Harmony Inc

HI Profile: Barbara Mudge of the Harmony Sound Waves

What I will miss most about not going in person to IC&C this year is meeting our wonderful HI members from all over North
America. So I decided to contact a distant chapter that I had never encountered in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. (20 miles
south of Daytona) I received a charming e-mail reply:

“My name is Barbara Mudge. I have been a member of Harmony Sound Waves for 10 years. I also sang with the International
Champion New England Voices of Harmony, for eight months while we cared for our family in New Hampshire because my
Coast Guard daughter was on sea duty. We saw snow for the first time in 35 years!”

Barbara went on to include a Facebook post she believes someone needs to hear: “I’m writing this to help someone who may be afraid to pursue their passion. I want to thank Mr. Call, my music teacher in high school, for believing in me and letting me sing in an ensemble. In my early thirties a pastor told me that I was tone deaf (when asked why I couldn’t sing solo in church). Then I stopped singing for many years.”

Fortunately, Barbara continued, “Then in my fifties, I met a special woman named Priscilla who told me I had a beautiful voice as my mother and I sang along while she played the piano at the senior center. She suggested that I go with her to Harmony Sound
Waves practice and so began my adventure!” Barbara said. “I felt I wasn’t good enough to sing because of what I’d come to believe,” even as she fell in love with the chorus.

“That leads me to a very special person I want to thank with all my heart. Greg Patterson, our chorus director, had faith in me. He
taught me how to sing better and taught me to believe in myself. For this I will always be grateful,” said Barbara.

Her adventure continued: “I eventually had the courage to join two quartets. Life is short! Dare to believe in yourself!”

This Canadian writer had the pleasure of meeting Barbara by Zoom and discovered that she had joined New England Voices of
Harmony just in time to compete with them when they won the championship at IC&C in 2018! What an adventure she has had
with Harmony Inc!

I learned that she began singing as a young child growing up on a dairy farm in upstate New York. “I had few friends because of my epilepsy,” said Barbara. “Music was my escape and comfort. Because my three brothers would tell me to be quiet, I’d sing in
the milk house (the best sound with great echoes!) or while picking berries.”

Barbara has turned adversity into positives her whole life. When she stopped singing, she learned sign language which has given her a tool to be of great help to others. When she was laid off from her job of 22 years at the age of 52, she decided to finally
write a book. It was published in 2009 and a second edition in 2011. “It is a collection of the freelance column stories I wrote for
our local newspaper from 1999-2002,” said Barbara.

Her book (What Kind of Apple Are You?) is currently available as an e-book. Although she no longer suffers from epilepsy, she
was plagued by migraines, but decided to rise with the sun to photograph sunrises which has helped her immensely. Barbara is also a talented photographer, posting glorious online photos of Florida scenery for everyone’s enjoyment on her Facebook page.
She said, “I started photography about the same time I started with Harmony Sound Waves. Both brought me to a happy place.”
When asked what she is most proud of she replied, “…my 5 kids, my 16 grandkids, my great-grandchild and my 42 adventurous
years of marriage!” (Her beloved husband, Bill, is a great supporter of Harmony Sound Waves helping with photography,
labor and set-up. )

As inspirational as Barbara is, so too are her much-loved sisters in Harmony Sound Waves. I learned that this chorus is
remarkable for many reasons. They were chartered in 1992 by past International President Aura Daye. Despite the majority of
their members now being over 65 (the oldest being 93!), this very active chorus by Barbara’s account usually produces an annual
show as well as an annual fall fundraiser called “Sweets ’N Harmony,” with a raffle, lots of home baked treats and singing (of
course!). They also help with community events such as Little Pink House cancer fundraising events. During COVID-19, they
have worked together, helping each other to ensure that everyone has the technology and knowledge to connect comfortably on

No wonder Barbara loves her inspirational sisters at Harmony Sound Waves!

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President’s Message

As we prepare for our Virtual International Convention and the Board’s Annual Meeting, I’d like to take a moment to thank you, our members, for the incredible support you have given the International Board of Directors as we have navigated through the challenges of this unprecedented year in our history. We have done our best to make the right decisions on behalf of all members, always remembering that you have entrusted us with preserving the principles and values upon which our organization was founded. Your feedback about what we have done well, and what we can do better, is always appreciated. Thank you for working with us in these difficult times to make Harmony Stronger!

Donna McKay
International President
[email protected]

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Save The Date: Delegates/Associates Meeting

The Annual Delegates/Associates Meeting will be held on Sunday, November 8 at 2 p.m. EST via Zoom.

This meeting brings members of the International Board of Directors and you, as representatives of your chapter, together for a discussion of the business matters conducted and decisions made by the International Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting.

If you are unable to attend the Annual Delegates/Associates Meeting, you may select another chapter member to serve as an alternate delegate. See the upcoming October 5 HI Note for more information.

You are encouraged to attend this meeting. The voting privilege of Associate Members will be exercised through the vote of the Delegate elected by Associate Members at the meeting.

During this meeting, Delegates will elect a Nominating Committee for the 2021 elections of the International Board of Directors. A Nominating Committee Chair will be appointed at the meeting by the Nominating Committee and ratified by the

This is a great opportunity for the Delegates and Associates to meet with the members of the International Board of Directors. Please plan to attend!

More details will be in the upcoming October 5 HI Note.

Submitted by Debbie Parmerter
International Parliamentarian

[email protected]

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Attention all Queens and Champion Choruses

Arranger Tom Gentry would like to include photos of medalist ensembles who have sung his arrangements in the photo carousel at the top of his website’s home page. If your champion quartet or chorus sang one of Tom’s arrangements, would you please drop him a line telling him where to find a good online photo of your group? Tom is aware of the following quartets and choruses who have sung his arrangements: Village Vocal Chords, Taken 4 Granite, Aged to Perfection, Charisma, Epic, and Images . . . and there may be more.

