Getting Ready for Division II contest
As part of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), Northwest Sound participates in the society’s regular rhythm of competitions. The annual cycle of three levels of competition covers about 15 months, so the cycles overlap. In the spring choruses take part in the local or Division competitions. Division winners and high scoring runners up go on to the regional or District competitions in the fall; and the following summer, District winners and high scoring runners up join the international competition at the annual BHS convention. Residing in Division II of the Evergreen District, Northwest Sound has been very successful over the last three years, winning at the division (Puget Sound area) and district (Pacific Northwest including Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia and parts of Montana and Alberta) levels and then competing at each year’s International where in 2016 we made a significant jump up to 13th place.
Preparation for the Division contest is a significant focus for the chorus in the spring and often a chance to develop new songs and choreography for the contests. The division contest also serves as a checkpoint on the way to the international contest, allowing us to check our progress and preparation. Another significant focus for the chorus in the spring is the Quartet Initiative which encourages all chorus members to form quartets, prepare for, and participate in the division quartet contest. The chorus dedicates a quarter of its rehearsal time in the spring to the initiative as well as providing lots of coaching and feedback to the quartets. Each of the last few years, we have sent a dozen or so quartets to the contest – nearly as many as the entire rest of the division combined.
Pictured is quartet Hit It! featuring (L to R) Mike Hatch baritone, Jim Corey bass, Doug Hutson lead, and Sean Hanauer tenor, warming up for the division contest with a performance for their buddies in the chorus.