Competitors at Society contests receive evaluations and feedback from the judging panel following the contest. Each judge may award up to 100 points per song. A brief description of each category appears below, as well as a list of the judges from the Far Western District who are certified in that category.
Administration - Committee
Brett Littlefield Chairman & Singing Judge
Nick Papageorge Past Music Judge
Chris Hebert Singing Judge
The Contest Administrator is responsible for the orderly management and operation of barbershop competitions under the contest rules of the Society. Accordingly, he must have a full and complete knowledge of the rules. He must communicate effectively both in writing and verbally. He is responsible for ensuring the best possible environments for competitors to perform, for judges to adjudicate the performances, and for audiences to enjoy the performances. He is responsible for providing scoring summaries for the contest, and provides the Society Contest and Judging Committee all necessary paperwork and copies of electronic data produced as a result of the contest.
Judges in the Music Category adjudicate the musical elements in the performance: melody, harmony, range and tessitura, tempo and rhythm and meter, construction and form, and embellishments. They judge the extent to which the musical performance displays the hallmarks of the barbershop style, and the degree to which the musical performance demonstrates an artistic sensitivity to the music’s primary theme.
The Performance Judge simultaneously experiences the performance, like an audience, and analyzes it. He measures the overall effect of the performance with a focus on entertainment value. He also identifies visual and vocal effect, audience impact, and holistically determines when attention is focused on an obviously featured technique and the underlying emotions of the song. This judge guards against rewarding accumulated technique or mannered/patterned performances, versus those which are truly integrated, entertaining and artistic.
Judges in the Singing Category evaluate the degree to which the performer achieves artistic singing in the barbershop style: The production of vibrant, rich, resonant, technically accurate, and highly skilled sound, created both by the individual singer’s use of good vocal techniques, and by the ensemble processes of tuning, balancing, unity of sound and precision. They listen for a sense of precise intonation, a feeling of fullness or expansion of sound, a perception of a high degree of vocal skill, a high level of unity and consistency throughout the performance, and a freedom from apparent effort that allows the full communication of the lyric and song.
Definition of the Barbershop Style
Barbershop harmony is a style of unaccompanied vocal music characterized by consonant four-part chords for every melody note in a predominantly homophonic texture. The melody is consistently sung by the lead, with the tenor harmonizing above the melody, the bass singing the lowest harmonizing notes, and the baritone completing the chord. Occasional brief passages may be sung by fewer than four voice parts.
Barbershop music features songs with understandable lyrics and easily singable melodies, whose tones clearly define a tonal center and imply major and minor chords and barbershop (dominant and secondary dominant) seventh chords that often resolve around the circle of fifths, while also making use of other resolutions. Barbershop music also features a balanced and symmetrical form, and a standard meter. The basic song and its harmonization are embellished by the arranger to provide appropriate support of the song's theme and to close the song effectively.
Barbershop singers adjust pitches to achieve perfectly tuned chords in just intonation while remaining true to the established tonal center. Artistic singing in the barbershop style exhibits a fullness or expansion of sound, precise intonation, a high degree of vocal skill, and a high level of unity and consistency within the ensemble. Ideally, these elements are natural, unmanufactured, and free from apparent effort.
The presentation of barbershop music uses appropriate musical and visual methods to convey the theme of the song and provide the audience with an emotionally satisfying and entertaining experience. The musical and visual delivery is from the heart, believable, and sensitive to the song and its arrangement throughout. The most stylistic presentation artistically melds together the musical and visual aspects to create and sustain the illusions suggested by the music.