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Big Screen Ads 2020

We all understood that IC&C 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky, had to be cancelled even though we were disappointed that we would not have our annual visit with our IC&C friends nor the opportunity to make new ones.
But wait!
The Convention Team is working hard to provide us with a Virtual IC&C that will give us lots of opportunities to connect with Harmony, Inc. Would you like to say hello to your Harmony friends? Let them know how much you miss them? Tell them you are looking forward to seeing them next year?

Here’s how:
Just like an in-person IC&C there is the opportunity during Virtual IC&C 2020 for Big Screen Ads. For this year only, ads are being offered to the membership and to member businesses at the reduced cost of $10 U.S. For the first time you will be able to complete the contract, upload your ad and make payment all using one form and all on-line. (Thank you Corporate Assistant Kelly Peterson for preparing the form.) Please note that for this year only, we will not accept any transitions or animation on your ad; each ad must be independent.

The following link will take you directly to the Big Screen Ad Contract Form.
Ads, contracts and payment must be received no later than October 10.
Any questions? Contact [email protected]

Submitted by Jan DelVecchio
Director of Business Services
[email protected]

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Opportunity to Serve Harmony, Inc.

Are you looking for an opportunity to serve Harmony, Incorporated? Check out this open Assistant position. This is a great way to gain knowledge about Harmony and give back to this amazing organization.

The Membership Coordinator is the perfect position for you if you are passionate about membership recruitment and retention. This volunteer will report to the Director of Membership. The primary duties are:
– connects with Harmony, Inc. chapters, quartets, directors, and Associate members
– works with new chapters, geographically outlying chapters (GOCs), and chapters on reserve status, in coordination with the Director of Membership
– works with Area Associate Representatives to ensure Associate members are well connected to Harmony, Inc.

Want more information? Check out the job description in the corporate manual or email [email protected] If you are ready to apply, fill out the online application.

Submitted by Donna McKay
International President
[email protected]

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Youth Member of the Year

Each year Harmony, Inc. honors outstanding contributions by our youth members with an award. Our organization is successful because of the many volunteers who contribute their time and energy for the good of Harmony, Inc. and fellow singers. The Harmony, Inc. Youth Member of the Year Award recognizes Youth Members who have made significant contributions to the organization and/or the music community. This award is presented each year at our International Convention and Contest and this year will be no different, other than being a virtual event.

A description of the selection and nomination process can be found on form HAR-120A.  The online nomination form is HAR-120. Both forms can be found on the Members Only section of the Harmony, Inc. website. The deadline for nomination submission is normally September 1 but it is being extended to September 15, 2020, so don’t delay!

Submitted by Kristin Gunasekera
Youth Programs Coordinator
[email protected]

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Stay Informed

Your Harmony, Inc. Board and Assistants reach out to you to share news of all sorts, and I hope you find these updates useful. We recognize the value of your time and attention, so we limit the number of emails we send in any given period as much as possible. The HI Note you are reading now is one of the primary ways we keep members and friends of Harmony involved and informed, but we send other notices as well –

  • Harmony, Inc. Virtual Education schedules and registration links

  • Election information and results

  • Important announcements

Harmony, Inc. offers you the option to unsubscribe from our mailing list with every HI Note and HIVE notice. We also offer you a way to change your preferences to receive only the news you want. Want to read the HI Note every month but opt out of hearing about the newest HIVE classes? No problem. Look for the “update your preferences” link at the bottom of each HI Note and choose which subjects interest you.

During this time of global pandemic, we have learned the importance of community. Geography is not a limiting factor in the way it used to be, and I hope we will continue to reach beyond our own chapters and cities once we are safely gathering again. In that spirit, I encourage you to invite others to get to know Harmony through the HI Note or a HIVE class. Forward a newsletter, or bring a friend to a virtual class, and see how living our Harmony creed can make another’s day brighter.

Submitted by Kelly Peterson
Corporate Assistant
corpora[email protected]

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Nearly 20 New Quartets in 2020!

This is the first installment in a multi-part series.

Hello, Harmony sisters!

Even a pandemic cannot stop our ambitious members from starting a new quartet. Did you know we have nearly 20 new quartets in 2020? Our awesome web manager, Tanya Reid (featured member of Lady Lyrix quartet!), has updated our Harmony, Inc. website Quartet Directory to show “New in 2020!” (Edit by Web Manager Tanya: Jessica and I have done a couple fun updates to the directory recently – check it out!) Since we had no Area conventions or in-person IC&C, these new quartets haven’t had a chance to perform for their sisters. So, we’re going to shine a little light their way. For this HI Note issue, let’s celebrate WoN Voice, Lookin’ 4 Treble, and Lady Lyrix!

WoN Voice is Jeralyn Lyon, Janet Billings, Nicole Zea, and Lisa Sudan, all members of Area 2’s Women of Note chorus. Their name was inspired by their “WoNderful” chorus. “We like the notion of four voices working together as one,” says lead Janet Billings.

They have bonded via Facebook messenger and Zoom meetings, offering support to each other when needed.

“WoN Voice has successfully had two in-person socially-distanced and masked or shielded rehearsals!” Janet says, “Our goal right now is to continue to get to know each other, learn a few songs, and see what happens!”


Lookin’ 4 Treble is Karen Trecartin, Cindy Mayo, Margie Fife, and Brenda Smith, a combination of Area 1’s Sea Belles and Associate members. Baritone Margie believes it was Cindy’s husband George who came up with their quartet name. “We love to have fun so thought it suited us,” she says.

