So here’s the thing…we all love barbershop

And cute quartet outfits. And pretty crowns. And killer tags. And great coaching. And having a great excuse to spend contest and show weekends with our best friends.

Female barbershop quartet, Epic, Border Patrol, Harmony Queens, barbershop quartet
Border Patrol, 2013 International Seniors Champs of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) performing with Epic, 2012 Harmony Queens of Harmony, Inc.

But a long time ago, some other women who also loved barbershop and cute quartet outfits decided it would be best to love these things in two separate organizations. No problem; we can respect that. Each organization, through the years, developed its own personality and customs and the aforementioned love of cute outfits, awesome barbershop charts, and sparkly crowns stands.

For the most part, Harmony, Inc., the organization to which Epic belongs, and Sweet Adelines International, the organization to which some of the Epic members spent many happy years in the past, function near each other without a whole lot of legit interaction. Even though we all love barbershop. And everything that comes with it.

Sweet Adelines is much, much bigger than Harmony, Inc., which remains, after decades in existence, a fairly regional organization. Harmony, Inc. conducts its competitions in the same manner as the men’s Barbershop Harmony Society–using the same judging system and rules. People who hold positions of note within each of these organizations may have a certain opinion about the other, which, we suppose, is understandable after years of mostly-peaceful bouts of not speaking to each other.

But out here in the real world, where we scramble to shop for four sizes of the same shirt and leave our husbands/kids/partners/friends at home to travel all over the place for shows and contests, we’re just a big ole’ group of chicks who love barbershop. We dream of being in successful quartets and moving an audience to tears. We give up time and resources to learn from the best coaches in the barbershop genre. We stay up until ungodly hours at shows and contest because we simply cannot. get. enough.

Epic, Harmony queens, barbershop quartet, performing, Speed of Sound, Sweet Adelines quartet, female barbershop harmony
Speed of Sound (left), Sweet Adelines, and Epic (right), Harmony, Inc., sing an 8-part tune on a show.

Yup, we’re different. We’re separate. And we’re a whole lot the same. And though we don’t ever foresee a day in which we become one (nor do we think this is the right path for either organization), there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t do what we can to team up and show the world how awesome girlie girls can be at banging barbershop chords.

Why are a bunch of Harmony Queens (from Harmony, Inc.) feeling so warm and fuzzy about the lay of the female barbershop harmony land right now? A few compelling events have happened recently in our universe:

  • We have a song on our CD that features some Sweet Adelines that we LOVE (Speed of Sound). Oh, and that same song is about to be on their new CD.
  • We’re about to participate in the Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweeps. Last year’s winners, Lustre (Sweet Adelines), and Epic (that’s us… Harmony, Inc.) and Mayhem (BHS) all sharing the stage in one night. Awesome.
  • Our very good friends up in New York (that’s Area 3 in Harmony, Inc. speak) just announced a BRAND NEW youth harmony camp that they will launch this summer as a collaboration of Harmony, Inc., Sweet Adelines, and the Barbershop Harmony Society. Guys and gals learning about a cappella. Awesome.

And are you ready for the most touching cross-organizational event on our calendar this spring? Epic…yes, us… the 2012 Harmony Queens representing Harmony, Inc…. have been asked to serve as mic testers for the Sweet Adelines’ Region 19 quartet contest. Organizers thought it would be cool to mix it up a bit and invite a Harmony, Inc. quartet and we cannot even begin to put into words how honored we are to have been asked. It doesn’t matter which organization we represent; it’s all about the barbershop harmony! We’re looking forward to offering our small contribution to Region 19’s celebration and we revel in the fact that sometimes the love of the hobby outweighs the organization to which you pay your membership dues. And the bottom line is that Epic has never been a quartet to walk away from a good party!! We can’t wait!

So there’s our soapbox for the day. To address the elephant in the room, we think there’s a lot of negativity on social media and in the barbershop world in general about the organizations (male and female), and why they exist, and whether they should co-exist, and blah, blah, blah. Yeah, we’re done with that. We pay it no mind. Because, to be honest, that’s not what our world looks like. Our world looks like a bunch of chicks who love barbershop.

And cute outfits.

And crowns.

And killer tags. Always about the killer tags.

Epic, barbershop harmony, harmony queens, Anne Albright, Ashley Wright
These leads are showing the love. Sweet Ads, Harmony Inc.–whatevs!

9 thoughts on “So here’s the thing…we all love barbershop

  1. Add to all these great opportunities the Women’s Harmony Brigade this August which is open to all female barbershop singers and currently has registrants from HI, SAI and no organization at all.

    1. Hi there. Thanks for your comment. As far as combining organizations goes, it’s a complicated situation. We function on different scoring systems, we each have rich and proud histories, and the cultures are each unique and special in their own way. It’s ok to stay separate. It’s cool to have diversity. It’s just also really cool when we have the opportunity to work together to promote female barbershop! Awesome all around.

  2. Way to go, Christina! This is an EPIC topic!!! (Couldn’t resist… but you all saw it coming!)

    All I can say is that, as a Judge, Coach and Performer, it is the MOST fun for me when everyone is “playing nice in the sandbox.” The places where the men, women and women (see what I did there?) all work TOGETHER to create an environment for growth and learning and joy are the places (areas, districts, regions) that are growing membership, creating family entertainment and friendships that last a lifetime!!! We can still (and will) compete FIERCELY… because we all are driven… but that doesn’t preclude the JOY, the FUN, the HARMONY we all crave!!!

    Keep on sharing the JOY and spreading BAHBershop!!! Taggin’ out!

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