Hiring SAI Quartets for BHS Shows (rural viewpoint)
- I was involved with hiring Guest Quartets
for a twenty-nine man chapter in rural
Western New York....(not quite the
end of the world,...but just East of Buffalo)
from 1988 to 1995.
When I joined SPEBSQSA in 1984,
many of our members did not even like
to have female visitors at our meetings.
And, when several nearby chapters
hired female directors, there were
some agitated "old timers."
This is not meant to start a new thread.
It is simply to give you some idea of the
'mind set' of a few of our members.
My initial hirings were limited to guidelines
from our Chapter Board of directors.
1. A money amount (usually $1000 )
2. If the first quartet is cheap, I could
get an additional "Local Area" quartet
(so we wouldn't have to pay too much travel).
Back then, fees of more than $900 (I think)
had to file IRS forms for the
event. I'm not sure if that is still true....
But, most quartets, then, were charging, at-or-below, that figure.
As a novice Barbershopper,
my initial search reference was
our BHS publications. So, my
initial hires were BHS-only quartets.
As my knowledge of the Barbershop World
increased. I became aware of Sweet Adeling Internation (SAI) and Harmony Incorporated (HI). However, I did not have access to
their publications for contact info. So,
when I began hiring Ladies Quartets
(and one chorus), it was through chance meetings at BHS events, or through a
mutual friend (usually a parent, sibling,
or male director of a ladies chorus).
In spite of my ignorance. I was extremely lucky:
A well known Barbershopper from Buffalo,
had a son with a good quartet, and a Daughter
with a better quartet. The son was about to relocate out of the area. and the daughter's quartet was about to break up for a similar
reason. They all said their goodbyes on our show...(not a dry eye in the house)...
And, we sold lots of extra tickets for "their"
friend, fans and family.
(I claim full credit for the coup)
The Bass of a comedy quartet from Rochester NY, Cornerstone, was married to;
and father of, half of a Harmony Inc. Queens
Quartet (the name escapes me... but it
may have been For Heavens Sake).
They put on a spectacular show,
and even had some material
featuring both quartets singing together.
And, finally, a Ladies Chorus from
Batavia NYhad given up their SAI affiliation, and were unable to have a "Show" of their own
(without the ASCAP/BMI and insurance coverage that SAI can provide). So, I invited them to participate in our show. The only downside was: We offered them a twenty minute slot... But, they wouldn't stop singing!
(Apparently, it had been so long since they had the opportunity, they didn't want it to end!
I don't begrudge them the "fun," but our show ran 45 minutes late! Which threw off the Afterglow start, and irritated our senior citizen guests.
And several other similar stories.
So, what I am trying to say (in a long story fashion) is: Perhaps our Societies should have a data base that lists the current "top-of-the-line" talent and how to contact them...AND, a Regional/District data base listing other (cheaper) "show quality" groups.
(We probably should include the mixed quartets as well).
Now, putting on my Devil's Advocate hat.
Such List(s) would be very difficult to keep current. So, perhaps each Region/District website could sponsor a page, and advertise in each other's publications (using the "you print mine for free, and I'll print yours." principle).
This would help to level the playing field.
I have done one joint show with a SAI group
(Our Chorus was on their show). But, the only joint practice was a quick run-through an hour prior to curtain... It could have been a lot better.
I believe the lack of SAI/HI talent at BHS Shows is simply, the lack of a convenient
avenue of approach. Its easier to hire "in-house.
Larry the Legend
Lead, Heart of Florida Chorus
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