Over a year ago, the BABS Board decided to dedicate the month of September to spreading the word about barbershop singing in Britain to the wider world. Dubbed SingSeptember, plans were going well, and we knew that many BABS clubs had plans to get involved by holding events in their local communities, whether it be busking, open evenings, shows, or outreach to the media, as well as hopefully some national media coverage.

Then, lockdown happened! We knew that it would be impossible for our clubs to reach out to their communities in the traditional sense, and considered postponing the campaign until September 2021. But that just isn’t the BABS way! Headed up by Shanna Wells, BABS Director of Marketing & Communications, work started to allow us to still dedicate the month to outreach, embracing the digital world and enlisting help from not only BABS members and clubs, but also further afield.

Our aim was to have something different on every single day of the month, and whilst at times this seemed out of reach, thanks to the dedication of our barbershop community, we succeeded in this aim! Events ranged from masterclasses with experts, interviews with quartets, quizzes, competitions, virtual open evenings, tag sessions and much, much more. The best news: the vast majority of these events are still available to watch back on our YouTube channel.

We are very grateful for everyone who provided a session, and everyone who tuned in, took part and contributed. We are also grateful to the following organisations who partnered with us to help us reach as far and wide as possible:

  • Making Music
  • Music Teacher Magazine
  • OB1 Theatre Company
  • The Barbershop Harmony Society
  • The UK Mens Sheds Association
  • The Spanish Association of Barbershop Singers
  • The Irish Association of Barbershop Singers

So were we successful in our outreach? We’d say so! All of the above organisations helped us to spread the word about barbershop in Britain, and we know that all sorts of people were involved; some seasoned barbershoppers, but many brand new. We were featured in Private Eye (as positively as it gets in that publication!) and Music Teacher Magazine, and we had people joining us from all over the globe.

We are delighted to report that, due to SingSeptember, BABS has gained new members who were impressed by what they have seen. Some of these are from the UK, and we now have some members from around the world! So a big welcome to those who are reading HEX for the first time - we look forward to meeting you in person.

The best news - SingSeptember will be back next year! And hopefully by then, we will fuse online outreach with in-person events, to cast our net even wider still!