HomeBlogsjhowser's blogBarbershop Harmony Society Looks To Broaden Membership Through Outreach Effort

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We were very happy to find out that there are a lot of singers out there. There really are. Its just a matter of reaching them, Hopkins said.

As part of the outreach effort, the Barbershop Harmony Society is first setting its sights on men between the ages of 35 and 54, many of whom grew up with barbershop music and might have an inclination to join a group. After that, the society is looking at the younger generation, ages 18 to 35.

The goal in the end is to form lots of different kinds of chapters and groups throughout the society. That would include some that are preparing for competitions and some whose members are there primarily to socialize.

It would also include groups that only want to sing barbershop and some that want to mix in other styles as wella notion that tends to ruffle some feathers among barbershop purists.

In past decades, members of the society often had a with us or against us attitude when it came to the barbershop style, Hopkins said. But now the society aims to work with any group that is interested in a cappella music and do anything it can to support vocal harmony.

We want people to do what works for them, Hopkins said. Even if a college group, for example, only wants to do a couple barbershop numbers, theyre still preserving a style that BHS members feel really strongly about.

Basically, the society feels it needs to try to appeal to different generations of singers in order to increase membership. While there are always concerns about preserving the barbershop style, the society has seen a positive response as well as a wider variety in the kinds of songs groups are singing, Hopkins said.

The societys outreach campaign relies on current members to bring in new singers. It offers ideas about recruitment and retention and even provides cash prizes for chapters that bring in the most. Hopkins hopes that will provide enough incentive for current members to become active recruiters.

I think the natural inclination for a lot of folks is to really enjoy the people they are singing with now and not think about how much more fun it would be with more people, he said.

A large increase in membership could allow the organization to increase its lean staff, Hopkins said. The society is also looking for a new city to serve as its headquarters, having sold its Harmony Hall in Kenosha, Wisc., a few years ago. Current frontrunners include Dallas, Chicago and Nashville.

These changes make for exciting times at the Barbershop Harmony Society, Hopkins said.

Our goal is to keep the whole world singing. We want as many people as possible to be involved in a cappella harmony, he said.