for Barbershop Choruses and Quartets
In our competitions, performances are judged by a panel of judges in three categories.
Please find more information here:
Definition of the style
Die nachfolgende Definition entspricht derjenigen der Barbershop Harmony Society.
Barbershop, or barbershop harmony, is a style of unaccompanied vocal music characterized by consonant four-part chords per melody note in a primarily homorhythmic texture. Homorhythmic means that the voices primarily sing each syllable simultaneously. The melody is sung continuously by the lead, the lead voice (second tenor). The tenor (first tenor or top voice) harmonizes above the melody. The bass sings the lowest harmonizing notes and the baritone completes the chord. Occasionally, short passages may be sung by fewer than four voices.
Barbershop music includes songs with understandable, English-language lyrics and easy-to-sing melodies whose notes clearly define a tonal center. The harmonic repertoire includes primarily major and minor chords, as well as barbershop seventh chords (dominant and secondary dominant) that often resolve along the circle of fifths. However, other harmonic resolutions are also used. Barbershop music is further characterized by a balanced and symmetrical form and a unified meter. The underlying song and its harmonization, arranged in barbershop style, are supplemented by the arranger with further musical embellishments to emphasize the theme of the song musically as well and to give the song an effective conclusion.
Barbershop singers adjust their individual pitches to achieve perfectly intoned chords (rather than tempered tuning as in piano) in pure intonation while remaining within the established tonal center. Artful singing in the barbershop style presents a fullness or expansion of sound, precise intonation, a high degree of vocal ability, and a high degree of homogeneity and consistency within the ensemble. Ideally, the singers produce these various sonic components not by artificial means, but naturally and free of visible effort.
The performance of barbershop music employs appropriate musical and visual methods to impressively present the theme of the song and to provide the audience with an emotionally compelling and entertaining experience. Barbershop singers traditionally do not use sheet music in performance. The musical and visual performance is consistently heartfelt, believable, and sensitive to the theme of the song and its arrangement. In the most stylistically sophisticated performance, the musical and visual aspects artfully blend to create and support the imagery emanating from the music.
Barbershop can be performed in both quartets and choruses, and is practiced by male, female, and mixed ensembles worldwide.
Music category judges evaluate song and arrangement as it is performed. They judge the musical-interpretative elements of the performance: melody, harmony, range and vocal pitch, tempo and rhythm and meter, structure and form, and ornamentation. They evaluate how well the musical interpretation develops the central theme and the extent to which the interpretation exhibits artful sensitivity to that theme. They also judge the extent to which the musical elements of the song and arrangement exhibit the typical characteristics of the barbershop style.
Judges in the performance category evaluate how effectively a song is brought to life, i.e. how credibly the theme is expressed in its musical and visual form. They consider both the vocal and visual aspects of the performance. Primarily, they judge their interaction, as this creates the overall image of the song. They judge the quality and appropriateness of the overall effect. The judges in the performance category evaluate everything about the performance that has an emotional impact on the audience.
Our certified panel for
Barbershop Music Festival 2023
Joe Cerutti (Barbershop Harmony Society)
Joe Cerutti has served as artistic director of the Alexandria Harmonizers since 2007, when they won the bronze medal at the 2022 Barbershop Harmony Society International Convention. During his tenure, he has prepared the Harmonizers for an average of 20 performances per year, including appearances at the White House, the Supreme Court, Carnegie Hall, and major cities in North America and abroad, among others. Joe Cerutti has served as an adjudicator and lecturer at numerous choral festivals and choral conducting roundtables in North America, Europe/UK, Australia and New Zealand. He is a certified Music Judge and a member of the Board of Examiners for the Music Category (BHS). He currently works full time as the Director of Leadership Engagement for the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Joe is a life member of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), a founding member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), and a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Chorus America, and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), where he is currently a member of the National Standing Committee for Advocacy and Collaboration.
(Barbershop Harmony Society)
Anthony Bartholomew has been a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society since 2005 and a certified Music Judge since 2013, where he also serves on the Board of Review. He started with the El Paso Border Chorders (1964 SPEBSQSA choral champions!) before moving to Dallas, Texas in 2010.
