike today, there were five elimination rounds (of 10 quartets) with the top three quartets from each going on to the finals. The quartet chose their songs When Irish Eyes are Smiling and a medley of Garland of Old Fashion Roses/Dear Old Girl for the first round which they won. It was customary for the 15 quartets left for the finals to sing the same songs from their previous round. The Chord Busters repeated Irish Eyes but shocked the audience by singing a new song, when The Bees Are In The Hive/Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland medley.

        There was talk that the judges (who were each scoring in all the categories) might disqualify them. Also they had followed the Kansas City Barberpole Cats who did a GREAT job. The Chord Busters saw their performance while waiting in the wings and went on NOT expecting to win. They were apparently more relaxed and might have even sung better. The judges chose the Barflies for third, the Barberpole Cats for second and to the delight of the large Tulsa contingency, The Chord Busters as the new World's Champions. The train trip home was full of celebrities and singers. They were the very first quartet to win on its first attempt.


        Michael Baribeau
        Webmaster@...





        --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, "Toban Dvoretzky" <TBone@...> wrote:
        >
        > The excellent Grant Carson had written, in part:
        >
        > >>How about a woodshed quartet contest?
        > >>Grant Carson
        >
        >
        > And the incomparable Jack Baird wrote, in part:
        >
        > >>Good idea. For those of us who would love to be included, I'd suggest we have it [...]. I'd rather sing than listen anytime. [...] Let the listeners listen and the singers SING.<<
        >
        >
        > And the mighty fine Jack Martin wrote, in part:
        >
        > >I like this idea also. Maybe Toban could think on this, and with some Kenosha help, hold a fun woodshed competition in Louisville.<
        >
        > ---
        > And Toban writes:
        >
        > Who needs another contest, with (aargh) winners/losers and (urgh) spectators?
        >
        > I'll preface the following idea with a real piece of Barbershop history: In their championship year, the Chordbusters had just been awarded their gold medals when word spread through the auditorium that the quartet had sung written arrangements. There was nearly a riot. The judges hauled the quartet backstage and obliged it to WOODSHED several melodies to their satisfaction. The quartet passed, because otherwise it would have had to swap its gold medals for those initially awarded to the silver medalists. (This information came from Mo Rector, who heard it directly from Doc Enmeier.)
        >
        > A few years ago, I proposed that the Society add a component to International quartet contests: An extra round during which each competing quartet is obliged to demonstrate not just its "arrangement-singing" skills (as now), but also its EAR-SINGING abilities.
        >
        > I'd have to research the details of what I proposed, but the essence, if memory serves, is this:
        >
        > 1. Each quartet is handed a melody that no one in the quartet has sung before, with minimal-yet-adequate time to practice.
        >
        > 2. In a PRIVATE session (woodshedding is not a spectator sport) in front of judges with excellent ears, the quartet demonstrates its ability to create acceptable, appropriate, complete, ringing harmonies around that melody. The members would even be allowed to stay on their registered voice-part.
        >
        > 3. If it is determined that anyone in the quartet HAS sung, seen, or arranged the melody on paper (either prior to the convention or "on the fly" during the minimal practicing on-site), either the quartet would be handed another melody (my preference) or a disqualification score of Zero would be assigned for the ear-singing portion of the quartet contest, depending on the timing of the discovery of the disingenuousness.
        >
        > 4. An assigned score from the ear-singing is combined with the regular scores from the performance-singing, and the medalist and other rankings are determined from the ultimate totals.
        >
        >
        > I ask, and I believe very reasonably: Should not our champion quartets demonstrate their championship abilities on BOTH the "performance" AND the "extemporaneous" sides of the Barbershop spectrum? Many gold medalists already have done so, as evidenced by pre- or post-championship induction into AHSOW as individuals, yet adding a formal ear-singing component would leave no doubt as to the breadth of their abilities as Barbershoppers.
        >
        > For our possible discussion!
        >
        > Toban Dvoretzky - Pres., AHSOW
        > www.ahsow.org
        >
      • bandit7577@yahoo.com
        A woodshed contest sounds like a great idea. Why not just do it? It seems that in this day of the internet, harmonet and everythingelsenet, it would be easy
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 1, 2011
          A woodshed "contest" sounds like a great idea. Why not just do it?

