Report on Midwinter
- About 2000 members attended the Midwinter in Pasadena, CA this weekend. For
the other 25,000 of you, you missed one of the best conventions the hobby
First place, for those of you freezing your pitch pipes off in some other
place than Southern California, the temperature here during the day was in
the high 70's.
The seniors contest was very high level, with Audacity winning handily. For
those of us who know Fraiser Brown and his record of competition, it was a
victory beyond words.
The Youth Chorus Festival and Contest was great. We were watching the
future of barbershop. The Northwest Vocal Project looks like the beginnings
of another Westminster. The Denver chorus, "52eighty", under the direction
of Chris Vaughn sounds and moves like GOTCHA! Wonder Why?
Having all those kids around the convention boosted up the excitement level
of the whole convention by several notches. HOORAY!
I had the pleasure of watching Dr. Greg Lyne morph about 100 barbershoppers
from just some guys who knew the words and music into a great sounding
chorus with only five or six hours total rehearsal. Seeing Greg at work is
really a pleasure to watch. His talent is awesome.
OC Times spent an hour with singing and some questions and answers. One of
the big points they made was: Learn The Polecats, that's our roots!
Now to the shows. Friday night started out with the Jurassic Larks, 1998
AISC champs. Someone noted that their combined age exceeded the combined
age of one of the youth choruses. The AISC chorus brought us back to the
time of the Beach Boys, (which for many of us wasn't that long ago), then
Old School (5th Place 2008 BHS) sang. As the are wont to do, they sang some
of the old time favorites, finishing with Buzz Hager's arrangement of Last
Night Was The End Of The World, with that huge tag that we all love to sing.
When they finished the audience rose as one person yelling and screaming.
The KIBBERS are often quoted as saying: "I can't describe barbershop, but I
know it when I hear it!" Well we heard it, in spades!
When we thought it couldn't get any better than that, along came Redline
(4th place 2008 BHS) and State Line Grocery (3rd Place 2008 BHS), each with
potential Gold Medal performances.
If that wasn't enough, Ringmasters, our 2008 Collegiate Champs who are from
Sweden showed us how the youth quartets are closing in on us old folks. Each
time they sang, (three performances total) they gave us a performance that
is potentially top ten in Anaheim.
Finally, Eureka, last year's AISC champs did their swan song. Brian Beck
and the others demonstrated why they have all those medals.
Saturday night's show started at the level left off the previous night, with
the winning youth chorus, Northwest Vocal Project, Antique Gold, (2006 AISC
champs), and Ringmasters again. Audacity taking their victory lap and
showing us why they deserved to be champions.
A special event was a performance by VoCA (Voices of California) a group of
13 performers from the world of barbershop. There are at least a dozen BHS
& SAI gold medals in the group. Not barbershop, but spectacular in
Then Crossroads (2nd Place 2008 BHS) thrilled the audience with a
performance that's going to be hard to beat in Anaheim.
Just when we thought we had heard everything, out came our International
champs, OC Times with their usual incredible performance, as they finished
the curtain behind them rose and there was the Masters of Harmony, our
current chorus champions. OC TIMES took their usual places in the chorus
and MOH gave us a reprise of their winning performance in Nashville.
The entire show was one for the ages. Except for International Conventions
I don't think many of us will ever be witness to a show like that.
Then the afterglow started. Usually at International Conventions there is a
formal afterglow with a large crowd watching the stars of the shows and
local quartets performing. There was one at this convention, but it was
sparsely attended. The action was all in the lobbies. With all of those
young people woodshedding with each other and some seasoned barbershoppers,
it was just like the conventions I remember many years ago. There was
excitement in the air as hundreds of quartets were woodshedding all at once.
When I finally left at 1:15AM, I passed OC Times singing with everybody who
still wanted to sing.
What an incredible convention. Everybody there should thank Ed Watson and
Ev Nau and the entire BHS and HF staffs for all their hard work to make it
For those of you HARMONET addicts, I had a chance to have dinner with Roz
Frizell and later Bob Patterson joined us, so there wasn't an official get
together but we did interface.
My memory is a bit overloaded, so if I have forgotten anything, please feel
free to fill in the details.