Of all the aspects of the British Association of Barbershop Singers it is the people who are the most important aspect. Whether you are a 30 year member or have just recently joined, there will be times when you have a question on matters of membership, which when answered, will enhance your clubs’ and your personal enjoyment of this wonderful hobby. We are here to help you in every possible way and hope that the following headings will tell you how to get answers. If you can’t find what you want then please contact the BABS Membership Services Director.
Membership Services Director
A well-run club is essential to the well-being and enjoyment of the individual member. If you are new to your club management or you are an established member or current member, perhaps the most comprehensive and informative document available to all members is ‘Getting it Right – Managing the Club’. This covers everything from club administration, managing the music, club constitution and other relevant subjects. Download a copy from the Document Centre here.
Subscriptions are due twice a year, 1st January and the 1st July. A list of members is sent out to each club secretary, prior to subscriptions being paid. This should be updated and returned to the BABS Membership Secretary with payment. Please ensure that the member’s contact details are correct as the Membership Database is used for the despatch of Harmony Express and other BABS communications. Names and addresses will not be passed on to any 3rd party organisation and are stored securely in line with current data protection regulations. If you have any queries please contact the Membership Secretary - firstname.lastname@example.org
New members provide a natural energy and are essential for clubs’ to secure their future. There have been too many cases where clubs have “forgotten” to recruit and then found that their numbers are down to a minimum. Ideally every club should have a recruitment policy as part of their management plans.
To ensure that you are fully aware of all that BABS has to offer, including the £200 grant, the 1000 free leaflets with additional leaflets at a heavily subsidised cost, please visit the Document Centre and download ‘LEARN TO SING - GRANTS & SUPPORT’ or download a copy from here
There are also various other recruitment methods like Open Nights, Bring a Friend and of course Sing-out performances. It is a great time to recruit new members, there is a growing interest in barbershop singing and a real resurgence in people wanting to sing, the Learn to Sing courses are testament to that - click here for more details.
Once the new member has been recruited, it is important to make them feel part of the club so that they remain a member for years to come. They are the future of your club and you should embrace them and look after them. A great way is to get them involved, by giving them a job. A working party from various BABS clubs sat down to work on retention and the relevant issues. The outcome was the production of a document called ‘Retention Process – Best Practice’ click here for a copy.
National Chorus Contest
The national chorus competition takes place at the annual BABS Convention, which is normally held in May. The closing date for entries, and when the draw is made, is the previous November, usually the same day as the Quartet Prelims. For copies of the Rules and Judging Categories visit the BABS Guild of Judges website. Details of convention itself can be found through the link above. All competitors have to be BABS members and have to be registered for convention.
Through the BABS partnership with Making Music, all full member clubs, and its members, automatically receive insurance with the Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. This is a specially designed for singing organisations. Your club committee will have a copy of the policy.
Young People Sing Barbershop Too
There are a great many opportunities for young people to play a large part in the activities of barbershop. The recent successes of our younger quartets at the Bournemouth Convention show just what a force they can be.
Now that the Manchester University Barbershop Singers are a BABS member club it can only be hoped that more younger singers will be encouraged to join the Association.
Child and Young Persons Protection Policy
It is a mandatory requirement that all clubs have a Child and Young Person Protection Policy. The purpose is to provide protection to young people under 18, with a commitment to a practice that protects them. Your club will have a copy of the document or you can download a PDF copy from the Document Centre here
Becoming a Contest Judge
BABS is the only barbershop organisation outside of North America to have its own competition judges. As well as scoring our quartet and chorus contests, many are invited to adjudicate at non-barbershop festivals and barbershop contests in Europe. The Guild of Judges run regular training programmes so if you feel you want to give it a go, contact the Guild through the website.
Travelling in the UK
We believe that there is something special about singing barbershop harmony. It’s members are friendly and welcoming, so if you are out and about, on business or pleasure, pay a visit to the local club, sing a song and make new friends. Find a Chorus here.
You will also hear barbershop’s distinctive chords rung in the USA, Canada, Spain, Holland, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand even Japan and Russia. So if you are travelling abroad see where barbershop is being sung visit the links page.
The Barbershop Language
You may well be puzzled at first by some of the terms that are used; Risers, Afterglows, Tags - click here for your guide to the barbershop language.
Singing in a quartet is fun and harmonising with three other guys is brilliant. It will bring a whole new dimension to the enjoyment of our wonderful hobby and can only improve your chorus singing. If you are starting a quartet, whether it is for fun, sing-outs or competition you should read ‘So You’ve Got a New Quartet’ download a copy here.
Register Your Quartet
Register your quartet name with the BABS Quartet Registrar email@example.com There is a small fee, but this gives the quartet the benefit of insurance cover, including Public Liability, which is essential for your own protection. In addition, it may lead to your quartet getting sing-outs from enquiries received by the Registrar through the BABS website.
National Quartet Contest
The national quartet competition has three phases; Prelims which are held in November, then Semi-Finals and Finals, both of which are held at the annual BABS Convention, normally held in May. The closing date for entries is September. For copies of the Rules and Judging Categories visit the BABS Guild of Judges website. Details of convention itself can be found through the link above. All competitors have to be BABS members.
Seniors Quartet Contest
The Seniors Quartet Contest is held on the same day as Prelims. The winning quartet will receive gold medals, a trophy and as long as they achieve the qualifying score, BABS will support the quartet to attend the Seniors Quartet Contest in America.
The contest rules state that the minimum age of a Seniors quartet member is 55, with a combined total age of at least 240 years. So why not form a quartet and start planning now for your chance to be the best senior quartet in the UK and compete with the best in the USA.
Youth/College Quartet Contest
The contest is held at the same time as Prelims (usually November). Open to all young men 26 years of age and under on a qualifying date. They don’t need to be members of BABS to enter. If you know of a college quartet, music school quartet or young singers who want to try the barbershop experience, then this is for them.
In addition to winning the title of the National Barbershop Youth Quartet Champions, they will be presented with a fabulous trophy for them to keep. Also, if the winner achieves the qualifying score, they will be eligible to enter the International Collegiate Contest held in the USA, with some financial support provided by the BABS Harmony Foundation charity. For further information email the BABS Music Services Director -
BABS is a Company Limited by Guarantee. The Directors, who are all volunteers and don’t receive any remuneration, must comply with the requirements of the Companies Act 2006 and of the Charities Acts. The objects of the Charity is to further the
education of the general public in any and all aspects of Barbershop Harmony and singing in the Barbershop Harmony style. The elected Directors are all barbershop singers themselves and members of clubs, they manage the day-to-day running of the association and reports twice a year to club representatives, at meetings held in March (AGM) and September. The company Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association can be downloaded from the Document Centre.
BABS is the largest barbershop organisation outside of North America and has 60 registered choruses and over 70 quartets, located throughout the UK from Aberdeen to the Isle of Wight.
Under its Harmony Foundation charity title, the Association provides grants, totalling nearly £100,000 to date, to develop and promote interest in harmony singing and performance. For full details of Harmony Foundation grants, and how you can make a donation click here.