Although they have not connected much virtually, they have continued to practice on their own. Margie is optimistic things will get better post-summer and says, “I’m sure we are going to stay together and do our best to learn the songs well that we have been working on.”

With no opportunity to perform for a live audience in the current public health crisis, Lookin’ 4 Treble says, “We will continue singing together for the joy of it!”

Lady Lyrix is Elizabeth Houghton, Michelle Bellefontaine, Heather MacIntyre, and Tanya Reid, all fairly new members of Area 1’s ScotianAires. This group was inspired to form at last November’s IC&C and soon after, they gathered for the first time.

Baritone Heather says, “After lots of fun, laughter (and some singing too), we decided it was a great fit!”

They, too, are learning music independently, but are experimenting with recording apps and online meetings. Fortunately, they say, “We have been able to include each other in their personal ‘bubble’ of family and friends,” and have gathered a few times this summer.

While competition may be a possibility for Lady Lyrix, they say, “Currently, we plan to continue working on fun performance tunes for when we can make our first public appearance with our ScotianAires sisters.”


Is your quartet new this year? Tell us your story! Email [email protected] for a chance to be featured in the next HI Note.

Submitted by Jessica Jones
Quartet Development Coordinator
[email protected]
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COVID-19 Guidance

We learned early in the COVID-19 pandemic that group singing is considered a super-spreading event. Since that time, ongoing studies have provided a better understanding of how COVID-19 spreads. As we learn about this research, we want to share this information with our members so that you understand the risks associated with in-person rehearsals and can make informed decisions about your personal health and safety.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada, everyone, regardless of age, is at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness if they contract the virus. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.

Research has revealed that individuals may become infected with COVID-19 through aerosolized droplets. Preliminary results of the Performing Arts Research Study conducted by the University of Colorado and University of Maryland were discussed in the August 10 webinar hosted by The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). This information is summarized in the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) blog. Full results and FAQs can be found on the NFHS main study website.

Some of the key information shared in the NATS webinar emphasized the importance of:

  • Wearing a well-fitting mask for indoor and outdoor singing.  Face shields are only effective for large droplets, so masks should be worn with the face shields.

  • Limiting rehearsal/exposure times – 30 minutes is the preliminary recommendation

  • Adhering to appropriate physical distancing per CDC guidelines

  • Rehearsing only in spaces with good ventilation.  Outdoors is best.  For indoor rehearsals, please see the NFHS guidance for proper ventilation, air exchange, air filtration, and purifiers.

You may also find it helpful to review the interim guidance published by BHS in late June.  This shares guidance for quartets and choruses, as well as insurance considerations.

Regardless of what the studies have revealed, adhering to all local, state/provincial, and federal mandates for in-person gatherings is, of course, imperative.

We will continue to share the most recent information as it emerges. There is no “one size fits all” approach to dealing with COVID-19. By staying informed as individuals about the risks of rehearsing during a pandemic, members can help chapter officers make responsible decisions about rehearsals. Ultimately, it is up to each member to understand the risks involved with in-person singing so that you can make informed decisions based on your personal situation and risk tolerance.

Public Health Agencies:

Yours in Harmony,

Donna McKay
International President
[email protected]
and the International Board of Directors

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Celebrating a New Performance Judge: Fatima Whelan

As 2019 rounded the corner into 2020, you might have found Fatima Whelan singing in the front row of the ScotianAires chorus in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where, as a lead and then a tenor, she has been a member for about 13 years. A little farther back in time, you may even have enjoyed her performing with one of her quartets, initially as a tenor and most recently, as the lead in

Fatima had always loved singing and performing, but as a member of Harmony, Inc., she experienced the positive impact of feedback from the best in the craft during the frequent coaching opportunities provided by many of HI’s judges. During an impactful session with the late Larry Clemmons, she realized how rewarding it would be to be able to give to others the same sense of possibility and accomplishment. With a little encouragement from one of her mentors, Fatima signed up to test drive her judging skills through the “Best Seat in the House” program at the 2015 Area 1 Contest and her journey to qualifying as a Harmony, Inc. Performance Judge began!

The path to Performance Judge meant Fatima was able to work with and learn from some of the best judges, coaches and educators from HI and the Barbershop Harmony Society. Every year, Fatima attended HI’s Category School working and learning with her fellow judge candidates, including newly-certified fellow candidates Lynda Briggs (COJ) and Amy Brown Patterson
(Singing) and judge mentors including the current Performance Category Mentor, Joe Hunter.

Fortunately, leading the way as Performance Category Director for the majority of Fatima’s training was the engaging and energetic Theresa Weatherbee. Theresa had no doubts right from the beginning that Fatima was in the right place.  Theresa explains: “I remember serving on the Area 1 panel back in 2015 in St John’s, Newfoundland, when we offered the “Best Seat in the
House” program. Fatima filled the chair that weekend and it was exciting to see how well she did.  She was a natural when it came to scoring, and her comments were spot on.  You can imagine how thrilled we were to hear after that experience she had decided to enter the judging program. I was fortunate to have been the Category Director through her training and proud to have certified her this past January.  Fatima, we are so happy to have you in the program, Congratulations!”

Not surprisingly, Fatima also made some lifetime friends. Stacy Hugman was also a Performance Judge Candidate working alongside Fatima. “Fatima and I have been rooming together for the past three years at Category School,” recalls Stacy. “We were fatefully put together in a room the first year, and haven’t looked back since. We instantly became friends and confidants. She is kind, thoughtful, considerate, insightful and most of all supportive!  She will be a wonderful judge and the ScotianAires must be so proud to have another judge in their ranks! It truly has been a pleasure navigating the performance program with Fatima. Harmony, Inc. is lucky to have her and I am blessed that I met her.  I can say with confidence, she is one of my best friends.”