          It seems that in this day of the internet, harmonet and everythingelsenet, it would be easy to advertise, get a relatively small venue at the next international convention, put up a couple of tables for snacks, invite people as a hospitality room, put up a sign that says "WOODSHED" and conduct a contest. Give out wood medals (hickory, oak, pine, etc).

          Start small and watch it grow.

          Doug Johnson
          Robbinsdale, Minnesota
          --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, "Toban Dvoretzky" <TBone@...> wrote:
          >
          > The excellent Grant Carson had written, in part:
          >
          > >>How about a woodshed quartet contest?
          > >>Grant Carson
          >
          >
          > And the incomparable Jack Baird wrote, in part:
          >
          > >>Good idea. For those of us who would love to be included, I'd suggest we have it [...]. I'd rather sing than listen anytime. [...] Let the listeners listen and the singers SING.<<
          >
          >
          > And the mighty fine Jack Martin wrote, in part:
          >
          > >I like this idea also. Maybe Toban could think on this, and with some Kenosha help, hold a fun woodshed competition in Louisville.<
          >
          > ---
          > And Toban writes:
          >
          > Who needs another contest, with (aargh) winners/losers and (urgh) spectators?
          >
          > I'll preface the following idea with a real piece of Barbershop history: In their championship year, the Chordbusters had just been awarded their gold medals when word spread through the auditorium that the quartet had sung written arrangements. There was nearly a riot. The judges hauled the quartet backstage and obliged it to WOODSHED several melodies to their satisfaction. The quartet passed, because otherwise it would have had to swap its gold medals for those initially awarded to the silver medalists. (This information came from Mo Rector, who heard it directly from Doc Enmeier.)
          >
          > A few years ago, I proposed that the Society add a component to International quartet contests: An extra round during which each competing quartet is obliged to demonstrate not just its "arrangement-singing" skills (as now), but also its EAR-SINGING abilities.
          >
          > I'd have to research the details of what I proposed, but the essence, if memory serves, is this:
          >
          > 1. Each quartet is handed a melody that no one in the quartet has sung before, with minimal-yet-adequate time to practice.
          >
          > 2. In a PRIVATE session (woodshedding is not a spectator sport) in front of judges with excellent ears, the quartet demonstrates its ability to create acceptable, appropriate, complete, ringing harmonies around that melody. The members would even be allowed to stay on their registered voice-part.
          >
          > 3. If it is determined that anyone in the quartet HAS sung, seen, or arranged the melody on paper (either prior to the convention or "on the fly" during the minimal practicing on-site), either the quartet would be handed another melody (my preference) or a disqualification score of Zero would be assigned for the ear-singing portion of the quartet contest, depending on the timing of the discovery of the disingenuousness.
          >
          > 4. An assigned score from the ear-singing is combined with the regular scores from the performance-singing, and the medalist and other rankings are determined from the ultimate totals.
          >
          >
          > I ask, and I believe very reasonably: Should not our champion quartets demonstrate their championship abilities on BOTH the "performance" AND the "extemporaneous" sides of the Barbershop spectrum? Many gold medalists already have done so, as evidenced by pre- or post-championship induction into AHSOW as individuals, yet adding a formal ear-singing component would leave no doubt as to the breadth of their abilities as Barbershoppers.
          >
          > For our possible discussion!
          >
          > Toban Dvoretzky - Pres., AHSOW
          > www.ahsow.org
          >
        • Michael Baribeau
          The Barbershop Quartet Preservation Association (BQPA) has some kind of pickup/woodshed festival/contest twice a year. According to their website...
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 1, 2011
            The Barbershop Quartet Preservation Association (BQPA) has some kind of pickup/woodshed festival/contest twice a year. According to their website...

            http://www.bqpa.com/

            ...the next BQPA Quartet Festival is Chicago, IL September 7-10, 2011.


