Each Harmony Brigade officially meets just one weekend a year, (known as "the Rally"). Here is some basic information about the weekend.
The Brigade Rally begins on Friday afternoon. For those arriving before Friday afternoon, we organize quartets and VLQ's to perform Friday morning for local schools and other venues to share our love of singing to promote and encourage harmony.
The actual Brigade activities begin Friday around 3:30 pm. Just after hotel registration, you will receive a name badge that lists your name, vocal part, and each song with the key signature. From then until dinner you are on your own to quartet in as many different quartet combinations as possible. We even recognize men who sing with every other man at the Rally.
Dinner is served around 6:00 pm and is an excellent time for enjoying fellowship with old friends and for meeting new friends. Immediately after dinner, a brief meeting is held in which each attendee is assigned to a quartet by random selection. This is when you will find out which three singers will complete your competition quartet, a quartet selected at random. After your foursome selects a name, a song is randomly assigned to your quartet for the Friday night contest. Quartets then have approximately thirty minutes to an hour to hone their skills on the assigned song.
Approximately 25 quartets will compete on Friday evening, singing one assigned song for a panel of judges. The preliminary round runs from around 9:00 pm to 11:30 pm. The eight finalist quartets are announced and will move on to sing in the Saturday Evening Finals. After the Friday night formal activities, there is more quartetting late into the night.
Following breakfast on Saturday morning, we gather to rehearse for the Saturday Evening show. By tradition, each song is directed by a member of the brigade or special guest directors selected from the local Chapters. It's a short rehearsal however, as we allow only eight minutes per song. Following the rehearsal, a brief business meeting is held where we recognize guests and induct our newest members into the LSHB.
After a break for lunch, and much pick-up quartetting, we hold the second round of competition for a new selection of quartets. Anyone not in the eight quartets selected Friday night can enter the Scholarship Round of Competition. Three additional quartets are selected to compete in the Saturday Night Finals.
Dinner is served at 5:00 pm after which everyone heads to thef venue for the Saturday evening show. The show is similar to most barbershop shows, combining the Brigade chorus, registered quartets that may be in attendance, and our headliner quartet. While the chorus is not the focus of the Brigade, the thrill of this large, wonderfully prepared gathering is an experience that many men don’t otherwise attain.
After the show, you’ll head back to the hotel for the quartet finals. Eleven finalists plus a wildcard quartet sing another randomly selected song, determined only seconds before the pitch is blown. The general public isn’t invited to the finals; however, these activities are opened to friends and family of Brigaders. The top three quartets are announced and awards are presented. Things usually wrap up with a pizza party (funded by contributions) and quartetting continues into the early morning hours.
Sunday morning is time for good-byes and wishing everyone a safe trip home.
"I had an excellent time because I got to sing forever!"
"Nice to see old (and new) faces and sing with a lot of different guys.""It's an unforgettable weekend with good music, great friends, and lifelong memories!"
"I SO enjoy quartetting with talented singers, and there was ample opportunity to do that over 36 hours. I'm hooked!"
"It was wonderful to have guys as rock solid as I had become on the songs and ready to really perform them (not just 'work on them')"
"More fun than I would ever have ever expected."
"It is always good to sing with guys who know their words and notes. The big chorus experience is also a thrill."
"I enjoyed learning the twelve songs, singing with pick-up quartets during the weekend, and really enjoyed being in a strolling quartet at the Applefest to advertise the show."
"[In] addition to being fine singing, it was graced with humor and irreverence."