Three years of preparation produced many great memories. A particular highlight for Fatima was attending Harmony University in 2018 where she took part in the coaching apprentice track. Fatima had the opportunity to learn from acknowledged leaders in the field and the classes left a powerful impression (not to mention the social time over ice cream!). But the most memorable
moment for Fatima came at the beginning of 2020 when she received her certification. “All the love and support you receive from your peers and fellow harmony friends, it’s pretty special,” explains Fatima. “I love how the category has been evolving and that we are always learning from each other as judges.”

At this moment in history, it’s a difficult time for music makers. Fatima reflects on what music and Harmony, Inc. have meant to her and what it means now: “Music has been an incredible gift in my life. I think discovering Harmony, Inc. was like a full circle moment. I never imagined I would come to love and respect such an incredible organization where I have met some wonderful friends who love and support one another and where we are encouraged to grow, flourish, and embrace and honor who we are. ‘Harmony. Stronger.’ is really apparent right now. Though there are no contests that I can judge, with our love of singing we are finding creative ways to keep connected and to continue to learn.”

Despite the need to physically distance, Fatima is realizing her dream of serving the barbershop community through education and sharing the love of the craft. She has been working with ensembles in online rehearsals and recently offered a class about overcoming performance anxiety as part of the HI’s virtual education initiative (HIVE).   Fatima is remaining positive: “I look forward to the day when we can see each other and ring chords together.  Certifying as a Performance Judge was a chapter, the journey continues and I am so excited for that!”

We are excited too, Fatima.  Congratulations!

Submitted by Philomena Hughes
ScotianAires PR Chair

[email protected]

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How Did You Kick Start YOUR Education This Year?

This year may be THE best time to boost your education. Either be it with virtual private voice lessons, learning music theory, taking an arranging class or better understanding how to make a song more musical, or, how to become overall better performer, there are education opportunities everywhere.

If you attended classes at Harmony University this past summer or are planning to attend any other educational platform which requires a tuition, you may be eligible to receive up to $100 in funding from our BOOT CAMP ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. You must be part of the Chapter Leadership or Musical Leadership of your chapter or, have a clear plan to assist your chapter, another HI Chapter, your area or your international board, in the short term, in either of these roles.
Associate members who volunteer at an Area or International level may also be eligible. More details can be found on the Boot Camp Assistance Program PAGE.

If you are qualified to receive this grant, it’s as easy as filling out the form HAR-128 Bootcamp Assistance Request and Report (BARR) and sending it along to me Chorus Director Development Coordinator for approval. All submissions need to be received by November 30, 2020.









Submitted by Anne Bureau
Chorus Director Development Coordinator
[email protected]

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ScotianAires Drive-by Celebration Nets $4,500 for ALS

Once you are part of the ScotianAires family, you are family forever. Joanne Stewart was a beloved member of the ScotianAires for many years, lending her singing talents to the Hummm Bugs Quartet as well as the chorus, and contributing her creative mindset to many projects including the sourcing and creation of our current contest outfits.

In November 2017, as the chorus graced the stage in their hometown at IC&C 2017 in Halifax, Joanne was diagnosed with ALS. It has been a difficult and challenging journey for Joanne who has spoken of the distress of trying to figure out how she would break the news to her sisters in Harmony, but also of the love and support she has received in turn.
As Joanne explains, “The chorus members were not just singing partners, they are family. Since November 2017, life has changed dramatically.  I got married, sold my house, travelled across Canada and so much more. I have lost my voice and I’m unable to swallow. My ScotianAires family keeps in touch and reaches out often. When I’m introduced to people by my new husband, he
often pops up pictures of me on stage as a member of the ScotianAires or me dressed as Ursula the Octopus on fun night. He is proud of my being part of the ScotianAires family, and how they help boost my spirits.”

Each year the ALS Society of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia holds a walk, ALS Walk Strong, to raise funds for their equipment lending library. In 2019, the ScotianAires performed at the kickoff event at the Bedford waterfront and were happy to have Joanne join them on their outdoor stage. This year’s walk was planned for June 21 but like many other events, the walk had to go virtual. However, celebrating Joanne and raising funds for the ALS cause called for more than just a “virtual”
response. And so, the idea of a “drive by” celebration and fundraiser was born, the brainchild of Joanne’s close ScotianAire friends Debbie Bradley and Linda McMaster.

The call went out to the ScotianAires and to other family and friends of Joanne, and on June 14, over 30 cars met in the early afternoon and paraded past Joanne’s home, led by a police escort! Horns were honking, driving attention to the mini-parade, and more importantly – the cause. Vehicles were decked out in purple, the official color of the ALS society, and some were festooned with dragonflies which the society has chosen as its symbol as a reminder to “reconnect with our strength, courage, and happiness.”

Joanne sat out on her front lawn and enjoyed the show surrounded by many members of her family including husband Wayne, son Matthew, Mom Flos, sister Penny, grandson Ben, and step-grandson AJ.
Friends and relations dropped off flowers and offered words and signs of love and encouragement.

Altogether over $4,500 was raised for ALS New Brunswick/Nova Scotia with cash at the drive-by, or Joanne’s online donation page before and after the drive-by.
Joanne could feel the love – nothing virtual about it!  “Witnessing my ScotianAire sisters do the drive showed my family what I’m always telling them,” she explained. “Because I’m part of the ScotianAire family, despite my illness, I never feel alone.”

