It's all about singing and having fun. The Far Western District is dedicated to encourage young men and women to discover the thrill of singing your best, and sharing that experience with friends. The YIH web pages contain information on a variety of opportunities to develop your singing skills, information for music educators on how we can help you enhance your programs, and opportunities for our members to provide resources in their local communities.
Male high school quartets in the Far Western District of the Barbershop Harmony Society are invited to compete in this annual contest. This contest is held in conjunction with the District's Spring Convention, where the men's quartets compete to qualify to compete at the Barbershop Harmony Society's Summer Convention in July. Founded in 1991 by, and perpetuated in the memory of, Lloyd Steinkamp, this contest has been fun-filled and exciting for all the participants. A history of winners is featured here.
Announcing the 27th Annual Far Western District
High School Barbershop Quartet Contest
Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Sacramento, CA
WHAT TO EXPECT:
WHAT TO DO:
Contest Location Information: See "FWD Spring Convention" on the District Events website
Headquarters Hotel Information: See "FWD Spring Convention" on the District Events website
Information and Registration Forms
Every January, the Barbershop Harmony Society holds its Mid-Winter Convention in various cities. A major feature of this convention is the International Youth Barbershop Chorus Festival (IYBCF). This year's festival was held in San Antonio, TX on January 20, 2017, and the 2018 event will be held HERE in the Far Western District in ORANGE COUNTY.
For more information, check it out:
For information about what is going on in Northern California, visit the Northern California Youth Chorus website.
Friday, September 16 to Sunday, September 18, 2016
in Pollock Pines, CA
2016 Harmony Camp will feature Forefront and The Newfangled Four along with clinicians Gabe Caretto (Dean), Ron Black, Jim Halvorson, and Drew Wheaton. We're Really Looking Forward to this year; and with your help we'll have one hundred plus young men at Harmony Camp 2016 in Pollock Pines, CA. Other camps and clinics can be found here.
This introduction, written by the Dean of Harmony Camp, Gary Bolles, sets forth in a small way, the magic those attending Youth Harmony Camp experience. Gary's comments are completely true however - we simply put all these ingredients together and with the combined talent of the dedicated guys who volunteer their time and energy truly magical things happen during the weekend.
However there is so much more that needs to be communicated. At FWD Harmony Camp we focus on fundamentals: the fundamentals of vocal singing, proper breathing, posture and basics. Over the weekend the boys experience living in the wonderful environment of barbershop harmony through their learning of four or five songs, learning and singing tags, and participation in the totally positive culture of barbershop.
An increased emphasis in the Society on musical excellence is fine. We all enjoy and appreciate the fantastic performances of Westminster, Vocal Majority, and Masters of Harmony. I, however, believe other things are important as well. There are ways of teaching, ways of performing, and ways of approaching barbershop (and the arts) that are not based on just that "gold medal" or "first place." The philosophical underpinnings of the FWD Youth Harmony Camp are exhibit #1 for this kind of approach.
At the FWD Youth Harmony Camp we do not focus on the Sunday morning show. I'll say that again, we do not put a lot of our energies into preparation for the Sunday morning show. We do present a one-hour show Sunday morning for parents and friends. Costumes and props are not used. The boys simply sing and have fun showing parents and friends what they have experienced and learned in their intensive weekend experience of being "hot dipped" in barbershop.
Gary continues to emphasize that the FWD Youth Harmony Camp is different from all the other Camps around the country; but since I've only been involved with the FWD Camp, I cannot relay firsthand the excitement that he and others who have seen and experienced other Camps have told us. What I can tell you is our focus on the basics does lead to Barbershoppers for Life. Our focus on the basics does provide the boys with tools to use in their school programs and in their life, and co-incidentally to an awesome Sunday morning show.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say; and Marty Lovick, a presentation judge from Evergreen, and one of our top clinicians this year commented during one of the last songs of the show that in his "professional judging" opinion, the boys' chorus just sang at a very high level. My, my, imagine that: teaching fundamentals results in high level "fun" performances.
Which brings me to Camp 2008 where Late Show just wowed the boys with their inimitable sound and interpretation of songs. All four, Raymond, Jordan, Michael and Gabe each contributed to the tags, the teaching and the overall fun of Camp with spectacular success in terms of getting the boys "hooked" on barbershop harmony! And to add even more to the barbershop way of life, there was our own Epic, the collegiate quartet from Sacramento State who sang in Nashville with a wonderful showing of thirteenth in a very strong field. The Epic guys really connected with the boys in ways that us old guys just can't.
In going over the great "goings on" of Late Show and Epic, I am reminded of the spectacular line up of quartets that we have been privileged to feature at Camp, including Metropolis, Q, Men In Black, Men-So-Forte, The Crush, and Realtime. At least five District champion quartets and one International Champion! Wow!
A note regarding next year: Realtime, our headliner quartet in 2007 volunteered to return as our headliner quartet in 2009 and we readily accepted their offer. The magic they brought to Harmony Camp 2007 remains vivid in my memory and I am certain in the memories of those boys and volunteers who attended Camp that year.
Youth Harmony Camp creates Barbershoppers For Life. This is a positive fact that has been proven over and over. And what better way to guide our young men into a positive, fulfilling hobby (or more) that will remain with and provide a guidepost throughout their lives.
I welcome your inquiries and comments regarding Youth Harmony Camp. If you would like additional information or would like me to visit your chapter to discuss Harmony Camp you may reach me at (530) 621-1904 or email.
The young men truly appreciate and benefit from the support provided by so many FWD Chapters and so many of you individually.