I attended the BABS annual convention at Harrogate, 28th-30th May, for the first time in 14 years – having been out of the country in the interim. It caused me to reflect on the nature of progress and how things evolve (or devolve). The last time I attended convention, I was in the judging pit, and the last time I competed at convention was almost 20 years ago to the day: at the same venue, with the same club and the same (recently returned) director. As I sat in the audience, during the quartet semi-finals and finals, and for a goodly proportion of the chorus contest, I was left with a number of though-provoking questions/comments…
- how do quartets and choruses choose their contest songs?
- has the style ‘advanced’ so far that it is acceptable to end on a dissonance
(deliberately rather than singing out of tune…)?
- abandoning prelims for choruses seems to be much fairer and overall standards seem to have grown
- what happened to the ‘Monday Morning Fun Show’?
I am not going to answer these now, maybe I’ll revisit them around the same time next year, it’s always good to reflect from time to time… however, I do think it would be worthwhile for some of those who have been in this ‘for the duration’ as it were, and may have allowed some things to go too far (in my view), to go back and reexamine where Barbershop Harmony singing came from and consider where they’d like to see it in 15 years time. Maybe I’m just turning into Burt Szabo!