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Membership Matters

BABS Membership Matters

Club Information | Members Information | Quartet Information | BABS Structure

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.

Peter Bryant
Membership Services Director

Club Information

Club Management

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.

BABS Subscriptions

Annual subscriptions are due on 1st January. Registered Clubs are allowed to pay them in two equal instalments in January and July. A list of their BABS members is sent out to each Club Secretary in December for updating and return to BABS Membership Secretary. An invoice will follow for half the total payment in January, then again in July. New members joining after January registration will be invoiced pro-rata for the rest of their first year. It is vital that BABS is kept up to date with changes to member’s contact details throughout the year as these are used for all BABS communications. Member's details will not be passed on to any 3rd party and are stored securely in line with current data protection regulations. If you have any queries, please contact BABS Membership Secretary by email: or use the contact form here


New members provide a natural energy and are essential to the future and development of our clubs. It’s not unknown for clubs to be too busy or to simply forget to recruit and then find that their numbers are too low. Ideally every club should have a recruitment policy as part of their management plans.

Everything you need to know about what BABS has to offer to assist recruitment - a £200 grant, 1000 free leaflets with extras at subsidised prices, cost effective targeted distribution, free of charge music and teach tracks, promotional and social media know-how and much more can be found in the LEARN TO SING - GRANTS & SUPPORT document in the Document Centre click 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 or see


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 is by giving them a role within the club. A working party from several BABS clubs sat down to consider retention and the relevant issues. The outcome was a document called ‘Retention Process – Best Practice’ click here for a copy.

National Chorus Contests

BABS hosts national contests for Male and Mixed choruses at its annual Convention, normally held in May. The closing date for entries, and when the draw is made, is at Quartet Prelims in the previous November. For copies of the Rules and Judging Categories visit the BABS Contest and Judging Team website or click here.  All Convention competitors have to be members of BABS and be registered to attend the event. For details of Convention and other BABS events keep an eye on this website's homepage.

Members Information


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.

Travelling Abroad

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.

Quartet Information

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 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, the Barbershop Charity. For further information email the BABS Music Services Director -


BABS Structure


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 North America and has more than 60 registered male and mixed choruses and over 80 quartets, located throughout the UK from Aberdeen to the Isle of Wight.

Meanwhile in the public domain BABS, the Barbershop Charity, provides grants, totalling nearly £200,000 to date, to develop and promote interest in harmony singing and performance. For full details of charitable grants, and how you can make a donation make an enquiry using this form here