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Pioneer District Well Represented at Indiana Harmony Brigade 2005

By Rob Halsey (Lansing Chapter Program VP, Bari . Keepers of the Key)

     November 4-6, 2005 was a special time for several Pioneer district barbershoppers who made the trip to Indianapolis for the third annual Indiana Harmony Brigade.

     For those who do not know about the Brigade or the premise behind it, the idea is simple: It is an invitational weekend event of wall-to-wall, quality quartetting and the chance to sing in a 100+ voice chorus in putting on a show for the community. The only requirement is that you arrive solidly prepared with nine pre-selected songs to spend the entire weekend formally and informally quartetting and nonstop voice part swapping in hundreds of quartet combinations. The big push prior to the event is, "Don't be the weak link!" (meaning, know your part cold on every song). Being a first timer (sponsored by Joe Queen from the Macomb chapter), I was a bit apprehensive at first. I was fully confident that I could "carry my part" as my quartet had been practicing the songs at our rehearsals; however, I was unsure if I could sing well with other quality quartet guys from outside of the district. The good news was that there were several other guys from the Pioneer district (including the other three guys from "Keepers of the Key" making the trip with me.

     The first event was a quartet contest on Friday night during the event. Each participant was randomly paired with three other men on the other three voice parts at the beginning of the weekend. After meeting the other guys and deciding on a name, your quartet is randomly assigned one of the nine songs to perform for the contest. After all quartets sing for the judges the top ten quartets are named.

     Saturday morning brings the annual business meeting and a rehearsal in the afternoon for the evening show. During the rest of Saturday afternoon, there are more chances for guys to mix and sing the nine songs with other guys as a quartet.

     At the evening show, all nine songs were sung by the mass chorus. Additionally, several step-out quartets were featured from within the chorus. Finally, the featured quartet on the show was the current Cardinal district champion, "Keep 'Em Guessing". The show was a big hit with the audience, and was a highlight of my barbershopping career in that it was great to sing with such a large quality chorus.

     After the Saturday evening show, the afterglow consisted of the top ten quartets from Friday night. Both Joe Queen and I were able to sing at this event, as our respective quartets had scored well enough from the previous evening. The premise for this contest was a bit different than the Friday event in that each quartet did not know which song they would sing. After the random draw for order of appearance, each quartet drew their song title from a can just prior to singing. After this event, I was very happy to learn that my quartet won second place.

     All in all, this was a very fun event, and one that I was glad to be a part of. If you are a passionate, ambitious, fast learning, experienced, competitive quartet man and you yearn for a lot of good, challenging quartetting with a network of solid, like-minded and accomplished guys, the Indiana Harmony Brigade may be for you.

     If you would like further information on the 2006 event, please contact any of us who went to the 2005 event.

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