The Grand Chorale is a chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS). We achieved this status in April 2001 after being an extension site for the Society since our formation in August of 1988. We are officially called the Grand County, Co chapter (#S089), retaining The Grand Chorale as our chorus name, of the Rocky Mountain District (RMD) of the Society. The Society includes some 800 chapters in the US. The Society is organized in 16 districts in the United States. There are also affiliated chapters in Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and South Africa. The interational headquarters is in Nashville, TN. We take advantage of the Society’s vast collection of Barbershop music and expertise and in additon avail ourselves of the Society’s development and competition programs. The Rocky Mountain District provides barbershop education and training workshops, competitions, chapter development seminars, and chapter officer-traning seminars to help us become better at what we do. Our chapter has varied in size from 10 to 22 members. Our present goal is 30 Members
Grand Chorale Barbershop Chorus Plan
June 10, 2015
The Grand County Chapter, the Grand Chorale Barbershop Chorus, was formed in 1988 starting with 5 men. We quickly grew and have, for the most part, maintained a membership of between 15 to 30 men over the years. Over the past 5 years the Chapter has experienced a gradual decline in membership due to attrition by age and infirmity.
Over the past two years the Chapter has actively engaged in numerous activities and promotions to increase membership, the result of which, unfortunately, has been a decline from over 20 active members to 12, including only one tenor and one baritone. If the Chapter is to continue we feel it has become necessary to become a mixed chorus. We therefore have decided to attempt to maintain a viable chorus to serve the Grand County community by recruiting talented women singers to fill in tenor, lead and baritone parts. The Chapter goal is to continue as an a Capella chorus that will preserve the barbershop style and provide a valuable and quality vocal music experience to singers and the community.
In accordance with the Standard Chapter Bylaws female singers will be Associates of the Chapter and will be expected to become Associates (not members) of the Barbershop Harmony Society, just as male singers are expected to become members of BHS and pay dues.
The Chapter understands that a mixed chorus cannot compete in District or Society contests but that it may participate in District and Society activities including singing for evaluation at District Contests, and attending Harmony University and HEP schools. As The Grand Chorale has, historically, not been overly excited about competition anyway, this should not hinder our normal mode of operation, and would still allow us the benefits of education and coaching.
To date (over the last three weeks), we have offered provisional membership to two women, one of which we have placed as a tenor, the other as a baritone. This has immediately enhanced the overall sound of the chorus. Furthermore, there has been absolutely no discontent from any of the male members of the chorus. On the contrary, since we are now producing a distinctly better sound, it appears that everyone in the chorus is having more fun.
We are now faced with the happy challenge of starting to overpower our bass section. The directors understand that this will, in effect, be a limiting factor as to how many people we can accept into the upper three parts. We therefore intend to continue to admit women into the upper three parts, but on a selective basis in order to maintain good balance.
Submitted by Jeffrey Shaw, Director