On June 19th, the Board of Directors of the Barbershop Harmony Society announced a bold change to our Society’s Bylaws. Effective immediately everyone can join our Society. Everyone includes women. The BHS is now gender neutral.
The announced strategy and vision for our Society is “Everyone in Harmony”. This has been in place for a while and now everyone means everyone. The execution of the change is going to take a little time. As of now women can join the Society. The membership process for the Districts and Chapters will be announced by the end of the year.
It is important to note that the makeup of your Chapter will be determined by the members of your Chapter. That decision is part of your Chapter bylaws. The actions by the Society are intended to add opportunity not subtract options. If you want to remain a male Chapter you can. If you want to add women to your Chapter you can. If you want to have more than one Chorus in your Chapter you can. The choice is yours. The Board and Staff of the Society have made it clear that the fellowship and brotherhood of an all-male chapter is special and not in jeopardy.
More information will be delivered over the rest of the year. The BHS website (www.barbershop.org) has an article, “BHS Announces Next Step Toward Everyone In Harmony” on the home page. Please take the time to view the video and read the Frequently Asked Questions. Answers about contest categories and new District and Chapter bylaws are on the way.
For now the Board of the Far Western District suggests that you start the discussion with your friends at the Chapter and give some thought to the possibilities this change provides. We are here to help you with your decision around what Barbershop will look like going forward. We support your decision. The only correct answer is what works best for your Chapter.
To paraphrase the 1939 British Ministry of Information motto: Keep Calm and Keep Singing. There is a bright future of Harmony in the Far Western District. We look forward to seeing you at our District Convention in Fresno in October.
- Far Western District Board of Directors