Why Barbershop?

First and foremost because it is fun. Students enjoy singing it, thrill to performance opportunities and share something that is unique and novel.

It Helps Develop Musical Skills

  • Builds character.
  • Develops social skills.
  • Improves ear training for accurate tuning.
  • Develops a strong sense of tonality revolving around a circle of fifths.
  • Helps develop sensitivity to chord balancing and choral blend.
  • Stresses proper diction in execution of word sounds.
  • Builds interpretive performances reflecting the intentions of the composer/lyricist.
  • Increases confidence in performing.

What is Youth In Harmony?

The purpose of Youth In Harmony (YIH) program is to promote the joyful experience of singing, particularly in the barbershop style, i.e. unaccompanied vocal music characterized by consonant four-part chords.

The Society is an active partner of the Music Educators National Conference in promoting music education causes.

Programs can be easily arranged using men and women trained in the barbershop style. Often there is an opportunity for public performances as well as financial support for schools.

Programs Available:
  • One-day festivals
  • Weekend youth harmony camps
  • High school and college quartet contests
  • Performance opportunities for youth ensembles
  • In-school demonstrations
  • Elementary and middle school programs
  • Educational opportunities and materials for students and educators
  • Scholarships and other forms of community support
Student Responses:
  • It was great!
  • Can't wait until next time.
  • One of the best experiences of my life.
  • I really want to try this in my chorus.
  • This is so much fun. I love it and it's a good way to attract the girls.
From the mother of a student:

I've always valued music and having it in one's life and encouraged [my son] John to pursue it. Barbershop is just a plain healthy, nurturing hobby. He's enjoyed the camps as well and we've sent some of his friends to ones in the past. It's sort of the best kept secret. John finished his first year of college. He is now singing in a barbershop quartet aboard a cruiseline for 6 months. He's getting paid to sing barbershop!!! Anyway, he loves it and will continue with college next year.

Thanks for everything you do for the boys.


Jordan Johnson, director of the Gold Standard Chorus, rehearses the finale song, Home on the Range.Jordan Johnson, director of the Gold Standard Chorus,
rehearses the finale song, Home on the Range.

Eight high schools and two colleges sent their choruses to sing their hearts out at the eighth annual Sing for Your Life in Santa Cruz's Civic Auditorium (Nov. 6/7). This youth outreach program began eight years ago with one school sending its chorus to sing on a chapter show.

Since then participating schools have received an average of $848 each time they performed. In the previous seven years, shows produced by the Gold Standard Chorus raised over $34,000 to support vocal music in the county's schools.

Vagrants, 2009 Collegiate ChampionsVagrants, 2009 Collegiate Champions

This year, headline guest quartets Vagrants (2009 Collegiate Champions, with David Rakita subbing for Jonny Tillery) and Vogue (Sweet Adelines Rising Star Champions 2010) inspired the student singers with their chord-crushing delivery. Every member of the Santa Cruz chapter is glowing from the success of the weekend.



Soquel High School music teacher Mark Bidelman was honored with the "Award of Excellence" by the Far Western District of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

The announcement of the award was made at the district convention in Reno March 21, 2010. In the picture above, Soquel High School Principal Ken Lawrence-Emanuel is on Bidelman's right and barbershopper Jerry Orloff is on his left.

Orloff, representing the Gold Standard Chorus, presented the plaque and a check for $250, which will go to the Soquel High School music department. Only three teachers were selected for this award. Bidelman's nomination was prompted by his active support of barbershop. He has directed the Soquel Concert Choir in "Sing for Your Life", an annual benefit for music in our schools, for six years, coached a quartet of his students and sent his students to Youth Harmony Camp.

SantaCruzHigh SueJag

December 27, 2009, Santa Cruz Sentinal—The Santa Cruz High School Concert Choir recently received a $905 check from the Gold Standard Barbershop Chorus, which hosted November's "Sing for your Life" fundraiser for school music. Every November for the last seven years, Gold Standard has hosted the event, raising a total of $34,250 for the 10 Santa Cruz County high schools that participated.

Gold Standard also sends quartets into classrooms to demonstrate four-part harmony, helps to send students to Youth Harmony Camp and coaches student quartets for entry into regional competitions.

The chorus is from the Santa Cruz chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Gold Standard members Joe Pedota (front left) and Gerry Stone (front right), presented the check to vocal students, a music teacher and the school's principal.

JAG, a male high school quartet from Liberty High School, Brentwood, CA with their teacher Sue Stuart and Lawrence Stern of the Santa Cruz Chapter.



Rook Wetzel, President of the Carson City (Nevada) Chapter and Jim Crowley, Chorus Director. present a check for $1,000 to Ms. Susan Sonnemaker, choral director at Carson High School in Carson City, NV. The Carson High School Concert Choir and the "Capitol Stars" appeared on the Chapter's October annual show: "Barbershop Through the Years".


Thank you again for allowing my quartet to sing on the concert. They were thrilled. The one set of parents that was there in the audience was very excited, and I was weeping. Great stuff!

—Melva Morrison,Directory of Choral Music, Jurupa Valley High School, Mira Loma, CA


I'll never be without a barbershop quartet at my school because it is so powerful in promoting my music program.

—Janet Matragna, Directory of Choral Music, Ponderosa High School, Shingle Springs, CA


I am very appreciative of all that you do for choral music in our schools and for our young people. Congratulations on a great job well done!

—Scott Hedgecock, Director of Choral Music, Union High School, Fullerton, CA


Harmony College was indescribable! Waking up after singing tags until 3 a.m. But who needed sleep when you could sing instead? And going to the morning forum and listening to 900 male barbershoppers sing! I was in heaven! I still describe this experience to my kids. I will never forget it. I didn't think a body had that many goose bumps! I was one of about 5 ladies there. I went to classes, took lots of notes and had a part in the show at the end of the week. I believe it was "Planes, Trains and Automobiles". Nightlife was the featured quartet. Made a lot of friends. Harmony U. is one of the highlights of my life.

—Sue Stuart, Liberty High School Vocal Music Teacher, Brentwood CA


Feedback from Music Educators


For More Information

If you would like to find out more about what we can offer, call the Barbershop Harmony Society at 1-800-876-SING (7464) or contact your Area Coordinator.