BABS is excited to unveil new plans for the 2024 Quartet Prelims, including Youth and Seniors contests. To increase participation, we'll host an in-person event on November 10th in Leicester and additional remote sessions in various UK regions during September and October. These changes aim to reduce time and cost barriers.

The top 5 Seniors Quartets, top 5 Youth Quartets, and top 12 National Quartets will qualify for the 2025 convention in Bournemouth. This initiative supports broader involvement and growth in our barbershop community.

As we look forward following Sing2024, BABS are excited to announce our plans for this years Quartet Prelims, including the Youth and Seniors Quartet contests.

The feedback you have given us over the recent months is that some elements of BABS can be both time and cost prohibitive, something we which we fully understand. We want to remove barriers to participation as much as possible, and the additions we would like to bring in to the standard Prelims model will hopefully allow as many groups as possible to be involved in the upcoming years Quartet contests. The growth in new and returning Quartets across the Mens, Youth and Seniors contests shows us that there is a real desire to be involved and we are keen to support this in any way we can! 

The BABS Contest and Judging team have been consulted and involved in the creation of these plans and are in support of removing barriers to participation whilst keeping the experience for Quartets and Judges as consistent as possible.

Quartet Prelims Plans 2024-25

In our effort to facilitate the participation of as many Quartets as possible in this year's Prelims, we're proposing some adjustments to the previous model.

We will host an in-person Prelims event with a standard judging panel on Sunday, November 10th, at Brockington College in Leicester. This event will serve as the primary opportunity for National, Seniors, and Youth Quartets to compete in the traditional manner.

Recognising the national scope of BABS, we understand that no single Prelims venue can accommodate all regions equally. We're mindful of potential barriers such as travel costs, accommodation, and scheduling conflicts that may prevent some groups from participating. Our aim is to mitigate these challenges and encourage broad participation by additionally holding remote events in various regions such as Scotland, the North, the South East/London, and the South West. 

To achieve this, we're working with regional Choruses across the UK to host evening or weekend sessions in September/October. These sessions will allow nearby Quartets (or Quartets who are unable to attend the Leicester date) to perform in front of an audience. The hosting Choruses will record these performances under contest conditions and submit them for judging at the in-person Prelims event in Leicester.

We'll collaborate closely with these Choruses to organise these mini events, which may include dedicating half a rehearsal on a weeknight, or organising a weekend day if there is the demand to do so. This approach will enable groups unable to attend the in-person event to still participate in the qualification process and receive feedback from a judging panel (feedback will be written as is the current model for convention etc)

Regarding qualification, the top 5 scoring Seniors Quartets, top 5 Youth Quartets, and the top 12 National Quartets will advance to perform on the Friday of our 2025 convention in Bournemouth. While this represents a departure from the 40+ qualifiers for this year's 50th celebrations, it's an increase from the previous top 16 National Quartets, and gives our growing number of Youth and Seniors Quartets the chance to compete in their Finals at convention as the Men's Quartets do. There is nothing quite like the experience of performing on the “big” stage and we’re keen to give the same experiences to our qualified Quartets, no matter Mens, Youth or Seniors.

These changes are not an instant and permanent change to our Prelims model, but a way of addressing the current issues our members have in taking part in BABS events such as this. We understand that factors such as costs, time, and geography can limit group participation in the qualification process.There will be discussion with Quartets, BABS members and the Contest and Judging team after this year to look at how these ideas might be improved and modified into the future.

The Youth and Senior Quartet Finals will be held on the Friday of the convention to ensure these groups receive the same preparation time and experience as our National Quartets. This will include signposting coaching and education for groups between the November Prelims qualification and the main Convention in May. The rise in new Mens, Youth and Seniors Quartets shows a clear need for BABS to help coach and support groups as much as we can. The groups who are not successful in qualifying through Prelims will also be supported on how they can improve their experience and score in the future.

International Qualification for Quartets

Quartets who would like to qualify for BHS International will do so at convention in May each year by singing their first set on Friday and their second set on Sunday. The qualification will take place 1 year prior, for example to qualify for BHS 2026 you will need to qualify at Sing2025.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out. We're extremely excited about the future of BABS, and our focus on eliminating participation barriers remains a top priority. This Prelims plan aims to retain the essence of the previous system while addressing its limitations by offering a more flexible model that also allows greater flexibility and education for all.

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