A busy time for all

A busy time for all
Type of post: News
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Dick Bushell
Status: Current
Date Posted: Fri, 28 Apr 2017

As we enter our “season” of regional contests, it’s a busy time for Australian barbershoppers.

There will be Regional contests held in Sunshine, Central, Victorian, Eastern and Western Regions, held as qualifying contests for our National contest in September to be held at the Pan Pacific Convention in Sydney. A big vote of thanks to our judges and CA’s, and of course Chairman of Judges Alex Morris, for making this all happen so seamlessly.

I had the honour to be a judge at the recent Central Region contest in Adelaide. The preparation and performance of the quartets and choruses was impressive! All groups were eager to receive feedback from judges, and successful workshops were also held, making it a fabulous weekend of barbershop for all involved.

My view is that the whole build up to contest encourages your group to work harder, with some focus, and that’s a good thing. You can be motivated to rehearse and you have a goal. Successful people and teams have goals. They make practical and achievable plans to reach their goals.

A great example of this happened last year when my chorus, Vocal Evolution, was planning its contest songs for Newcastle. We had chosen our songs earlier in the year and even performed them at International. Then, 3 weeks out from Newcastle we finally got word that the copyright permission for our up-tune had not been granted. It was a major setback and a crisis.

Instead of complaining and whingeing about this (which we were probably entitled to do), we just accepted it and got straight into planning an alternative. We didn’t have another contest up-tune in our repertoire that we could just slot in. So our Music Team got mobilised. Lots of emails began flying about and lots of ideas. What could we do? A key point was that every comment was positive.

Within 24 hours a plan had evolved. We’d use an up tempo song that we had been working on and make it a parody about copyright. It came together in about 2 days. Everyone contributed, some ideas were cast aside, no egos were involved, and we had our new contest song. We had the music ready to send to the guys on Friday and by Monday’s rehearsal everyone showed up knowing it. It was a triumph of planning, effort and coordination.

This is a great example of how to positively approach a contest. That experience has drawn our chorus even closer together than we were. We all shared that adversity and we all stood up to it, and made a plan to conquer it. Next time your contest score is lower than you think it should have been, just think about making a plan to ensure that next time it will be higher. Get advice from the judges and execute a good plan. We’re all here to help you.

If your group doesn’t go to contest I think you are missing out on a lot. Sure, you may not be able to afford or undertake the travel to National contest, but you can go along to your Regional contest and get just as much out of it. You can set some goals, learn some songs, learn more about barbershop, and share your love of our hobby with others in your Region. Give it a go!

Our BHA Music VP, Andrew Howson, has assembled an impressive national education faculty (NEF), and it is Council’s plan to roll out educator visits to every Club and chorus during the next year. It won’t cost you anything except perhaps a billet of the coach for a night to so while they are visiting. Apart from that the NEF members are donating their time for free. Watch out for this new initiative, which has been a great success in the Sweet Adelines organisation.

Youth members I’m sure are looking forward to the Deke Sharon workshops in Sydney in September with great anticipation. After all, Deke is world famous, and we’re so lucky to have him coming out to run two days of workshops in modern A Cappella singing. Deke is also a Life member of the Barbershop Harmony Society, so he knows barbershop too! BHA Secretary Trevor Rootes, and BHA Youth VP Kieran O’Dea are organising Deke’s visit, so if you have any questions please drop them a line.

There is a huge amount of planning and effort going into the Pan Pacific Convention in Sydney, and I want to thank BHA Events VP Dan Millgate, and local organising coordinator Warren Lewis (and his team) for the fantastic effort they are putting in. When you see them in Sydney please make a special effort to thank them.

Good luck in the coming contests to all, and I hope to see as many of you as possible in Sydney in September!


Ian Mulholland