Joanne is certainly a special alumna of the ScotianAires chorus. One of the homemade signs summed it up this way: “Joanne, you are the best daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, wife, ScotianAire.”

The ScotianAires are so honored and inspired to have Joanne in our lives!

Submitted by Philomena Hughes
ScotianAires PR Chair
[email protected]

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Convention Corner

We are excited about our Virtual International Convention, but we need your help to make it a success. The many ways you can get involved are listed below. Please note, we need all submissions by August 31.

Harmony Fashion Through the Years
Are you a scrapbooker? Chorus historian? We need photos of chorus and quartet costumes as far back as we can get. We want to create a video that takes a look at all of the wacky, wild, and beautiful costumes throughout the years. Please submit your photos to the ICC Assistant. Be sure to include the chorus / quartet name and year the photo was taken.

Don’t miss this chance to be on our virtual International contest stage! We invite choruses to send in a video of their favorite performance over the years (no more than four minutes long). We will combine and play the videos in a sequence like a regular contest complete with commentators in between each group. You must complete the contest song registration form. Please send your video entries and completed form to the ICC Onsite Manager.

2020 People’s Choice Awards
We won’t be able to give out any medals or trophies this year, but we can give out the People’s Choice Awards! If you would like to nominate a chorus or quartet for the below awards, submit your nominations to the ICC Manager. Ballots will be sent to all members to vote for our winners prior to the virtual event.
● Most entertaining package (include photo and description)
● Most creative costume (include photo)

Virtual Chorus Videos
Has your chorus put together a virtual chorus video like Scarborough Harmony Chorus from Area 5? If so, we’d love to showcase it during our Virtual Convention. Please submit your videos to ICC Manager Allison Thompson.

Next month we will post the schedule and instructions on how to register. Watch the HI Note, HI website and Facebook group for announcements about the schedule and activities.

Submitted by Allison Thompson
ICC Manager
[email protected]

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Engaging. Positivity. Connection.

These are three words that describe what Northern Blend has been providing throughout this challenging time. Remember back in January 2020? Northern Blend Chorus had just completed a very successful guest event that produced seven new additions to our chorus family! While getting prepared for our Area 3 AC&C in May, we were learning new music, practicing choreography, and sharpening our skills through coaching. AND THEN…SILENCE!

The pandemic struck with such a fury that it took our breaths and our harmonies away; however, it could not take away our spirit. So immediately, we got to work to find new and resourceful ways to stay together while keeping a safe distance apart.

Our leadership quickly started brainstorming to identify ways that we could stay engaged in a virtual setting. We created a Zoom room and continued to meet weekly. Our director, Katie Taylor, offered Private Voice Lessons (PVIs) and gave music theory courses, as well as coordinated with “celebrity” guests to engage us in different warm-up techniques to keep up vocally healthy and immersed. She also spearheaded a video of A Million Dreams using all our members to share with the healthcare workers in
our area to thank them for being heroes. It was posted on YouTube and was received with love and joy.

To help us stay connected, as President, I write weekly Promulgations that discuss mental health, staying positive, overcoming anxiety, quarantine challenges, Zoom fatigue, and other pertinent issues that we may be facing with this “new normal”. I have also created a weekly talk show titled Choruses in Quarantine Connecting over Coffee. This is a recorded video interview between myself and another chorus member that is shared with the rest of NBC to help us all get to know one another. So far there
are 28 episodes including both seasoned and new members that are welcomed with excitement, laughter and a few happy tears. It has become a weekend “gotta see” for most of us.

Lastly, we were not going to let this infection interrupt our incredible installation. Like the Publisher’s Clearinghouse winners, the Vice-president, Laura Oakes and I, set out on a journey to safely deliver twenty-one envelopes that included member award nominations, new-membership pins, member anniversary pins, and the Barbershopper of the Year award around Northern New York. It was a blast to throw confetti and present everyone with their awards, as well as, see smiling faces that we had missed
for so many weeks. We took safety precautions and handled it with the greatest of care. But it was well worth it.

Although we couldn’t be together physically, that following Monday we had a virtual installation that will be remembered for years to come. Video of the deliveries were beautifully patch worked together by Katie and really increased the celebratory energies. Donna McKay, the Harmony, Inc. International President came in for a bit and addressed us with love. Katie also created a compilation of our past year together, we participated in games, sang songs and celebrated being 35 Years of US!
Northern Blend Chorus is always up to something. We refuse to let this pandemic destroy our spirit and our connection with one another. We are continuing to look for new and creative ways to stay engaged and connected in the most positive way. We know that we’ve always been Harmony Strong, but this will only make us Harmony Stronger!

Submitted by Taralee Lashway
Northern Blend Chapter President

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Let’s Keep Changing Lives!

If you are like me, you have imagined the sound of our voices once again coming together in song – ringing chords, moving to the music, feeling the energy in the room. We came to barbershop for the music and stayed for the friendships – the sharing, the giving, the receiving big and small. In addition to our passion for singing, and experiencing the thrill of ensemble singing, it has been a place where we make a positive difference in people’s lives including our own. That is why it is so important to stay

To quote Jim Henry, during his 2007 Harmony University Gold Medal Moments Keynote address, “Barbershop – it isn’t just a hobby, it’s a Ministry!” Indeed, through our music and our actions, we change lives – it is a calling and during this pandemic, we must maintain that ‘calling’ and continue to change lives!

With each virtual rehearsal we host, we keep the magical, musical, spiritual, and communal synergy going. We change people’s lives and create new Gold Medal Moments for those who attend.

Build it and they will come!
Consider this time, as an opportunity to grow your chapter. Seek singers in your community who are looking to connect with others. Introduce these new guests to Barbershop and to your vibrant organization. Share, and inspire others.

