Sweet Adelines Region 26 is fortunate to have educational resources and faculty available to our choruses. Hearts of Harmony chorus in Red Deer, Alberta takes advantage of these resources year after year and we've enjoyed steady improvement in our performances as a result.
A less well-known opportunity for barbershop education is offered by Harmony College Northwest, located in Tacoma Washington. The college was a dream of barbershoppers of Pacific Northwest who envisioned an annual fun week-end of education in singing skills and barbershop style. The first week-end was in 1980 with 200 attendees and over the years attendance has doubled; in 2007 Sweet Adelines International (SAI) was invited, and four years later Sweet Adelines represented 40% of faculty and attendees.
The annual weekend is open to everyone who loves singing, education, and expressing some of the best barbershop singing has to offer. Faculty are drawn from Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS)and SAI Board members, judges, directors, and international level quartets. Our own Region 26 quartets, Martini and Frenzy, have been faculty. Classes are aimed at newbies, directors, and quartets, with topics wide-ranging: from chorus marketing, leadership, storytelling and barbershop style, to music theory, tags, vocal color, and resonance. Personal voice instruction is also available.
Two members of Hearts of Harmony, Nancy Jeffery and Lindsay Lundstrom, have attended for several years, and this year our Director, Sheryl Brook, was invited as faculty.
Lindsay writes "my husband and I first went to Harmony College Northwest four years ago and we were instantly hooked. The staff and volunteers are incredibly helpful, the campus is gorgeous, and most importantly, the instructors are amazing. We are still fairly new to the barbershop world but we found plenty of classes that fit us perfectly and we came away from the weekend with loads of new tools for our musical toolbox. In the following years we managed to have our whole quintet there and have received incredible personal coaching from world class coaches. It's not unusual to find yourself chatting or singing a tag with a Sweet Adelines Queen or a BHS International medalist. We look forward to it every year and make sure to add the next year's dates into our calendar as soon as the weekend is over."
Nancy adds, "I have attended every year since 2015, and I don't plan to miss any future ones! I am continually impressed by the caliber and diversity of the faculty, the classes that are offered are amazing. The people that take part in the weekend come from all levels of experience, but the thing they all have in common is that they are all there to learn and to have fun! I have met a lot of really great friends there!"
Sheryl's comments as faculty: "I had the great privilege to teach at HCNW this year, thanks to dedicated chorus members making sure my name got out there to the organizers (thanks, Nancy Jeffery!). I really enjoyed sharing what I know about vocal production and finding the music traps in an arrangement, and as well got to teach personal voice lessons to about nine people, and coach a men's quartet. What I particularly liked about HCNW is that classes are mixed, both men and women barbershoppers in the classes and teaching staff, which makes the dynamic different from SAI gatherings for sure. And all the participants I met were fervent barbershoppers, ready to learn and grow and share knowledge. There were so many classes to choose from that even in the largest classes, you were likely to get individual attention. The evening tag sessions were fun, and the Saturday evening show was possibly the best barbershop show I have ever attended, with men's women's and mixed groups of International quality. I would highly recommend the experience of attending to any barbershopper of any level."
For more information, go to harmonycollege.org.