            Michael Baribeau
            Webmaster@...




            --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, bandit7577@... wrote:
            >
            >
            > A woodshed "contest" sounds like a great idea. Why not just do it?
            >
            > It seems that in this day of the internet, harmonet and everythingelsenet, it would be easy to advertise, get a relatively small venue at the next international convention, put up a couple of tables for snacks, invite people as a hospitality room, put up a sign that says "WOODSHED" and conduct a contest. Give out wood medals (hickory, oak, pine, etc).
            >
            > Start small and watch it grow.
            >
            > Doug Johnson
            > Robbinsdale, Minnesota
            > --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, "Toban Dvoretzky" <TBone@> wrote:
            > >
            > > The excellent Grant Carson had written, in part:
            > >
            > > >>How about a woodshed quartet contest?
            > > >>Grant Carson
            > >
            > >
            > > And the incomparable Jack Baird wrote, in part:
            > >
            > > >>Good idea. For those of us who would love to be included, I'd suggest we have it [...]. I'd rather sing than listen anytime. [...] Let the listeners listen and the singers SING.<<
            > >
            > >
            > > And the mighty fine Jack Martin wrote, in part:
            > >
            > > >I like this idea also. Maybe Toban could think on this, and with some Kenosha help, hold a fun woodshed competition in Louisville.<
            > >
            > > ---
            > > And Toban writes:
            > >
            > > Who needs another contest, with (aargh) winners/losers and (urgh) spectators?
            > >
            > > I'll preface the following idea with a real piece of Barbershop history: In their championship year, the Chordbusters had just been awarded their gold medals when word spread through the auditorium that the quartet had sung written arrangements. There was nearly a riot. The judges hauled the quartet backstage and obliged it to WOODSHED several melodies to their satisfaction. The quartet passed, because otherwise it would have had to swap its gold medals for those initially awarded to the silver medalists. (This information came from Mo Rector, who heard it directly from Doc Enmeier.)
            > >
            > > A few years ago, I proposed that the Society add a component to International quartet contests: An extra round during which each competing quartet is obliged to demonstrate not just its "arrangement-singing" skills (as now), but also its EAR-SINGING abilities.
            > >
            > > I'd have to research the details of what I proposed, but the essence, if memory serves, is this:
            > >
            > > 1. Each quartet is handed a melody that no one in the quartet has sung before, with minimal-yet-adequate time to practice.
            > >
            > > 2. In a PRIVATE session (woodshedding is not a spectator sport) in front of judges with excellent ears, the quartet demonstrates its ability to create acceptable, appropriate, complete, ringing harmonies around that melody. The members would even be allowed to stay on their registered voice-part.
            > >
            > > 3. If it is determined that anyone in the quartet HAS sung, seen, or arranged the melody on paper (either prior to the convention or "on the fly" during the minimal practicing on-site), either the quartet would be handed another melody (my preference) or a disqualification score of Zero would be assigned for the ear-singing portion of the quartet contest, depending on the timing of the discovery of the disingenuousness.
            > >
            > > 4. An assigned score from the ear-singing is combined with the regular scores from the performance-singing, and the medalist and other rankings are determined from the ultimate totals.
            > >
            > >
            > > I ask, and I believe very reasonably: Should not our champion quartets demonstrate their championship abilities on BOTH the "performance" AND the "extemporaneous" sides of the Barbershop spectrum? Many gold medalists already have done so, as evidenced by pre- or post-championship induction into AHSOW as individuals, yet adding a formal ear-singing component would leave no doubt as to the breadth of their abilities as Barbershoppers.
            > >
            > > For our possible discussion!
            > >
            > > Toban Dvoretzky - Pres., AHSOW
            > > www.ahsow.org
            > >
            >
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