There is no better time to make plans…
There will be a time when your chapter will once again, safely gather for in-person singing and performing – learn new music, reach out to your local municipalities and boroughs, call your local radio or TV station for an interview. Make plans for a Holiday Walk-Around in your community, or, plan a Spring Show, or an open-air community event. There are so many people out there who need to be inspired by our music.

Are you running out of ideas to keep everyone engaged? Look through this list of Virtual Rehearsal Ideas – please feel free to reach out to me and join our weekly round table discussions.
We are here to help!

Submitted by Anne Bureau
Chorus Director Development Coordinator
[email protected]

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Meet HIVE Presenter: Amy Patterson!

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Amy Patterson started volunteering her vocal coaching skills at chorus Zoom rehearsals as a guest coach doing warm-up and vocal activities. She says that she got to thinking, “What do we all need to keep our voices warmed up and ‘stay in tune’ with each other?” She developed a presentation for several choruses about what we CAN do during this time of physical isolation to keep singing. That is how her H.I.V.E. presentation, Practice with Purpose, was born!

Amy began her barbershop journey with the Overtones (Guelph, Ontario) in 2008 where she was a section leader and assistant director. She subsequently moved to A Cappella Showcase (Milton, Ontario) where she is currently Assistant Director. She is a newly-minted Harmony, Inc. Singing Judge (Jan. 2020) and says she is excited that she is now a BHS singing judge applicant. She is also a member of Generations quartet.

An elementary school teacher, Amy finds teaching online offers a different experience from classroom instruction. “Presenting education workshops as a judge in person is a different experience from online presentations,” she says. “Although I have experience as an online educator, I was concerned about participants feeling comfortable about getting involved. At the beginning of the session, I sensed a little hesitancy but facilitator Jeanne Crowell was great, putting everyone at ease and handling the technical aspects. I was soon fielding lots of questions from the enthusiastic participants. It has been a great feeling to share my knowledge and ideas with HI, and to encourage others!”

Submitted by Judy Breckles
Staff Writer
[email protected]

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Finding Silver Linings

COVID-19 has significantly impacted our organization and all barbershop singing organizations around the world. Over the past several months, I have experienced feelings of disappointment, frustration, anger, and sadness for what we have lost. I miss rehearsals, the hugs, the laughter, the opportunities to see old friends and meet new ones. I’m sure many of you have experienced similar feelings. But even in the saddest and most difficult times, there are silver linings.

From my office here in Painted Post, New York, I have been privileged to visit chapters all over the U.S. and Canada. What an incredible gift it has been for me to drop in, say hello, share information about the IBOD’s work, and learn about you and your chapters. Many of our Board members are doing the same, attending virtual rehearsals and council meetings to connect with
you. A silver lining, indeed!

A few months ago, we created the HIVE (Harmony, Inc. Virtual Education) to share knowledge and inspiration and, most importantly, to keep us connected during the pandemic. Harmony’s musical and administrative leaders have stepped up to teach classes for the HIVE, which has uncovered the amazing depth of talent within our organization. We have received a lot of
positive feedback from you about the HIVE, and we plan to continue this program. Silver lining? Definitely!

With no IC&C this year, we can’t meet in the stairwell to sing a tag or gather in a ballroom to cheer on our favorite quartet or chorus, but we can still stay connected virtually. I look forward to seeing you at our first-ever Virtual International Convention in November. This year’s convention has no travel or hotel costs and no registration fees – another silver lining!

Please reach out anytime and let me know how you are doing. Maybe you have a silver lining story to share as well.

Stay safe and healthy, my friends!

Submitted by Donna McKay
International President
[email protected]

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Change The World – Change The Words

Our new common song, Change the World, is so much fun!  The lyrics speak of a world that is happy and harmonious, as well as sharing our love with those we care about the most.

You’ll be excited to hear that the International Chorus will be performing Change the World virtually, and we’re hoping to get 150 members to participate! When the International Chorus performs this, and whenever we gather to sing this as an organization, we will be making a change to the following lyrics so we include all our loved ones:
The word changes are in measure 42: “I’d make you royalty” for tenor/lead/bari, and in measure 43: “You’d be royalty” echoed by the basses.

I am SO excited to get the chance to sing this with you all! Can’t wait to see our 150-person VIRTUAL CHORUS performing this song!

Submitted by Katie Taylor
Director of Music Programs
[email protected]

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ALL Chapters – Year-End Tax Filing Due!

All Harmony, Inc. chapters operate with a fiscal year of April 1 – March 31. Please see the Harmony, Inc. Corporate manual in Section 4, page 4.14, under “Chapters”, item #3 for further reference.
For U.S. Chapters, this will require you to file your electronic postcard 990-N by August 15, 2020.
For Canadian Chapters, this will require you to file your T2 by September 30, 2020.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions.

Additionally, all Chapters are reminded that they are required to send the VP Finance their respective taxing agency’s acceptance email, if filed electronically or a copy of their return receipt, if mailed.

Submitted by Donna Clarkson
VP Finance
[email protected]

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A Note from your Website Manager

Hello, Harmony!

I have a couple questions for you:
1) You want to email your fabulous president, Donna McKay. You start typing her name in the ‘to’ field, and 5 different @harmonyinc addresses pop up. What do you do?
2) You want to email someone on the board who you’ve never emailed before. You know her title and might be able to guess what her email address would be. What do you do?
3) You’ve received an email from me alerting you of a typo in an email address. What do you do?
4) You’re writing an article for the HI note, under a time constraint. You’re pretty sure you’ve typed everything correctly (including your contact information), but don’t have time to double check it. What do you do?

