Keeping A Cappella Afloat!

As everyone goes into quarantine mode and live events have been cancelled for weeks, if not months…

We know that this means losing months of hard work, missing out on events you had been looking forward to, and, most concerning of all, the severe loss of income for our community’s professional artists.

Our mission here at Acaville is to support the community, so we are here to help in as many ways as we can and use our platform to support YOU.

We are reaching out to all pro groups (semi-pro groups, as well!) for virtual opportunities to perform, market yourself, and make at least a little income while you wait out the pandemic.

Send us an email at onair@acaville.org with a link to a live video and we’ll get you set up to continue getting your hard work out to your fans and a little help supporting yourself in the process!

Singing Double Wins NextGen Junior Quartet Contest

In 2019, the Barbershop Harmony Society expanded their youth offerings to include the Next Generation Junior Quartet Contest and Chorus Invitational. Aside from shining a light on the youngest barbershoppers – those 18 and younger – it was also the first international contest open to all genders.

In its second year, the Junior Quartet Contest has grown beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. The robust field of 15 competing groups showcased a jaw-dropping amount of talent from teenagers from around the country. While only 3 medals were awarded, every group was greeted with a near deafening standing ovation. You couldn’t find a more welcoming and enthusiastic sold out crowd anywhere.

Each group performed one song for a panel of judges on a similar rubric to other BHS contests, but out of a total score of 35. This year’s judges were Renee Tramack (Singing), a two-time Harmony Queen and Director of New England Voices in Harmony, Sandi Wright (Performance), a Queen of Harmony, Director of St..Louis Vocal Project, and a certified judge and director in SAI, HI, and BHS, and David Wright (Music), the Associate Director of the Ambassadors of Harmony and arguably the most sought after arranger in all of barbershop.

With the scores tallied, BHS awarded their first ever gold medal to a women’s quartet – Singing Double. Singing Double earned a score of 22.2, to top a field of quartets that were so talented,  the full room of seasoned barbershoppers simultaneously felt challenged by this new crop of singers, while also being excited about the future of the art form.

Singing the jazz standard My Foolish Heart, Singing Double sang with incredible poise, impeccable blend, and a true display of talent, well beyond their years.They will be the first women to have their picture hung on the wall of champions at Harmony Hall in Nashville.

This quartet, comprised of 2 sets of twins, is coached by the legendary Debbie Cleveland, a lifelong music education, a two-time Queen of Harmony, and the 2018 recipient of the BHS NAfME Educator of the Year Award. Cleveland was also this year’s Midwinter Keynote Speaker.

In second places was yet another women’s quartet, Best Sellers. This Onalaska, WI quartet scored a 19.8 to earn the silver. With a score of 19.6, Atchison, KS-based mixed Quartet, Default, took home the bronze medal.

The audience was also treated to performances by the inaugural Next Gen Junior Quartet Champions, The Quin-Tones, the NextGen Varsity Quartet Champions, Wildfire, and the 2019 Sweet Adelines Rising Star Champions, Duly Noted.

After a quick break, the convention moved to the Florida Theatre for and Opening Night Showcase with performances by Singing Double, The Quin-Tones, Wildfire, and Duly Noted, as well as 5th place medalist quartet, Midtown, and 2019 International Champions, Signature.

Today, the Convention turns their attention to the choruses, as both the Junior and Senior Choruses will spend the day on stage at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, highlighting the talents of the oldest and youngest members of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Hot Pursuit Named 2019 Harmony Queens

After two rounds of the Harmony, Inc. Quartet contest, Hot Pursuit topped 30 other quartets to become the 2019 Harmony Queens. This Area 6 quartet and 2018 Sweet Adelines Rising Stars charmed the audience, accepted a standing ovation and scored a record 81.5%.

Earning the silver medal for a second time, Area 4’s Take 4 bettered their 2018 score to earn an 80.7%. Also from Area 4, Fierce finished third with a score of 79.1%.. Representing Area 5, Swing Theory scored 78.0% to finish fourth, and NewQ out of Area 2 finished 5th with a score of 76.9%.

The finals were filled with everything from classic ballads to moving uptunes, representing all of the best that Harmony, Inc. has to offer. While the results were tallied, the afternoon also highlighted the organization’s youth, with a fun, circus-themed performance by the Minor Chords and a swan song performance and presentation by the 2018 Queens, Aged to Perfection. Just before the new queens received the traveling crowns, Aged to Perfection was also presented with their permanent crowns, custom designed for them by Barbara MacIntosh.

Life’s A Pitch received the Image of Harmony Award for their service to the organization. As the highest scoring novice quartet, Resolution won the Findlay Plaque and SweetLife won the Accord Award for Most Improved.

A Cappella Showcase Takes Gold

After one of the most ambitious chorus contests in 60 years of  Harmony, Incorporated, A Cappella Showcase, representing Area 5, won gold with a score of 1507 – 83.7% (1507), just 2 points shy of the highest score of all time, earned by Village Vocal Chords in 2005.

The group started their set with the iconic song from Les Misérables, “On My Own,” so moving you could hear a pin drop in the packed auditorium. The mood changed to boisterous as they started “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes,” complete with choreography that brought on an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience. As is customary for the winning chorus, director Jordan Travis was given the Skidge Heath Memorial Award.

Silver medalists, Northern Blend also exceed all other previous chorus scores earning 1500 points – an 83.3%, making this the first chorus contest to see two choruses exceed 83%. The Blenders put up two widely loved songs, “Pure Imagination” and “I Got Rhythm,” performed with an elevated level of zest that we’ve come to expect from this top-level ensemble. The audience even got to see a couple of cartwheels, which only visually emphasized the energy we got from their performance.

The remaining medalists also put forth the gold standard.with a 78.5% from Sounds of the Seacoast, a 78.4% by the Village Vocal Chords, and first time medalists, Atlanta Harmony Celebration! earning a 76.1%. Atlanta Harmony Celebration! also took home the Montreal City Voices Tait Trophy for Chorus Improvement Score by Ranking. The group moved from 11th place in 2018 to 5th in 2019. The record setting scores continued on down the line, with numerous choruses hitting their best scores ever.

Additional awards included the LABBS Trophy: Non-Medalist Highest Performance Score which went to 7th place chorus, Bella Nova, and the G. Ruth Geils Memorial Award: Highest Scoring Chorus with the Least Number of Appearances on the Contest Stage for 6th place finisher Lake Ridge Legacy Chorus. Bluegrass Harmony was recognized with two awards –  the MacIntosh Award for Highest Ranking Non-Medalist Small Chorus (25 or less) and the Jerry Dunlop Memorial Award given to Kris Wheaton, the Novice Director Highest Score in Chorus Contest.