The weekend of 7th and 8th August saw the second Harmony College online. The weekend serves as the best educational event for barbershoppers from far and wide. This year, once again, the whole weekend was conducted over Zoom due to ongoing worries about the pandemic. The weekend included streams for arranging, directing, music theory, as well as a virtual College Chorus and quartet coaching over Zoom, with educators and coaches from all over the UK tuning in to teach, along with guest educator Theo Hicks, lead of International Champion quartet Instant Classic, MD of Circle City Sound Chorus and arranger extraordinaire.

The Arranging Stream was run by Simon Arnott, MD of Meantime Chorus and prolific arranger. The stream looked at the building blocks of arranging in the barbershop style, arranging for four voices, choosing suitable music to arrange in the barbershop style and discussions on some of the greatest arrangers in the history of barbershop. Sam Hubbard, the Stat-man of BABS Live! himself, ran the Music Theory Stream, which started with the very fundamentals of music description and notation and continued all the way to barbershop chords, tuning systems and the circle of fifths.

The Directing Stream was run by Neil Firth and featured everything from the basic techniques of directing in front of a chorus, to coaching groups, to planning rehearsals. Members of the stream sent in videos of them directing so they could receive feedback from Neil and learn how to improve. As usual, the Personal Development stream featured several different educators, with sessions on Performance, Care of the voice, Physics of Sound, Know Your Vocal Instrument and Song Learning Techniques. Theo Hicks ran an additional four sessions of his own: Communicating through Conducting, Resonance Matching - Exploring Scott Kitzmiller’s Vowel Chart, Singing with Genuine Expression, and Crash course on Voce Vista - Using Stereographic Imagery to Improve Your Singing.

 The College Chorus was run by the 2018 BABS Champion quartet, The Locksmiths. They and the chorus rose to the challenge of learning a song, recording it and creating a virtual video, which you can watch on YouTube right now:

I’m sure all who attended would agree the weekend was a massive success, despite the limitations of Zoom. Fingers crossed next year we can all attend the weekend in person!