Did you know what we have a fail-stop set up so that if you email someone with an @harmonyinc email address, but that address doesn’t exist, it bounces to me as your webmaster? That way, emails aren’t left floating around in cyber space. That means, any email addresses that have typos land in my inbox (and how many I receive a week is pretty eye- opening!)

While I never mind helping folks out (and we ALLLLLL make mistakes), I have two concerns. First of all, sometimes emails are of a personal nature. I would hate a private email of mine to land in someone else’s inbox. Secondly, perhaps the intended recipient will miss out on something (I’ve twice received a, “We have ten minutes to put an order in for lunch!” I assume that person
didn’t get to eat lunch that day.)

I ask each of us to please try to keep our contact list up to date, search out someone’s email address if you need a new one, and double check what you type ☺

In the meantime, I’ll continue to forward along what finds its way to me.

Submitted by Tanya Reid
Web Manager
[email protected]

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Singing Together (sort of) Again!

I don’t believe that I’m being presumptuous in saying that we all REALLY miss singing together.  It isn’t surprising that singers everywhere are turning to virtual chorus projects. What we all need is to feel more connected to each other during this pandemic, so throughout Harmony, Inc., chapters and quartets are engaging in virtual chorus projects.

Several projects have come to this writer’s attention including Jordan Travis’ InstaChoir’s amazing version of O, Canada! released on Canada Day and Bella Nova’s rendition of Come the Wild, Wild Weather, currently in production. Amanda Cornaglia, Bella Nova’s tech guru, said, “Bella Nova is working on a virtual version of Come the Wild, Wild Weather because we were missing singing together and both the lyrics and theme of the song are fitting for the times.  Voluntary participation includes Bella Nova members (from at least three states) coming together virtually for education, fun, and fellowship.”

Two completed Area 5 projects, Scarborough Harmony Chorus’ Isn’t She Lovely (completed in June) and Sugartones’ Feelin’ Groovy (completed for Canada Day) can be found on their websites.  Another project “in the works” is Northern Blend’s A Million Dreams.

Sugartones Director Jan-Åke Westin observed, “Although it is a big learning curve both for members recording for the first time at home (80 percent of the chorus chose to participate) and for the mixer/editor, all the effort is definitely worth it!  The immense pride we felt watching our virtual finished product was mostly about the joy of singing and entertaining together again!
“Sugartones are born hams who love to do annual musical theatre shows and many community performances” continued Jan-Ake, “so this gave us an opportunity greet and entertain our community online, thank the town for their ongoing support, and get ourselves into the local media again.  It was also an incentive to learn new songs and keep practicing.  We learned lots, so next time will be easier!”

If you want to try a virtual project, recording can be done on whatever is handy (phone, Zoom, Mp3, video camera…).  The tools used to mix/edit these projects include:
∙ Sugartones: Audacity (audio) and Corel Video Studio (video) by the son of a member
∙ Full Circle (MBHA): Vegas Movie Studio by a knowledgeable member
∙ Bella Nova: ProTools and Adobe Premiere Pro by a video production pro who is a chorus member —  How fortunate is Bella Nova?
You might want to check out your internal resources, including family members before looking further afield for editing help!

Jan-Åke and Amanda both agree that support is necessary for some members to learn how to record at home. They also share that many members struggle with the sound of their own recorded solo voices, so we needed to learn not to take ourselves too seriously, not to aim for perfection, to reduce our stress, and above all, to have fun and ENJOY!

This writer found the virtual chorus experience very rewarding. It has brought my chorus closer to each other, and best of all, we got to sing “together” again! To raise all our spirits, please share links to your virtual accomplishments with us all. We do
love to cheer each other on —  even from home!

Submitted by Judy Breckles
Staff Writer
[email protected]


EDITOR’S NOTE: Sugartones’ Judy Breckles debuts as a new staff writer for our new HI Note with this article. Judy was so incautious as to respond a couple of months ago to the standing query at the bottom of this newsletter, “What would you like to read about in the [then] E- Note?” Having determined what she wanted to see, we invited her to write the story. (Evil, we are.) And she did! Along with Director of Communications Mary Ann Wert, I’d like to offer a great big WELCOME to Judy as a staff writer for the HI Note! We are looking forward to reading her future articles.

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Honor and Cherish

Images have for many years presented an award at the Harmony, Inc. International Convention and Contests to the quartet that it deems the “Image of Harmony” for the year. These quartets are recognized for the significant contributions they have made to Harmony, Inc., and their community.

With the passing of their lead, Sue Trenchard, this past winter, the quartet has decided to honor her memory – her love of music, family, friends, and life – by renaming the award the Susan C. Trenchard Service Award. The first Susan C. Trenchard award will be presented at the Harmony, Inc. 2020 Virtual Convention and Celebration, November 6-7.

Now is the time to submit your nomination for this award. The deadline is July 31. Write a letter detailing your chosen quartet’s contributions to their Chapter, Area, Harmony, Inc., and Community. List the names of three or four others who support this nomination, and send your letter to [email protected]

Submitted by Roxanne Powell
[email protected]

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Highlighting H.I.V.E.

“Great job, H.I.V.E.!” says Margie Fife from Area 1.
“Thrilled with this format! This made my year!” says Jan LeClair from Surround Sound.
“What an opportunity to learn, at no cost, from top barbershop educators from the comfort of my own home!” notes Jacquie Jenson.

