Over the last week, the pace of information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact has escalated rapidly. Your BHA National Council has been working with Barbershop Harmony New Zealand leadership and the Australasian Guild of Barbershop Judges to gather information and make recommendations about how best to manage our response and to make decisions about our upcoming regional events throughout April and May, and our BHA National Quartet and Contest planned to be held at the Pan Pacific Barbershop Convention in Auckland NZ in September.
The medical experts tell us that for most Australians in good health who contract the virus, they will experience a mild illness. That said, this virus is also highly transmissible and for those Australians whose health is more vulnerable, especially the elderly, the risk is more severe.
After much careful consideration, in order to protect the safety of our members and their families, our volunteers, and attendees, we are advising that all BHA regional events are cancelled.
This is a decision we do not make lightly. We recognise the important role that these events play in the lives of our members. But barbershop is a voluntary activity and is not worth jeopardising the health and wellbeing of our communities, both large and small.
The regional events obviously have an impact on BHA’s 2020 National Quartet Contest qualification in Auckland. Though we are still assessing the likelihood of hosting an in-person Pan-Pacific Convention, the BHA leadership team will continue working with the Australasian Guild of Barbershop Judges to formulate a contingency plan for quartets who wish to qualify for the National Contest, should it go ahead. This plan is likely to utilise video submissions. We already use video qualifying at times for our regional events, so there is a tested and familiar process in place. Details will be released over the coming weeks.
The Pan-Pacific Convention, at which we would hold our National Quartet and Chorus Contests, has not been postponed or cancelled at this point in time. We are communicating with BHNZ, watching closely the travel and quarantine advice issuing from both the Australian and New Zealand Governments, and continue assessing the likelihood and logistics of the events. More information will be shared soon as we continue to monitor the situation.
Thank you for your care and concern for each other and our community. We will be providing more updates and information as things develop. We encourage you to stay healthy, maintain good hygiene, observe the local recommendations around gathering and social distancing, and connect with your fellow barbershoppers virtually, online, or by phone. We can still keep singing... even if we’re not able to gather in the usual ways.
In harmony Dan Millgate
Barbershop Harmony Australia