He has been singing with Vocal Majority ever since. He has been a member of the front row and performance team, winning one gold and two silver medals with the chorus. As an experienced arranger, Anthony has composed for groups of all sizes, skill levels, success levels, and genders, while coaching and adjudicating quartets and choruses in the U.S., Canada, Sweden, and as of today, Germany!
Dr. Steve Scott (Barbershop Harmony Society)
Steve Scott is the director of Harmony University and educational services for the Barbershop Harmony Society. He has been a barbershopper for over thirty years and taught voice and chorus at the college level before joining BHS full-time. His research interests include the biophysiology of the barbershop singing voice, barbershop acoustics, and barbershop history. He is a certified Singing Judge, a frequent faculty member for Harmony Colleges around the world where he teaches vocal technique and vocal pedagogy, vocal coach and teacher.
Steve is also the director of the TuneTown Show Chorus, competing in the 2023 SAI Harmony Classic, and the assistant director and lead vocal coach of the Music City Chorus, the 2022 International Champion Chorus, both in Nashville TN. He lives in the Nashville area with his wife and two children.
Jeremy Conover (Barbershop Harmony Society)
Jeremy Conover, of Savannah, Georgia, is a certified Singing Judge and has been a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society for 25 years. He is a 6-time District Quartet Champion (in 5 different districts...in 3 different voice parts), has competed in international competitions 15 times, and is one of the few members in Barbershop Harmony Society history to qualify for international competition in 3 different voice parts. Jeremy currently sings bass in the 2018 Dixie District Champion Quartet Entourage.
Jeremy has coached choruses and quartets of all levels and around the world. He is the co-founder and principal vocal coach of the innovative and forward-thinking choir The Kentucky Vocal Union, with which he placed third internationally, and is currently a member of the 2022 International Choral Champion, The Music City Chorus.
(Barbershop Harmony Society, Australasian Guild of Barbershop Judges)
Charlotte Murray has been a high school music teacher in Wellington, New Zealand for 25 years. Charlotte discovered her love of barbershop after hearing the international champion quartet Second Edition in her last years of high school. She returned to her old high school, Tawa College, as a teacher in 1998 and now teaches 100 high school students in the school's barbershop choruses and quartets.
Her former students include the Musical Island Boys, the 2014 BHS international quartet winners. Charlotte is co-founder and co-conductor of the Vocal FX Chorus. She is an adjudicator in the Performance category and is on the Education Team for Barbershop Harmony New Zealand.
In 2022, Charlotte received the Joe Liles Life Time Achievement Award from the Barbershop Harmony Society. She loves to pass on what she has been taught over the years and has participated in barbershop education events in the US, Germany, Holland, Australia and New Zealand.
(Barbershop Harmony Society)
Sean Devine brings over 25 years of professional stage experience, design and education to our barbershop community. He is a sought-after trainer and lecturer, certified performance judge and champion quartet singer with 2008 International Gold Medalists, OC Times.
Born and raised in Hershey, Pennsylvania (USA) - "The Sweetest Place on Earth" - Sean is also the founder and artistic director of the award-winning chorus Parkside Harmony.
From 2001 to 2008, he toured full-time with one of America's leading doo-wop groups, The Alley Cats, and for the past 10 years has been the lead vocalist with Throwback, the current international bronze medalists.
Abour Barbershop Music Festival 2023
"A Cappella Love" is the motto under which from May 18 through 21, 2023 about 400 singers from all over Germany and the world will meet again in Konzerthaus Dortmund. Together, these are over 40 choruses and quartets, which put the hall in very special vibrations during this weekend.
Experience the German championships for Barbershop choruses and Barbershop quartets or let yourself be carried away in the evening gala shows on Friday and Saturday. Exhilarating performances and the 4-part a cappella sound of barbershop harmony singing are waiting for you.
Be there when A Cappella hearts beat faster.
We are looking forward to seeing you!
4 days of a cappella music festival in Dortmund with:
German Quartet Championship
German Chorus Championship
Two Shows on Friday and Saturday evening
BinG! Barbershop in Germany e. V.
Hohe Straße 61 a
44139 Dortmund, Germany