These are some of the many overwhelmingly positive comments from among the hundreds of recent H.I.V.E. participants. As you might expect, many were delighted to “see” their HI friends from afar at these sessions and were missing convention education classes.  They also think that these sessions help to overcome the COVID Blues. The Liberty Belles’ Nancy Weisbein shares
that the sessions are valuable even for those who don’t attend.
“The sessions have been super valuable for me. Also, when any chorus member attends H.I.V.E. classes, she comes back to virtual rehearsal and talks about what she has learned and how it might apply to our chorus.”

The convenience of this form of education also appealed to most participants.
Jacquie Jenson says, “I appreciate that the classes are recorded so that I can watch again or watch those that I didn’t see in real time.”
Sannie McInnis from the Sugartones says, “I prefer online learning as it allows me to concentrate in my own ‘quiet’ environment and to do the workshop again if I choose to.”

Most think H.I.V.E should continue after the pandemic restrictions, particularly because of benefits to the elderly, financially challenged, associate or ‘long distance’ members who may not find area or convention education classes possible.
Anne Ash of the California Note Catchers sums it up, saying, “Virtual classes open up many options especially for our older members who don’t travel and have limited incomes, really leveling the playing field, offering opportunities for so many members that would not necessarily be able to access them.”  She went on to say, “Every H.I.V.E. class I’ve attended has been organized, well-run and worthwhile.”

Margie Fife, the Area 1 Membership and Youth Coordinator, expresses everyone’s appreciation, “I am grateful for all the facilitators, planners and presenters and would like them to know that they are appreciated for giving their time and talents to all Harmony members.”

Submitted by Judy Breckles
Staff Writer
[email protected]



EDITOR’S NOTE: Sugartones’ Judy Breckles debuts as a new staff writer for our new HI Note with this article. Judy was so incautious as to respond a couple of months ago to the standing query at the bottom of this newsletter, “What would you like to read about in the [then] E- Note?” Having determined what she wanted to see, we invited her to write the story. (Evil, we are.) And she did! Along with Director of Communications Mary Ann Wert, I’d like to offer a great big WELCOME to Judy as a staff writer for the HI Note! We are looking forward to reading her future articles.

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Guess Who’s New?! HI’s New Quartet Development Coordinator, Jessica Jones

Today we introduce to you Jess Jones, our new Quartet Development Coordinator. This enthusiastic, hard-working lady joined Harmony, Inc. only about 600 days ago and has been falling further and further in love with the organization ever since.

With a background in competitive singing, Jess found Harmony, Inc. after 15 years of encouragement from our own queen of hearts, Katie Taylor. Jess began singing baritone with Northern Blend Chorus in January 2019 and officially became a HI member in April 2019, right before her first Area 3 convention. Since then she’s joined NBC’s mighty lead section, become a member-at-large on the Chapter board, assumed the role of lead in a quartet, and helped the chorus earn their second-place silver medal at
IC&C-Sandusky in November 2019. Not too shabby for her first year!

When asked what first attracted her to HI, Jess says: “EVERYTHING! While Katie encouraged me (for nearly 15 years) to join NBC, I knew very little about Harmony, Inc. until my deep dive into all things barbershop last year. I knew I had found a very special organization, but I didn’t fully grasp how empowering the sisterhood is until my first Area contest. Since then, I have read every bit I can about our history, talked with as many members as possible, and continue learning about our culture through
every woman I meet. I was blown away by the support and pure joy expressed throughout every moment of my first International contest last November.”

With the same eagerness, Jess explains how she became interested in the Quartet Development Coordinator position. “Both Donna McKay and Katie knew of my newfound passion of barbershop and Harmony, Inc. and approached me about the QDC position. Despite my minimal quartet experience, immersing me into this position will connect me with more amazing women and allow me to use my organizational and people skills in an enjoyable way. In addition to our current and prospective quartets,
I am eager to work with our IBOD, Assistants, and Area Directors. I may never be as funny as Debi Stoll, but I hope to reach the high standard she has set as QDC!”

As her passion for barbershop grew, it guided Jess to sing in her first (and current) quartet, Roulette in May 2019. While excited, she says, “Needless to say, I was quite nervous about singing lead, but am embracing it and learning so much from my experienced quartet mates. I long for the day we can perform for you!” With a few familiar faces in her trio: Morgan La Croix, tenor; Lynn Blakeney, bass; and Katie Taylor, baritone, our bets are easily placed on the wonderful things they will do together.
When not immersed in all things Harmony, Jess has been a department secretary at her local community college for nearly 14 years. “I love serving eager students and passionate educators, much like in Harmony, Inc.!”

In her spare time, she enjoys listening and singing to all genres of music and spending time with her husband, Ryan, and two children, Brandon, 16, and Samantha, 3. They camp as much as possible during the short Northern New York summer months and take advantage of the recreation opportunities in the Thousand Islands and greater Adirondacks region year-round. She loves to play tennis and allegedly has a silly tongue trick she can do. She encourages you all to “…find me at our next contest or convention for a good laugh!”

Of all the things that make singing with Harmony, Inc. special, Jess thinks the most important is our supportive culture.
“Although I have not been a part of a barbershop or singing organization,” says Jess, “I have competed as a vocalist on a local level and been involved in cover bands and choirs. Competition kept me from joining Northern Blend earlier and I was sure it would take the fun and joy out of singing. Fortunately, Harmony, Inc’s approach to competition is truly about empowerment and experience, not about winning for the sake of bragging rights. Regardless of where you place, this organization cheers each
other on and loves you for being courageous! We all belong here.”

We all knew, when arriving at Harmony, Inc., that we’d found a place we belonged and now you do too, Jess. You’re a spectacular example of what new energy can do for any organization!
Welcome home, Jess Jones. Welcome home.

Submitted by Robyn Lynn Matula
PR Coordinator
[email protected]

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