The 2016 BHS International Contest was held in Music City, Nashville, TN - the home of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Over 8000 people walked through the doors of the Bridgestone Arena on the bustling Broadway for 5 days of brilliant entertainment. I once again, had the privilege of hosting the webcast alongside Debbie Cleveland and this year also joined by Matthew Gifford, of Music Island Boys fame.
BHA was proudly represented by not 1 but 3 quartets in the Youth Barbershop Quartet Contest (formally Collegiate Barbershop Quartet Contest) with The Grand Angus (Western Region, featuring Jeremy Conner from Alabama) placing 18th with 73.6, Skyline (Central Region) placing 15th with 74.6, and Blindside (Sunshine Region) placing 8th with 78.9. The Youth Barbershop Quartet Contest was won by newcomer, Pratt Street Power with a score of 82.0.
Our youth representatives along with our open quartet representatives, The Mellow Diners, joined forces to perform the Australian National Anthem at the opening of the second Quartet Quarter Finals session.
The quartet contest was the largest since the 2011 BHS International Quartet Contest in Louisville, KT, with 58 quartets crossing the stage in what was a long but incredibly entertaining day of competition. The Mellow Diners sang 58th and placed 33rd (the highest placing for an Australian quartet) with a score of 78.8. The contest was won by Forefront (Cardinal District) with a score of 93.3, who will be our guest quartet at the BHA National Convention in Newcastle later this year.
Vocal Evolution, who were joined by members of all competing quartets, took to the stage second (directly following Vocal Revolution) placing 27th with a score of 77.9 in what was one of the most exciting chorus contests to date. The chorus contest was won be the Ambassadors of Harmony with a score of 96.8.
Congratulations to Vocal FX from Wellington, New Zealand who placed equal 6th with a score of 89.6 with a truly unforgettable performance.
This year, we saw the World Harmony Jamboree moved to Saturday afternoon, giving audience and performers a little more time to enjoy what this fabulous concert has to offer. Featured on the show, were Blindside, The Mellow Diners (in their final performance as a quartet) and Vocal Evolution.
Only one and a half weeks following the international contest, 10 members of the Australasian Guild of Barbershop Judges (with 7 from Australia) attended the 2016 BHS Category School. This school, held every 3 years, is a fantastic opportunity for judges to hone their skills and learn more about this wonderful art form through the lens of their category.
Those Presentation (PRS) judges in attendance had the opportunity to be part of history as the category was re-written and transitioned to the Performance (PER) category. BHA were able to support 5 of the 7 Australian attendees with a scholarship to assist in registration for this event. We are so excited for our judges to bring back a new breath of energy and education to our judging program!
Directly following Category School was the 2016 BHS Harmony University. This incredible week of education is second to none and this year, it was fantastic to see both Dan Millgate and Richard Reeve from Australia as well as a number of attendees from New Zealand. I was very honoured to be on faculty at this years’ Harmony University, an experience that I will never forget.
Congratulations to all who represented BHA so brilliantly over the busy month of July. Personally, I cannot wait to see everyone in Newcastle! All the best with your preparations for what is set to be an exciting week in BHA history!