Barbershop Harmony Society Press Page | Shore Fire Media

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Press Releases View All

April 11, 2018

Barbershop Harmony Society Celebrates 80th Anniversary with National Barbershop Quartet Day

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February 16, 2018

Barbershop Harmony Society celebrates Black History Month with announcement of scholarships and endowment

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June 27, 2017

Executive Producer and TV Host Mike Rowe Named Honorary Life Member of Barbershop Harmony Society

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February 13, 2017

Barbershop youth quartet director Keith Hancock wins GRAMMY Educator of the Year

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Biography View

The Barbershop Harmony Society is the world’s largest all-male singing Society, with approximately 20,000 members across North America. The Society is the cornerstone of a global barbershop movement that numbers nearly 80,000 singers in affiliated men’s and women’s organizations in more than a dozen countries.

The Barbershop Harmony Society celebrates and promotes an American musical art form that was founded in the late 1800s in African American communities of the South, transformed into a nostalgic pastime by white middle class men through the 1930s, adapted and expanded by women in the 1940s, and exported around the world. It thrives today as an ever-growing art form that is exploding in a world hungry for the genuine human connections forged by joining voices in harmony.

Founded in 1938 as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. (SPEBSQSA), the Society’s vision today is more ambitious than saving the old songs, and more inclusive: “Everyone in Harmony.” That vision looks to build on the existing barbershop experience to enable many more ways for people of all ages and backgrounds to participate.

  • Quartet singing has and always always be at the core of barbershop, but singing in choruses (ranging in size from a dozen to 150 singers) has been a vital part of barbershop life for decades.
  • The all-male singing experience is central to the Society, but BHS also publishes music for women’s voices and mixed-harmony groups, to further expand the reach of the barbershop style.
  • Outreach efforts for youth include festivals and contests that welcome men’s, women’s and mixed harmony ensembles, to better support the needs of high school and middle school educators.
  • The fastest-growing age segment in barbershop is people under 30, contrary to common perceptions that the activity is for older singers.
  • Although its origins are in African American communities, Society membership has long been largely white men, a disconnect which BHS has vowed to remedy through a commitment to radical inclusion in the coming years.

In partnership with its charitable component, Harmony Foundation International, the Society today expends nearly $1 million annually in support of community and school programs that bring the fellowship, fulfillment and excitement of vocal music to a new generation of singers.

BHS has made it headquarters in Nashville since 2007, where 38 staff members oversee a number of business lines:

  • A music publishing business that distributes more than 4500 titles
  • A retail merchandise business offering recordings, apparel, lifestyle gifts, educational materials
  • Events planning for conventions that gather 10,000 people annually
  • Membership services and training
  • Education programs including publishing, online tools and Harmony University, the Society's flagship education event held each summer at Belmont University in Nashville
  • Outreach to music educators and students at all levels
  • Marketing and strategic development
  • Corporate services including finance, technology, and legal  

In 2017, the Barbershop Harmony Society was recognized by both the Nashville Business Journal as a “Best Place To Work” and by The Tennessean as a Nashville Top Workplace.

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